The award winner, Amy Forman, is a high school English teacher who works with students with Individualized Education Plans and 504 plans at Thornapple Kellogg High School. The school is part of the Thornapple Kellogg 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 Forman will air this evening.
Forman’s grandmother’s experience in school motivated her to become a teacher.
“When I was young, my grandmother told me stories about teachers that had made a difference in her life. Her family was a very poor immigrant family from Sicily. One of her elementary teachers helped her mother figure out and apply for the classes and file the paperwork necessary for her to gain U.S. Citizenship. My Grandmother wanted to become an English teacher and had a scholarship. She put her dream aside to help support her family by working as a secretary after graduating high school. My Grandma became a teacher of sorts to me and really sparked my love of reading and writing.”
She said sharing good news with her students and spreading positivity are her favorite parts of being an educator.
“I really love sharing good news at the beginning of each hour. It gives me great insight on students I don’t know well and is really a great way to connect with them. It really starts things off on a positive note.”
A former student nominated Forman for the award. The nomination cited the interest Forman takes in each student.
“Ms. Forman is like a school mom to me and everyone else. She takes the time and listens to everything you have to say. She cares about every one of her students meaning she doesn’t just care all about your grades and schoolwork, she cares about your mental health as well. I never liked going to school because I was always bullied, but I met Ms. Forman and she made me become a better person and made me want to wake up every day and go to school. My school was a better place because she made me and everyone else feel welcome, safe, and accepted.”
Forman earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Grand Valley State University. She has been an educator for nine years, all with the Thornapple Kellogg 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.