IONIA COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan Lottery is honoring another dedicated educator this week from Ionia County with their Excellence in Education award.

The grand winner is Jessica Lafler, a first-grade teacher at Twin Rivers Elementary.

Lafler is known for her hard work, love and commitment to her students. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and has been an educator for 15 years.

Lafler says her teachers were her inspiration to choose a career path in education.

“My first-grade teacher and all of the teachers I had after that made me want to become a teacher,” Lafler said.

For the award, Lafler will receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to her classroom, school, or school district.

The nomination for Lafler displayed the passion she has for her work and love she has for her students.

“Mrs. Lafler’s love for her first grade students and her desire for them to be their best is unbelievable. She works 10 to 12 hours every day to prepare for the next day and makes sure every detail is perfect for her students. During Christmas, her annual tradition is for each student to make a Christmas plate for their family using the student’s handprint. She is also very popular among her students and often gets a hi and hug from students when seeing them outside of school,” said the woman who nominated her.

The Michigan Lottery began giving out Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize exceptional public-school educators across the state during the school year.

Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on excellence, dedication, inspiration, leadership, and effectiveness