The award winner, Josh Gove, is an elementary art teacher with St. Johns Public 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 Gove will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Gove said his love of learning led him to a career in education.
“I have always been drawn to teaching and coaching and have just always loved school. I have had excellent teachers and professors who have inspired me, and I have teachers in my family as well. So many of my jobs throughout school were connected to teaching and education and it just blossomed into a passion and the calling you often hear teachers talk about getting: the call to teach. I have a passion for the arts, creativity, and lifelong learning that also sparked my interest in the education field.”
He said sharing his passions with students and seeing their growth are his favorite parts of being an educator.
“I love being able to share my passions and share the world of art with my students. I enjoy seeing their eyes light up when they make a connection or when they blow their own minds after seeing all that they are capable of accomplishing. I love teaching art because it so easily connects us as human beings but also so easily connects us to culture and all other subject areas in our schools. I also enjoy being able to see my students and student athletes grow and develop their skills as scholars and contributors in the community.”
A parent of a student who attends school virtually nominated Gove for the award. The nomination cited his ability to build and maintain a connection with students virtually during this challenging school year.
“Beginning in March 2020 when schools were closed due to the pandemic, Mr. Gove offered many resources to our students, including lists of educational websites and videos to explore art virtually. He provided direction in a time when so much was unsure. As 2020 continued, he continued to be a touchstone for the students by creating videos of himself reading stories.
“He has maintained a connection with the students in a time of isolation and separation. As school year 2020-2021 began, his efforts for the online community continued to be multi-faceted in his approach while balancing in-person learners at both Gateway North and Oakview South Elementary. When he gives my virtual student feedback, it is specific, connected to technique, celebratory, and personalized. As a result, my student is learning technique while feeling encouraged and seen–all through a computer screen. He calls his students, “Champion Artists” and incorporates many learning experiences into Art: literacy, Spanish, how to treat one another, and empowerment.
Mr. Gove’s motto is, “Trust and believe and you will achieve.” When my student was struggling with a life goal, he referenced Mr. Gove’s motto and had renewed faith that he could achieve any goal. Mr. Gove is having a positive impact on students’ lives beyond the classroom.”
Gove earned a bachelor’s degrees from Alma College and Central Michigan University, and is working towards a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. He has been an educator for four years, all four with St. Johns 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.