2020 - Cara Lougheed


Cara has been part of the Rochester Community Schools since 1998, and was a founding member of the Stoney Creek High School when it opened in 2001. With a bachelor's in Secondary Education from Western Michigan University and a master's in Teaching & Learning from Nova Southeastern University, Cara has taught varying levels of English, and U.S. and World History to her students. Cara is the student intern and mentor liaison to Oakland University, and works collaboratively with the Michigan Program Network (MiPN) and TeachingWorks to improve teacher education.

2019 - Laura Chang


Laura is the 2019 Michigan Teacher of the Year and has the opportunity to work with students, educators and education stakeholders across the nation and world. Laura has facilitated learning for 19 years in the Vicksburg Community Schools as a teacher, instructional consultant, interventionist and academic coach, and currently serves as a mentor coach and district technology integration leader. A recipient of the 2019 NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, Laura serves on a number of state-level educational policy committees and was appointed to Governor Whitmer's Educator Advisory Council.

Laura's links:


2018 - Luke Wilcox


Luke graduated from the University of Michigan with a teaching degree in math and physics and did his graduate work at Grand Valley State University. Luke’s teaching has been recognized with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and was most recently honored as the 2017-2018 Michigan Teacher of the Year. Luke teaches at the #1 most diverse high school in the state, which has recently made the extraordinary transition from being a priority school to four years later being recognized as an Academic State Champion for high schools with below average incomes. Luke knows that successful schools need teachers actively involved in the planning, decision making, and activation of initiatives within the school. He advocates for hybrid teacher/leader positions in schools to promote organic, sustainable improvement.

Luke's links:



2017 - Tracy Horodyski


Tracy has been a "Proud Michigan Educator" for more than two decades. She taught one year in Grand Rapids Public Schools, and served in Kenowa Hills Public Schools for 19 years as an upper elementary teacher, reading interventionist for K-4 students, and as an instructional coach at the secondary level. She is currently the Assistant Principal at Baldwin Street Middle School in Hudsonville Public Schools.

2016 - Rick Joseph


Since 2003, Rick has taught 5th and 6th grade at Covington School in suburban Detroit after serving as a Spanish bilingual educator and trainer for the Chicago Public Schools for nine years. Rick has a bachelor's in English from the University of Michigan, a master's in elementary education from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and is pursuing a doctorate in literacy at Walden University. Rick lives with his wife, Mary Beth, and two sons, Zachary and Nicholas, in suburban Detroit.

2015 - Melody Arabo


Melody Arabo was a 3rd grade teacher in the Walled Lake School District for over 15 years. She was also a Teacher Ambassador Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education for two years and was honored to serve as the 

2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year.  Currently, Melody is an Outreach Specialist for EdReports.org, developing partnerships with states, non-profits, and teacher leaders across the country to ensure students have access to high quality instructional materials. In addition to being a wife, mother of three, and author, Melody is a passionate advocate for bullying prevention, special education, teacher leadership, and all things education.

2014 - Gary Abud, Jr.


Gary is an Educational Consultant who takes a personalized approach to assessing client needs, identifying areas of focus, and coaching individuals to move toward what they value as they build their skills. In 2015 he received the Bammy Award for high school teaching. Gary is a member of the Board of Directors at the Meemic Foundation, co-founder of #LoveTeaching Week, and past co-host of the weekly talk radio program Teachers of the Year Radio on BAM Radio Network. In addition to being an award-winning educator, Gary is a double cornea transplant recipient. Since having his sight restored, he was moved to use his teaching gifts to make science fun for kids by creating a children’s picture book series, Science With Scarlett, about a young girl scientist and her teddy bear assistant who do experiments with the reader.

Gary's links:


2013 - Bobbi Jo Kenyon


Biography coming soon!

