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Detroit district teacher named Michigan Teacher of the Year

Candice Jackson
Candice Jackson, a third grade teacher at Mann Learning Community, was named Michigan Teacher of the Year Thursday.Ethan Bakuli/Chalkbeat

Candice Jackson, a third grade teacher at Mann Learning Community in Detroit, was named Michigan Teacher of the Year Thursday. 

Jackson is the first teacher from the Detroit Public Schools Community District to receive the state’s highest teaching honor since the 2006-07 school year.

Jackson learned she was selected during a surprise visit to Mann by State Superintendent Michael Rice.


The Michigan Department of Education recognizes the state’s top teacher each year. The winner is chosen for their dedication to the teaching profession, commitment to students, and track record in teaching. The selection process begins with nominations from students, staff, and community members.


In April, the MDE announced the 10 regional teachers of the year. The top teacher is chosen from the regional selections.

The Michigan Teacher of the Year spends a year speaking for teachers from across the state and has a non-voting seat at State Board of Education meetings.

Here are the other Michigan regional teachers of the year:

  • Gina Pepin, a reading teacher at Lemmer Elementary in Escanaba Area Public Schools.
  • Brandi Clark, a mathematics teacher at Kalkaska Middle School in Kalkaska Public Schools.
  • Stephanie Nielsen, a kindergarten teacher at Shawmut Hills Academy in Grand Rapids Public Schools.
  • Bridgit Sova, a special education teacher at H.H. Dow High School in Midland Public Schools.
  • Jennifer Senkmajer, a fourth grade teacher at Yale Elementary School in Yale Public Schools.
  • Nicole Minor, a mathematics teacher at Lansing Eastern High School in Lansing School District.
  • Jaime Hilaski, a mathematics teacher at Schoolcraft Junior-Senior High School in Schoolcraft Community Schools.
  • Lori Richert, a second and third grade teacher at Childs Elementary in Lincoln Consolidated Schools.
  • Vanessa Robert, a kindergarten teacher at Canton Charter Academy in Canton.

Ethan Bakuli is a reporter for Chalkbeat Detroit covering Detroit Public Schools Community District. Contact Ethan at

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