Manton reading specialist recognized by Michigan Lottery

Alonna Liabenow has a passion when it comes to reading and she shares that passion with the students of Manton Elementary School. On Tuesday, it was announced Liabenow was honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

Excellence in Education Award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria: • Excellence — Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement. • Dedication — They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed. • Inspiration — Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations academically or professionally. • Leadership — They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts. • Effectiveness — The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.

MANTON — Alonna Liabenow has a passion when it comes to reading and she shares that passion with the students of Manton Elementary School.

It was that passion that recently got Liabenow recognized by the Michigan Lottery with the chance to be recognized again later in the year. On Tuesday, it was announced Liabenow was honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public-school educators across the state during the school year.

Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school, or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Liabenow said she has always loved working with children and knew at an early age that she wanted to have a career that allowed her to work with children.

“As I got older and had the opportunity to tutor students, especially thanks to Mary Myers our reading specialist, I knew that I wanted to teach. I especially wanted to return to Manton, where I attended K-12, and now it’s my seventh year working here,” she said.

Liabenow said she has a passion for reading for many reasons. First, reading is foundational for all other academic forms of study. Even if a student loves a different subject, like science, they will need to be able to read instructions and be able to effectively communicate about their research or experiments. She also said students who struggle with reading need to be able to access interventions to help them improve their reading skills and prepare them for the future.

“Beyond academic reasons, I just really love to read,” she said. “I have loved reading my whole life, and have filled a good number of shelves with books. I want students to be able to find a love of reading for themselves. I want them to find a topic, book or series that becomes important to them.”

Manton Elementary Principal JP Katona said she works with Title I students in kindergarten through fourth grades. The recognition is well-deserved, according to Katona. He said she shows up daily excited to be around students, loves reading and loves interacting with the students.

He said a lot of elementary students love going to her class. Not only does she help them with their reading but also helps to engage them in finding books to read and gives lessons on different genres of literature.

“They get excited about reading,” Katona said. “She is a driver and a huge asset. She gets the kids excited about reading.”

As for the $500 grant the school received from the Michigan Lottery, Katona said it will be used for literary purposes, such as getting books in the hands of students or whatever else is needed.

Staff Writer/Reporter

Son, brother, husband, father, friend, writer, beekeeper, gamer, beard growing all around good guy. I cover Wexford County government, cops and courts, CAPS, Pine River Area Schools, the Marion area, some sports and any other stories that come my way.

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