The award winner, Brenda Smith, is a first grade teacher at Central Elementary School. The school is part of the Davison 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 Smith will air this evening.
Smith said that she has always wanted to be a teacher.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, so I decided to go back to school to earn my teaching certificate. I love to watch children learn.”
Smith said her favorite activity to do with her students is play games.
“I really enjoy playing games with my students. The students love playing games and they don’t even realize that they are also learning. We play a lot of reading and math games.”
A parent of a former student nominated Smith for the award. The nomination cited how much she cares for her students and the impact she has on them.
“Mrs. Brenda Smith is an amazing teacher. She makes sure no student is left behind. She is very aware of when children are struggling. My personal experience is when my daughter was in first grade. In the middle of the year, she started struggling and Mrs. Smith noticed changes and brought it to our attention. It turned out that my daughter had a brain tumor. As things continued to get worse, Mrs. Smith was always a helping hand. I truly believe if it had been another teacher, she would not have had the better outcome. It is because of how much Mrs. Smith cares for her students and her vigilance that was a big factor in catching the behaviors and learning troubles. She saved my daughter and I truly believe that. She truly cares about each and every one of her students and leaves and impact on them.”
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree from Baker College and a master’s degree from Marygrove College. She has been an educator for 22 years, the last 13 in her current position.
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.