An Ottawa County educator known for pouring her heart and soul into her career has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Kathleen Sexton, teaches fourth grade at Robinson Elementary School. The school is part of Grand Haven 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 Sexton will air this evening.
Sexton says her desire to be someone that could help guide young learners to discover their true potential led her to a career in education.
“My draw to education has always been the desire to be someone that could help guide young learners to discover their own true potential. Being able to give them the strategies and tools needed to become lifelong learners in not only academics, but out in the world in general is a privilege and joy. I see myself as more of a coach in their learning journey, guiding and inspiring them to be the best versions of themselves.
“I like to tell my students that I am like their training wheels through school life. There is no better feeling than supporting them as they sometimes wobble through learning, begin to pick up speed, and then go off smoothly peddling along with a great big smile and sense of accomplishment. If they happen to get unsteady or fall, I will be there to help them get back on track.”
Sexton says her favorite activity to do with students is play games.
“We love to play all sorts of games in our class. We enjoy classic board games and have board game stations. We play Around the World, Quiet Ball, Pigs, Bump It games, and High and Low. The students love when they get to play review games for tests on Kahoot or Blooket online games. I also like brining in games that I enjoy with my family. Playing games helps us develop a close classroom community and are a great way to develop social skills.”
Sexton was nominated for the award by a family member.
“Kathleen pours her heart and soul into her career. She brought The Mileage Club to her school, encouraging kids to get out and walk every single day. She writes and directs plays for her students to perform for their families, teaches her students how to do flash mob dances, and teaches her kids the love of reading by using accents and different voices to bring a story to life.
“When COVID-19 hit, she courageously took on remote learning. Technology was not her strong point, yet she mastered it and implemented this new way of learning for her students. Being a teacher has never been easy and COVID-19 had a big impact on education. Through it all, her focus was and will always be on her students, their families, and doing all she can to enrich their lives.”
Sexton earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree from Grand Valley State University. She has been an educator for 24 years, all 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.