A Barry County educator known for the influence he has on his students has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Nathan Fischer, is a second grade teacher at Lee Elementary. The school is part of the Thornapple Kellogg 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 Fischer will air this evening.
Fischer said having four older siblings who are teachers led him to a career in education.
“With four older siblings who are teachers, I would often visit and help in their classrooms throughout my high school and college years. Seeing the huge impact they had on their students inspired me to become a teacher as well.”
Fischer’s favorite activity to do with students is March Book Madness.
“Our school is currently participating in March Book Madness. March is one of my favorite times of the year because of the focus on reading. In March Book Madness, 16 picture books are selected, read to the students, and then voted on identify which book is the champion. The kids get geeked as the results roll in.
“Another favorite activity of mine is my daily read aloud. It inspires a love of reading within my students and shows my commitment to literacy simply by enjoying a good read.”
A parent of one of Fischer’s students nominated him for the award. The nomination cited the influence he has on his students and how he always goes above and beyond to help with parent’s concerns.
“Mr. Fischer is always willing to go above and beyond to help with parents’ concerns. For example, I sent an email expressing some concerns regarding not being able to monitor my son due to a medical condition. Mr. Fischer’s response immediately came back with comforting remarks about keeping an extra eye on him. He not only showed he cared for my son but was thinking about how I felt and wanted to put me at ease.
“Mr. Fischer thinks about each student’s learning style and tailors lessons to the individual, while remaining within the confines of teaching the entire class. For example, he creates individualized charts in different areas of life to help each student perform a task on their own. For my son, he created a chart to help him get ready for recess by showing step-by-step instructions of what to put on first, second, etc. Mr. Fischer realized this was something he struggled with and knew it would be helpful. It helped him learn to problem solve while enjoying the accomplishment of doing it on his own. My son has made great progress this year and I can tell Mr. Fischer has been a great influence on him.”
Fischer earned a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University and master’s degree from Marygrove College. He has been an educator for 17 years, the last 16 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.