Parents, students, school staff members, and others are encouraged to nominate outstanding public-school educators for the Michigan Lottery’s 2022-23 Excellence in Education awards.
All public-school employees may be nominated for the awards, which recognize educators who go “above and beyond” to make a difference in the lives of children. To nominate a public-school educator, go to
The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public-school educators across the state during the school year.
One outstanding educator will be selected each week and will receive a $1,500 cash prize plus a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. 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 will receive a plaque and be 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, Saginaw.
The winner of the 2022 Educator of the Year award was Spencer Vanderheide. He is a high school teacher with Kenowa Hills High School, which is part of Kenowa Hills Public Schools.
Hundreds of educators were nominated during the eighth year of the educational awards program and 34, including Vanderheide, were selected to win a weekly award.
Previous winners of the Educator of the Year award:
• 2021 – Janice Smith, a school social worker at Fisher Magnet Lower Academy in Detroit
• 2020 – Megan Sidge, an Autism Spectrum Disorder teacher at Hickory Woods Elementary, which is part of the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools.
• 2019 – Stewart Kieliszewski, an Earth science, biology, mechatronics, and media teacher for eighth through 12 graders at the Ubly Community Schools.
• 2018 – Kerri Moccio, a literacy intervention specialist at Bedford Elementary School in Dearborn Heights
• 2017 – Linda Holzwarth, a social studies teacher at Portage West Middle School in Portage
• 2016 – Daniel Carr, a Spanish and sports marketing teacher at Waverly High School in Lansing
• 2015 – Michael Craig, a special education teacher at the Charles Drew Transition Center in Detroit
Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on:
• 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.