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Detroit Third Grade Teacher Named Michigan Teacher of the Year

LANSING – Detroit Public Schools Community District third grade teacher Candice Jackson has been named the 2023-24 Michigan Teacher of the Year (MTOY).

Jackson learned of her honor today during a visit to the Detroit Public Schools Community District by State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. Jackson is a third-grade teacher at Mann Learning Community and will be entering her 22nd year of teaching in the fall.

“Ms. Jackson is this year’s Michigan Teacher of the Year and we are so grateful for her decades of service to children and families in Detroit,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “We are thrilled to honor Candice and highlight her efforts in the classroom to help students achieve their potential and her peer leadership work to empower fellow educators as well. Thank you, Candice, for helping your students find their voices, building strong relationships, and uplifting your community. As we work together on our next education budget, we will continue making record investments in education to ensure our kids and schools have the support and resources they need to succeed.”

Since 1952, one of Michigan’s outstanding teachers has been named Michigan Teacher of the Year and been offered opportunities to serve as an advocate for the teaching profession at the state level. The Michigan Teacher of the Year program is not about finding the “best teacher,” an impossible task; instead, it is about celebrating an outstanding member of the teaching profession and giving Michigan teachers a voice at the state level.

“Congratulations to Ms. Jackson, who represents all of the terrific teachers that we have in every corner of Michigan,” Dr. Rice said. “The Michigan Teacher of the Year is an important advocate and ally for teachers and students. We appreciate greatly and will benefit from Ms. Jackson and her experiences as we work to improve Michigan public education.”

Jackson’s selection as the 2023-24 MTOY comes after a months-long, multi-level competitive process that started with the nomination of more than 150 teachers in the fall of 2022. The field was narrowed twice, and Jackson was named one of the state’s 10 Regional Teachers of the Year (RTOY) in April. Each RTOY then interviewed with a panel of statewide education stakeholders, where each presented a short professional development module and answered questions on topics relevant to issues faced by teachers today.

The 10 RTOYs will work together during the upcoming school year as the 2023-24 Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Committee (MTLAC), comprised of this year’s RTOY cohort. During their year of service, group members work directly with MDE and other Michigan educational stakeholders to develop solutions to issues facing the state’s education system, to ensure that the voices of teachers are present in these discussions.

In addition to her work on the MTLAC, Jackson will serve as an advocate for, and representative of, the more than 86,000 public school teachers statewide and will engage in discussions on how best to continue to improve Michigan's schools with a non-voting seat at the State Board of Education table every month and as a member of the Governor’s Educator Advisory Council. Jackson is also the state’s candidate for the prestigious 2024 National Teacher of the Year honor.

Program expenses for the MTOY, as well as the RTOY and MTLAC, are offset through the generous support of The Meemic Foundation, now celebrating its 17th year as the program’s sponsor. The Meemic Foundation presents each RTOY and his or her school with a plaque commemorating the accomplishment.

“As the 17th year sponsor of the MTOY program, the Meemic Foundation proudly joins MDE in recognizing Candice as the new Michigan Teacher of the Year as well as celebrating the achievements of the other nine RTOYs,” said Pam R. Harlin, director of The Meemic Foundation. “The passion of these teacher leaders will serve as needed voices for all Michigan educators and students. Meemic remains committed to supporting Michigan education and salutes the unwavering dedication of all educators.”

Jackson and her fellow RTOYs will be formally recognized by the State Board of Education during a future board meeting. To learn more about the MTOY program, the MTLAC and MDE’s other educator recognition efforts, visit MDE’s Recognition Programs webpage.