The award winner, Kristi Weber, is a kindergarten through sixth grade science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teacher with the Saginaw Public 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 Weber will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Weber said her teachers as a child led her to a career in education.
“I have always loved working with kids. From the time I was in 2nd grade I said I wanted to be a teacher and never wavered from that decision. I had many teachers that influenced me throughout my time in school.”
She said watching her students grow is her favorite part of being an educator.
“I love watching a child “grow” throughout the year. Also, when a student has that “ah-ha” moment, it warms my heart. Seeing my students’ smiling faces and the excitement they bring to class every day is rewarding. When they ask: ‘What are we doing today?’ with excitement, that means that I am making a difference and connecting with them.”
A former colleague nominated Weber for the award. The nomination cited her dedication to her students and her leadership within the district.
“Mrs. Weber deserves recognition for her dedication to her students, their families, her colleagues, her union members and her family. Kristi has been a teacher in Saginaw for over 20 years and has taught many different grade levels. Her positive personality is infectious. Kristi gives up her family time to attend her school kids football and basketball games. This is noticed and appreciated by the parents of her students. The rapport she has built over the years with students and parents is undeniable. Former students stop in to visit her every year…she keeps up with them on Facebook and encourages them far beyond their school days. She demands that her students always strive to do their best.
“At the district level, Kristi has been a member of the District Turnaround Network team for over five years and is still a part of this team striving to make Saginaw Public School District thrive.”
Weber earned a bachelor’s degree from Alma College. She has been an educator for 23 years, all with the Saginaw Public School District.
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.