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Oak Park educator named Michigan Teacher of the Year

Owen Bondono is awarded Michigan Teacher of the Year.
Owen Bondono is awarded Michigan Teacher of the Year.(Michigan Department of Education)
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 12:43 PM EDT
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OAK PARK, Mich. (WILX) - Oak Park School District teacher Mr. Owen Bondono was named the 2020-2021 Michigan Teacher of the Year (MTOY) on Friday during a surprise virtual conference call.

To be selected for this prestigious honor, Bondono had to go through a competitive process that began with the nomination of more than 400 teachers. Bondono was then named one of Michigan’s 10 Regional Teachers of the Year (RTOYs) in April. Each RTOY met with a panel of education stakeholders, presented a short professional development presentation, and answered questions about educational barriers facing Michigan students.

Bondon’s answer to educational success is simple and poignant: “[to] provide every student with a classroom where they feel safe and seen...learning [would] increase by [every] metric.”

Bondono is a teacher at Oak Park High School 9th Grade Learning Community; now entering his sixth year of teaching English. Prior to teaching, he worked as a paraprofessional in the classroom for four years.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Owen Bondono has shown an unwavering commitment to his students.

“Owen is a shining example of the teachers who have stepped up and found creative ways to reach and educate our students,” Gov. Whitmer said. “I’m proud to know that whether we’re in the midst of a global pandemic or not, there are teachers across the state who will go to the ends of the earth to ensure our kids get a great education.”

His passion for teaching was outlined in the essay portion of his MTOY application as he stated that “every teacher has their own purpose, and once you find it, let it be a guiding light for every decision you make in your classroom.....my way of making my mark on the world is making the next generation better. ”

Alongside his daily work in the classroom, he will further service students while being apart of the 2020-2021 Michigan’s Teacher Leadership Advisory Council (MTLAC) within the RTOY cohort. The RTOY’s will work closely with the Michigan Department of Education to engage in discussions catered towards improving Michigan schools.

“The Michigan Teacher of the Year is an important advocate and ally for teachers and students,” State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said. “We are very fortunate to be able to draw upon Owen’s expertise as the 2020-2021 Michigan Teacher of the Year and are looking forward to working with him and the other nine 2020-2021 Regional Teachers of the Year.”

Bondono’s accomplishments don’t stop there. He is also the Michigan candidate for the prestigious National Teacher of the Year award.

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