Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills High School Educator Named 2012-13 Michigan Teacher of the Year
May 17, 2012
LANSING - Bobbi Jo Kenyon was named 2012-2013 Michigan Teacher of the Year in a surprise announcement today by Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan.
Kenyon, a science and math instructor at Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids, with over 16 years of classroom experience, was selected from among 18 regional semifinalists statewide. She is the first Grand Rapids Public Schools educator to receive the honor of being named Michigan Teacher of the Year.
"Teachers play an incredibly influential role in the lives of our children, helping foster their minds for learning and preparing them for success," said Gov. Rick Snyder. "We honor Bobbi Jo Kenyon as Michigan Teacher of the Year for her outstanding work in the fields of math and science areas that are critically important for the technological age of today and jobs of tomorrow. This award also highlights the tireless dedication teachers have for their students and profession, which benefits all Michiganders."
Flanagan congratulated Kenyon on this recognition, saying, "Great teachers prepare students for success, by connecting their desire to learn with the knowledge and skills needed for the high tech careers of this 21st Century. Bobbi Jo is an outstanding example of our Michigan teachers and understands this important connection.
"She also believes teachers are leaders not only within their classroom, but in their district and within the community," Flanagan said. "We look forward to her continued contributions to teaching and learning."
Flanagan noted that Kenyon will carry on the valued tradition of Michigan Teachers of the Year who have shared their teaching knowledge, expertise, and skills with educators across the state.
According to Kenyon, "My job as their teacher is to unlock the potential within every child, hold them accountable, inspire, encourage, and show them what they are capable of when they apply themselves." She believes that "..each class needs to make connections to students' lives. Having relevancy is the key to getting students excited about learning."
"On behalf of the Grand Rapids Board of Education, our entire district, and the Grand Rapids community, I want to congratulate and thank Ms. Bobbi Jo Kenyon for being the best of the best!" said Teresa Weatherall Neal, Interim Superintendent for Grand Rapids Public Schools. "Ms. Kenyon exemplifies what we know our teachers do day in and day out to support student achievement. GRPS is fortunate to be filled with teachers and support staff like Ms. Kenyon, who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure all children can reach their full potential."
Through the corporate support of MEEMIC Insurance Company, Grand Rapids Public Schools will receive a monetary award of $1,000 in honor of Ms. Kenyon's recognition as Michigan Teacher of the Year to be used for the advancement of education. Also, Kenyon will receive the use of a car during her tenure as MTOY, along with the opportunity to tell her story and communicate via blog on www.meemic.com.
The corporate support agreement between the Michigan Department of Education and MEEMIC Insurance Company also includes a monetary award to be presented to the schools of each of the MTOY finalists.
The other educators selected as state-level finalists for the Michigan Teacher of the Year Award are:
- David Scott Emeott, mathematics teacher at East Kentwood High School, Kentwood School District
- Janet M. Holmes, early childhood teacher at River Oaks Elementary School, Dearborn Public Schools
- Julie Morgan, social studies teacher at Romeo Engineering and Technology Center, Romeo Community Schools
The Michigan Department of Education has used this award annually to honor Michigan's exemplary educators. The State Board of Education honors the Michigan Teacher of the Year with a seat at the Board table during its regular monthly meetings.
The Teacher of the Year is selected by a committee that reviews applications from teachers throughout Michigan. Applicants submit biographies and written essays that describe educational history, professional development activities, philosophy of teaching and thoughts on emerging education trends and issues.
For additional information on the Michigan Teacher of the Year program, access www.michigan.gov/mtoy.