An Ottawa County educator known for being passionate about his students’ success and building lasting relationships has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Tim Wysocki, teaches seventh grade history at Baldwin Street Middle School. The school is part of Hudsonville 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 Wysocki will air this evening.
Wysocki says he had several inspiring teachers that were the catalyst for him pursuing a career in education.
“I had several truly inspiring teachers who instilled a love of learning in me and made me feel seen and valued. I wanted to be that person for others – to make all students feel like they belonged and to push them to become the best versions of themselves. I wanted to create a space where students felt valued and looked forward to coming to every day. I also love studying history and being able to share my passion with my students.”
Wysocki says he enjoys bringing history to life with interactive activities for his students.
“I love to bring theater, humor, gameplay, and competition into the classroom. My favorite activities are those that allow students to show off their creativity. My students put on props and act out skits to really immerse themselves in their learning. We create trading cards of influential people from the past. We use LEGOs, Play-Doh, and Lincoln Logs to build replica monuments. We even have entire units that are based on board games like RISK, in which student teams compete for territories by completing various projects, earning points to build their “armies”, and using those armies to fight over territory on the game map.”
Wysocki was nominated for the award by his brother.
“Tim is a clear example of what it means to be an excellent teacher. He exudes passion for the subject he teaches, and more importantly, cares deeply about the success of his students. There is no greater measure of a teacher’s success than the passion students feel for their teacher, and this is where Tim excels. Just attend a school event or pep rally and see how Tim has a fan section unlike any other. This relationship that has been built with students is no accident. Tim brings an enhanced level of creativity to his lessons that develops a true desire to learn in his students. Simply step into his classroom and you will see the room decorated with flags, artwork, and memorabilia that enhances the student learning experience. He creates an immersive learning environment and supplements it with detailed and creative assignments – video projects; computer games; months-long “themes” to keep students engaged, just to name a few.”
Wysocki earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Grand Valley State University. He has been an educator for 11 years, the last seven with the Baldwin Street Middle 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.