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May 4, 2017

Celebrating the 2017 DTE Educators of the Year


DTE Educator of the Year Ward at Ypsilanti High School
Presenting one of the Awards at Ypsilanti High School. Photo by Jesse Meria.

We’re pleased to honor Beacon Day Treatment Center teacher Jill Ross and Ypsilanti Community High School teacher Lynne Settles as the 2017 DTE Energy Foundation Educators of the Year. The award recognizes and celebrates excellence in arts education, lifting up the importance of the arts as a way of teaching 21st-century knowledge and skills, including creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and familiarity with local and global cultures.

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Jill Ross teaches art at Beacon Day Treatment Center, a K-12 educational facility in Southgate that serves students who struggle with emotional impairments that limit their ability to function in a regular K-12 setting. Many of Jill’s students are working to overcome challenges related to homelessness, abuse, and abandonment. Using visual arts, drama, and movement exploration, she provides tactile experiences for her students to work with art materials and explore the different ways that their bodies can move. These experiences give her students — especially those who struggle verbally — an outlet for their feelings, allowing them to cope with and avoid depression and aggression.

Ypsilanti Community High School art teacher Lynne Settles incorporates visual and performing arts into her students’ curriculum in unique ways that inspire them to learn about their heritage and encourage them to make a meaningful and positive difference in their community. Lynne worked with her students to design and paint two community murals for downtown Ypsilanti that feature influential African-Americans and women who played a positive role in Ypsilanti’s history. Lynn also worked with her students to produce a special program that featured spoken word, song, drama, and dance inspired by African-American figures whose lives have affected the course of history in a positive way. Through these art projects, Lynn’s students connected with Ypsilanti community partners to explore and learn about their own community’s history and the positive impact African-Americans had in shaping Ypsilanti.

The DTE Energy Foundation is sponsoring the awards as part of its annual grant support to UMS Youth Education Programs.

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