2020 Commitment to Excellence Award Recipient

Paul HInze has been a 5th grader for 20 years! Currently he is at Kinawa, teaching Science and LA. His passion is science; his BA was in elementary education with a minor in environmental science. He received a Masters in Science, with both degrees coming from MSU. He did his internship at Bennett Woods. His first years as a teacher started at Wardcliff, where he partnered with Ivy Schmidt and Sheryl Hudler, before moving to Central and working with Don Poore. He was part of the team that started Kinawa as a 5/6 building. Central was also the school where he started the Salmon in the School program, supplementing the Chinook Salmon life cycle into the science curriculum.


Paul’s wife, Jennifer is primary owner of Polkadots Boutique in Old Town. He has become a DIY’er as he tackles the role of “maintenance/ landlord” of their small business. He finds that the DIY mentality fits nicely with what his classroom demands he do. He is always assessing student needs and “creating new things” to support individual/classroom needs. He has a sophomore (Hunter) and freshman (Nagoya) at OHS. He loves hearing and seeing their experiences, and feels fortunate that his family gets to know so many talented and supportive teachers at OHS.


With science as his passion, he loves anything outdoors. He backpacks and camps; his family loves the water, so often they find themselves paddleboarding, kayaking or fishing the lakes and streams around Michigan.


When asked about working in Okemos, Paul says, “I feel honored and blessed to work in Okemos. As a teacher, I’ve only known the Okemos district but it is clear this district is filled with talented teachers who are very respected. As I look back on my career, I feel lucky to have “crossed paths” with some of the best humans on the planet, taking advantage of the impressions they left to be able to integrate those experiences into some of my core beliefs as a teacher.”


Congratulations Paul! We are glad you have stayed in 5th grade for so many years!


2021 OEF Awards Banquet
Committment to Excellence Award Recipients – alphabetical listing

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