DEARBORN, MI – Hundreds of teachers, students and families attended a special ceremony on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 to recognize and honor the teachers of the Dearborn Public Schools district at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center for the 19th annual Alberta Muirhead Teacher of the Year Award Ceremony. The ceremony, hosted by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by LaFontaine Automotive Group recognized the Teacher of the Year for grade categories Pre-Kindergarten- 2nd grade, 3rd – 5th grade, middle school and high school.
The winning teachers for 2016 are May Mokdad-Cristarella of Lowrey Elementary School (PK-2nd grades), Mary Puente of Oakman Elementary School (3rd-5th grades), April Kincaid of Unis Middle School, and Margarita Chavez-Franco of Edsel Ford High School. Each of the four honorees received a $1,000 cash prize from the Chamber, a hand-made glass apple award from the Glass Academy in Dearborn, a membership to the Henry Ford, a gift basket full of goodies from area businesses, and are now part of a select group of Dearborn teachers who have been recognized by the community for their ability to make a difference.
The Chamber’s Education Committee, chaired by Philipp Emma, had the tough job of selecting four winners from a field of nearly 2,500 nominations for 453 teachers, more than doubling the amount received in 2015! Nominations were received and carefully chosen by the committee, made up of a group of dedicated and highly motivated members of the educational and business communities.
“We are thrilled to honor our local heroes who make a difference daily in the lives of our Dearborn area students,” commented Jackie Lovejoy, president of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are so thankful for the support of LaFontaine Automotive Group and all of our sponsors and partners who make this wonderful awards ceremony possible!”
May Mokdad-Cristarella was nominated as a 2nd grade teacher at Lowrey Elementary School by her student, Maha Noor. Maha wrote in her nomination essay, “My teacher makes learning fun…I am smarter and a better student because my teacher made learning so fun!”
Mary Puente was nominated by her student, Mohammad Hassan for her tremendous efforts as a 4th grade teacher at Oakman Elementary. Mohammad shared why his teacher should be recognized among the best. “She has helped me with different ways of learning…I am proud of myself [because] she believed in me.”
The middle school teacher of the year, April Kincaid, was nominated for her outstanding teaching at Unis Middle School. She was nominated by student Nasrene Mrove, who described her teacher as a “natural magnet to those who enter [her classroom].”
“Students know she cares about them from the moment they walk in the doorway,” explained Nasrene.
The high school winner, Margarita Chavez-Franco was nominated for teaching Spanish at Edsel Ford High School. She was nominated by her student Miriam Marini.
“She has given me a lifelong skill…,” Mariam wrote in her nomination. “Senora Chavez is the best teacher I have ever had. She is approachable…she’s always available to talk to!”
Community partners sponsoring the event are LaFontaine Automotive Group, McDonald’s “The Future” in Dearborn, Dearborn Federal Savings Bank, Gallagher Benefits Services, DFCU Financial, 1st Choice Urgent Care, Dearborn Federation of Teachers, MEEMIC Toler-Stemen Agency, Jim Thorpe Ameriprise Financial, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Abbie Bazzi, Attorney-at-Law, Applebee’s of Dearborn Heights, Bangkok 96 Thai Restaurant, Global “E” Group, Henry Ford College, HYPE Athletics, Habib’s Cuisine, LaPita Mediterranean Restaurant, Sylvan Learning Center, Dearborn Education Foundation, Delta Dental, Elan Event Planning & Design, Mati’s Deli, Member Focus Community Credit Union, Randall Cope Edward Jones Investments, State Representative George Darany, and West Village Dental Care.
The Dearborn Symphony donated concert tickets to attending teachers at the awards ceremony, Sam’s Club of Southgate provided reception refreshments, the Glass Academy donated the glass “apple” awards, Brome Burger and Yogurtopia of Dearborn donated gift cards for the winning teachers, and the Henry Ford donated a membership for each winning teacher.
Education is one of the Dearborn Area Chamber’s core strategies. Through programs such as Teacher of the Year, the Chamber, a 600+ member organization, cultivates learning and mentoring opportunities between the student population and local business.
For more information, please contact the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce by phone at 313-584-6100. Be sure to follow the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook at facebook.com/DearbornAreaChamber, on Twitter @DbnAreaChamber and online at www.dearbornareachamber.org for all the latest news and events.