A Midland County educator known for identifying and utilizing her students’ strengths has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Connie Beson-Steger, is a high school social studies teacher at Midland High School.
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 Beson-Steger will air this evening.
Beson-Steger says an experience teaching in Japan led her to pursue a career in education.
“My first teaching experience was in Japan where not many of my students and colleagues could speak English. From the experience, I loved teaching young people and sharing my language, culture, music, and life with my students. I loved learning from both students and my Japanese co-teachers. When I returned to the United States, I decided to pursue a second degree in teaching rather than attend law school.”
Beson-Steger says the energy her students bring to class each day motivate her.
“I firmly believe that young people are energetic, creative, curious, eager, and willing to try new things. I channel this belief into my classroom. Personally, I am passionate, energetic, creative, and love to bring music, movement, brain research, and the best teaching practices into all my classes. I enjoy working with young people and believe it’s a gift to teach every day! I love my job, my profession, colleagues, and my school.”
Beson-Steger was nominated by a former student.
“Connie Beson-Steger’s dedication to the future of this country in molding young minds is unparalleled to any teacher I have ever encountered. She doesn’t expect perfection from her students, she knows every student has their own strengths and weaknesses. She forms her lesson plans so each student that she teaches can excel by using their strengths. Every year, Connie holds a Veterans’ Day event at Midland High School to honor the men and women who served this country. At this event, the students are allowed to meet with the veterans and ask questions about the veterans’ experiences in life, which allows the students an opportunity to understand what it means to serve this country. Connie as a teacher who knows when the students need a strong hand or listening ear. From my experience working with her, not only do the students look up to her but so do her peers. Connie is a one-of-a-kind teacher that I wish I was so lucky to have had in my educational journey of life.”
Beson-Steger earned bachelor’s degrees from Michigan State University and Saginaw Valley State University and a master’s degree from the Saginaw State University. She has been an educator for 23 years, the last seven 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.