Plymouth-Canton Community Schools teacher awarded 2022 online mentor of the year

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PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Barbara A. Rutecki of Plymouth, Mich. was named Michigan Virtual’s 2022 Online Mentor of the Year – a distinction given to a mentor who has demonstrated excellence in teaching and enhanced student success in the online classroom.

Since the inception of the awards in 2015, Michigan Virtual President and CEO Jamey Fitzpatrick has honored eight teachers with the distinction of Michigan Virtual Online Mentor of the Year. 

Michigan Virtual students work with skilled and passionate mentors who go through a selective process with the understanding that these mentors will provide customized support to students to help them succeed academically, mentally, and socially,” said Fitzpatrick. “Barbara first became a mentor in the summer of 2021 and since then, she has proven to be an effective and dedicated mentor who has already made a profound impact on the students fortunate enough to work alongside her.”

Rutecki has been a business education and computer teacher since 2001 in Plymouth-Canton schools. In her work serving as a Michigan Virtual mentor, Rutecki enjoys getting to know students in a more individual capacity and is truly focused on student success.

“I think the key to making anyone a good mentor or teacher is a true desire to help students be successful,” Rutecki said. “Being a mentor takes some additional adjustments because our students are not face-to-face. That makes it more difficult to discern what we need to do to help individual students.”

After receiving a Bachelor of Science in business education at Northern Illinois University, Rutecki went on to receive a Masters of Business Administration at Depaul University and a master’s degree in career and technological workforce education from Eastern Michigan University.

Rutecki wants students to know that they should take advantage of the online classes through Michigan Virtual, adding that, “For students who are graduating from high school and moving on to college and or beyond, I want them to know we all need help from time to time. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.”

Since its inception in 2015, eight mentors received the distinction of Michigan Virtual Online Mentor of the Year. Mentors of the Year are nominated by Michigan Virtual instructors who are in regular contact with both students and educators regarding student progress and success.

To be selected for the Mentor of the Year distinction, mentors must be positive and proactive communicators with instructors and parents and assist as an ambassador for students to ensure their success. This distinguished award was established to set a bar for excellence and recognize the incredible mentors in the digital learning community. Learn more about Michigan Virtual mentors at


About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual™ (formally known as Michigan Virtual University®) provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®. As a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years of experience, Michigan Virtual is Michigan’s leading voice in online education. Visit us at


Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.