A Wayne County educator known for setting high standards for her students and helping them to excel inside and outside the classroom has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Nicole Ames-Powell, teaches mathematics to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at the Carver STEM Academy in Detroit. The academy focuses on providing pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students with the academic foundation to pursue careers in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is part of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
During the summer, Ames-Powell teaches STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subject matter to hundreds of U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets during their annual Department of Defense STEM and Training Camp. She also teaches STEM subjects at multiple week-long Department of Defense kindergarten-through-12th grade summer camps in Native American communities throughout Michigan.
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 Ames-Powell 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 Ames-Powell with the award at the Breslin Center.
Ames-Powell said becoming an educator was a lifelong dream. “I’ve known that I wanted to teach and help others for as long as I can remember,” she said, adding that her mother was an educator for 31 years.
“I believe my purpose on Earth is to love and lead students to be successful citizens and I have to use my God-given gifts and talents to the best of my ability to fulfill this purpose.”
She said that her favorite part of being an educator is “working with students to make real life connections to the mathematics I teach them.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Ames-Powell described her as “a shining example of a superior teacher.”
“She consistently goes above and beyond to aid students socially as well as academically. During her lunch time, she allows students to come into her classroom to complete assignments, do extra work, or have one-on-one conferences with students who need additional help with their mathematics assignments.
“Mrs. Ames-Powell genuinely cares about the students. She has high expectations for students and provides them the tools and avenues they need to help them achieve maximum success. Preparing students for higher grade levels is one of her standing goals,” the nomination noted. “Many of her former students have returned to Carver to tell her of their progress and thank her for her assistance.”
Ames-Powell earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Grand Valley State University and a master of arts degree in education from Marygrove College. She has been an educator for 16 years, all with the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
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.