A St. Clair County educator known for using hands-on projects to spark his students’ interest in science and tech-related careers and for boosting the confidence of his students to help them succeed inside and outside the classroom has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Brian Bearss (pronounced “burse”), teaches calculus and physics at Yale High School, which is part of Yale Public Schools.
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 news segment featuring Bearss will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Bearss said his favorite part of being an educator is “working with students! I feel that they are always teaching me new things.”
He said that both of his parents were teachers and he was attracted to the profession because “I love to work with people and I love to learn new things.”
Kenneth Nicholl, the superintendent of Yale Public Schools, nominated Bearss for the Excellence in Education award and described him as “truly an educator in every sense of the word.”
“He teaches physics in a manner that brings science alive. Mr. Bearss has incorporated an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the world in which students live,” Nicholl wrote.
“Additionally, he infuses project-based learning into the classroom, introduces students to coding and relates such to potential vocations and future educational pursuits for his students. As a result, our program has thrived.
“Most importantly, Mr. Bearss builds relationships and rapport with students. He connects with them. He instills confidence and makes learning fun! He is passionate about his subject matter, for sure, and his passion resonates with his students.”
The nomination noted that Bearss also has served as the head of the school’s science department, is a member of the School Improvement Team, and is the head coach of the boys’ varsity track team. He was named the Blue Water Area Conference Track Coach of the Year for the team’s success this year, including a top finish in the conference and at the Michigan High School Athletics Association regional meet.
Bearss earned a bachelor of science degree in secondary mathematics and a master of arts degree in education from Michigan State University. He has been an educator for 18 years, all with Yale Public Schools.
Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.
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.