A Lenawee County educator known for creating a robust art curriculum for her district has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Leeann McMichael, is a K-12 art teacher with Onsted Community 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 McMichael will air this evening.
McMichael says her love of art and being able to share it with others drew her to a career in education.
“I was initially attracted to a career in art education because I loved the idea of being able to not only make art, but to be able to show others how to make it as well. I could never decide on one type of art I liked best; I love them all! This is one reason why I love teaching it, I get to teach all art forms! I love the look on students’ faces when learning clicks and how proud of themselves they are when accomplishing things, they never thought they could.”
McMichael says developing hands-on activities are part of what she likes most about teaching art.
“Everything is so hands-on, and that’s one of the reasons why I love it so much. One of my favorite times of year is Homecoming Week, and the Spirit Days that we get to participate in. I am known for my over-the-top costumes for the themed days, and students that aren’t even currently in my class will pop in just to see what I came up with for each theme!”
McMichael’s mother nominated her for the award. The nomination cited her efforts in creating an art curriculum for the district.
“Leeann has been the high school art teacher at Onsted for more than 10 years. She has a passion for teaching that radiates with students. She took the art program from two classes of basic design (due to lack of interest) up to six different art classes, including her most popular class, ceramics. Students have nothing but positive remarks about her, and class alumni will always give her a hug when she sees them in public. So many kids want to take her classes there is a waiting list. She loves what she does, she loves her students, she loves her school and community! Leeann is a true example of a teacher who cares and has excellent knowledge of what she teaches.”
McMichael earned a bachelor’s degree from Adrian College and master’s degree from Concordia University. She has been an educator for 13 years, the last 10 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.