LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A kindergarten teacher at Robert L. Green Elementary won the Michigan Lottery’s Excellence in Education award thanks to her dedication and hard work.

Kathryn Kluzak has been teaching for the past nine years and has worked with East Lansing Public Schools for the last seven years.

Volunteering is what ignited Kluzak’s interest in becoming a teacher. She described herself as very fortunate to have teachers and family who helped shape her love for education.

“My drive to continue being an educator stems from the love of watching students learn and grow. The information and knowledge that even our youngest learners possess never ceases to amaze me,” Kluzak said. “I aspire to provide my students with meaningful learning opportunities and to continue being present for them each day.”

Kluzak was nominated for the Excellence in Education award by a colleague.

“Kathryn has been our school’s special education teacher, a mentor to three student teachers, and is now a kindergarten teacher,” the nominator said. “I have been lucky enough to be Kathryn’s first student teacher and now colleague.”

The nominator went on to say that during their first year as a teacher, Kluzak went above and beyond her job description to help others, even starting a learning lab for her caseload students during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am so blessed to have Kathryn as my team teacher because she is so knowledgeable and has taught me so much in our time together,” the nominator concluded.

As a part of Kluzak’s award, she received a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to either her classroom, school, or school district.