EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — An East Lansing kindergarten teacher has won the Michigan Lottery’s Excellence in Education program’s 2023 Educator of the Year award.

The winner, Kathryn Kluzak, teaches at Robert L. Green Elementary, which is part of the district East Lansing Public Schools.

Kluzak has taught for nine years, spending the last seven in East Lansing. She said a volunteer opportunity she encountered in high school led to her pursuing an education career.

“When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to volunteer in my former elementary school. I always enjoyed working with younger students. I was very fortunate to have many teachers and family members who shaped my love of education and I wanted to share that love through a career as an educator,” Kluzak said in a release from the Michigan Lottery.

As part of the award, Kluzak will receive a $10,000 prize from the Michigan Lottery.

Kluzak was nominated by her colleague and co-teacher, Madison Brosky. Her nomination emphasized Kluzak’s dedication to her students and her drive to help student teachers succeed.

“During my first year, she went above and beyond to help me and other staff outside of her job description. She started a learning lab for her caseload students during COVID and last summer she helped the new special education teacher prepare for her first school year, all while trying to prepare for her own transition to kindergarten,” Brosky said.