A Shiawassee County educator known for his commitment to improving his skills as a teacher and a coach and for encouraging students to succeed by setting high standards for them and himself has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Dave Richardson, teaches seventh and eighth grade science at the Byron Middle School, which is part of the Byron Area Schools. Richardson also served as the head football coach for Byron High School.
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 Richardson will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Richardson said he chose a career in education because “I wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives.”
He said his favorite part about being an educator is “when kids get excited about learning. I love getting kids to ‘learn outside the box’ and helping students learn how to think scientifically and become problem solvers.”
The principal of Byron High School, Grant Hegenauer, nominated Richardson for the Excellence in Education award, describing him as “an inspirational leader to our student body by setting high standards for himself as well as others and giving them the encouragement and motivation to reach those goals.”
“He understands the standards needed to be an exceptional instructional leader and role model and has demonstrated that knowledge by being involved in many different leadership and teaching positions,” he wrote.
“Dave is currently teaching at Byron Middle School and carries a large responsibility in our district and exceeds the standards set by our school district. He works diligently to become a better instructor and coach by researching current teaching and coaching methods and asking experienced educators, such as myself, for ideas to help our student athletes and community.
“Because of his admirable ability to interact with and be accepted by any group, Dave is a dream ingredient to any team. His many contributions to our support system has allowed us to maintain a comfortable working environment for children and staff alike. Dave has excellent leadership skills and leads by example with his hard-working attitude.
“He is very dedicated to any project he takes on, fully immerses himself in each project and shows a passion to succeed.”
Richardson earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Marygrove College. He has been an educator for 24 years, all with the Byron Area 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.