An Ingham County educator known for her dedication to helping her students succeed and inspiring them to do their best every day has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Tracey Luce, teaches sixth- through eighth-grade history and geography at the Mid- Michigan Leadership in Lansing.
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 Luce will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Luce said she was attracted to a career in education because “I love working with children and it is so important to me to provide a safe space for them.”
“The best part of being an educator is seeing students learn to believe in themselves and strive for success,” she said. “The love that I have for my students motivates me every day. I want to help them be the best they can be.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Luce noted that “she inspires her students to succeed every day. She inspires them to be their best every day and go above and beyond.”
“The relationships she has built with her students and their families inspire her students to believe in themselves and know that they can do great things,” the nomination said. “Her students know that she provides a safe space for them to discuss anything from LGBTQ issues to family problems to normal middle school drama. They always know that Ms. Luce has their back for anything.”
The families of most of Luce’s students can’t afford to buy the books that their children want, the nomination said. “Ms. Luce has contacted families and asked what books their kids would like, as well as asking students what they would like. Then she goes to bookstores and buys books for the classroom so that there are books for the kids to read and enjoy. She even lets kids pick books off a book order form and buys books from there as well.
“One of the things that her students look forward to the most is her ‘A’ party that she has at her house for the students who get A’s on their finals. Ms. Luce provides transportation, if needed, makes a meal, buys drinks, dessert, and sets up games or movies for all the kids. The kids all have a blast. She also sends all of the leftovers home with the kids so that they have food at home when they need it.”
“Ms. Luce also is a leader in her building, helping to coordinate activities and events such as the eighth grade recognition ceremony. Her experience and familiarity with the families of the Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy leads other staff members to ask her for advice and suggestions on dealing with students and parents.”
Luce earned a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education with a minor in history from Michigan State University. She has been an educator for 20 years, the last six with the Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy.
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.