Grand Rapids Principal, Detroit science teacher named MI's top charter educators

Buddy Moorehouse
May 14, 2019 8:53:08 AM

A high school principal from Grand Rapids and a middle school science teacher from Detroit were announced on Monday, May 13 as Michigan's top charter school educators of 2019. The announcements were made at surprise assemblies at their schools, where students, family members, fellow teachers, school partners and lawmakers honored each Award recipient.


Pictured above (from left to right) is Koree's husband, Koree, her son, mother and father. 

At 8:45AM, Koree Woodward, Principal at Grand River Preparatory High School in Grand Rapids, was named the 2019 Michigan Charter School Administrator of the Year during a surprise assembly at her school. 

Woodward has been the principal at Grand River Prep for the past four years, and in that time, she’s led it to become one of the highest-ranked high schools in the state. In 2017, it was named the No. 1 high school in the state by U.S. News and World Report, and this year it was one of just 40 schools named an “Academic State Champ” by Bridge Magazine.

The other finalists for the 2019 Michigan Charter School Administrator of the Year award were: 

  • Kerri Barrett, West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science, Grand Rapids
  • Ali DuBois, Muskegon Montessori Academy for Environmental Change, Muskegon
  • Constance Price, Martin Luther King Jr. Education Center Academy, Detroit
  • Mark Talbot, Huron Academy, Sterling Heights


Pictured above (from left to right) is Joel's father, wife, daughter, Joel, his son, and his mother.

At 1:30PM, MAPSA named the 2019 Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year: Joel Hockin, a science teacher at University Prep Science and Math Middle School in Detroit. The school is located adjacent to the Michigan Science Center in midtown Detroit. 

Hockin has been teaching at UPSM for three years, where his students engage in a series of innovative projects throughout the school year. This year, for example, they learned about the science surrounding the forecasting of natural disasters by analyzing real-time data from NASA, and even conducted their own study using the data. On standardized testing, Hockin’s students regularly experience two years of growth in a single year.

The other finalists for the 2019 Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year award: 

  • Jill Carbone, Summit Academy North Middle School, Romulus, English
  • Valmire McGerty, Michigan Math and Science Academy, Warren, social studies
  • Jennifer Melero, Holly Academy, Holly, kindergarten
  • Jayme McWain,Grand River Preparatory High School, Grand Rapids, psychology 

There are 296 charter schools in Michigan, and hundreds of nominations were received for this year’s awards. The talent and dedication displayed by each of the finalists was extraordinary, but this year's recipients truly went above and beyond. 

Koree and Joel are among the most talented, passionate and innovative educators you’ll find anywhere in the country,” said MAPSA President Dan Quisenberry. “They exemplify the professionalism you’ll find in Michigan’s charter schools, and we’re proud to be able to spotlight their excellence. Their students are the real winners.”


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