Oakland County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

Jon Vondrasek poses for a photo with his wife, Kelly, daughter, Lily, and son Jaden, after accepting his Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Jon Vondrasek poses for a photo with his wife, Kelly, daughter, Lily, and son Jaden, after accepting his Excellence in Education award from Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.

An Oakland County educator known for his passion for teaching and for helping students reach their full potential has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Jon Vondrasek, teaches science at Warner Middle School in Farmington.  He also coaches the eighth-grade basketball and track teams at the middle school, which is part of the Farmington Public Schools district.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district.  One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations:  WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segment featuring Vondrasek will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and then on Thursday in Detroit.

For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo, who recently presented Vondrasek with the award at the Breslin Center.

Vondrasek said the opportunities to “make a difference in the lives of others” attracted him to a career in education.  “The kids of today are our future.  They need role models, people to look up to and I strive to be that person.”

He added that his favorite parts of being an educator are “the relationships that I form with the kids and watching the excitement in my students when they learn something new.  Plus, I love science and teaching science to young people.”

The Excellence in Education award nomination for Vondrasek described him as “a dedicated teacher who brings out the best in all of his students.”

Jon Vondrasek talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting his Excellence in Education award.

Jon Vondrasek talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting his Excellence in Education award.

“Jon is passionate about teaching and learning.  He strives to help every student in his class reach their full potential.  He is a positive role model for all of his students and he works very hard to build positive relationships with his students,” the nomination said.  “Thanks to his hard work and diligence, Jon inspires his students to believe in themselves and become successful learners.”

Vondrasek earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a focus on science and history from Michigan State University.  He also earned a master’s degree in education from Marygrove College.  He has been an educator for 19 years, all with the Farmington Public Schools.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
  • Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
  • Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
  • Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts.
  • Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.
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