The award winner, Kristin Markillie, is a first-grade teacher at Minges Brook Elementary. The school is part of the Lakeview 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 Markillie will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing, and then on Thursday in Saginaw and Detroit.
Markillie said she dreamed of being a teacher at a young age.
“I have always wanted to be a teacher. It’s something I dreamed about when I was a child. I followed that dream, and it allows me to see children grow which is incredibly rewarding.”
She said seeing the “light-bulb moment” is her favorite part of being an educator.
“I love seeing students have a light-bulb moment when they finally figure something out. As a first-grade teacher, I get to help children become fluent readers and being part of that process is a truly amazing thing.”
A colleague nominated Markillie for the award. The nomination cited her dedication to students and leadership within her building.
“Kristin Markillie works consistently to help students and staff in our building and at the district level. She is our building literacy coach for half of the day and teaches literacy the other half. She is our March is Reading Month Coordinator, on our building leadership team, she is on many other district committees and volunteers whenever she can to better our school and district and community.
“She consistently goes above and beyond set expectations to help students and teachers to succeed. When coaching teachers, she looks for their strengths and builds upon them. She makes sure her colleagues feel valued and supported. She has inspired me multiple times to be a better teacher myself. She gives her all to the students of Minges Brook Elementary each and every day. She is an amazing educator and should be recognized as such.”
Markillie earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Western Michigan University. She has been an educator for 14 years, all with the Lakeview 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.