An Oakland County educator known for the care, compassion, and skill that she uses to help her special education students develop inside and outside the classroom has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Megan Sidge, teaches students with Autism Spectrum Disorder at Hickory Woods Elementary, which is part of the Walled Lake Consolidated 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 Sidge will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Sidge said she followed her mother’s footsteps to a career in education. “My Mom is a special education teacher. I fell in love with the profession through volunteering in her classroom.”
She said her favorite part of being an educator is “being with my students every day and watching them grow inside and outside of the classroom.”
Sidge added that her students motivate her to do her best each day and “I treat my students as if they were my own kids.”
A colleague nominated Sidge for the Excellence in Education award, describing her as “caring, compassionate, structured, organized, collaborative, and highly skilled.”
“She works in a basic classroom program that supports six students with high levels of need. She is a part of a team of three teachers, oversees two paraprofessional staff on her team, and serves as a mentor to a new teacher,” the nomination said.
“Her job is challenging and at times can be very overwhelming. Not only does she work with the students and families on her caseload and the staff that supports her programming, but she also works with all of the general education teachers in our building to ensure that each of her students has access to the general education classrooms to the best of their ability.
“She takes on the toileting issues, the aggressive behaviors, the social skills training, and the academic needs with grace, grit, and gratitude! Each day is a new challenge and Megan approaches it with a positive attitude and a smile.”
Sidge earned two degrees from Michigan State University: a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s degree in special education with an endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has been an educator for five years, the last four with the Walled Lake Consolidated 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.