A Muskegon County educator known for immersing her students in French culture has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Melissa Brown, teaches French at Mona Shores High School. The school is part of the Mona Shores 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 $2,000 cash prize. At the end of the school year, one of the weekly award winners will be selected to receive the Lottery’s Educator of the Year award 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, WNEM-TV in Saginaw, and WWTV-TV in Traverse City. The news segment featuring Brown will air this evening.
Brown says interacting with students at an event during her time as a marketer led her to a career in education.
“I worked on the road for an event marketing company prior to becoming a teacher and one of my tours was The Lowe’s Great Safety Adventure – a home safety course for elementary students. I loved interacting with them and found that it was not only fun but felt easy and I could make an impact. Teachers who visited us on tour remarked that I would make a great teacher, so one day I decided to change careers and do just that!”
Brown says educating and inspiring teens are two things she enjoys most about being an educator.
“I love to educate and inspire teens. They have so much potential and are so interesting yet often overlooked by most adults. I am incredibly passionate about French language and culture and the kids can feel it. They know when a teacher truly loves what she does. I love sharing my international experiences with students and creating opportunities for them to make their own by taking students to France every two years. I love hearing from former students who have chosen to study abroad, take a trip overseas, welcome an exchange student, or just get involved in the international community.”
Brown was nominated for the award by a former colleague.
“Melissa is an amazing teacher that truly cares about her students and their wellbeing. She gives 100% effort every day and goes above and beyond in trying to instill knowledge not only about French, but about developing life skills along the way. She teaches using relevant, interesting, and interactive techniques to keep them engaged and curious, all while also using her fabulous sense of humor! For instance, when learning about French food, she will have a French “cheese day” and bring in samples for them to try. When learning about French fashion or clothing vocabulary, she may have a fashion show where the kids dress up and describe their outfits in French. The students love these events, and she is a student favorite and well regarded.”
Brown earned a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree from Grand Valley State University. She has been an educator for 18 years, the last nine with the Mona Shores High School.
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.