By Jennifer Giering
Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce
Last week, the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Alberta Muirhead Teacher of the Year Awards at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center. Mrs. Muirhead spearheaded the initiative several years ago to highlight the extraordinary commitment made by the teachers in this community.
This year, we received nearly 500 nominations from elementary, middle and high school students in the Dearborn Public Schools. After three rounds of judging, a teacher from each level is selected and receives a $1,000 cash prize along with the distinction of being selected as Teacher of the Year. The committee has refined the process, so that all judging is blind.
It’s inspiring to read the many ways teachers in our community are impacting student’s lives. In some applications, I sensed the classroom was the most safe, loving and consistent part of a child’s day. Teachers are often charged with addressing children’s basic needs before the teaching process even begins.
In Far East countries, teachers are revered, respected and honored. We should all aspire to do the same here in this country. This year, we also paid tribute to the late Mike Grenfell and Bob Cipriano, both great contributors to Dearborn Public Schools. They were loved and will be greatly missed.
The promotion and fostering of our education system is one of the chamber’s five core initiatives. A solid education system is the backbone of every vibrant economy. In addition to the Teacher of the Year Awards program, the chamber hosted a community conversation on education to gather and amplify our voices to make sure what’s going on in Lansing reflects the views of Dearborn citizens.
The Center for Michigan has sought to engage Michigan citizens statewide in small, informal town hall meetings, in this case including teachers, parents, administrators and representatives from the business community. The results from these conversations will be shared in 2013.
Congratulations to this year’s Teacher of the Year winners: Dana Grizzell, Snow Elementary; Nora Soofi, Lowery Middle School; and Michael Blasko, Edsel Ford High School.