A Wayne County educator known for working tirelessly to support her students and provide them the help that they need to succeed academically and as individuals has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Christine Burkhardt-Messner, is a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher in the Garden City 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 Burkhardt-Messner will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Burkhardt-Messner said education is a second career for her. “I always wanted to teach, but being a shy student, I didn’t see it as a career option coming out of high school. I pursued a career in business and then I was laid off. I started to work as a substitute teacher and that’s when I realized that teaching was the career for me.”
“My favorite part of being a teacher is that I love being part of the successes that my students get with education,” she said, adding that her students motivate her to do her best every day.
“I just love spending time with kids. It is such a rewarding career. Making connections with my students, not just academically, but emotionally and socially, is what makes my day.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Burkhardt-Messner described her as giving “tirelessly of her time and attention to all her students in the classroom. She also tends to the needs of all students, including those she may only come into contact with briefly during the school year.”
“Her care and attention goes far beyond the standard class day. She is only a phone call, text, or email away for the parents or guardians of her students. Often the first educator in the school and the last to leave, Mrs. Burkhardt-Messner truly cares for each individual student and has their success and best interests always in the forefront of her thoughts and actions,” the nomination said.
The nomination noted that she sets up and runs a yearly Social Studies Bee for the fifth- and sixth-grade classes and also regularly attends her students’ weekend extracurricular activities, such as games, dance recitals, and plays.
Additionally, Burkhardt-Messner shops for school supplies, such as paper, binders, and pencils, to have on hand for students who forget theirs or come from families that can’t afford to buy supplies.
Burkhardt-Messner earned a bachelor of arts degree in business from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in education from Wayne State University. She has been an educator for 19 years, all with the Garden City 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.