A Sanilac County educator known for engaging each of her students and creating a warm and caring learning environment for them in her classroom has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Heather Dahl, teaches second grade at Frostick Elementary School in Croswell. The school is part of the Croswell-Lexington Community 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 Dahl will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Dahl said her fifth grade math teacher inspired her to become an educator. “He helped me understand math and I wanted to be like him! It’s what I was supposed to do.”
She said her favorite part of being an educator is “making connections with my kids. I love watching my kids grow up. You see your kids from second grade grow all the way up. It’s amazing. We have a saying: ‘Once a Dahl kid, always a Dahl kid.’ It doesn’t matter if they’re in second grade or have graduated.”
Dahl said her students motivate her to do her best each day. “I love what I do. It’s an amazing experience when you see kids walk into a class thinking they can’t read or write and then watch them learn and grow. It’s awesome!”
Another teacher nominated Dahl for the Excellence in Education award, describing her as “nothing short of an exemplary teacher.”
“Heather creates a warm, accepting environment for her students. She quickly adapts to each new community of learners. She spends time learning her students’ out-of-school interests, family situations and challenges. She meets her students where they are and provides insightful instruction to meet their needs,” the nomination said.
“Heather is outstanding at engaging students. Several students in our district struggle with engagement, Heather has found unique ways to involve these students through differentiation and captivating teaching.”
Dahl earned a bachelor’s degree at Western Michigan University and a master’s degree from Marygrove College. She has been an educator for 24 years, all with the Croswell-Lexington Community Schools. “I’m grateful to work in the community that I work in. I grew up in that community,” Dahl said.
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.