A Saginaw County educator known for her commitment to help students succeed in the classroom and develop and grow as individuals has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Kathryn Gonzales, is the International Baccalaureate coordinator for the Handley IB World School in Saginaw and the district social studies instructional coach for Saginaw Public 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 Gonzales aired Tuesday in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and will air on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Gonzales said she was attracted to a career in education because “educators shape the future and make the difference in the lives of students.”
She said her favorite part of being an educator is “working with the students, parents, and staff each day to create a great memory.”
Gonzales added that her students motivate her to do her best each day. “I’m motivated by the smiles on the faces of the students and parents and knowing that with each day there are new opportunities to guide students to becoming global citizens who will take action to make a difference.
“Every day, when I greet the students it motivates me to give everything to ensure that their day will be their best day and to make sure that relationships are built, and positive memories are made. We need to make sure that we’re giving them everything, so that when it’s their turn to take our roles in the world, they’re prepared.”
Two students nominated Gonzales for the Excellence in Education award, saying she “is always going above and beyond as a role model at this inner city school and in the community.”
“Mrs. Gonzales is a very caring, empathic and supportive person. The students love seeing her and are always excited to talk with her about their accomplishments!” the nomination said.
“She is the first person you see in the morning and is always smiling and friendly. She directs traffic in the parking lot in the morning for drop off to help keep things moving and to keep the students safe when crossing the parking lot. She also started a safety patrol for the fifth grade students to get them involved and to give them a sense of responsibility.
“She attends district sports activities on the weekends to cheer her students on and encourage them. The Handley parents put together two teams in the Hoyt Park baseball program over the summer. Mrs. Gonzales came down every Tuesday and Thursday evening to support the kids.”
Gonzales earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Central Michigan University, a master’s degree with an emphasis on reading from Saginaw Valley State University, and a Specialist in Education degree with an emphasis on kindergarten-through-12th grade administration from Central Michigan University.
She has been an educator for 27 years, all with the Saginaw 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.