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Grosse Pointe Science Teacher Named 2013-2014 Michigan Teacher of the Year

May 23, 2013

LANSING - Gary Abud, Jr. was named 2013-2014 Michigan Teacher of the Year in an announcement today by State Superintendent Mike Flanagan.

Abud, a science teacher at Grosse Pointe North High School, with six years of classroom experience, was selected from among 16 regional semifinalists statewide.

"Teachers play an incredibly influential role in the lives of our children, helping to nurture their minds for learning and preparing them for success," said Gov. Rick Snyder. "We honor Gary Abud as Michigan Teacher of the Year for his outstanding work in the fields of math and science - areas that are critically important for the technological age of today and jobs of tomorrow. This award also highlights the tireless dedication teachers have for their students and profession, which benefits all Michiganders."

Flanagan congratulated Abud on this recognition, saying, "Gary displays every day in his classroom what great teachers in Michigan do - lead by example and help every student find the ways to learn. He sets a high standard not only for himself, but for his students and fellow educators.

"He has followed his passion to continue learning and share what he learns with others," Flanagan said. "I cannot think of a greater gift a person can give to Michigan's next generations."

Flanagan noted that Abud will carry on the valued tradition of Michigan Teachers of the Year who have shared their teaching knowledge, expertise, and skills with educators across the state.

While working toward becoming a physician, doing medical research at a hospital clinic for several years, Abud realized that his life experiences were convincing him that his true career calling was in the teaching profession.

A recipient of the 2012 Science Teacher of Promise Award from the Michigan Science Teachers Association, Abud said that in and outside of the classroom, his commitment to adopting educational practices that foster student success is at the forefront of his career. He uses project-based learning; service learning; digital learning; and social media to give his students with broad learning experiences.

"It has been my philosophy that all students can learn and achieve in the classroom," Abud said. "Finding the right combination of strategies to match various learning styles is essential."

Grosse Pointe Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Harwood described Abud as "a teacher amongst teachers; an innovator of instruction, a supportive guide of knowledge, and a creator of dreams for students who wish to further explore their understanding of science."

The Michigan Department of Education has used this award annually to honor Michigan's exemplary educators. The State Board of Education honors the Michigan Teacher of the Year with a seat at the Board table during its regular monthly meetings, and to engage in the discussions on moving Michigan's system of education forward.

"Change is happening in education, for the better, but the public is unaware," Abud said. "We need more educators to realize that in order to correct public perception, we must ourselves improve what we do and make that known.

"We cannot hold on to teaching practices of yesteryear," Abud explained. "Classrooms cannot look the way they did during the Cold War; and no longer can we as educators allow divisive public rhetoric about our profession keep us from unifying for the best interest of students. Teachers are ambassadors of education, and we must lead our own reform."

Through the corporate support of MEEMIC Insurance Company, Grosse Pointe Public Schools will receive a monetary award of $1,000 in honor of Mr. Abud's recognition as Michigan Teacher of the Year (MTOY) to be used for the advancement of education. Also, Abud will receive the use of a car during his tenure as MTOY, along with the opportunity to tell his story and communicate via blog on www.meemic.com.

The corporate support agreement between the Michigan Department of Education and MEEMIC Insurance Company also includes a monetary award to be presented to the schools of each of the MTOY finalists.

The other educators selected as state-level finalists for the Michigan Teacher of the Year Award are:

  • Misty Balkema, social studies and grades five and six teacher, Lawrence Elementary School, Lawrence Public Schools
  • Todd Chappa, third grade teacher, Lake Center Elementary, Portage Public Schools
  • Michael Medvinsky, music teacher, Oakwood Elementary, Brandon School District

The Michigan Teacher of the Year is selected by a committee that reviews applications from teachers throughout Michigan. Applicants submit biographies and written essays that describe educational history, professional development activities, philosophy of teaching and thoughts on emerging education trends and issues.

For additional information on the Michigan Teacher of the Year program, access www.michigan.gov/mtoy.

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