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

Kirthmon Dozier Jr holding $1,500 Excellence in Education checkA Wayne County educator known for providing students with a safe environment to connect through sports and a 100% graduation rate has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Kirthmon Dozier Jr., is the varsity baseball coach at Harper Woods High School. The school is part the Harper Woods 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 Dozier will air this evening.

Dozier credits his experience as a student and athlete with driving him to a career in education.

“The lack of resources and opportunities for inner-city student-athletes inspired me to be an educator. My mission is to give the kids opportunities and an outlet that was never available to me. I wish more people (parents in particular) realized that learning doesn’t start and stop when children are at school. We must keep them engaged even after school is over. This is important to keep them off the street and out of trouble.”

Dozier says taking athletes on college visits are one of his favorite activities to do with kids in his program.

“Our favorite activity is visiting colleges where kids are interested in attending. We load them up on a bus and take them across the country to visit different colleges and universities. Many of these kids have never been out of the state, so this trip can be a real eye opener to what is possible for them if they work hard to achieve their dreams.”

A parent of a current student nominated Dozier for the award.

“Detroiter Kirthmon Dozier Jr. graduated from Oakland University with two passions: baseball and a desire to help other young Detroiters succeed. In 2015 he married those passions, founding the non-profit Full Count Foundation (FCF). The mission of FCF is straightforward: Provide more safe, supportive after school places for Detroit children to develop academically and socially while learning to play baseball. The city’s fiscal challenges had forced the closure of many community centers and other afterschool venues for Detroit young people while African American participation in baseball at all levels from high school to the Major Leagues continued to plumet despite a proud tradition of Black baseball dating back to the Negro Leagues. Safety, academic progress, and self-confidence for FCF participants came first. FCF developed an afterschool program with SAY Detroit that featured picking up students from school, feeding them, an hour of homework, an hour of baseball training, and a ride home. Dozier now oversees baseball for the Harper Woods School District and surrounding east side Detroit Communities. He led Harper Woods High School to their first district championship in over 10 years in his first season as head coach. His non-profit is responsible for the revitalization of Harper Woods Little League in collaboration with the elementary and middle school. Dozier deals with more than 100 kids ages 4-18 years old annually. Since 2015, more than 1,000 minority athletes (boys and girls) have participated in FCF programs with a 100% high school graduation rate, five college graduates, and counting.”

Dozier earned a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University.

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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