A Wayne County educator known for her tireless commitment to help her students in the classroom and to develop as individuals has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Lynsey Lanagan, is a special education teacher for high school students at The Lincoln Center, in Wyandotte. The Lincoln Center, part of the Wyandotte Public Schools, was established in 2000 and serves students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ages 5-26 years) and Cognitive Impairment/Emotional Impairment (ages 5-26) from 17 downriver districts.
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 $1,500 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, FOX 47 in Lansing, and WNEM-TV in Saginaw. The segment featuring Lanagan will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Lanagan said she chose a career in education because “my sister was a special needs student and I wanted to make a difference by helping students like her.”
She said her favorite parts of being an educator are “watching the students grow and learn and interacting with all the different personalities in my classroom.”
Lanagan said her students motivate her to do her best each day. “I go to school each day knowing that my students are counting on me to help provide them the skills they need to be productive members of society.”
The nomination for the Excellence in Education award described how Lanagan works tirelessly to help her students.
“Lynsey works with emotionally and cognitively impaired students. It is very challenging work and she never gives up on the students. She is genuinely interested in how they are doing. Each day, the student may have a different problem but they know they can count on Ms. Lynsey to pay attention to their needs, keep them safe, and provide an atmosphere of genuine caring and love,” the nomination said.
“At first, students think Lynsey is harsh with her rules and expectations, but then after a while they realize that they need that. Lynsey tries to figure out why a student will act out and not judge them. She doesn’t fight with the students. She listens, and listens, and listens. She is genuinely interested in how they are doing. She spends time necessary to not just listen to the student, but to engage the student.
“She treats each student with respect and as individual, no matter how impaired their cognition. She cares deeply about each student.”
Lanagan earned bachelor of arts degree in special education from Eastern Michigan University and a master of arts degree in education leadership from Concordia University. She has been an educator for 17 years, all with the Wyandotte 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.