Press Release

Led by The Education Trust-Midwest and Teach Plus, the Collaborative Will Focus on Equitable Funding, the Transition to Post-Secondary Education & Career, Educator Workforce & Supports, Early Childhood Literacy, and Practice 

Lansing, MI, September 21, 2023—The Education Trust-Midwest and Teach Plus have named 18 equity-focused educators from across Michigan as members of its highly selective teacher leadership collaborative program. During the year-long program, educators deepen their knowledge of education policy and equity-focused instructional practices, build their expertise around state-level policy issues important to Michigan’s students and communities, and gain a voice in decisions that affect students, especially those who are historically underserved, and the teaching profession.

“Empowered educators are essential to advancing equity in Michigan’s education system, both through policy change and practices in their own classrooms,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. “Through the Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative, selected educators will both learn together and lead together as they advocate for more equitable practices and policies in Michigan.”

“From advocating for more resources for students from low-income backgrounds to ensuring that equity is centered in Grow Your Own programs and incentives for high-quality professional development, MTLC teacher leaders have already made an impact on Michigan,” said Ben Locke, Teach Plus Michigan Executive Director. “This year’s cohort is poised to build on our previous work, especially on issues of educational equity that impact our students and communities.”

“Serving students at the classroom and school level is my passion, but after several years of teaching and studying educational leadership, I needed an outlet for my ideas and desire to positively impact the greater educational system in Michigan. Teachers and students across the state need reform and I’m thrilled to partner this year with other educators and MTLC,” said Shannon Theis, an MTLC member who teaches 3rd grade at Ada Vista Elementary School in Ada.

The Education Trust-Midwest and Teach Plus launched the Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative in the 2021-2022 school year. During the most recent year of the program, MTLC members advocated for policy solutions related to equitable school funding, student mental health, the transition to post-secondary education and career, early childhood education, and the educator workforce. Their accomplishments included hosting a virtual conference to educate and empower educators across the state to use culturally responsive teaching practices, building legislator awareness around equitable school funding, informing legislation on universal FAFSA completion, and conducting focus groups with educators regarding implementation of socio-emotional learning initiatives and drafting findings and recommendations that will be released this fall.

The newly inducted members of the MTLC hail from across the state, from Detroit to Hartford, and many communities in between including Forest Hills, Owosso, and Oak Park. Their teaching experience ranges from three to 30 years and across traditional public and charter public schools, from early elementary to high school. Cohort members were selected through a rigorous application process that required them to demonstrate effectiveness, commitment to equity, and pursuit of excellence and innovation in their teaching. Throughout the program, the teachers will have the opportunity to network and share expertise with each other, while building skills in policy, advocacy, research, and communications, and collaborating to advocate for equity-minded changes for Michigan’s students.

The 2023-2024 members of the Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative are: 

  • Jocelynne Braddock, Hartford High School, Hartford Public School District
  • Amber Chindris, Romeo High School, Romeo Community Schools
  • Peggy Clark, Erma L. Henderson Academy, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Eric Colwell, Oak Park High School, Oak Park Schools
  • Emily DeJaegher, Voyager Elementary School, Howell Public Schools
  • Alyssa Henneman, Centreville Elementary School, Centreville Public Schools
  • Charlene Highsaw, Renaissance High School, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Anna Mayotte, Gardner Elementary School, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Natia McLendon, Detroit Leadership Academy, Champion Education Network
  • Carrie Miculka, Central Elementary School, Owosso Public Schools
  • Thomas Ogle, Lincoln Alternative High School, Owosso Public Schools
  • Daniel Parsons, Liberty Middle School, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools
  • Janine Scott, Davis Aerospace Technical High School, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Shawaun Scott, Edison Elementary School, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Kimberly Stevenson, Davis Aerospace Technical High School, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Shannon Theis, Ada Vista Elementary School, Forest Hills Public Schools
  • Stanley Wheeler, John R. King Academic & Performance Arts Academy, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Chad Zwolinski, Rochester High School, Rochester Community Schools

The 2023-2024 Senior Fellows for the Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative are:

  • Desiree Fuller, Oak Park High School, Oak Park Schools
  • Pauline Roberts, Flickinger Elementary, Utica Public Schools
  • Kelsey Wiley, Cass Technical High School, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Ryleigh Scott, Grand Ledge High School, Grand Ledge Public Schools

“As a Senior Fellow this year, my goal is to amplify the voices, concerns, strategies, and ideas of Michigan educators alongside my working group in order to retain, recruit, and support the best educators for our scholars in Michigan,” said Desiree Fuller, an 11th grade instructor and English Department Lead at Oak Park High School, a member of the 2022-2023 MTLC cohort, and current MTLC Senior Fellow.

About The Education Trust-Midwest

The Education Trust-Midwest is the Michigan-based office of the national nonprofit, The Education Trust, that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families. As a nonpartisan, data-driven education policy, research and advocacy organization, we are focused first and foremost on doing what is right for Michigan children, working alongside partners to raise the quality of teaching and learning in our public schools.

About Teach Plus

Teach Plus is dedicated to the mission of empowering excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that advance equity, opportunity, and student success. In pursuing our mission, Teach Plus is guided by our Student Opportunity Mandate: All students should have the opportunity to achieve their potential in an education system defined by its commitment to equity, its responsiveness to individual needs, and its ability to prepare students for postsecondary success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders across the country to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning for students. 


CONTACT: Jennifer Mrozowski, APR, (248)320-1037; Kelly Pearce, Teach Plus, (928)925-9236