The Saginaw Valley State University College of Education will recognize six individuals from the Michigan educational community for their outstanding and heroic contributions to positively impact the lives of students.
The winners – selected by SVSU students – were chosen from a field of 38 nominees. Judging criteria include how well the person has:
• advocated for students and community;
• demonstrated excellence, sincerity, and enthusiasm for teaching;
• shown innovation in a class or program;
• gone the extra mile;
• been a great role model.
“Our students take the selection process very seriously,” said Craig Douglas, dean of SVSU’s College of Education. “Many hours are spent making sure the awards go to what we call 'unsung heroes,' those educators who get up each day eager to make a difference in the lives of the youngsters they serve. I am thrilled with the work SVSU students have done to make a difference in their own ways through the second annual Heroes in Education event.”
This year's recipients are:
• Jerry Carmien, service worker for Kolb Elementary School in Bay City. A nominator wrote: “Mr. Carmien sees kids for who they really are and has no bias. He brings out the best in them all.”
• Kelly Frank, teacher at Tawas Middle School. A nominator wrote: “Mrs. Frank does everything she possibly can to make learning fun and exciting not only for her students, but also all of the students in the middle school.”
• Joseph Peet, teacher at Kingston Elementary School. A nominator wrote: “As a third grader in Mr. Peet's class, you can look forward to VIP Day, which is a day that celebrates the student.”
• Lawanda Purches-Waller, a parent liaison for Genesee STEM Academy in Flint. A nominator wrote: “Mrs. Purches-Waller has worked diligently to increase our Parent Ambassador program, which engages parents in our school improvement process.”
• Todd Switala, coach and volunteer for Sterling Elementary School in the Standish-Sterling school district. A nominator wrote, “As president of the Sterling Sportsman Association he coordinates many youth activities including an annual kids sucker fishing tournament, family and youth archery leagues and shoots, family-oriented squirrel and rabbit hunt (he requires each team to have one youth on their team), and he is a hunter safety instructor.”
• Everton Williams, director of operations for Pontiac Academy for Excellence. A nominator wrote, “Mr. Williams has literally 'gone the extra mile' by riding every single bus route routinely and making adjustments in order to accommodate the most students with safe, free and timely transportation as efficiently as possible.”
Each recipient will be formally recognized at a celebration event Wednesday, April 26 at 7 p.m.in the Ott Auditorium, located in Gilbertson Hall at SVSU. It is free and open to the public. Charles Schwedler, former superintendent for Bullock Creek Schools, will offer comments to highlight the evening.