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Local named alternative education teacher of the year

Patricia Hillaker (click for larger version)
May 09, 2012 - Patricia Hillaker has been named 2012 Alternative Education Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Alternative Education Organization.

Hillaker received the designation during the MAEO's annual spring conference April 26 at the Bay Valley Resort in Bay City.

"It feels good to be recognized by my peers for all my hard work and dedication to the teaching profession," said Hillaker, a 1989 Brandon High School graduate and Goodrich resident. "This experience has been a wonderful opportunity to share my ideas, skills and knowledge with other devoted educators across Michigan. I believe collaboration is the key to promote quality education and advocate for our youth. In reflection, I am reminded of the students who inspire me every day that I walk into the classroom. It is such an honor and privilege to be such an important part of their learning process."

Hillaker received her bachelor's degree in secondary education in 2004 and her master's degree in public administration in 2010 from the University of Michigan-Flint. Since 2006, she has taught chemistry, physical science, environmental science, biology and health to students at the Riley Adult/Alternative Education Center in the Beecher Community School District.

"Teaching alternative education students is the most rewarding experience in the world," said Hillaker. "I am cognizant that many of my students have struggled through school. I might be their last chance to impact their lives and educational careers. If I can inspire them, then they will be on the path to becoming lifelong learners. Many of my students attend college because they have acquired a love for learning through dynamic hands-on instruction. Every year I raise my expectations for my students and they always rise up to meet the challenge. I am so proud to be their teacher."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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