Looking for excellence in education? Look right here

FLINT, Michigan—Michelle Stinson gives students the opportunity to experience a Montessori education, bringing an innovative approach and her 25 years of experience to the classroom. For her work, she received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2017 Excellence in Education Awards.

Stinson serves as the directress of Flint Community Schools Montessori education program and helped it launch in the 2016-17 school year. Stinson called it "truly an honor" to receive the award, which is only given to roll model educators with at least 20 years serving in Flint Community Schools.

Stinson was one of several educators honored at the 2017 Excellence in Education Awards annual ceremony for their contributions to leadership, innovation, commitment and service.
“We are here to acknowledge and thank the outstanding educators in the Flint Community Schools and to remind the community that there is great education happening every day in our Schools,” said George Wilkinson, chairman of the Education Foundation Board of Directors for Flint Community Schools.

Anita J. Steward, principal of Freeman Elementary School, received the Leadership Award for engaging family and community members to support student success and creating a supportive and motivating environment.  

Cinda Guilbault, a 32-year veteran of Flint Community Schools, received the innovation award for using art to help students master core academic subjects, focusing on collaborative learning and student autonomy. 

Technology specialist Robert Earl Stith received the Putting Students First Award. He joined the staff at Durant Tuuri Mott after volunteering for 10 years at the school. He continues to be the go-to guy to help throughout the school—including building a voting booth for students out of a refrigerator box, teaching coding in his spare time, and delivering real-life lessons in black history talking about his experiences growing up in the South.

Michelle McQueen, supervisor of early literacy and numeracy, received teh Harriet B. Kenworthy Literacy Award for her laser focus on literacy and empowering those around her to become readers, writers, speakers and listeners. A Flint Community Schools employee for more than 20 years, McQueen's leadership includes presentations during professional development sessions at the local, county and state levels.

The Excellence in Education Awards program was launched in March 2016 as a platform to recognize educators and honor the talent and commitment within Flint Community Schools. The annual awards are the culmination of monthly awards that highlight outstanding educators within Flint Community Schools.

The monthly award winner receives a surprise classroom or office visit, balloons, pizza party, certificate and financial prize. The monthly winners then are eligible for consideration for one of five annual awards. The annual awards also included the Light a Candle Award presented to June Northway for her extensive volunteer work for Flint Community Schools—six hours a day, four days a week, for more than 20 years. She previously also is being honored for her work in Flintside's #FlintFoundations series.

Here is a look at all of the individuals honored in the 2016-17 Excellence in Education Awards:

• Karen Jean Christian, K-8 Math Intervention Teacher, Potter Elementary
• Joanna L. Coselman, Special Education Classroom Teacher, Durant Tuuri Mott Elementary
• Christy Diamond, 7th grade ELA Teacher, Southwestern Classical Academy
• Kerry Lynn Downs, Community School Director, Holmes STEM Academy
• Lisa Eikey, Building Instructional Specialist, Durant Tuuri Mott Elementary
• Stephanie Elder, Curriculum Development Specialist
• Cinda Guilbault, 3rd grade Teacher, Eisenhower Elementary
• Beverly Hilliard, 7th grade Math Teacher, Southwestern Classical Academy
• Michelle McQueen, Supervisor Early Literacy and Numeracy, Administration
• Felicia Naimark , Speech Therapist, Durant Tuuri Mott Elementary 
• Michelle O’Keefe, Kindergarten Teacher, Brownell STEM
• Julie Pearce, 1st grade Teacher, Durant Tuuri Mott Elementary
• Anita J. Steward, Principal, Freeman Elementary
• Dr. Vienaetha (Vee)  Stewart, School Psychologist, LSS/Pierce and DTM
• Michele Stinson, Montessori Directress, Durant Tuuri Mott
• Robert Earl Stith, Technology Specialist, Durant Tuuri Mott 
• Theresa Tousley, 4th-6th grade LSS Teacher, Freeman Elementary
• Rachel L. Turner, Principal, Eisenhower Elementary

Nominations are now being accepted for 2017-18 Excellence in Education Awards. Email [email protected] or on the foundation’s Facebook page.

Read more articles by Marjory Raymer.

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