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Michigan Teacher of the Year awarded to Grosse Pointe North High School science teacher

Grosse Pointe Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Harwood, Trustee Cindy Pangborn, Trustee Brian Summerfield, Michigan Teacher of the Year Gary Abud, and Trustee Judy Gafa pose at an event Thursday honoring Abud.

Grosse Pointe North High School science teacher Gary Abud Jr. has been named the 2013-14 Michigan Teacher of the Year by the state Department of Education.

Abud, who received the 2012 Science Teacher of Promise award from the Michigan Science Teachers Association, is a proponent of project-based learning, combining service experiences, digital learning and social media to provide his students with a broad palette of learning experiences.

“It has been my philosophy that all students can learn and achieve in the classroom,” Abud said. “Finding the right combination of strategies to match various learning styles is essential.”

Grosse Pointe Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Harwood said Abud is “a teacher amongst teachers; an innovator of instruction, a supportive guide of knowledge, and a creator of dreams for students who wish to further explore their understanding of science.”

“Gary displays every day in his classroom what great teachers in Michigan do — lead by example and help every student find the ways to learn,” state Superintendent Mike Flanagan said. “He sets a high standard not only for himself, but for his students and fellow educators.”

“He has followed his passion to continue learning and share what he learns with others,” Flanagan said. “I cannot think of a greater gift a person can give to Michigan’s next generations.”

Kalamazoo teacher wins national Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim award

Kalamazoo physics teacher Mike Sincair was recently announced the winner of the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award.

MEA member Mike Sinclair, a physics teacher at Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center, has won the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award.

May 6-10 marks National Teacher Appreciation Week

Oprah Winfrey credits her for helping the “Queen of Talk” get to where she is today.

A veteran of three space missions, Ed Lu remembers him for teaching the NASA astronaut all about hard work and perseverance.

From heroes in space and in the sports arena, from celebrities to community leaders, from high-achieving entrepreneurs to everyday individuals, everyone has a story about the teachers who helped shape their lives, define their dreams, expand their horizons and launch their futures toward the stars.

Buena Vista teachers laid off, despite voting to continue working without promise of pay

Buena Vista teachers met Monday and decided to continue working this week, even though they learned on Friday that the district had run out of money to pay their salaries on time. Despite the teachers' selfless action, the Buena Vista School Board voted Monday night to lay all of the teachers off.

At an emergency meeting last night, the Buena Vista Board of Education voted to lay off its employees, effective May 31. This action came mere hours after teachers voted to continue working this week, despite having no guarantee when they would get paid for that work by the cash-strapped district.

“Yesterday, we again saw proof that Michigan’s educators put their students first, with the decision by the teachers of the Buena Vista Education Association to continue working this week,” MEA President Steve Cook said. “These dedicated educators wanted what is best for their students — to give their school district and the state the time and assistance necessary to work out a plan to keep school open for this final month of the year.”

“But last night, we yet again saw proof that politicians, administrators and other so-called ‘leaders’ consistently put money first and our kids last,” Cook said. “Faced with a selfless offer of help from their employees to continue working, without the guarantee of a paycheck next payday, Buena Vista’s school board and administration gave up on their students and employees and laid everyone off. “

Ironically, the Buena Vista Board of Education’s move comes during the launch of national Teacher Appreciation Week.

MEA budget reduced 3.9% while still providing top-notch service to members

The MEA Representative Assembly held its spring meeting April 26-27 at the Lansing Center in Lansing.

MEA delegates approved a 3.9 percent spending reduction for the 2013-14 MEA continuation budget at the April 27 MEA Representative Assembly in Lansing.

This budget shows MEA is tightening its belt while still providing top-notch representation and membership advantages to the teachers, education support professionals and higher education employees who comprise MEA.

MEA members’ dues dollars will continue to be wisely and judiciously spent on providing members with critical advantages for their careers, for their rights, for their wallets and for public education.

Threshold reduced for smaller locals to send delegate to Representative Assembly

MEA delegates passed an amendment to the MEA bylaws Saturday that will allow local associations to send one delegate to the Representative Assembly if they have at least 56 members.

Locals had previously been required to have at least 76 members to seat a delegate.

Farwell Education Association President John Pakledinaz of Region 12 proposed the successful amendment, saying it will provide “locals of all sizes a voice on the future of our organization.”

Three elected to NEA Board of Directors; others picked for state office

Drew Campbell, Eric Minore and Jenifer Almassy were elected to the NEA Board of Directors.

Three MEA members were elected by their peers to the NEA Board of Directors at the MEA Regional Assembly on Saturday.

Drew Campbell, a custodian engineer from Waterford, and Eric Minore, a math teacher at Swartz Creek Middle School, were elected to three-year terms that begin Sept. 1.

Jenifer Almassy, a computer and English teacher in Reese Public Schools, was elected to a term beginning immediately and ending Aug. 31, 2013.

MEA delegates vote to explore new partnerships with AFT and AFL-CIO

Delegates at the MEA Representative Assembly voted Saturday to explore a partnership agreement with the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan. Delegates also voted to look into the benefits and drawbacks of joining the AFL-CIO.

Proponents of forming a partnership with AFT-Michigan pointed out that the two unions “work well together on a crisis basis,” and argued that a greater partnership would “increase political and educational influence” and “protect public education from the corporations trying to take it over.”

Retired MEA members urge continued commitment

MEA-Retired's new officers. From left to right: Secretary-Treasurer Dan Rudd, Vice President Dave Schoop and President Judy Foster

While the job might be over, the work goes on.

That’s the takeaway from the hundreds of retired teachers and education support professionals who gathered in Lansing on Monday for MEA-Retired’s annual meeting.

Citizens across Michigan rally as so-called ‘right-to-work’ takes effect

Michiganders held a silent protest at the state Capitol on Thursday to highlight how Gov. Rick Snyder and corporate special interests are trying to silence the voices of middle-class families.

As Michigan’s so-called “right-to-work” law took effect Thursday, hundreds of people across Michigan participated in local rallies to send a clear message: Right-to-work is temporary, but solidarity is forever.

Citizens used numerous tactics Thursday to stand up to Gov. Rick Snyder and the rich CEOs who pushed the law, which is designed to slash wages and benefits for middle-class families — regardless of if they’re in a union.

At the Capitol Building in Lansing, citizens held a silent protest to highlight right-to-work’s aim of silencing the voices of working families. In Hamtramck, teachers, students and community supporters held a march in support of collective bargaining rights. Candlelight vigils in multiple locations celebrated the history and resilience of Michigan’s labor movement. Events also took place in Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Detroit, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Mount Pleasant, Pontiac, Taylor and Utica.