The award winner, Ian Schulz, is an art teacher for Lakeview Public Schools and currently is teaching at Ardmore Elementary.
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 Schulz will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Schulz said fostering creativity in children led him to a career in education.
“I have always enjoyed working with children and come from a family of teachers, so teaching was a pretty obvious choice for me,” said Schulz. “I love being able to be play a part in developing young minds and fostering a child’s sense of self and the importance of creativity. I get to demonstrate daily the joys of learning and the value of education.”
He said his favorite part of being an educator is “seeing the excitement in a child’s eyes when they do something they thought they could not do.”
A colleague nominated Schulz for the award. The nomination cited his creativity and innovation, while making learning fun.
“Mr. Schulz is a very creative art teacher for Ardmore Elementary. For many years Mr. Schulz has provided innovative and fun ideas for students all while teaching from a cart! Mr. Schulz brings art to the classrooms each week. He does not cut short on ideas for the students. He has students work with clay, print making and painting projects to name a few. This is not a small task to set up and take down every 45 minutes for the allotted art time that he sees the students each week. Since our school has moved to hybrid learning this year, Mr. Schulz continues to make sure all students are able to complete amazing work either at home or with him in class. He has developed an Instagram page for the students to share their work and to provide online step-by-step draw together classes. Mr. Schulz always welcomes the students to share back what they have created as well.”
Schulz earned two bachelor’s degrees from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in Education from Marygrove College. He has been an educator for 24 years, all with Lakeview 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.