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2020 Michigan District Educators of the Year3 min read

We are blessed with many Lutheran schools throughout the Michigan District, and those schools are full of gifted teachers serving the Lord by educating His children every day. Each year we lift up outstanding educators who are doing extraordinary things in the classroom. It is our privilege to recognize the following educators this year:

Mildred Chico – 2020 Michigan District Early Childhood Teacher of the Year

Mildred is a Pre-K teacher at Open Arms, Belleville. During the nomination process, one person commented: “Mildred is a humble educator. Her true reward is the success of her students. She works hard to make sure that each lesson can be adapted to meet individual needs. Through deliberate one-on-one and small group time, Mildred recognizes each child’s skills, builds relationships, and makes them feel special.” Michigan District, LCMS Superintendent of Schools Travis Grulke wrote, “It is evident that Mildred’s ministry to the students, staff, and families at Open Arms is one that should be celebrated. Early childhood education is a vital ministry in our Lutheran Church and Mildred is working with both her students and families as she shares the Gospel. We are thankful for her work both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Gregory Johnson – 2020 Michigan District Principal of the Year

Greg has been the principal of St. Michael Lutheran School in Portage since 2005. When nominating him, one person said,Greg is the consummate administrator. He is always leading in a professional manner with Christ at the center of his life. He has a heart for his students and expertly facilitates the educational process in his school. He provides excellent leadership for his faculty, encouraging them in every aspect of their calling.” In his letter of congratulations, Superintendent Grulke adds, “We are extremely thankful for his leadership over the years. He is truly one of the gifted leaders we have in the district, and he is gracious in sharing those gifts. We look forward to hearing how God continues to use Greg in the future to have a powerful impact on those he is called to serve!”

Paulette Walters – 2020 Michigan District K-8 Teacher of the Year

Paulette is the 7th-8th grade teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Sturgis. She has served Trinity for her entire teaching ministry, and has taught in many of the grade levels. During the nomination process, one person commented: “Paulette is a dedicated teacher. She uses a variety of group and interactive projects to enhance her lessons. She has embraced technology and makes use of it in her classroom each day. In addition to her classroom responsibilities, she teaches three different school handbell groups. She accompanies songs at chapel with her guitar and for years led the 1st-6th grades in a weekly song time. Paulette is also active with school athletics, coaching our cross-country team, keeping score at basketball games, and umpiring kickball games.” Superintendent Grulke said, “We are thankful for Paulette’s dedication to Trinity’s ministry, her willingness to lead in a variety of ways, and for her work both inside and outside of the classroom.” Yet another nominating comment summarizes everything: “Trinity has been truly blessed by the 38 years of service provided by Paulette, and I can’t imagine anyone more deserving to be honored as the Michigan District’s Teacher of the Year.”

Congratulations to the 2020 Michigan District, LCMS Educators of the Year!

Pictured L-R: Mildred Chico, Greg Johnson, and Paulette Walters


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This blog is published by the Communications Department of the Michigan District, LCMS.

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Barbara Rudick - May 12, 2020

Congratulations to all 3 Teachers of the Year. What a blessing you are to students, families, your schools and communities, and what honor you bring to God.

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