A Bay County educator known for her passion for instilling a love of reading and learning in her students and her efforts to provide students with books for their homes has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Mallory Rivard, teaches first grade at the MacGregor Elementary School in Bay City. The school is part of the Bay City School District.
Rivard was crowned Miss Michigan in June and will compete for the title of Miss America later this month. NBC has scheduled a live broadcast of the competition for 8 p.m. on Dec. 19.
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 Rivard will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Rivard said her third grade teacher inspired her to become a teacher. “She made me love learning and cared about my life outside the classroom and I wanted to do that for other kids. My community gave so much to me and I want to give back and give to others.”
She said her favorite parts of being an educator are “providing kids with love, support and an opportunity to learn. There are also those ‘Ah-ha!’ moments when a student ‘gets’ a new concept or idea.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Rivard said that “her dream has always been to be a teacher and to help kids succeed.”
“Mallory inherited a nearly empty classroom when she started teaching full-time in 2017 and estimates she has spent more than $1,200 outfitting it with books, flexible seating, soft lighting, and friendly decor to make school a safe and welcoming space for her students,” the nomination said.
“Research shows that 66 percent of children living in poverty don’t have a single book in their home. As an educator in a low-income neighborhood school, Mallory saw this need and is taking steps to address this problem. In her first year of teaching, she sought out donations and was able to provide each student in her classroom a new Scholastic book each month. The second year, she again sought out donations and was able to provide a new Scholastic book each month to all the first-graders at MacGregor Elementary.
“Now, in her third year of teaching, she has obtained a $4,000 donation from a charitable foundation and that will provide every student at MacGregor Elementary a new Scholastic book each month.
“She also started a ‘Milk and Bookies’ community event, doing a read-aloud that concludes with milk and cookies plus a free Scholastic book to every child in attendance.
“Additionally, Mallory became involved with the READ Association of Saginaw County, where she helped develop and lead several sessions of the Raising Readers Academy. This is a free 12-week program to help parents learn tools and strategies for building their children into strong joyful readers.”
Rivard earned a bachelor of arts degrees in elementary education and early childhood education from Saginaw Valley State University. She currently is working on a master’s degree in early childhood education from Saginaw Valley State. She has been a teacher for three years, all with the Bay City Public 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.