All teachers should be praised for the jobs that they do. Kelly Battle is among those who do a little more and for that reason she was chosen as Utica Community Schools Teacher of the Year.
“It’s been very overwhelming,” said Battle, who was told about the award during a special assembly at Davis Junior High School attended by her students, peers and several other nominees. “I’m super honored. There are so many people that deserve this award and to be selected out of all of them is truly amazing. ”
Also in attendance for the event was James Elder, of Suburban Ford in Sterling Heights, who surprised Battle with a free two-year lease on a vehicle of her choice, a Ford Bronco. The reward has been given each year to the educator chosen as the top winner in the district wide competition for the past 20 years.
“That’s like the cherry on top,” said Battle, who teaches English Language Arts and Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at Davis, while also serving as a leader for the Where Everyone Belongs (WEB) program and several district level committees for curriculum training and technology.
“Mrs. Battle is passionate about making a difference in the lives of her students through dedication, innovation and leadership, ”Utica Community Schools Superintendent Robert Monroe said, in a news release. “She reflects on a UCS team that promotes excellence each day in every UCS classroom.”
“The teachers in our communities give so much of themselves to ensure their students – our children – can succeed and reach their full potential, and they’ve been challenged these past two years more than ever before,” said David Fischer, Jr., president and CEO of The Suburban Collection. “We feel so fortunate we can help recognize and show our gratitude to these extraordinary individuals who leave a lasting impact on the lives of their students.”
Among the other extraordinary teachers nominated for each academic level for the Macomb Intermediate Teachers of the Year program included Mike McDonough, who teaches biology at Stevenson High School and Jennifer Sutter, a fifth-grade teacher at Havel Elementary School. Nominees for the award are chosen because of their community engagement, leadership and their philosophy of education, instructional techniques and commitment to success among many other attributes.
The award provides some recognition for a job well done but for teachers such as Battle, the biggest reward are the students themselves. “That is definitely the best part,” said Battle. “The relationships that you build with the kids, they last a lifetime. Last night I attended the AVID college prep course and I got to see a number of students that I taught as 7, 8 and ninth-graders all headed for college. ”
Among those who congratulated Battle on her award was her husband, Anchor Bay High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Jason Battle.
“He knew about it and had to keep it a secret the whole weekend,” Battle mused.