Chamber recognizes four Dearborn Teachers of the Year

Members of the business and educational communities congratulate the 2020 Teacher of the Year honorees. From left to right: Dr. Glenn Maleyko, Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent; 3-5 th Grade Teacher of the Year Award Recipient Michael Hawkins of Nowlin Elementary School; Adel Mozip, Dearborn School Board Trustee; Pre K – 2 nd Grade Teacher of the Year Award Recipient Andrea Sims of DuVall Elementary School; Philipp Emma, Chairman of the Dearborn Area Chamber’s Education Committee; High School Teacher of the Year Award Recipient Dan Taylor of Fordson High School; Jackie Lovejoy, President of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce; Middle School Teacher of the Year Award Recipient Ryan Piche of Bryant Middle School; Mike Law, General Manager of LaFontaine Automotive Group in Dearborn.

Shared from the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce

The Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce with assistance from the Dearborn Public Schools recognized and honored the winners of the 2020 Teacher of the Year Students’ Choice Awards on Monday, September 28th The virtual event was broadcasted live via the Chamber’s Facebook page and the district’s YouTube channel, Facebook account and cable channels. The ceremony, hosted by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by LaFontaine Automotive Group, recognized the Teacher of the Year for grade categories Pre-Kindergarten- 2nd grade, 3rd – 5th grade, middle school and high school.

The winning teachers for 2020 are Andrea Sims of DuVall Elementary School (Pre K-2nd grades), Michael Hawkins of Nowlin Elementary School (3rd-5th grades), Ryan Piche of Bryant Middle School, and Dan Taylor of Fordson High School. Each of the four honorees received a $1,000 cash prize from the Chamber, a hand-made glass apple award from the Glass Academy in Dearborn along with a yearlong membership to The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. These teachers are now part of a select group of Dearborn teachers who have been recognized by the community for their ability to make a difference.

The Chamber’s Education Committee, chaired by Philipp Emma, had the tough job of selecting four winners from a field of nearly 1,500 nominations for 350+ teachers! Nominations were received and carefully chosen by the committee, made up of a group of dedicated and highly motivated members of the educational and business communities.

We start this process in the fall and are ready with our winners before April 1st. That timeline really served us well with the pandemic arriving,” commented Jackie Lovejoy, president of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce.  “We’ve been waiting to award in our usual style, and we just couldn’t delay any longer!”

Andrea Sims was nominated as a 1st grade teacher at DuVall Elementary School by her student. Addison, Addison wrote in her nomination essay, “My teacher is funny and smart. She knows all the answers. I love school because she makes it interesting. She always reads stories with silly voices for the characters. She lets me play with play dough. She made a field trip just so my mom could go with me when she was off work. It made me so happy. School is fun because I get to draw pictures and write stories.”

Michael Hawkins was nominated by his student, Liana Llamas for his stellar efforts as a 4th grade teacher at Nowlin Elementary School.  Liana shared why her teacher should be recognized among the best. “On Monday I am an engineer. On Tuesday I am an artist. On Wednesday I am a scientist and possibly a doctor by Thursday. Neatly written on the blackboard everyday my teacher writes us a different note, ‘Good morning my little engineer’s.’ My caring teacher not only makes learning fun but is very inspirational with his kind words we see every morning. I think those words of encouragement are not only positive and motivational but are a fun way of thinking about our future goals and aspirations.”  

The middle school teacher of the year, Ryan Piche, was nominated for his outstanding teaching at Bryant Middle School. He was nominated by a student who said, “Mr. Piche has helped me throughout the years. He is always willing to have a personal conversation even if he has to sacrifice much of his time. I’ve never had a teacher like him before and am glad I had him in a classroom. I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am if it weren’t for Mr. Piche.”

“He worked very hard, more than I ever would if I were a teacher. I really respect that and even when he is going through his own personal anarchy of being a father and being married he still teaches amazingly. I’ve never seen Mr. Piche stressed as he only provides joy and peace for all.”

The high school winner, Dan Taylor was nominated for teaching Orchestra & Band at Fordson High School. He was nominated by his student Heba Chokr.

“When I had joined orchestra, my only intention was to learn how to play the cello, and that’s it. I had no intention to ever play with a bunch of people and to work with them. To me the cello was a solo instrument meant for me, myself, and I. It wasn’t until Mr.Taylor pulled me from the back room to play with the rest of the orchestra I learned the most important lesson that I will carry with me to college and life. Life isn’t a solo, and you must work together with people in order to be successful. Going from playing by myself to playing with an entire orchestra was very difficult, but Mr.Taylor taught me that I need to listen to others and not focus on just myself in order to create something beautiful. It’s because of orchestra I have learned to become a better listener, and a better student that isn’t focused on just themselves. Without Taylor the lessons that I have learned wouldn’t have been as clear and without those lessons I wouldn’t be prepared for college or life.”

Community partners sponsoring the event are LaFontaine Automotive Group, Campbell Family Owned McDonald’s, Century 21 Curran & Oberski, Dearborn Agency, Dearborn Federal Savings Bank, DFCU Financial, Gallagher Benefits Services, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, Dearborn Federation of Teachers, Fairlane Town Center, Greenland Markets, , Jim Thorpe Ameriprise Financial, Kumon of Dearborn Heights, MEEMIC Toler-Stemen Agency, Sphinx Technologies, Westborn Agency MEEMIC, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Crunch Fitness- Dearborn, Dearborn Education Foundation, EduCare Student Services, Famous Hamburger, Habib’s Cuisine, La Pita Restaurant, PSN Technology, STEP (Services to Enhance Potential, State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, Chief Financial Credit Union, Dearborn City Clerk George Darany, Delta Dental, Mati’s Deli, Rugenski Chiropractic, Siena Heights University.

Education is one of the Dearborn Area Chamber’s core strategies.  Through programs such as Teacher of the Year, the Chamber, a 600+ member organization, cultivates learning and mentoring opportunities between the student population and local business.

For more information, please contact the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce by phone at 313-584-6100. Be sure to follow the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook at, on Twitter @DbnAreaChamber and online at for all the latest news and events.