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Announcing the 2020 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year

UMS and the DTE Energy Foundation are pleased to honor Thurston High School English teacher Rachel Bomphray as the 2020 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year.

The award recognizes and celebrates educators who value the importance of arts education and create a culture for the arts to flourish in their school communities.

Ms. Bomphray has worked over the past four years to grow a poetry program at Thurston High School, organizing opportunities for her students to work with the University of Michigan on collaborative creating writing sessions. Using the creative arts as a catalyst, she organizes trips to the U-M campus where her students get to work on projects with U-M students, learn to attend performances with a critical eye, and imagine their future as college students.

Ms. Bomphray goes above and beyond her call of duty, not only helping her students learn writing skills but developing the whole person and widening their view of the world, themselves, and their place in it.

Bomphray was nominated through a public nomination process. As part of the award, UMS will provide complimentary tickets and transportation for Ms. Bomphray to bring one class to a UMS School Day Performance next season, when in-person performances and school field trips are expected to return, additional complimentary tickets to a mainstage UMS performance, and a $200 award honorarium. UMS will also work with Ms. Bomphray to bring a UMS touring artist to Thurston for a class visit or school assembly.

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Announcing the 2019 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year

UMS and the DTE Energy Foundation are pleased to honor Scarlett Middle School band teacher Caroline Fitzgerald as the 2019 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year!

The award recognizes and celebrates educators who value the importance of arts education and create a culture for the arts to flourish in their school communities. Ms. Fitzgerald’s focus on the arts has extended beyond her work in the music classroom with a passion that permeates throughout the entire school, the Ann Arbor Public School system, and the greater community. She demonstrates an incredible investment in her students and believes that through music she can support her students becoming confident, self-assured young adults. Her work at Scarlett highlights the important role of music instruction in supporting students’ overall engagement and academic success.

Ms. Fitzgerald was nominated through a public nomination process. As part of the award, UMS will provide complimentary tickets and transportation for Ms. Fitzgerald to bring one class to a UMS School Day Performance next season, additional complimentary tickets to a mainstage UMS performance, and a $200 award honorarium. UMS will also work with Ms. Fitzgerald to bring a UMS touring artist to Scarlett for a class visit or school assembly.

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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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At our Ovation Spring Gala

Our Ovation Spring Gala took place on May 14, 2016. Congratulations to honorees DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year Ann Arbor Public Schools Wines Elementary teacher Beth McNally and School of the Year Ann Arbor Public Schools Allen Elementary! Sincere thank you to all of our supporters. Ovation support helps UMS provide excellent educational experiences for K-12, university, and community.

With honorary chairs Jim and Sarah Harbaugh, chairs Sarah and Dan Nicoli, and University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel.
With honorary chairs Jim and Sarah Harbaugh, chairs Sarah and Dan Nicoli, and University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel.

Jim Leija and Beth McNally
Honoree Beth McNally with UMS director of education & community engagement Jim Leija.

With honorees Allen Elementary
Honorees Allen Elementary with Coach Harbaugh.

Missed the gala? Ovation support helps UMS provide excellent educational experiences for K-12, university, and community. Make a gift today.

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