The award winner, Sherry Martin, is a Speech Language Pathologist at Robert L Green Elementary School. The school is part of the East Lansing Public 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 Martin will air this evening.
Martin said the teachers she had growing up led her to a career in education.
“When I was growing up, my teachers played a very significant role in my life both academically and emotionally. They helped to shape and support who I am. I wanted to be in a service/helping career that would make a difference for each child. My aunt suggested speech therapy. When I began my classes in speech pathology, I knew I wanted to work in the schools. I love working with children and ‘being in the moment’ with them. I try to see through their eyes as they learn to talk and understand their world. I wanted their experiences to be meaningful and enjoyable.”
Martin said her favorite type of activities to do with her students are ones that form connections with a child’s environment and academic learning.
“To make communication skills meaningful and form connections with a child’s environment and academic learning, I use themes, stories, role playing, and guided play. I am able to incorporate each child’s goal and skill levels into these lessons. One of my favorites is our camping unit. I transform my room into a forest, complete with stuffed animals, a real tent, camping gear, and a life-like campfire. We discover the animals with flashlights, ‘cook’ our play food over the campfire, sing songs, and pretend to sleep in the tent. At night, the forest animals begin to explore the camping area and climb on the tent. Excitement and language erupt as the animal’s peek in and are shooed away by the students.”
A colleague nominated Martin for the award. The nomination cited her dedication and commitment to her students.
“Sherry is a committed Speech Language Pathologist who has been instrumental in improving the lives of hundreds of children. I do not believe you can find a more dedicated teacher to their craft. She works tirelessly preparing for IEP meetings and writing reports. She collaborates with all staff to make sure the children on her caseload are understood and have the best aids in place. She spends countless hours creating visual aids for students, along with creating social stories to help her students process and understand their normal school day. She conducts several speech classes for the pre-K population and there is no one more excited to enter the building and see Miss Sherry than these little ones.
“Sherry is 100% committed to her students and always does what’s best for them, not what’s convenient or what gets her out of work on time. She advocates and works relentlessly to make sure each student has what they need to be a successful learner and to make strides in their academic and social education.”
Martin earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Michigan State University. She has been an educator for more than 30 years, all with East Lansing Public Schools.
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.