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Michigan Teacher of the Year from Detroit Public Schools Shares What She Learned During Her Tenure

LANSING, MI – With the end of the school year, Detroit Public Schools Community District third-grade teacher Candice Jackson completed her tenure as 2023-24 Michigan Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Jackson shared with State Board of Education members last week what she’s learned and what she hopes she’s taught her students at Mann Learning Community. Her final presentation to the board highlighted “the imperfect classroom.”

She talked about meeting Michigan’s regional teachers of the year and spending time in their classrooms, where the teachers demonstrated to students that they don’t have to be perfect, being human is OK, and it’s good to try new things. “They celebrate progress over perfection,” Ms. Jackson said.

She showed board members a picture of her with students on Pi Day, which is celebrated on March 14 because pi equals 3.14. Ms. Jackson said she shared with the children that she wished she could have secured 400 pies for them but had to settle for cookies.

“The students are all smiles because they were so excited to measure the circumference of a cookie even though I couldn’t get them pies,” she said. “Because they don’t care about whether or not I am perfect or I have pies. They were just happy we got to go outside and do a Pi Day walk around the grounds of the school. Because students care if you are real, not perfect.”

As Michigan Teacher of the Year, Ms. Jackson, who just completed her 22nd year as a teacher, has served as an advocate for the teaching profession at the state level.

Last month, Rochester High School English Language Arts teacher Ms. Kelley Cusmano was named Michigan’s 2024-25 Teacher of the Year.

The window for nominating candidates for the 2025-26 Michigan Teacher of the Year program is now open. People wishing to nominate a teacher for this program are asked to use the online form by Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. To be eligible, a nominee must have a valid Michigan teaching certificate and at least five years of teaching experience in Michigan, and be in good standing with their school or district.

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Ms. Candice Jackson, Michigan Teacher of the Year 2023-2024, is pictured below with State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice and members of the State Board of Education at the Michigan Department of Education.

Candice Jackson

Candice Jackson

Candice Jackson