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

A Monroe County educator known for using diverse instruction methods has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Nicole Bahny, is a middle school English teacher at Dundee Middle School. The school is part of Dundee Community Schools.

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 Bahny will air this evening.

Bahny said she always wanted to be a teacher and the challenges presented by a career as an educator drew her to the profession.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher. I enjoy helping others and seeing how creative I can be in the classroom. I like to learn about new teaching tools and techniques and challenge myself to create new lessons and activities to keep things fresh for myself and my students.”

Bahny said the unique activities she does with students are her favorite part of being an educator.

“I really enjoy the annual events and special activities we do in class. The Bahny Awards is a time when we work to award the best characters, novels, and other lesson related things. It’s a big deal for students and allows them to show their creativity by dressing up as characters and walking the red carpet in my room complete with paparazzi for an awards show.”

A colleague nominated Bahny for the award. The nomination cited her creativity and ability to engage students.

“Mrs. Bahny engages her children using a wide variety of differentiated instruction. Each year she hosts the Bahny Awards where her seventh-grade classes read books throughout the year and nominate, books and characters for things such as ‘best book,’ ‘best main character,’ ’best supporting character,’ etc. The students wear dress clothes the day of the awards and Mrs. Bahny and her co-teacher wear formal attire. They have a red carpet and six-inch cardboard statues that are in likeness of the statue of the academy awards. This is a great way to engage students in learning at all levels, while having fun. This is just one example of Mrs. Bahny’s creativity and her love for teaching and engaging her middle-school students.”

Bahny earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. She has been an educator for 12 years, seven with the Dundee Community Schools.

Outstanding public-school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at 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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