Barry County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

A Barry County educator known for helping students improve their self-esteem through encouraging words and purpose driven learning has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Jenny Wandell, is a kindergarten teacher with Delton-Kellogg Elementary. The school is part of the Delton-Kellogg 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 Wandell will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.

Wandell said she was attracted to a career in education because of a love of children. “For as long as I can remember, everywhere I go I’d have a group of kids around me. Teaching is an amazing gift that has been given to me and I cherish every minute of it.”

She said her favorite part of being an educator are “building relationships with the students and parents, and the joy on a child’s face when they accomplish a task they’ve been working on.”

Wandell said her students, colleagues, and community motivate her to do her best each day. “Delton is a wonderful community with great families. There’s nothing that humbles me more or makes me feel more honored than to have former students come in with their children and request me to be their teacher.”

A former student and mother of seven students who have had Ms. Wandell nominated her for the Excellence in Education award. The nomination cited her compassionate approach to teaching her students and the welcoming atmosphere she creates.

“My son was struggling with reading and sounds and she had us use a PVC elbow to help him learn. My daughter lacked confidence and was shy, and Mrs. Wandell helped her to overcome that,” she said. “She built up her self-esteem using words of encouragement and having her help new students. This helped her to be more vocal and feel more confident. She is very attentive to every child’s needs.”

Wandell earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University. She has been an educator for 35 years, 26 years as a kindergarten teacher with Delton-Kellogg Elementary.

Outstanding public-school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at 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.
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