A Jackson County educator known for her dedication to help students excel in the classroom and for creating opportunities for them to help others in their school and community has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Michelle DuBois, teaches fifth-grade social studies and science at Keicher Elementary in Michigan Center. It is part of the Michigan Center School 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.
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 DuBois 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 presented DuBois with the award at the Breslin Center.
DuBois said she was attracted to a career in education by the opportunities to help young people reach their full potential. “I consider each and every one of my students to be a future leader. I wanted to be a part of building their future by supporting their education and their growth and development.”
She said her favorite part of being an educator is “the challenge of finding out what motivates or inspires each of my students. And then determining how I can ignite a spark within them so they’ll love learning.”
DuBois added that the “the smiles and hugs” she gets from her students motivate her to do her best in the classroom every day.
A colleague nominated DuBois for the Excellence in Education award nomination, saying: “Michelle’s dedication to her students and to her profession shines on a daily basis. Her commitment to the growth of her students in every area of their life is apparent on a daily basis.
“Michelle goes above and beyond as an educator each and every day. In a building in which more than 50 percent of the students are considered at-risk, Michelle places an emphasis on not only the academic development, but also the social and emotional development of her students,” the nomination said.
“She has said to me that ‘for many of my kids, the hours that they spend at school are the happiest and most nurturing of their day. It is my job to let them know they are loved and safe.’
“In her first seven years as a fourth-grade teacher, Michelle began and organized a three-day trip to Mackinac Island. The cost of the trip was made affordable to all students through more than $10,000 a year in fundraisers developed and organized by Michelle. She also started the fourth grade partnership with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program site-based program in which fourth grade students are paired with Michigan Center high school students and meet once a week to build relationships that often lead to out-of-school community-based matches,” the nomination said.
“When she moved to the fifth grade, Michelle began the ‘Be More Kind’ campaign. Meeting and planning with a student committee at least twice a month, the team has participated in spreading kindness throughout the school and the community by encouraging acts of kindness and good deeds.
“Some of the activities the ‘Be More Kind’ committee has participated in include: Kindness Kudos (written student-to-student recognition of kindness), “Be More Kind” wristband fundraiser ($200 was donated to the American Legion veterans), Kindness Kid of the Month (peers nominate their classmates), and participation in the ‘Great Kindness Challenge,’ which is a national event.’”
DuBois earned a bachelor’s degree in child development from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in English language arts (major) and elementary education (minor) from Spring Arbor University. She has been an educator for nine years, all with the Michigan Center School 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.