Teaching Fellow wins Michigan Certificate of Excellence

Matt Oney TF ’12 was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the Michigan Department of Education. As one of only seven teachers honored, Mr. Oney will receive a $10,000 grant each year for three years.

The award recognizes innovation in STEM instruction and the grant will go toward expanding the STEM program at Escanaba High School, where Mr. Oney teaches.

“The students are going to benefit from Mr. Oney having access to purchasing some new materials that are going to allow him to do things in his classroom that are even more innovative than what he already does,” Escanaba Public Schools Superintendent Coby Fletcher told TV6 News. “It also gives him the opportunity to develop some of those so that he can take them out to other areas so they can do some of the same things for their students.”

Mr. Oney, who said he was “honored” to receive the award, has been teaching for six years. With an undergraduate degree in biology, Mr. Oney got the itch to teach while working towards his master’s in plant molecular biology and coaching grade-level football. He was awarded a 2012 WW Michigan Teaching Fellowship at Michigan State University.

In the classroom, Mr. Oney pushes his students to learn about physics by asking questions, observing, and experimenting. He moves his desk and textbooks out of the way and doesn’t rely on lecturing. Through the opportunities provided by the grant, Mr. Oney hopes to ignite other teachers’ excitement about teaching science, just as he tries to spark his students’ love of science.

“When I wrote the grant, the proposal was aimed at training high school science teachers in molecular biology techniques,” Oney said. “This summer the plan is to do a four-day workshop at Bay College for high school biology teachers to do molecular biology specifically.”

“We are proud to see Mr. Oney recognized for the excellent work he does in the classroom,” Superintendent Fletcher told the Daily Press. “His combination of innovation, caring, and determination… reflect[s] the excellent things happening in the Escanaba Area Public Schools, and we’re excited that he has the opportunity to share this with other teachers around the state.”


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