An Iosco County educator known for sharing her passion for reading with students, inspiring them to excel and to develop a love of learning has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Kirsten Billeter, teaches French and English at Whittemore-Prescott High School, which is part of the Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools. She also has coached basketball and track for the high school and middle school and served as a co-coordinator of a camp program for middle school students. Currently, she is the chair of the school’s Language Arts Department and co-advisor for the junior and senior classes.
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 Billeter will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
“I love working with students,” Billeter said. “There’s nothing like getting a student to that ‘Ah ha!’ moment.”
She said that she was attracted to a career in education because “I always loved showing people how to do things, and I always loved English and French, so it was just a perfect, natural fit.
“The students are my greatest motivation. I want them to learn, to see the value in what they learn, and to actually enjoy learning.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Billeter described her as an outstanding teacher who effectively shares her passion for reading and inspires students to excel.
“She is committed to ensuring that her students master the content of her courses and develop a love of learning. Kirsten isn’t afraid to challenge her students to learn difficult concepts, and always provides the support needed for them to succeed,” the nomination said.
“Throughout her career at the Whittemore-Prescott schools, Kirsten has taken the time to connect with students in a variety of ways, including through her coaching and work at the middle school camp.
“The students affectionally call her, ‘Mrs. Bill,’ and you’ll often find her in conversation with students about the latest novel they’ve read. Students have mentioned Kirsten in their commencement speeches and publicly announced their appreciation for her sharing her love of reading with them.”
Billeter earned a bachelor of arts degree from Hope College and a master of arts degree from Central Michigan University. She has been an educator for 26 years, all with the Whittemore-Prescott 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.