The award winner, Casey Crawford, is a K-5 Autism Spectrum Disorder teacher at Barnard Elementary, which is part of the Troy 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 Crawford will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Crawford said the challenges and rewards of teaching drew her to a career in education.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I love working with kids and their families. Special Education is something I realized I wanted to do in High School. I love to be creative in my classroom, teach academics, as well as social skills and life skills. I love the relationships I’ve created with my students and their families. It’s a career that is forever changing and extremely challenging, but the most rewarding.”
She said relationships with students and families are her favorite part of being an educator.
“I love them all so much and can’t imagine any other job, even on the really tough days. I love that every day is different and brings on a new problem to solve. I am never bored!”
Crawford was nominated for the award by her fiancé. The nomination cited her selflessness.
“She starts every day with a positive attitude seeking ways on how she can make a positive impact on her students. She uses her own money to buy supplies, snacks, and countless other things to fill her classroom to ensure that her classroom has everything and anything a student may need to succeed. When students walk through the doors of the school, they know that Ms. Crawford is there to support, motivate, and unconditionally love everyone that approaches her. She continues to display these characteristics outside of the classroom as well. Whether it is driving to a student’s house to deliver books to support them in distance learning, printing out and hand delivering worksheets for a student who doesn’t have access to a printer, or even spending her own money to purchase birthday gifts to celebrate students and make it known once again how much she cares for them. Ms. Crawford is a selfless, loving, genuine teacher who deserves to be celebrated for being the most excellent educator I have ever known.”
Crawford earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and is currently completing a master’s degree program at Michigan State University. She has been an educator for two years, both with the Troy School District.
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.