A Washtenaw County educator known for creating a family-like culture at his school has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Sean DeSarbo, is the principal of Paddock Elementary. The school is part of Milan Area 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 DeSarbo will air this evening.
DeSarbo said his experience as a student with a learning disability drove him to a career in education.
“As a student with a learning disability, there were many challenges I faced. My own experiences drove me to want to help students succeed regardless of their background or struggles they may encounter. I believe every student can be successful. They need people in their lives that care enough to build relationships with them and provide them with the tools and support they need.”
A parent of a former student nominated DeSarbo for the award. The nomination cited how DeSarbo went above and beyond to help the family through a difficult circumstance.
“If you ask any parent within Paddock Elementary, they will quickly agree, Mr. D. is top notch! I sustained a traumatic brain injury in 2016 when both my children were at Paddock Elementary. Through those trying years, Mr. D. stood by my side helping me along the way to ensure my kids did well with their schooling. You come to Paddock Elementary as strangers yet leave as family. Mr. D. is kind, compassionate and caring for each and every one of his students, their families, and his staff.
“Even at the worst of times, Mr. D. always has a smile on his face. When times are tough, he will make you laugh and forget about the trying times. He is truly an amazing human being. I am so thankful we had the opportunity to have Mr. D. as our children’s principal.”
DeSarbo earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. He has been an educator for 26 years, the last 17 in his current position.
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.