By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
She thought she was logging on to Zoom for the weekly Scarlett staff meeting.
And she was.
But there was a special surprise for special education teacher consultant Laura Morning, who learned that the A2Y Chamber had named her one of three of the 4th Annual 2020 LaFontaine Distinguished Teacher of the Year.
“Scarlett is home to me,” said Morning after hearing the news and expressing thanks that her mascara was waterproof.
Scarlett Assistant Principal Jaye Peterson says Morning goes above and beyond for her students and colleagues and has a positive attitude every day.
“What I admire most about Laura is that she strives to be an anti-racist and culturally relevant educator for all students and families,” she says. “She is a wonderful listener, patient, and deeply insightful in assessing students’ needs.
David Norton, chair of the Teacher of the Award Committee, read a letter of nomination from one of Morning’s students.
“Ms. Morning was different from all the other teachers in the way she explained things,” he quoted from the letter. “She took the extra time with me to study and understand what was being taught. Ms. Morning was always there for me, helping me with schoolwork, teaching me organizational skills and with tests. Ms. Morning was always happy, nice and fun. I always felt good being in her class. She taught me to gain confidence in myself academically. Ms. Morning is the teacher I miss the most.”
School social worker Schuylar Hillard said she spoke for the entire staff when she said the award was well deserved.
“We are so grateful and appreciative for all your hard work and we see it and we are just so amazed by it,” she said.
Later that day, Morning said she is shocked and honored, and that everyone at Scarlett deserves an award.
“It’s a really great feeling to be recognized for the work that you do, but this is definitely a team effort,” said Morning, who has worked at Scarlett for 11 years, and is finishing her 18th year teaching. “I work with the most amazing colleagues and am inspired every day by the work they are doing to make sure that all students have equal access to the curriculum. They make going to work, not feel like a job, but more like home.”
“I have a second family at Scarlett, the kids, families, and the entire community are a blessing to serve.”
Morning grew up in Chelsea and attended EMU for both undergrad and graduate studies. She and her husband Geoff live in Ypsilanti live with their three children.
Sponsored by the LaFontaine Automotive Group, the first-place winner will receive a 2-year lease or a $5,000 cash award; as the second-place winner and Distinguished Teacher, Morning will receive a $1,000 cash award for her classroom, and the third-place winner will receive a $500 cash award.
The other two winners have not yet been announced.
Morning is not sure how she’ll spend the $1,000 but does know she needs a set of calculators for her classroom.
“I will be chatting with the entire special education team to see where the funds should be spent,” she said.