Kristina is a third grade teacher at Trillium Academy, and was named the 2018 MI Charter Teacher of the Year.
2018 t.o.y. finalist
Dave was a math teacher at Wellspring Prep High School .
2018 T.O.Y. finalist
Jen is a third grade teacher at Woodland Park Academy.
2018 T.O.Y. FINALIST
Joe is a middle school social studies teacher at Honey Creek Community School.
2018 T.O.Y. FINALIST
Kayla is a third grade teacher at Creative Technologies Academy.
High School Psychology Teacher
Jayme teaches AP Psychology at Grand River Preparatory High School in Kentwood, Michigan. Her energy and passion are reflected in her colorful classroom, as well as in her dynamic lessons (many of which include games, discussion and even friendly competition.) But what truly sets Jayme apart is her ability to connect with the people around her, building lasting relationships with students, fellow teachers and parents. If they're having a bad day, need advice, or even just a hug - her kids know her door is always open.
In addition to expanding the AP Psych program from two sections to five (due to popular demand), Jayme also co-directs the Student Council - which she has recently opened up to the entire student body. This year, you can find upwards of 80 kids participating in small group projects to support the Student Council - led by an empowered team of E-Board members who have thrived under Jayme's leadership.
Jennifer has dedicated nearly 30 years of her life to transforming education for young children - most of which she's spent at Holly Academy. Her vibrant personality, unmatched memory and kind heart have made her a leader not only in her classroom, but in the school. Parents, students and coworkers often find her to be a welcome mentor, and reguarly pay her visits when in need of a little extra motivation.
When she's not uncovering new, innovative teaching strategies for the kids, you can find Jen organizing local and global giving projects - whether it's raising money for the humane society in town or adopting a polar bear in the arctic.
English Language teacher
Jill has a passion for langauge and culture that she cultivates in her classroom, throughout her school and in her personal life. Having started off her career working at a refugee center, she saw firsthand the trauma and challenges that face immigrants when they arrive to this country - and she's devoted her life to ensuring that any Engligh-minority student that enters Summit Academy North is welcomed and fully supported.
Her unique perspective gives her the necessary empathy to not only connect with her kids, but also to engage their parents and create a strategy for success that addresses the whole child. In the early hours of the day, you can find her rotating through her colleagues classrooms, practicing mindfulness and wellness with the educators and students to infuse an environment of care throughout the whole school.
Joel Hockin - 2019 TOY
Middle school science teacher
If you stumble onto Joel's lesson planning, you might assume that the high-level concepts and cutting-edge scientific application is meant for high school (or even college) students - when in reality the advanced curriculum is being delivered to eager and excited middle school students. Joel's partnership with R.O.O.T.S. Engineering has driven a unique program at UPrep Science & Math Middle School - but his students couldn't be happier. Between the corny jokes and the fun science, they're just glad to be in his class.
Projects and lessons range from biofuel genetic optimization, to forecasting natural disasters - and Joel's even introducing Collaborative Robots (Co-bots) to help students understand the future of manufacturing. When he isn't growing his own expansive scientific knowlege, he still finds time to coach various athletics, spend time with his family and mentor fellow teachers.
High school economics, psychology & U.S. history teacher
Val immigrated to the United States from Kosovo at the age of five - and even though she faced a tough language barrier, she held a passion and love for education. Her family opened several successful restaurants in Michigan, devoting their life to the food business - but Val followed in her parents' footsteps and became a teacher. She committed to be a leader and mentor for those students who needed an advocate, and diversifies her teacher toolkit to ensure that every learner has the chance to engage in her content in whatever way suits their needs - whether that be lecture, art, debate, etc.
But beyond being a great instructor, Val's warm smile and knack for good advice make her a crowd favorite at Michigan Math & Science Academy - her alumni even regularly return to give her life updates.
Meet some outstanding charter school Admins
The MI Charter Administrator of the Year Award finalists and recipients define leadership. They motivate their staff, listen to the needs of parents, and ensure that their school is staying on the forefront of innovation.