Rochester educator named Teacher of the Year

A photo of Cusmano accepting her award
Rochester High School teacher Kelley Cusmano is introduced as the 2024 Michigan Teacher of the Year at a surprise school event on May 7.

Surrounded by over 1,600 students, family members, colleagues, and supporters, Rochester High School teacher Kelley Cusmano was presented with Michigan’s Teacher of the Year award for 2024 by State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice.

Cusmano, a veteran teacher of 19 years, is an English teacher, MEA member and the student council adviser at Rochester High School.

“I am not the best teacher in Michigan,” Cusmano told the crowd in her acceptance speech, “but I have a really loud voice.”

Cusmano plans to use her voice to lift the profession. “I want to amplify the work that all teachers are doing. The profession is made to be people-serving, so we don’t advocate for ourselves, and we don’t champion ourselves like we should. I think we need to reclaim the narrative that we haven’t had for so long.”

Cece Crandall, a student council member shared her appreciation for Cusmano stating, “She has poured her heart and soul into student council and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. I’m so glad that she’s up on the stage because she 100% deserves it for everything she’s done for all of us.”

Jessica Gupta of the Rochester Public Schools Board of Education also attended and celebrated Cusmano. “My own son was fortunate enough to have her as a teacher and he grew so much. She brings that right balance of connection and pushing students to do their best, while allowing their creativity to grow.”

As Teacher of the Year, Cusmano will travel the state helping to improve public education, attend monthly State Board of Education meetings as a non-voting member to present on issues facing teachers across the state, and will also be Michigan’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

A picture of Kelly Cusmano celebrating with students
Cusmano celebrated her being named Teacher of the Year with members of Rochester High School’s Student Council.


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