A version of this article was also published at WNEM 5 on August 4, 2023.
LANSING, Mich. — Carrie Begick of Saginaw, Mich. was named the 2023 Online Teacher of the Year – an award given to a Michigan Virtual online instructor who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom and positively impacted students.
“Given the expanding emphasis on online education, Carrie’s experience and deep knowledge base, as well as her passion for connecting with students, allows her to always be thinking about ways to drive student engagement,” said Fitzpatrick. “It is very clear from student feedback that even when working in a health and physical education environment, Carrie is able to encourage and inspire students to prioritize their wellbeing, aligning perfectly with Michigan Virtual’s mission. She is most deserving of the Online Teacher of the Year Award.”
Begick, who has been with Michigan Virtual since 2014 and is a senior career technical education instructor, received several letters of support. Among them, Begick was praised for creating a “nurturing and inclusive learning environment” by Katie Hansen, a Mentor Support Manager, who went on to share how “her classroom is a place where curiosity thrives, critical thinking is fostered, and students are inspired to reach their full potential.”
Begick first began her career in 2003. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Teaching, a Masters in both Education/Educational Leadership and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, all from Saginaw Valley State University.
When asked about her career path, Begick has surprised herself by becoming an instructor, particularly working with students teaching health and physical education online. She said, “I didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a teacher. However, my experience in mentorship during high school led to my decision to pursue teaching. I was empowered to motivate students to see that it wasn’t just sports we were learning about, it was a lifetime of health.”
Begick hopes to continue inspiring students to become something bigger than themselves, set goals, and work to accomplish them. The content she teaches at Michigan Virtual is unchanged from a traditional classroom, and students are still able to engage as traditional students. Teaching these courses, for Begick, allows for more personalized time and engagement.
Since the inception of the awards in 2009, Michigan Virtual has honored 17 teachers with the distinction of Michigan Virtual Online Teacher of the Year. To be selected for the Teacher of the Year distinction, key criteria include a positive impact on students, continuous improvement of practice, and a vision for the future of online education. This distinguished award was created to set a bar for excellence and recognize the incredible teachers in the digital learning community.