The award winner, JoAnn Agosta, is a second-grade teacher at Atwood Elementary. The school is part of the L’Anse Creuse 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 Agosta will air this evening.
Agosta said her love of children drew her to a career in education.
“I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as can remember. As a child, I would play school and I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work with elementary aged children. My love of children is what makes me passionate about teaching. I love knowing that I have made a difference in a child’s life in some way, shape, or form.”
Agosta said she hopes her students remember her as a positive role model in their lives.
“I want my students to remember me as a positive role model in their lives. I want them to think of me as someone they can always trust and come to with any problem they may have. I want my students to know I support them after they leave my classroom at the end of each school year. Once a child has been in my class, I want them to know they will always have a special place in my heart.”
The parent of a former student nominated Agosta for the award. The nomination cited how welcoming she was for the student and his family.
“In the beginning of the school year my son was in a district that was all virtual. We knew he was not going to do well with this. We chose to switch him in the second grade to a new school and new district where he knew no one. Ms. Agosta welcomed him a few days late into the classroom and got started. She has built my son’s schoolwork confidence up. She went above and beyond every day to make him feel noticed, appreciated and stronger in his skills. He went from struggling a bit with different subjects to soaring in his academic achievements. He would not even let us have him miss a day for vacation because he needed to be in the classroom. She is energetic and loving with her teaching even with obstacles. She was born to do this job and we are blessed and so fortunate to have landed in her class!”
Agosta earned a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University and a master’s degree from Saginaw Valley State University. She has been an educator for 20 years, all at Atwood Elementary.
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.