Genesee County Educator Wins Excellence in Education Award from the Michigan Lottery

Leanne Welch holding $1,500 Excellence in Education checkA Genesee County educator known for always being a part of her students’ lives has been honored with an Excellence In Education
award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Leanne Welch, is a third grade teacher with Rankin Elementary, which is part of the Carman-Ainsworth 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 Welch will air this evening.

Welch credits family for her interest in being an educator.

“I come from a family of educators. Both of my parents, my sister, and two nieces are educators. Growing up, I knew what went into the profession and admired the impact hard working teachers have on students and society as a whole. Kids of all backgrounds deserve unlimited opportunity and I strive to be that person for every child I meet.”

Welch says the ability to give her students real-life experiences is one of her favorite parts of being an educator.

“I love to give my students real-life experiences they may not have elsewhere. Each year I take about 100 students on a five-day outdoor educational experience. They enjoy the overnight experience, and it has shaped some of their lives. One student later wrote me and told me it inspired him to pursue a career that he previously had not known existed.”

A parent of former students nominated Welch for the award. The nomination cited her willingness to go above and beyond for her students.

“Every year she takes her kids to camp and pays for some that can’t afford it. She most recently planned a trip to Mackinaw this summer to give kids an experience they may not otherwise have. Her parents who were also teachers helped with some expenses and also went. Ms. Welch could retire but she won’t because she loves what she does, and the kids so need her. She helps kids to come out of their shells and helps them to become math geniuses. During the pandemic she went to each kids houses to drop off books and make sure they were excelling personally and academically. We live in a lower income school district, and I think Ms. Welch has been a beacon to her students and truly cares for each and every one them.”

Welch earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. She has been an educator for 33 years, including 32 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.
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