Hillsdale, Michigan – September 15, 2020

The Stanton Foundation and the Hillsdale County Community Foundation is pleased to announce the finalists of 2020 Hillsdale County Teacher of the Year award. Kim Salsbury, Jonesville Community Schools Agri-science instructor, was chosen to receive the ninth annual Teacher of the Year Award, which included a $15,000 cash award. Matt McKelvey Hillsdale Area Career Center Welding instructor, operating under the Hillsdale County Intermediate School District, has received the runner-up award in the amount of $7,500. In addition, two educators were selected for special honorable mention awards including a $1,000 cash award: Reading Community Schools Industrial Arts teacher Barrie Gostlin and Will Carleton Academy Special Education teacher Char Cole.  

Teacher of the Year Kim Salbury has taught for 24 years in the field of science, math and STEM. Salsbury joined the Jonesville staff in 2012 where she has taught the past 7 years. Mrs. Salsbury is a kind and patient teacher whose desire to is to see every student reach their full potential.  She operates under the theory “there are no problems, only solutions”. Her project based classes allows students to design investigations to test theories within the science of agriculture. Learning for her students occurs in a classroom, a field, a garden and a barn. Giving back to the community is engrained in each of Kim’s students. Under her leadership, the Jonesville FFA students maintain a community garden, most recently harvesting 2,700 pounds of fresh product and 50 pounds of canned produce for local food banks. They are also involved in various community projects, such as planting flowers downtown Jonesville. Salsbury works to provide her students with the skills of problem solving and the ability to work as a team to find positive methods of handling tough situations as a part of her classroom environment. HCCF congratulates Mrs. Salsbury on her recognition.

Runner-up Matt McKelvey did not take the traditional route to teaching, but rather started in the field of welding. He has a goal to ultimately prepare his students for the workplace. Matt structures his classrooms as a workplace; when students enter his classroom, he explains to them that his is their boss and they are his employees and their grades are their pay. Students entering his classes are not the typical students bound for 4-year universities, but rather are looking for certifications, entering the military or entering the workplace. To assist in educating his students, Matt invites representatives from various trade schools and members of the military branches to speak with his students about future opportunities. Matt believes everyone has a unique path to their future and is more than willing to help them on their journey. Who Matt is as a teacher was realized through the loss of a student. During this tragedy, his classroom became a safe place to digest that loss and he became a trusting guide in that time for his students. It was this firsthand experience that reminds us all that sometimes teaching goes beyond traditional norms.

            Honorable mentions were also awarded to two outstanding teachers. Barrie Gostlin, Reading Community Schools Industrial Arts teacher, has been teaching for seven years. Gostlin has taught courses in social studies and history, but his passion and specialization lies in Woodshop. Barrie is a passionate, energetic and authentic educator and believes most teachers do their jobs well, but it is the teachers that genuinely care for their students that have the greatest impact. Char Cole, Will Carleton Academy Special Education teacher, served for 33 years in various positions at the Hillsdale County Intermediate School District, while joining Will Carleton in 2018. Char is a caring teacher that is always available to her students. She realizes that every day matters when influencing the life of a student.

            The intent of the award is to recognize educators in Hillsdale County who are known for going above and beyond the standard requirements and job duties associated with being a teacher, who enrich the lives of their students and show dedication to their school and community. Nominations were received from educational professionals, students, parents, and community members.  72 teachers were nominated, with several receiving multiple nominations. All applications were reviewed by a committee, which utilized a points system in evaluating applications. More information about the Teacher of the Year Award or the award recipients can be obtained by calling the Hillsdale County Community Foundation office at 517-439-5101 Monday through Friday from 9 am – 4 pm.

            The Stanton Foundation was established in 1991 by David and Laura Stanton.  This private foundation was established to promote youth and educational programs. The Hillsdale County Teacher of the Year Award was created to honor those who have a most profound effect on young people and who greatly influence the leaders of tomorrow.



Caitlin Sterling, Marketing/YOUTH Program Officer

Hillsdale County Community Foundation

(517) 439-5101, c.sterling@abouthccf.org