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Kentwood teacher wins Excellence in Education award

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LANSING, Mich. – A Kent County educator known for his dedication to his students and for finding new ways to help them learn and to improve his school has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Peter Weise, teaches chemistry, physics, and biology at the Crossroads Alternative High School in Kentwood.  The school is part of the Kentwood Public Schools district.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education award program in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district.  One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

He said his favorite part of being an educator is “helping at-risk students and watching them grow into capable adults.”

Weise said his students motivate him to do his best each day. “There is nothing that compares to the feeling you get when you see the joy on a student’s face when they are able to finish a class that they struggled with,” he said, adding that his colleagues also inspire him.  “I work with a great family of teachers who work hard at taking students who face all sorts of adversity in their lives and helping them to be successful.”

Weise said he was attracted to a career in education because it offered him the opportunity to help people and share his love of science.

The Excellence in Education award nomination for Weise noted that he has had “an important impact on students” through the classes that he develops to meet their needs. “He has organized the curriculum for a new course each year he has been at Crossroads.  Test scores have risen since he came to Crossroads, as have the number of students earning science credits, and graduating,” the nomination said.

“His students refer to him as ‘geeky’ (in a good way), ‘helpful,’ ‘intelligent,” and ‘extraordinary.’  He is a 'go to guy,’ open to all students or staff for assistance or as a resource. He is the first at school every morning and has his phone set to alert him to student emails, even on the weekends!”

The nomination also noted that Weise is “dedicated beyond the classroom to fix problems and explore better options to meet student needs and school needs.  He serves as a leader on the math/science team and the school improvement committee” and assists with grant writing.”

Weise has been an educator for 13 years and in his current position with the Kentwood Public Schools for nine years. He earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Michigan State University and a teaching certificate from Calvin College, where he also earned a minor in English.

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