Carpenter teachers named DTE Educators of the Year

and    tied for the honor.
Karen McDonald and Ann Marie Borders of Carpenter Elementary are DTE Educators of the Year.

Carpenter Elementary is celebrating the fact that art teacher Karen McDonald and vocal music teacher Ann Marie Borders have just been named this year’s  DTE Educators of the Year.

“Karen McDonald and Ann Marie Borders are what I like to call UMS super participators,” said Jim Leija, director of education and community engagement for the University Musical Society. “Both of these teachers have really great and long relationships with UMS and are real models in school districts for building art into the curriculum more broadly for young people.”

The award rewards excellence in arts education and arts integration.

Leija said McDonald and Borders were neck-and-neck with the selection committee, which decided for the first time to declare a tie.

“It’s great they’re from the same school and are colleagues, and we’re excited to honor both of them,” he said, moments before surprising them during a staff meeting.

PTO Co-president Cara Quann said both teachers deserve the honor.

“They work very hard and the kids love them,” she said.  “My kids come home singing, and they’re always showing their art throughout the school, which beautifies our school.”

Carpenter Principal Michael Johnson said it was a great day for the Carpenter community.

“We are grateful to have both Mrs. Borders and Ms. McDonald,” he said.

As recipients, McDonald and Borders will receive an in-school interaction by an artist, which could include a student assembly or workshop. They’ll each be able to  bring a classroom to a  U-M School Day Performance. And they’re invited to join UMS on Jan. 25 at the Ford Honors Gala honoring Mariinsky Orchestra, where they’ll officially receive their awards from the DTE Foundation.

“We cannot be prouder than right now,” said Leija. “You’ve been doing great work in the system for a longer time.”

Carpenter Elementary was a DTE School of the Year two years ago.

Jim Leija, UMS' , director of education and community engagement, surprised   and Borders with the award at a Carpenter staff meeting.
Jim Leija, UMS’ director of education and community engagement, surprised McDonald and Borders with the award during a Carpenter staff meeting.
Carpenter community congratulates      .
The Carpenter community joined UMS staff in congratulating the teachers.

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  1. Congratulations Ann Marie and Karen! Your commitment to our children and community speaks volumes to your passion! Thank you for leading, cRing and inspiring our youth.

  2. Well deserved honor for these two colleagues who have been an inspiration to me for many years.

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