A Genesee County educator known for using humor and a warm, caring attitude to encourage students to excel and do their best and has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Erin Pintek, teaches eighth grade math and algebra and heads the math department at Bendle Middle School in Burton. The school is part of the Bendle Public School District.
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 Pintek will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Pintek said that her parents are her biggest role models and her father, now retired, was a math teacher and coach and his example attracted her to a career in education. “His impact on his students and athletes was always so awesome to see.”
She said her favorite part of being an educator “is seeing my students have fun while they are learning. Also, seeing a student’s face when the math ‘click’ happens is always so exciting to me.”
Pintek said her students inspire her to do her best each day. “I want my students to come to school and have someone who they know cares about them. I try to go out of my way to talk with them, joke around with them, and attend extracurricular activities to support them.”
A colleague nominated Pintek for the Excellence in Education award, describing her as “an incredibly dedicated teacher.
“She typically arrives at school before 7 a.m. and has regular after-school hours where she is available to tutor students. Her classroom is designed to make students feel at ease and comfortable, with walls and boards covered in inspirational sayings and quotes and stations for students to receive extra help, do group work, or learn while lounging in comfortable chairs,” the nomination said.
“Miss Pintek is a favorite amongst the students at Bendle Middle School because she pushes them to excel and achieve their best while being welcoming, warm, and caring. The students delight in her willingness to participate in outside of the classroom activities such as dodgeball games where her abilities as a former softball pitcher always wow them.
“She is a teacher that students feel comfortable with coming to for help for their studies or for their lives. It is a common occurrence for Miss Pintek’s former students to come by for a visit and let her know how they are doing at the high school and after graduation.
“Outside of the school day, she works with the district’s after school program providing students with a safe, enriching environment where they can continue their education, work on art or community projects, and attend field trips. She also works with this program throughout the summer, continuing to provide support and opportunities for her students,” the nomination said.
“In addition to her work with students, Miss Pintek goes above and beyond to improve the climate of the entire school. She is a member of the Bendle Middle School Effective Schools Committee and also heads the math department, acting as a leader for her colleagues,” the nomination said.
Pintek earned a bachelor of science degree from Alma College, where she majored in math and had a minor in English and played on the college’s softball team. She has been an educator for seven years, all with the Bendle Public School District.
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.