The Michigan Lottery plays a big role in supporting education throughout the Great Lake State. On November 14, 2023, it honored teacher, Riva Hannish, with its Excellence in Education Award. Riva, who teaches at Messmore Elementary – part of the Utica Community Schools – was recognized for being loving, caring, and selfless towards her third and fourth grade students.
The Michigan Lottery established Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to pay homage to outstanding public school-educators throughout each school year. As well as public recognition, winners of the weekly award receive $2,000 in cash. At the end of each school year, one lucky weekly winner will be chosen to receive the Lottery’s Educator of the Year award, which includes $10,000 in cash.
A teacher with a long-standing passion for education
In an interview with Fox 47 News, Riva shared her reasons for becoming an educator, "I think when I was younger, my parents are immigrants, so I sometimes struggled in school or felt different. So, I think I wanted to become an educator so I could make everyone feel welcomed and loved and that they’re able to learn."
Determined to make learning fun, Riva explained, “Fun and engaging activities can make the learning experience more enjoyable for students and help them retain information better. I love to sing in the classroom and teach through music. Another fun activity I enjoy doing with students is learning through educational apps such as Blooket or Kahoot. Students love this type of engaging activity.”
Riva was nominated for the Excellence in Education Award by a parent of one of her devoted students. The parent expressed her thanks to Riva for helping her daughter and her friends who were struggling in school.
An educator for 17 years, Riva earned her bachelor's degree from Oakland University and master’s degree from Central Michigan University and Marygrove College. She has been teaching at Messmore Elementary for ten years.
Michigan Lottery’s Excellence in Education Award
Established in 2014, the Excellence in Education awards were designed to recognize outstanding Michigan public school educators. All public school educators are eligible for nomination, including coaches, support staff, and administrators as well as teachers.
The following criteria is used to evaluate Excellence in Education award nominees:
- Excellence: They are consistently dedicated to helping students and/or their school to advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
- Inspiration: Their practice in education inspires those around them to meet and exceed academic and/or professional expectations.
- Dedication: They always go above and beyond expectation to help students achieve and succeed.
- Effectiveness: In their work they show true and positive results with the academic advancement of students within the school or district.
- Leadership: There leadership skills are clearly demonstrated in their position within their school.
If you know a Michigan educator who meets these criteria and you would like to nominate them for the award, you can fill out the form on their website.