Hesperia teacher wins Excellence in Education award from Michigan Lottery

January 10, 2024

Hesperia teacher wins Excellence in Education award from Michigan Lottery

HESPERIA — A Hesperia educator known for her “purple pen of love” has been honored with an Excellence In Education award from the Michigan Lottery.

The award winner, Theresa Dean-Rumsey, is an English teacher at Hesperia High School. 

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year, according to a Michigan Lottery press release.

Winners of the weekly award receive a $2,000 cash prize. At the end of the school year, one of the weekly award winners will be selected to receive the Lottery’s Educator of the Year award and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Dean-Rumsey says she has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember.

“My grandma was a kindergarten and music teacher in the same school I attended – where I now teach –  and my first “teaching” experience in front of a class was reading to her kindergartners when I was in third grade.”

Dean-Rumsey says she is motivated by her love of literature and desire to help students reach their full potential.

“I’m motivated by my love of literature and my desire to help students reach their potential. I was inspired to implement AP classes at our high school after realizing that we needed to offer more rigorous courses to prepare our college-bound students. The AP English program has grown from one class of four students the first year (2008) to a full honors English program for grades 8-12, along with AP literature and composition, AP language and composition, and this year I’m teaching an AP seminar for the first time. I look forward each day to helping students engage in critical reading, writing and thinking.”

Dean-Rumsey was nominated for the award by her colleague Jennifer Sherburn, whose two sons are students in her AP and honors English classes.

“The ‘purple pen of love’ graces the many pages of student’s essays in Mrs. Dean-Rumsey’s English classroom. She explains to her eighth grade students that her purple pen, with which she assesses everything, is her dedication to helping them reach their full potential. She is one of the most dedicated and respected educators I have ever known. I feel beyond blessed that both of my teenage boys get to have her for their English teacher for five years. In our small school, students have the opportunity to take honors English in eighth grade, which begins the preparation for advanced placement literature and advanced placement language and composition as juniors and seniors. Most impressively, she takes average students — often from underprivileged homes — and turns them into amazing readers and writers who score above average on the national AP exams. Our school is very fortunate to have someone of her motivation and dedication to lead, guide and inspire our students. Students know she cares deeply about their success and ensuring preparedness for higher education or their next steps in life.”

Dean-Rumsey earned a bachelor’s degree from Alma College and a master’s degrees from Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University. She has been an educator for 36 years — the last 28 in her current position.

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 either 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.