A Gratiot County educator known for motivating her students to follow their dreams has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Kera Howell, is seventh through 12th grade Agriscience teacher with Ithaca Public 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 Howell will air this evening.
Howell said she enjoys working with young people and discovered a passion for agriculture while she was a student at Michigan State University.
“I have always enjoyed working with people and youth. As a student at Michigan State, I discovered a passion for agriculture and helping others to learn about agriculture practices and advocate for agriculture in our state. That passion developed into the career I have today. Seeing students leave my classroom and spread information about agriculture is what drives me as an educator.”
A family member nominated Howell for the award. The nomination cited Howell’s ability to overcome challenges and focus on driving her students to achieve their goals.
“Kera continues to demonstrate her tenacity to overcome obstacles, enthusiastically dealing with a flexible in-person and virtual teaching experience early in her career due to the COVID pandemic. The positive results on the school district are evident in the growth of the class sizes she teaches. Furthermore, Kera goes above and beyond teaching expectations every day by inspiring students to change the world through involvement in their high school’s student council, as well as the Ithaca chapter of FFA, serving as Advisor to both groups.
“Kera works tirelessly to help students succeed and pursue their dreams after high school, whether they attend college or find their passion in a job of their choice. Finally, Kera inspires students to have fun and live a healthy lifestyle by being involved in athletics, serving as the JV Volleyball coach. Kera represents the very best of the Michigan public school system.”
Howell earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Michigan State University. She has been an educator for three years, all 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.