The award winner, Brook Gillum, is a kindergarten teacher at Beacon Elementary, which is part of the Dexter Community 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 Gillum will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Gillum said a part-time job experience at a young age led her to a career in education.
“I got a part-time job at a preschool when I was 18,” said Gillum. “I instantly fell in love with early childhood education.”
She said her favorite part of being an educator is the joy her students bring her.
“Kindergartners are full of life and excitement for learning and I feed off their energy,” said Gillum. “2020 has been challenging but being with the kindergartners each day has helped me see things through a new perspective and find happiness during the hard times. I look forward to seeing them every day.”
Gillum was nominated for the award by a family member of two former students. The nomination cited the commitment and love she shows for each student.
“Since Kindergarten can be very difficult, she offers her students a special feeling of security and is very patient and kind to each and everyone. She helps build their confidence and gives so much to all of the students in her classroom.”
Gillum earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and elementary education from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Western Governors University. She has been an educator for 11 years, the last five years at Beacon Elementary.
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.