MSU alumna named Michigan’s top teacher

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A Michigan State University alumna, who teaches third grade in the Walled Lake Consolidate School District, has been named the 2014-2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year. The recognition is accompanied by a seat on the State Board of Education.

Mike Flanagan, Michigan’s State Superintendent of Schools, surprised recipient Melody Arabo, ’01, ’04, at a mid-May assembly commemorating Keith Elementary School’s 50th anniversary.

“She has a magical way of making learning fun for kids. You have to see her with students. Mrs. Arabo not only helped my son build confidence in reading, but he is now able to read,” said Edie Schwartz, a parent who nominated Arabo for the award. Keith Elementary is located in West Bloomfield Township, northwest of Detroit.

Arabo has been a teacher for 12 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in curriculum and teaching at MSU. She was selected from a field of 238 nominees.

“I feel my greatest accomplishment is being named to represent the state of Michigan as an effective teacher preparing future citizens of the world. This is such a great honor to be a positive voice for education and all teachers in Michigan,” she said.

“We hear so much negativity. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to show the public that Michigan has great schools and dedicated teachers,” Arabo said.

As Michigan Teacher of the Year, Arabo will have the chance to meet with Governor Rick Snyder and President Barack Obama.

Selected each year by the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Teacher of the Year program provides professional development opportunities, travel to promote the teaching profession, a seat at the monthly state board meetings and more.

Arabo is the fifth MSU graduate to be honored with the statewide title. She joins the ranks of: Dan Schab, ’91, MA in educational administration; Sue Gutierrez, ’92, MA in curriculum and teaching; Jim Linsell, ’73, BA in social science and teaching; and Margaret Holtschlag, ’87, MA in reading instruction.

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