A True Grow-Your-Own Success Story

Kristin Crane is a busy wife, mom of four, AEM member, and brand new teacher. She also exemplifies resilience and dedication to public education. She knows the difference that educators make for their students and communities every day.

Crane has worked in Gibraltar School District as a paraprofessional and long‑term substitute teacher. Often teachers leave very simple plans for substitute teachers. This is especially true when the substitute shortage forces colleagues to cover classes for each other.

For Crane, those plans were often asking students to read Scholastic magazine. It was during her many days as a substitute teacher that she realized she wanted the opportunity to make a bigger difference for students. She wanted a chance to teach.

For many, the COVID pandemic was a time of loss. For Crane, it was a time of opportunity. Because colleges and universities were holding classes online, Crane was able to enroll in Wayne State University’s College of Education to pursue her teaching degree and certification. She leveraged her previously earned college credits to graduate with her Bachelor’s degree in May, 2022.

She finished her student teaching at Weiss Elementary in Gibraltar and will begin her teaching career in the same district. Initially hoping to pursue a special education degree, Crane decided to expedite her path to teaching by pursuing a degree in elementary education and reserving her desire to teach special education until she can earn her Master’s degree.

Life circumstances prevented Crane from initially pursuing her degree right after high school. While it might have been easier to consider teaching a missed opportunity, she wanted to show her children that it’s never too late to follow a dream.

For Crane, teaching was a dream that began early and could not be ignored. When she was a child, her brother was diagnosed with ADHD. He was prescribed Ritalin which unfortunately triggered lifelong addiction issues. It was these events that made Crane realize she “wanted to change the system, all systems.”

For her, this includes systems associated with meeting the needs of students with special needs. It also includes the system that criminalizes rather than treats addiction, the negative aspects of the foster care system, and the way students with depression or anxiety are supported in school and their communities. She knows first‑hand how overloaded systems, like those she finds in Wayne County, are unable to meet the challenges that so many of our students face.

As Crane begins what she hopes to be a long teaching career, she is excited to model for her students and her children that we are more than our circumstances and that where there is a will, there is a way.

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