Leigha Faith knows firsthand that there are several ways to serve students at a charter school. She’s one of the few who have been both a teacher and a board member at the same school.
After working for several years as a middle school English teacher at Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy (MMLA), a charter school in Lansing, Leigha wanted to make the transition to teaching at an online charter school.
MMLA didn’t want to lose her, but Leigha knew she wanted to make the switch. So Tim Tenneriello, who was the administrator of the school at the time, suggested something new.
“Tim saw my connection with the students and saw my ability to lead,” she said. “He said, ‘Leigha, we don’t want you to leave. Will you serve on the board?’ ”
Leigha had never thought about serving on a charter school board, but when Tenneriello pitched the idea, she decided to take him up on the offer. She applied to Central Michigan University, the school’s authorizer, and it became official. Three years ago, Leigha Faith went from MMLA teacher to MMLA board member.
It turned out to be a great transition.
“I had a lot of first-hand information about what it’s like to be boots on the ground,” she said. “I know what it’s like to be working at the school, and that proved to be really valuable.”
Along the way, Leigha added a third title – charter school parent – as she became the foster parent to an MMLA student.
“So now I know what it’s like to be a teacher, a parent and a board member at the same school,” she said. “All that’s missing is being an administrator there!”
My job is to make sure the best interests of the students are at the forefront. I’m very intent on looking at the big picture. I serve on the academic committee on the board and I want to help make sure that MMLA stays focused on the academics. My role as a board member is to help make sure we empower the teachers and support the administrators.”
- Leigha Faith
Leigha describes Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy as a school that offers a “high-quality education in an urban setting.”
“The thing that sets the school apart is that we offer unconditional acceptance across the board,” she said.
And now as a board member, she’s proud that she gets to continue to serve the school.
A good charter school board needs diversity in every way. You need diversity of thought and background and exposure. Most of all, you have to be willing to communicate and you have to be willing to listen.”
- Leigha Faith
We need voices like yours on charter boards!
Michigan charters are facing a board member shortage, and we need passionate community members to help support our schools