Jackson County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

A Jackson County educator known as “one of the most sincere and inspirational teachers you will ever meet” has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Kristen Rice, is a second-grade teacher at Bean Elementary. The school is part of the Western 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 Rice will air this evening.

Rice said she knew she wanted to be a teacher in second grade.

“I have wanted to be a teacher since second grade. My wonderful elementary teachers inspired me with the warm, caring environment they created in the classroom.”

She said sharing her love of reading is her favorite part of being an educator.

“I enjoy reading to my students and love hearing them read to me! I love watching the reading progress they make as the school year progresses! I love to see them engaged in a good book!”

A parent of a former student nominated Rice for the award. The nomination cited her sincerity and the genuine interest she takes in each student.

“Mrs. Rice is one of the most sincere and inspirational teachers you will ever meet. Mrs. Rice takes a genuine interest in each student and his or her family, making each one feel truly cared for and invested in. Her heart and passion for students are unparalleled, and I am beyond grateful that my daughter has had the privilege to be a part of her classroom.”

Rice earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Spring Arbor University. She has been an educator for 21 years, 17 with the Western 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.
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