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

A Marquette County educator known for adapting her curriculum to include all students has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Karla McCutcheon, is a high school physical education and health teacher for Marquette Area Public 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 McCutcheon will air this evening.

McCutcheon said her experience as a student led her to a career in education.

“I chose education because of the positive impact my teachers had on my K-12 experience. The teens I get to see and work with everyday do much more than keep me going, they make me feel alive!”

McCutcheon said interactions with her students are her favorite part of being an educator.

“There are so many days where my students amaze me. Interacting with them and seeing them grow over the years is such a privilege for me. There have been many times I have been moved to tears because of how amazing and remarkable my students are.”

The colleague nominated McCutcheon for the award. The nomination cited her passion for physical education and her focus on ensuring all students feel included.

“Aside from the required PE course, she has developed a weightlifting class, as well as Advanced PE where students who are more competitive can play. In addition to the competitive students, she will cater her classes and activities to include our students who have major learning disabilities or have been diagnosed with autism or other related disorders. She also runs our advisory program for the entire building where she develops school wide activities to foster a relationship between the students and the teacher.

“Karla is the go-to person for many activities such as homecoming, helping administrators, and mentoring many new teachers. She is an advocate for the students, and they know she truly cares about their well-being. There are many great teachers in the state, but Karla is one that if she isn’t there, our entire school climate would change.”

McCutcheon earned a bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University. She has been an educator for 21 years, all with Marquette Area Public 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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