A Wexford County educator known for sharing her large heart and sense of humor with her students has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Alonna Liabenow, is a reading support teacher with Manton Consolidated 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 Liabenow will air this evening.
Liabenow says her love of working with children led her to a career in education.
“I have always loved working with kids, even when I was one myself. I especially love to share my love of reading with my students. I want all students to gain the skills to read and find reading material they love!”
Liabenow says reading aloud with students is one of her favorite activities.
“Aside from helping a student find something they love to read, reading aloud with my kids is my favorite thing to do. Hearing the confidence they gain throughout the year is something special to be a part of.”
A friend nominated Liabenow for the award. The nomination cited the joy she brings to her job each day.
“Anyone who’s met Alonna will say the same thing, that she’s a wonderful person with a large heart and a great sense of humor. She works hard, shows up, and cares about the kids that she helps out on a daily basis. She’s open minded and listens without bias. She’s a joy to be around and brings love and enrichment for the children that she helps. She’s also constantly buying books for the children to read out of her own pocket just because she enjoys her job!”
Liabenow earned a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University. She has been an educator for seven years, including two 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.