A Houghton County educator known for her compassion and striving to ensure that all her students do well regardless of their shortcomings has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Kathy Kumpula, is a first-grade teacher with Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Schools.
The Michigan Lottery established the EExcellence 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 Kumpula will air this evening.
Kumpula said she was drawn to a career in education because of the challenges it presents and helping students reach their full potential.
“I wanted to be a school social worker and decided to get my education degree first. I love challenges, whether it is improving grades, developing/changing a student’s mindset, or challenging my students to reach their full potential.”
A colleague nominated Kumpula for the award. The nomination cited Kumpula’s work with some of the district’s most challenging students.
“Mrs. Kathy Kumpula is an outstanding first grade teacher that shows deep compassion and strives to ensure that all of her students do well regardless of their shortcomings. Kathy goes above and beyond the requirements of a general education teacher to meet the needs of some of the most challenging students in the school district. While she may be taking tickets at sporting events, counseling students during difficult times, and providing engaging activities in the classroom, it is what is not seen that is most impressive about her.
“She has always made it a point to root for the underdog. Over the past year I have watched her organize, implement, and document some of the most rigorous behavioral and academic interventions for a particular student with special needs. She organized behavioral team meetings, implemented numerous physical and behavioral interventions, communicated to the parents on a daily basis, and logged more information than imaginable all in an effort to ensure this student could maintain their education in the general education classroom as their parent wished. She is an asset to our district and should be recognized as one of the most gifted, compassionate, and caring teachers in the state. “
Kumpula earned a bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University. She has been an educator for 25 years, the last two in her 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.