West Bloomfield teacher nominated for national award

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 1, 2018

 Amy Hughes

Amy Hughes

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Amy Hughes, the principal of Abbott Middle School, has been nominated by members of school staff for the LifeChanger of the Year award, a national award that recognizes educators who exemplify excellence, positive influence and leadership.

“I like to be in the background of things,” said Hughes. “But I appreciate it. I think it’s important to recognize teachers and kids, but it’s great.” 

Hughes has been with Abbott since 1994, beginning as a math and science teacher, then becoming assistant principal. She has been principal at the school since 2005. 

“I can’t imagine being anyplace else than in West Bloomfield and at Abbott Middle School,” said Hughes. “We’re a strong school. Our students are coming to use with challenges, and we’ve had to meet the needs of every child, which is different for every kid. There are constant challenges, and every day is a new day, but our goal is making kids feel safe, valued and successful.” 

Hughes’ work with the Read 180 program at the school was one of the reasons she was nominated. The program focuses on reading and literacy and encourages kids to read. 

Hughes has also led the implementation of the AVID — Advancement Via Individual Determination — program, and the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics program. 

Her work in supporting extracurricular activities also helped in the nomination. She helped start the student Social Justice Leadership program and helped organize Abbott’s cultural fair. 

Assistant Principal Lisa Graff said that above all else, Hughes is a great mentor for her assistant principals and for her teachers. 

“She’s very flexible and good at recognizing people’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Graff. “She plays on strengths, but recognizes what you need to do to get better. The support is just unreal.

“She’s very understanding and supportive, and I think she encourages people to flourish. She makes it safe for people to take risks and backs you up if you take a nosedive.” 

There are 17 total winners of the award at varying levels. The grand prize winner nets $10,000, four finalists take home $5,000, 10 others take home $3,000, the Spirit Award winner takes home $5,000, and the Spotlight Award winner takes home $5,000.  

“If I did win, I would somehow share it with the staff,” said Hughes. “I’m where I’m at because I surround myself with amazing people. My job is not that difficult because I have such great teachers and support staff who make my job fun every day.”