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Kingsley Elementary's Molly Dunham Named Michigan Regional Teacher of the Year



Third grade teacher Molly Dunham is one of ten teachers selected to interview for Michigan Teacher of the Year 2024-2025

KINGSLEY, MI – Kingsley Elementary’s Molly Dunham has been named the Michigan Region 2 Teacher of the Year. After an extensive application and interview process the third grade teacher was selected as the most outstanding educator across the entire Northern Lower Peninsula region.


She and nine other regional finalists will now interview for the title of Michigan Teacher of the Year. As an honoree, Mrs. Dunham will also get to work with the Michigan Department of Education to improve our state’s schools. 


“On a daily basis, Molly puts the needs of her students above all else. Her love of teaching and love of children can be observed day in and day out at Kingsley Elementary School,” said Kingsley Area Schools Superintendent Josh Rothwell. “I know that I speak for all parents, staff, and students when I say ‘well deserved, Mrs. Dunham. Thank you for making Kingsley proud!’" 



If selected as the Michigan Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Dunham will have a seat at the State Board of Education table as a non-voting member and will attend several national conferences with Teachers of the Year from other US states and territories.


Mrs. Dunham, a native of Kingsley, Michigan has been teaching at Kingsley Elementary for 29 years and serves as the district’s New Teacher Mentor Program Director. Her extensive resume of leadership and curriculum experience includes being one of four teachers in Michigan to edit and re-write third and fourth grade test questions for the Smarter Balanced Math Assessment which later became the MSTEP state standardized test.


"Mrs. Dunham goes above and beyond both in and out of her classroom. She not only supports the students but the new staff development. We are so lucky to have her,” said Kingsley Elementary Principal Kristin Goethals. 


In her application essay to the Michigan Department of Education, Mrs. Dunham says she focuses on three things in her classroom: creating a comfortable atmosphere, using a variety of teaching techniques, and integrating subject matter to make cross-curricular connections.


“My favorite part of teaching is watching the light bulbs turn on, and having hard conversations with kids. By that, I mean challenging them to think about hard concepts and thinking analytically,” said Mrs. Dunham. “The culture of Kingsley Elementary is to set high expectations, so our students will achieve more.”” 


“As a regional Teacher of the Year honoree, I’m really excited to share the good things we’re doing here in Kingsley, and to network with people across the state to bring new ideas back to our school.”

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About Kingsley Area Schools


Kingsley Area Schools is a class B school district of 1,500 students offering unparalleled learning opportunities in Northern Michigan. KAS has a legacy of championship-winning athletics, award-winning music programs, and dozens of extracurriculars on top of a rich academic catalog that includes advanced placement courses. The Michigan Department of Education calls the district a Beating the Odds school system for maximizing student achievement across the entire spectrum of economic backgrounds. Kingsley’s elementary is consistently recognized for its achievements, earning one of 13 state nominations for a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Kingsley’s secret to success? Teachers who are personally invested in every child. Kingsley Area Schools: a community of tradition and excellence. 


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