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  • Writer's pictureRick Joseph

Congratulations, MTOY, Tracy Horodyski!

Congratulations to Tracy Horodyski, Michigan Teacher of the Year 2017!

Tracy is an extremely talented early elementary educator. Not only does she teach children, but she also provides professional coaching support for colleagues at her school, Zinser Elementary School in Kennowa Hills. This year upcoming will have a profound effect on Tracy’s career as she embarks on a unique journey as a teacher leader, ambassador and advocate.

I had the honor of being present at the announcement of Tracy’s award at her school. The enthusiasm and excitement was certainly palpable as State Superintendent Brian Whiston announced the award. The thunderous cheers accompanied Tracy on her way to the stage as the entire school, gathered for the assembly, watched. She stopped to gather in her own two children, who joined her onstage with family, colleagues and school board members looking on. Tracy spoke of the importance of team and the way everyone improves when we all work together.

Next, I was able to tour Zinser with State Board Member Lupe Ramos-Montigny, Supt. Whiston and building principal Ross Willick. It was obvious that Zinser was a dynamic place where students were empowered to collaborate in creative and thoughtful ways. Students used technology in very purposeful ways. I was impressed with concrete communication tools for purposeful talk. Each classroom had a chart which reminded them both how to explicitly listen to and speak to a conversation partner. Few things in school and in life are more critical than the ability to actively listen.

Tracy Horodyski is a champion for helping children become real readers and real writers. She will add to the conversation around the establishment of academic environments that are rich with talk. Tracy will also work for the creation of job-embedded professional learning that will enable teachers to utilize their own colleagues as their best source for ongoing, performance-based professional learning. I’m certain that Tracy’s impact on the education landscape in Michigan will be profound .

Tracy's family all lined up backstage ready to celebrate the big announcement

Tracy brings her two children up with her to celebrate the moment

Students at Zinser use technology tools thoughtfully and meaningfully in their work

Zinser Elementray principal Ross Willick reviews purposeful talk - a schoolwide initiative

Zinser students celebrate their presence in the great state of Michigan every day

Jared Robinson, Lupe Ramos-Montigny and Brian Whiston welcome Tracy to the Michigan Department of Education community

Tracy and her extended family truly have much to celebrate

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