The Michigan Department of Education announced Friday that the teacher of the year is Laura Chang, who instructs second-graders at Vicksburg's Sunset Elementary School.
Chang was surprised with the honor during a visit to the school by Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles. Change is the first Michigan Teacher of the year from Kalamazoo County in the program's history.
“Educators like Ms. Chang are key in moving Michigan to become a Top 10 education state in 10 years,” Alles said in a written announcement on the award. “She is knowledgeable and provides relevant and meaningful teaching and learning experiences to her students. She is a compassionate, positive, and inspirational role model.”
“Preparing our young people to succeed in a healthy 21st Century economy is becoming increasingly more important to their future achievement, and teachers like Ms. Chang – who are able to engage students at a young age – are exactly what our state and the students who call it home need,” Governor Rick Snyder said. “I appreciate the incredible work that Ms. Chang has done, and will continue to do, to prepare Michigan students to be successful later in life.”
Chang has taught in Vicksburg Community Schools for her entire 18-year teaching career since earning a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University. Chang also earned her master of arts in education and professional development at Western.
Through the teacher of the year program, the education department recognizes outstanding educators across the state and creates an avenue for them to share their voice with other educators. As the teacher of the year, Chang will chair the Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Committee, which will work with the education department to find solutions facing Michigan’s education system issues, while ensuring that the voice of teachers is present in these discussions.
Also, the State Board of Education honors the teacher of the year with a non-voting seat at the board table during its regular monthly meetings.