A Washtenaw County educator known for his dedication to his students and for using a classroom website and humor to help share his love of reading and the English language has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Carl Spina (pronounced SPY-NUH), is an English teacher at the Saline Middle School. He also serves as the head coach for the Saline High School cross country team and as an assistant coach for the high school’s boys track team.
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 Spina will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
“The chance to impact the lives of young people is very rewarding and attracted me to teaching. It’s also great to be able to share my passion for reading and language,” Spina said.
He added that his favorite part of being an educator is that “I really enjoy getting to know my students and their interests outside of school.”
Spina said his students motivate him to do his best each day. “They provide me with the energy to do my job well.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Spina described him as “someone who represents the very best in the state of Michigan.”
“He is dedicated to his students and their well-being. He has implemented a classroom website that is an amazing resource for students and their parents in preparing for weekly lessons and the school year. Carl mixes his fantastic sense of humor into the classroom and even includes a journal on his website that displays the hilarious quotes from his students during the day,” the nomination said.
“His leadership and dedication in the classroom and with the teams that he coaches are highly effective. He places a high importance on academics and ensuring that all of the athletes also are doing their work in the classroom.”
Spina earned a bachelor of arts degree in language arts from Siena Heights University and a master of arts degree in elementary education from Eastern Michigan University. He has been an educator for 18 years, all with the Saline Area 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.