LANSING, Mich. – A Muskegon County educator known for using compassionate discipline to help struggling students and tailoring her approach to meet each student’s needs has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Shellie Dorman, leads an academic recovery program at Orchard View Middle School in Muskegon. The school is part of the Orchard View 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.
Each winner also will be featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segment featuring Dorman will air Tuesday evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and then on Thursday in Detroit.
Dorman said her favorite part of being an educator is “showing students how responsibility and decision making can impact their lives more than any other thing that they’ll learn in school.”
She said her career in education “doesn’t feel like work. I get to play and learn every day with students.”
Being able to help struggling students motivates her each day. “Many of my students are unsuccessful in a traditional setting. They need me to provide unique approaches to reach them. I want to help them find the skills necessary to become successful.”
The Excellence in Education award nomination for Dorman noted that she works with students who “are failing academically, socially, and emotionally. She takes students as they are and is able to turn them around and help them learn how to learn and to become self-motivated so they’ll succeed.”
“She doesn’t hold their hands and coddle them. She is tough on them, but what shines through is how much she cares for them. I have seen Shellie help students who were unable to move on to high school and just biding their time until they were expelled or were old enough to drop out. Many of these students went on to be successful in high school,” the nomination said.
“When those students struggle in high school, they know they can always come back to Shellie for help and support. She is constantly searching for different methods to help her students learn.”
Dorman has been an educator for 12 years, the last three in her current position at Orchard View Middle School. She earned two degrees from Western Michigan University: a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in special education.