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

A Kent County educator known for leaving a lifelong impact on her students has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Tamara Rowley, is a Kindergarten teacher at Kettle Lake Elementary School. The school is part of the Caledonia 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 Rowley will air this evening.

Rowley said her mother who was a teacher and the teachers she had in school are what led her to career in education.

“My mother was a teacher, so I spent lots of time with her watching and learning from her. I also had some amazing teachers who were pivotal in shaping who I became as a person.”

Rowley said any activities with songs and movement are her favorite activates to do with her students.

“I love to incorporate songs and movement into my teaching because they teach children listening and social skills. Children don’t realize that as they move around and make noise, they are learning foundational and curricular skills.”

A parent of one of Rowley’s students nominated her for the award. The nomination cited the lifelong impact she leaves on her students and her ability to adapt to the many changes she faces.

“Tammy teaches more than just academic skills; she incorporates life skills into her teachings as well. Her weekly messages to parents keep us engaged and remind us how to raise wonderful and mindful human beings. Tammy’s dedication goes well beyond the classroom. She makes videos for her students that help them learn the sounds of letters, sight words, etc. while virtual learning and she drove to each child’s house to drop off materials they needed to continue their education at home.

“Tammy is respected and admired by her co-workers and students. She leaves a lifelong impact on each child that she teaches. These kids learn so much from her and receive the best foundational skills to start off their education. She has a natural gift to teach and is able to adapt to the many changes that occur, especially in a kindergarten setting.”

Rowley earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Western Michigan University. She has been an educator for 32 years, the last 30 years with the Caledonia School District.

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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