A Calhoun County educator known for constantly seeking out ways to provide new educational opportunities for students and who serves as a technology coach for her school district has been honored with an Excellence of Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Jessica Day, teaches kindergarten at Riverside Elementary School in Battle Creek.  She also serves on the school’s health committee and helped found a credit union at the school, along with the Consumers Professional Credit Union.  Riverside Elementary is part of the Lakeview School District.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education award program in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district.  One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Each winner also will be featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations:  WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segment featuring Day will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and then on Thursday in Detroit.

For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo.  Izzo met recently with Day at the Breslin Center and presented her with the award.

“Jessica Day Talks with Tom Izzo” – Jessica Day talks with Michigan State University basketball coach, Tom Izzo, after accepting her Excellence in Education award.

Day said her favorite part of being a teacher is “seeing my students’ growth from the start of school through the end of the year.  They learn and grow so much in such a short amount of time.  I love seeing that happen.  It is amazing!”

Day has been an educator for seven years, the past three with the Lakeview district.  She said one thing attracted her to a career in education:  “My love for kids.”

That love for her students motivates her to do her best each day.  “I want to give my students every opportunity to be successful in school.  I want all of my students to feel supported and valued from when they first enter my kindergarten class to when they walk out of the doors of Lakeview High School as graduating seniors,” she said.

A colleague nominated Day for the Excellence in Education award, describing her as “a great example of an educator who goes above and beyond for her students.”

“Our students love being in her room, because she is not afraid to get down on the floor and play with them.  She is always finding new and innovative ways to spark their interest and love for learning, whether it is playing letter basketball, purchasing books selected by the students, or creating videos about how to practice learning objectives at home and posting them on our class website,” the nomination said.

The nomination went on to note that Day tirelessly develops and submits grant proposals – receiving 13 grants in the 2014-15 school year – to support field trips for the entire elementary school, parents’ activities, technology, educational supplies, books, and other items.

Day earned a bachelor’s degree from Robert B. Miller College, in Battle Creek, and a master’s degree in education from Olivet College.

Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.

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.

About 97 cents of every dollar spent on Lottery tickets is returned to the state in the form of contributions to the state School Aid Fund, prizes to players and commissions to retailers. In the 2014 fiscal year, the Lottery’s contribution to Michigan’s public schools was $742.8 million. Since it began in 1972, the Lottery has contributed nearly $19 billion to education in Michigan. For additional information, follow the Michigan Lottery on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and online at www.michiganlottery.com.