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Clintondale teachers honored among best in Macomb County

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published April 13, 2016

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Three Clintondale Community Schools teachers were recently recognized for their achievements in education.

Teachers at the elementary, middle school and high school levels were acknowledged by the Macomb County Association of School Administrators and the Macomb Association of Curriculum Administrators. Teachers were originally nominated by their respective districts.

The three Clintondale teachers honored this year are Lana Kieninger, of McGlinnen Elementary; Julie Busch, of Clintondale Middle School; and Michael Finn, of Clintondale High School.

“Probably the best thing about the award for any teachers is they get nominated by their peers,” said Clintondale School Board President Jason Davidson. “When you have someone doing the same job as you saying you are the teacher of the year, that’s probably bigger than anything else.”

Kieninger teaches special education language arts and math to kindergarten, first-, second- and third-grade students. A teacher for 14 years, she said the honor of doing her job every day is accompanied by the daily support of her co-workers.

“We are such a great team at McGlinnen,” Kieninger said. “We work well with each other, share ideas and have created a supportive ‘work family.’”

In her unique role, she said being open to new ideas and different resources allows her to be a better teacher for those with different needs.

“I call my students ‘my kids.’ I treat them like my own,” she said. “We have a great relationship. We have a good time in my room and they feel safe in my classroom. They know how much I care about them.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher. I remember knowing by third grade that I would be a teacher. I attended Clintondale from kindergarten to 12th grade, and the teachers inspired me at an early age.”

Kieninger received this particular award once before, when she taught second grade at Rainbow Elementary.

This is the first such honor Finn has received in his 14-plus years of teaching. Finn grew up with a mother who was a teacher, and he always respected what she accomplished.

“It is a great feeling to be recognized and chosen by my peers as teacher of the year,” Finn said. “I am very proud of this award, as well as the teachers and administrators that I work with.

“I love the fact that each day I have countless opportunities to make a positive impact in someone’s life. I can’t think of too many things more important than that.”

Busch could not be reached for comment at press time.

A total of 63 teachers from around the county will be honored in front of family, friends, school board members, superintendents and curriculum administrators April 21 at the Macomb Intermediate School District building in Clinton Township. Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, will present the teachers with congratulations.