An Ingham County educator known for being an asset to her students, parents, and colleagues has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Allison Altenberger-Olson, is an elementary special education teacher. She teaches at North Aurelius Elementary, which is part of Mason 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 Altenberger-Olson will air this evening.
Altenberger-Olson credits family and educators she interacted with in school for her interest in being an educator.
“I come from a long lineage of educators. I am blessed to have had many wonderful teachers in my own educational career—many with whom I continue to stay in contact. I believe that education is the most important profession. Teachers have the ability to impact the future and make a difference in hundreds of lives throughout their careers. I have the privilege to work with fantastic students, colleagues, and families.”
Altenberger-Olson says the ability to be creative and engaging is one of her favorite parts of being an educator.
“I love the creative component that comes with designing and delivering engaging instruction. It is very gratifying that many students have shared that they find my class fun. I like to offer hands on learning opportunities and engaging activities in our daily instruction. Seeing students work toward their personal goals and cheering them along motivates me to be the best I can be and show up for my students every day.”
A colleague nominated Altenberger-Olson for the award. The nomination cited her dedication to her career and willingness to go above and beyond for her students.
“Allison exemplifies every single quality that outlines excellence in education. She routinely goes above and beyond her role to support her students, fellow colleagues, and even her administration. Allison’s skills as an educator help some of our most vulnerable students make academic gains across multiple content areas. She works incredibly hard to make every student feel loved and valued and her efforts always show. She is a truly special person and educator who brings so much value and expertise into her role every single day.”
Altenberger-Olson earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. She has been an educator for nine years, including five 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.