The award winner, Michael Evele, teaches physics and AP physics for Grandville 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 Evele will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Evele said his parents instilling the importance of education in him led him to a career in education.
“Both of my parents immigrated to this country and emphasized education to their children as a means to advance and become productive citizens. I also was raised with the notion that we are here to help others. I wanted to use my interest in science to help students to grow and succeed.”
He said watching his students grow is his favorite part of being an educator.
“Seeing the growth that takes place from year to year as a robotics coach is most rewarding. I also love the moments when students suddenly think in a way that they have never thought before. The ‘aha!’ moment when an idea crystalizes in their minds is amazing.”
A parent of two former students nominated Evele for the award. The nomination cited his ability teach students through facing challenges head-on.
“Mike, or Dr. Evil, as we all affectionately call him on the RoboDawgs robotics team, is more than deserving of this recognition. I have experienced Mike’s passion, commitment, and zeal to see students succeed through the Grandville Robotics program. Both of my sons went through the program, and both have commented on how influential he was in their lives during high school. He personally challenged both of my sons to excel in school, and to pursue engineering degrees.
“Mike has the vision of how the robotics program can bring success to and benefits each student. He is driven to lead the program with a focus on the success of each individual student. Not only academically, but also corporately and socially. His passion for each student’s success comes through his unique ability to engage with them individually. This can range from working with them on improving their grades, encouraging their engagement in robotics, stretching their understanding of physics, cheering successes, and encouraging through failures.”
Evele earned a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and a master’s degree from Saginaw Valley State University. He has been an educator for 33 years, 26 in his current position.
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.