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Longtime Cedar Springs math teacher receives Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery

Posted at 7:59 PM, Nov 25, 2016

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. -- A Cedar Springs math teacher is utilizing technology to help enhance his students math skills. Brett Burns, with Cedar Springs Middle School has been recognized with the Michigan Lottery Excellence in Education award.

Burns says his main focus is on his students, which makes for an early start to his day. To help him prepare, Burns often arrives at school around 4:30 a.m. well before the school day begins for his students.

This outgoing math teacher is often seen joking, complimenting and even fist bumping with his students, according to a press release from the Michigan Lottery.

His experience has led him to tweak his assignments over the years as well.

“As I look back, I remember how I used to assign 20 to 30 math problems as homework each night that didn’t require much thinking from students about the how and the why of solving the problems. Now my assignments are much shorter, but incorporate deep thinking and exploration,” he said. “Math is one of the most difficult subjects for middle school students, so my goal every year is to change their mindset about math. By the end of the year, I want them to see that they CAN do math and CAN be successful. That’s not an easy job, but I love the challenge and look forward to it each and every year."

A colleague told lottery officials they nominated Burns for his "High energy, integrity, collaboration, leadership and high relationship."

Burns has not only dedication 20 years to education with Cedar Springs Public Schools, he also works as a basketball coach for eighth graders.

Tom Izzo presented Brett Burns with the award and a $500 check from the Michigan Lottery.