JACKSON, Mich. - A Jackson-area teacher has been named Michigan's charter school Teacher of the Year, while educators from Forest Hills and Utica have each received Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards, according to newspaper reports in each community.

Lori Zemke, a teacher at The da Vinci Institute Primary School in Jackson, was named Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies at its 11th annual Charter Schools Conference, The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported.

"It was quite an honor,'' Zemke, 46, told The Citizen Patriot. "But I just feel like I'm such a small part of what makes our school great.''

Also honored recently were Erik Cliff, a teacher at the Central Woodlands 5/6 Building in Forest Hills Public Schools, and Leah Einhaus, a third-grade teacher at Collins Elementary School in Utica Public Schools, who each received $25,000 Milken awards, according to reports in The Grand Rapids Press and the Advisor/Source.

"We're looking for educators who use proven motivational practices and get results," the foundation's senior vice president, Jane Foley, told The Press. Winning teachers may use the financial award at their discretion, the Advisor/Source reported.

SOURCES:
The Advisor/Source, "Collins teacher receives big surprise," Nov. 2, 2008

The Grand Rapids Press, "Forest Hills teacher honored with $25,000 Milken prize," Oct. 25, 2008

The Jackson Citizen Patriot, "DaVinci teacher is named tops among charter schools," Nov. 6, 2008

FURTHER READING:
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Teacher Quality Primer," Aug. 20, 2008

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