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

A Genesee County educator known for ensuring her students have all the tools they need to be successful has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Stephanie Mellendorf, is a third-grade teacher at Oaktree Elementary, which is part of Goodrich Area 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 Mellendorf will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.

Mellendorf said her “love of working with children” led her to a career in education.

“I love watching a child’s excitement for learning,” said Mellendorf. “Their happiness is contagious.”

She said her favorite part of being an educator is “developing relationships with students and their families. I love that I get to be a small part of a student’s journey, and I hope I inspire them to become lifelong learners.”

Mellendorf was nominated for the award by the parent of a former student. The nomination cited her love, generosity, and ability to motivate students.

“Mrs. Mellendorf has high expectations for all her students and goes above and beyond to give them all the tools needed for a successful year. She is constantly spoiling her students and parents with gifts, and caring deeds. On top of her amazing generosity, she is a phenomenal teacher and is a gift to the Goodrich School District. She was able to push my reluctant learner in a kind and motivating way, that gave him the confidence to soar. My family will always be grateful to her.”

Mellendorf earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree from Oakland University. She has been an educator in Goodrich for 23 years.

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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