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KPS Excellence in Education Winners 2022

The Kalamazoo County Excellence in Education program has been one of the most noteworthy and far-reaching recognition programs in the Kalamazoo area since 1986. Each May, the Excellence in Education program holds a reception to reward students for their academic achievements and provide them the opportunity to honor the educators who have contributed to their success.

The program operates with the support of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, as well as the Monroe-Brown Foundation. It also awards Educator Incentive Grants to enhance learning in Kalamazoo County schools.


Anthony Alvarez 

Kalamazoo Central, Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center, KRESA CTE 

Parents: Fanny Hernandez & Antonio Alvarez 

College: Northwestern Univ. 

Major: Computer Science 

Significant Educator: Shannon Houtrouw 

“Mr. Houtrouw is the teacher that got me hooked on computer science. I have witnessed how he always pushes his students to attend coding competitions and tackle tough problems on their own.”


Michael Ankley 

Kalamazoo Central 

Parents: Tiffany & Michael Ankley 

College: Kalamazoo College 

Major: Physics 

Significant Educator: Rex Hafer 

“Mr. Hafer is not only an amazing teacher, but he also helps his students with their own issues. He is always happy to help with anything a student lays forward and asks for help with.”


Sophie Canfield

Kalamazoo Central 

Parents: Emily Goodman & Temple Canfield 

College: Boston University 

Major: Marine Biology 

Significant Educator: Shay Wintz 

Major: Marine Biology

Significant Educator: Shay Wintz

“She has consistently pushed me to reach my potential, and her steady expression of belief in my skills helped build my own personal confidence. Mrs. Wintz was also very significant in my life with some struggles that I, as well as so many others, faced during Covid. She has been such a reliable, engaged, and dedicated teacher, someone I will always look up to.”


Noah Kuhnert 

Kalamazoo Central 

Parents: Ronda & Steve Kuhnert 

College: University of Michigan 

Major: Pre-Med 

Significant Educator: Shay Wintz 

“She has been supportive and beneficial to my academic success just as much as anyone else. Mrs. Wintz has a bigger heart than anyone I know. She is extremely passionate in her line of work. With that being said, Mrs. Wintz is simply the best candidate for this award!”


Mollie McDonald 

Kalamazoo Central, Education for the Arts 

Parents: Patrick & Nancy McDonald 

College: Adrian College 

Major: Computer Science 

Significant Educator: Kelly Schultz 

“Dr. Schultz is in charge of the ATYP program and also teaches computer science at ATYP. The program was instrumental in helping me develop academically. Dr. Schultz made the topic interesting and easy to understand. She is an excellent teacher.”


Olive Tatara 

Kalamazoo Central, KAMSC, Western Michigan Univ. 

Parents: Ruth & Wallace Tatara 

College: Univ. of Michigan 

Major: Biology 

Significant Educator: Colleen Chapoton 

“Mrs. Chapoton is an incredible teacher. Her classroom is a safe and welcoming space. Her class is always a highlight of my day. Her enthusiasm for science and learning has inspired me to study biology.”


Celia Baublis

Loy Norrix, KAMSC 

Parents: Carla & Alan Baublis 

College: Lawrence Technological University 

Major: Architecture 

Significant Educator: Michael Sinclair 

“Mr. Sinclair challenged me to combine physics and creativity and to take on challenging projects. His classes have not only taught me more about how our world works, but how to identify objects, collaborate with other groups, and skills I can take with me through life.”


Claire Beougher

Loy Norrix, KAMSC 

Parents: Mark Beougher & Lori Burrell 

College: Wellesley College 

Major: Political Science 

Significant Educator: Laura Citino 

“Her classes are fun and engaging, and through them I have learned so much about the world and about myself. I don't know who I would be without her lessons on Marxism, cyborgs, and the complicated philosophies behind the Matrix. She has given me inspiration, passion, and a hilarious story about attempting to provide first-aid to a dying bee.”


Owen Davis

Loy Norrix, KAMSC 

Parents: Julie & Shawn Davis 

College: University of Michigan 

Major: Engineering 

Significant Educator: Kristin Antoniotti 

“Ms. Antoniotti has been a great teacher, mentor, and friend. She has helped me learn to explore the world, learn about myself as a person, and is someone I can talk to about my life. She has been an invaluable part of my life and I am very grateful to have had her as my teacher.”


Dominick Frost

Loy Norrix, KAMSC 

Parents: Denis & Kelly Frost 

College: Kenyon 

Major: Undecided 

Significant Educator: Colleen Chapoton 

“Although I had always enjoyed science as a subject, Mrs. Chapoton's biology class was the first time that I remember being truly excited about a science class itself. Along with a clear passion for biology, Mrs. Chap brought an incredible positive energy to her teaching that made each class a joy to be in.”


Chanel Wilson

Loy Norrix, KRESA CTE 

Parents: Molli Kornak & Bobby Wilson 

College: University of Michigan

Major: Business Administration 

Significant Educator: Atiba Ward 

“He is not hesitant to go out of his way when he sees a student who needs some extra help in his classroom. Mr. Ward makes learning a fun experience and teaches tactical skills that can be used outside of the classroom. Mr. Ward is a teacher that is authentic and keeps it real with his students, which is rare in this day and age.”


Evan Teal

Loy Norrix, KAMSC 

Parents: Alexander & Rebecca Teal 

College: Undecided 

Major: Undecided 

Significant Educator: Michael Sinclair

“His lessons are both entertaining and informational and I always look forward to going to his classes. He has taught me that learning is more than good grades, it's about critical thinking, challenging yourself, and having a genuine curiosity of the world.”