2012 - Paul Galbenski


Paul is the Dean at the Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northeast and a member of the Oakland County Japanese Welcoming Committee in partnership with the Consulate-General of Japan, Detroit. Paul is the co-founder of America’s Marketing High School (AMHS), a national educational leader in providing FREE online business and marketing curricula, with a capstone project based on America’s grandest marketing and advertising event: the Super Bowl. During the 2008-2009 school year, Paul was the recipient of the Wells F. Cook Master Teacher of Secondary Business Education Award presented by the Michigan Business Education Association (MBEA), and a Japan Fulbright Memorial Teacher Fund Scholarship that allowed Paul to spend three weeks in Japan studying the educational system, culture, and business and industry. Paul is the first Career and Technical Education Teacher to earn the prestigious Michigan Teacher of the Year award..

Paul's links:



2011 - Matinga Ragatz


Matinga’s experience as a teacher and instructional innovator has led her to redefine learning. She has developed a trusted voice through which she strives to revolutionize the way children learn and the way teachers teach. She is currently a MI Radio education commentator and speaks weekly about education issues throughout Michigan. Matinga's international background inspires a unique perspective on classroom instruction, learning, and innovation. In 2017, she opened a food science school in Tanzania focusing on children of extreme poverty and their learning needs. She inspires teachers to encourage ownership and create real-world engagement within their classrooms utilizing the innovative strategies that she has developed and successfully implemented over 20 years.

Matinga's links:


2010 - Robert Stephenson


Dr. Robert L Stephenson is a former Okemos Public Schools teacher, where he received numerous teaching accolades including the 2006 PAEMST, the 2009-2010 Michigan Teacher of the Year, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Teacher of the Year. Robert also served as a district principal for East Lansing Public Schools and has been the Ingham Intermediate School District STEM Consultant since July 2014. Robert continues to present to and train teachers in STEM education through the country. Robert is the creator, writer, and host of WKAR’s Emmy-Award winning children’s science program “Curious Crew,” which is broadcast on 70 PBS stations around the country.

Robert's links:



TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi2Qm87kC7o

2009 - Jennifer Haberling


Jen finds her joy in serving students of all ages. She has presented at many national, state and local conferences and has been published in several educational journals, as well as in Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul. In 2008-2009, Jen served as the Michigan Teacher of the Year, an experience that shaped her views on professional development and inquiry-based teaching.  She was also named an Alumni in Residence for the English Department at GVSU in 2014. Jen is currently the Director of Academic Services in Cedar Springs Public Schools and was an assistant principal and secondary teacher of English for the last 25 years in the Hudsonville Public Schools system. Jen is an avid reader, a gardener, a camper, a writer, a wanna-be chef, a biker, a mom of 2 adult-aged kids, a wife, and a Jesus freak!

2008 - June Teisan


June has spent 27 years bringing science to life for students on Detroit's northeast border, and now works on designing vibrant learning experiences fo students and teachers across the U.S. June is one of the founding members and a past president of the Network of Michigan Educators, the parent group for MTOY, and was one of the four finalists for the 2008 National Teacher of the Year award. June is actively involved with education policy and advocacy efforts at the state and national levels. Her passion lies in extending better STEM field opportunities to under-served and under-represented students.

2007 - Kimberly Kyff


Kim grew up in the metropolitan Detroit Area and attended Bloomfield Hills Public Schools. She received her BA in Education from the University of Michigan – Dearborn, her Master’s degree in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College. Kim obtained National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood (8-12 year olds) Generalist in 2003 and renewed her certification in 2013. Kim taught in a private and a parochial setting for eleven years before moving to Detroit Public Schools Community District. Currently, she is in a split position, coaching teachers in Language Arts, and teaching 3rd grade Language Arts and Social Studies. 

2006 - Daniel Schab


Dan retired from classroom teaching in 2014, but continues to work with students, teachers, and school districts to improve math education in Michigan. Over his 33 year teaching career, Dan taught a wide range of math courses, from 7th grade math to advanced placement calculus. Dan’s success as a teacher created many unique opportunities outside of the classroom. At the national level, Dan was chosen for the 2003 Albert Einstein Distinguished Fellowship program and spent the year working with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in Washington, D.C. At the international level, Dan traveled to Japan as part of the Toyota International Teacher Program, and to Denmark as a participant in the International Congress on Math Education.

