Portage teacher gets $10K as Educator of the Year

MSU's Tom Izzo presented award to Linda Holzwarth of Portage West Middle School

Linda Holzwarth, Tom Izzo, Portage Middle School
Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo at Portage West Middle School to honor teacher Linda Holzwarth. (May 24, 2017)

PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State University head basketball coach Tom Izzo surprised a Portage teacher with the Educator of the Year award on Wednesday.

The Michigan Lottery recognized teacher Linda Holzwarth, a teacher at Portage West Middle School.

“Thank you so much. I can’t believe it!” Holzwarth told an assembled crowd of middle schoolers.

But those who know Holzwarth’s story believe it and they aren’t surprised.

“I fell that she certainly deserves it,” her mom, Louise Harvey, said. “Everything in her life is devoted to others and to kids, she just has a passion for life.”

“Linda is a very worthy recipient because she’s just a bundle of energy,” Izzo said.

That bundle of energy was born to teach — her mother and her grandparents were also teachers.

“[My mother] was the consummate teacher and I just sort of followed along in the way she taught and the way my grandma taught,” Holzwarth said.

Holzwarth’s mom taught in the same school and the very classroom where her daughter now teaches. They even taught the same subjects. Holzwarth’s grandmother also won teacher of the year when she was a teacher in New Jersey.

“So now I have a mother who was teacher of the year, and I have a daughter who was teacher of the year. I’m very proud,” Harvey said.

Holzwarth has two daughters who grew up to be teachers.

“It’s in our blood,” Holzwarth said.

The Michigan Lottery awarded Holzwarth $10,000. She said she will most likely use the money to help pay for her grandchildren’s college education.