Van Andel Institute for Education announces the 2023 Betty Van Andel Teachers of Excellence

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 25, 2023) — Van Andel Institute for Education (VAI) is proud to introduce the 2023 recipients of the Betty Van Andel Teachers of Excellence Award, which honors outstanding educators who have worked alongside VAI to foster classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive. With this award, VAI aims to celebrate the work of educators everywhere while inspiring others to emulate the mission and ideals of Van Andel Institute for Education.

Presenting the 2023 Betty Van Andel Teachers of Excellence:

  • Chris Conrad
    Allegan High School
    Allegan, MI
  • Kristin Oslund
    Evergreen Elementary School
    Allendale, MI
  • Mark O’Meara
    Simonds Elementary School
    Madison Heights, MI
  • Coleen Shaltry
    Crossroads Charter Academy
    Big Rapids, MI
  • Michele Thomas
    Sussex Tech High School
    Georgetown, DE
  • Julia Wilcox
    New Beginnings Alternative High School
    Cedar Springs, MI
  • Jeanine Wilson
    Vernor Middle School
    Detroit, MI
  • Ann Williamson
    Bernard Black Entrepreneurial Academy
    Phoenix, AZ
  • Angela Works
    Pontiac School District
    Pontiac, MI
  • Kelley Ziomkowski
    Flat River Academy
    Greenville, MI


Part of Van Andel Institute for Education’s mission is to celebrate teachers throughout the year, not just during Teacher Appreciation Month; therefore, all individuals — administrators, peer teachers, parents, or students — may nominate teachers for VAI’s Caught Being Awesome award.

Caught Being Awesome is a monthly opportunity for anyone to honor educators from around the country who stand out and are making a real difference in their classrooms and communities. Each month a winner is highlighted on social media and receives a free Blue Apple project of their choice.

To learn more about the 2023 Betty Van Andel Teachers of Excellence, visit vaei.org.


Van Andel Institute (VAI) is committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations through cutting edge biomedical research and innovative educational offerings. Established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1996 by the Van Andel family, VAI is now home to more than 500 scientists, educators and support staff, who work with a growing number of national and international collaborators to foster discovery. The Institute’s scientists study the origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and translate their findings into breakthrough prevention and treatment strategies. Our educators develop inquiry-based approaches for K-12 education to help students and teachers prepare the next generation of problem-solvers, while our Graduate School offers a rigorous, research-intensive Ph.D. program in molecular and cellular biology.