The award winner, Charlie Butler, is a high school social studies teacher at Grosse Ile High School, which is part of Grosse Ile Township 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 Butler will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Butler, a litigation attorney for more than 20 years, said he was drawn to a career in education when a friend convinced him to teach Sunday School.
“My friend talked me into teaching Sunday School because they were short handed and had no male teachers,” said Butler. “I felt I had a talent for it, but more importantly I knew how to listen to the kids. Practicing law became more about chasing dollars for me and I decided I wanted to make a change to something I valued more. I haven’t looked back since.”
Butler was nominated for the award by a former student and athlete he coached. The nomination cited his ability to help students find their perspective and the connections he makes.
“Charlie Butler has been one of the most influential educators of my high school experience. Having him as both a teacher and coach allowed me to develop a significant connection with him, one that I plan to hold onto throughout the remainder of my life. Whether I was in his class learning or on the court giving it my all, his support was always visible. Although I could make a long list of the astonishing qualities Coach Butler obtains, his consistent compassion is what stood out most to me. One specific conversation we had together impacted my viewpoint on situations and shaped my perspective to the way I view things today.”
Butler earned a bachelor’s degree from Albion College, a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, and a juris doctor from Wayne State University. He has been an educator for 15 years, 14 in Grosse Isle.
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.