A Wayne County educator known for her dedication to helping students any way that she can, including raising funds to provide winter coats for those in need at her school, has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Consuelo Brewer, is a special education teacher at the Charles R. Drew Transition Center. The school is part of the Detroit Public Schools district and serves about 600 young adults with special needs.
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 Brewer will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Brewer said she chose a career in education “because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children.”
She said her favorite part of being an educator is “when I see the growth and independence of my students with autism.”
Brewer said that her students motivate her to do her best every day. “Making sure my students’ needs are met keeps me motivated. For example, when I see students who need a coat, I’ll start raising funds to get as many coats as possible for our students.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Brewer described her as “an educator who always puts her students first, no matter what.”
The nomination said Brewer noticed in the fall of 2017 that many students in her classroom didn’t have winter coats, hats or gloves. She tackled that problem by setting up a DonorsChoose.org project, a fundraiser that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects.
The project was a success and “the students were very happy with their new winter gear! The parents also were excited because many were unable to afford such expensive winter gear.”
Brewer next set her sights on helping other students at the school, setting up another DonorsChoose.org project and in less than a month raised more than $17,000, providing winter clothing for 159 more students, the nomination said.
After local media outlets reported on her efforts and it went “viral” on social media, Columbia Sportswear contacted her and donated 302 winter coats with an estimated value of more than $60,000. “Mrs. Brewer has changed the lives of her students by taking a moment to observe, see their need, and then acting to make sure their basic needs were met,” the nomination said.
Brewer earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a master’s in elementary education, and certification as a special education specialist. She has been an educator for 10 years, the last five with the Detroit 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.