2005 - Heidi Capraro


2004 - Bill Cecil


Bill graduated cum laude from Western Michigan University in 1986, and is now a retired, 31-year veteran teacher for the Waverly Community Schools in Lansing. In the spring of 2013, Bill traveled to Beijing, Jilin, and Xi-an, China, as a member of a small delegation of professional educators and policymakers from Michigan to explore ways the two countries can work together in the future to enhance educational opportunities. Bill's strong desire to continue sharing his love and passion for the teaching profession motivated him to write "Best Year Ever! Winning Strategies to Thrive in Today's Classroom" and "TEAM PHOENIX," an outreach to spread joy to one million teachers/educators by the end of 2020.

Bill's links:


TEAM PHOENIX link coming in August!

2003 - Sue Gutierrez


Sue is proud of Northern Trail's focus on "keeping kids younger longer" at their 5/6 school hosting tween-age students. During her time as MTOY, Sue sat at the table with the State Board of Education, provided professional learning and attended lectures and conferences all across Michigan. As principal at Northern Trail's 5/6 school, Sue works with her fellow staff members to increase reading proficiency for their students, use Lucy Calkins' materials for reading and writing workshops, and take trips to China for parent/child groups of 45-60 members. Sue and her Northern Trail Huskies stand as a Pack, and welcome everyone in their diverse student body to share their unique talents.

Sue's links:


2002 - James Linsell


Biography coming soon!

2001 - Joan Garretson


Biography coming soon!

2000 - Margaret Holtschlag


Margaret was an elementary teacher for Haslett Public Schools, an instructor for the South Africa Teacher Internship program at Michigan State University, and a 2000 National Teacher of the Year finalist. Margaret is currently director/creator of the BIG Lesson Programs (Nature, Zoo, History, Science). Started in 1999, the BIG Lesson is a model of teaching and learning in which teachers, children, and parents use a community site as a place of learning for a week of indepth study. The BIG Lesson programs are at 18 sites throughout mid-Michigan, and also in Houghton, MI. Over 90,000 children have participated in the BIG Lesson programs.

Margaret's links:


1999 - Timothy Graham


Biography coming soon!

1998 - Katherine Grzesiak


Biography coming soon!

1997 - Sue Szcepanski


Biography coming soon!

1996, 1995 - Sharon Green


Biography coming soon!

1994 - Robert Van Camp


Biography coming soon!

1993 - Nancy Flanagan


Nancy spent 31 years as a K-12 Music specialist in the Hartland School District. She served for two years as the Teacher in Residence with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, working on teacher leadership, assessment development, and education reform. She was Electronic Media Coordinator for the 2011 Save Our Schools March, and teaches the online graduate course "Teacher as Change Agent" for the Center of Teacher Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her blog "Teacher in a Strange Land" was featured on Education Week's Teacher division for nine years.

Nancy's blog:


1992 - Thomas Fleming


Biography coming soon!

1991 - Katherine Afendoulis


Biography coming soon!

1990 - Cynthia Ann Broad


Biography coming soon!

1989 - Andrea Willis


Biography coming soon!

1988 - Edward Manning


Biography coming soon!

1987 - Nancy Bray


Biography coming soon!

1986 - Jaqueline Caffey


Biography coming soon!

1985 - Judyth Dobbert


Biography coming soon!

1984 - Marvelle Vannest


Biography coming soon!

1983 - Hugh Spagnolo


Biography coming soon!

1982 - Melvin Miller


Biography coming soon!

1981 - Joan Hammersmith


Biography coming soon!

1973 - John Ryer


Biography coming soon!

1970 - Mary Ellen Stier


Biography coming soon!

1968 - Ryll Clark


Biography coming soon!

1967 - Arlene Phillips


Biography coming soon!

1966 - Myrtie Bowerman


Biography coming soon!

1964 - Ralph Deal


Biography coming soon!

1961 - Isabelle Mattson


Biography coming soon!

1957 - Mary Noecker


Biography coming soon!

1952 - Rosalind Zapf


Biography coming soon!