Michigan District’s 2016 Elementary Teachers of the Year3 min read

This year the Michigan District recognized two outstanding educators with the Elementary Teacher of the Year Award:

Sally Buss – Trinity Lutheran School, Clinton TownshipBuss with award

Have you ever met one of those people who lives and works with boundless energy and inspirational passion? If you know Dr. Sally Buss, the eighth grade teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Clinton Township, Mich., you have seen firsthand the difference a Lutheran School teacher can make! Sally is a model teacher who not only enjoys working with junior high students but also is actively involved in Trinity’s “Groundwork Guatemala Impact Mission Team.” She also partners with Covenant House in Detroit and helps build connections between their ministry and her students at Trinity.

Sally invests many hours and incredible energy in preparing for her teaching and preparing Trinity students and adults to show the message of Christ in their actions to others. Sally is a master teacher in faith formation at Trinity and understands the concept of allowing students space in this process and the ownership of their faith at the culmination of the experience.

According to Julian Petzold, the principal at Trinity, “Sally is exceptional at teaching language arts because she can take the theme or message of a book and apply it to the everyday life of her students!” Seventh grade teacher Mark Brown says, “Sally is constantly seeking out the best in all students and firmly believes in helping each child discover their God-given gifts and abilities.”

Sally desires her students to not only know facts but to think and be curious about learning. Students leave Trinity with a determination to be a lifelong learner and the skills needed to reach that goal. Sally is a faith role model to students, parents and other staff. When asked what gives her hope, she said, “I find extraordinary hope in the lives and choices of the students in our schools. This generation wants to make a difference; they want to understand what is happening around them; they want to be a reflection of Christ in their everyday lives, and the ways they are finding to do that are frequently breath-taking.  That gives me hope and peace for the future.”

Brenda Havers – Trinity Lutheran School, UticaHavers with award

The last twenty-four years have seen Brenda Havers as a fixture at Trinity Lutheran School in Utica, Mich. as she teaches Science and interacts with junior high students. Brenda’s fingerprints are especially noticeable in the area of Science as she coaches the Science Olympiad team that recently placed fourth at one of the biggest Science Olympiad Regionals featuring over 80 elementary schools at Macomb Community College. Her influence is seen through the coordination of students, parents, and volunteers who coach and help students find joy and intrigue in Science and God’s creation. Karen Delmotte, fourth grade teacher who works with Brenda, says, “Brenda is a blessing to our school. I consider her a good friend and we work well together. She is hard working, puts in extra time and enjoys being with kids inside and outside the classroom. This is especially evident in Science Olympiad.”

Brenda has excellent Science facilities at Trinity and uses this dedicated room and her expertise to challenge students, awaken their sense of wonder in God’s creation, and help them understand the laws and orders of God’s creation. She has mentored new teachers, is a great listener, supportive of other teachers and the mission of Trinity Lutheran school—all of this wrapped into an optimistic view of life centered around her role as a baptized child of God.

Principal Bruce Volkert says, “Brenda is an influential person in our school even though that does not at all appear to be a goal of hers. She accomplishes much through mutual respect. Her classroom mirrors this and parents notice how she interacts with their families and their children. Brenda is motivated by a sense of service to her Lord that is noticed by others. Brenda is a model servant leader at Trinity.”

Congratulations to Sally Buss and Brenda Havers, the Co-Elementary School Teachers of the Year for 2016!

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About the Author

Dr. Bruce Braun, emeritus, served many years as Superintendent of Schools for the Michigan District, LCMS.

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