MEA announces hiring of new Executive Director of Center for Leadership & Learning

EAST LANSING – Veteran educator Arminda Westra has been hired by the Michigan Education Association to be the new Executive Director of the Center for Leadership & Learning, the union’s division devoted to driving education innovation and ensuring every Michigan student gets the quality public education they deserve.

“As a product of Michigan’s public schools, a member of a proud union family, and a lifelong educator, I’m thrilled to be joining the team at MEA,” Westra said. “Together, we can accomplish so much for Michigan’s students, from early childhood through higher education. We owe it to our students – and the educators dedicated to their success – to champion professional excellence so Michigan’s youth can thrive in our democracy, society and economy.”

Westra comes to MEA from the Allendale Public Schools where she served as curriculum director. After earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University, she began her career as a classroom teacher and MEA member in Troy in 1999. After completing her master’s in educational administration from Michigan State University in 2004, she became a principal in Kentwood, where she served until joining the Michigan Department of Education in 2018 as an administrator working on state education transformation.

“MEA’s Center for Leadership & Learning will be the focal point for our work with members to achieve great outcomes for both Michigan’s students and educators,” said MEA President Chandra Madafferi. “Mindy Westra has the right background and vision to lead our efforts to be innovators for public education.”

As part of a recent reorganization, the Center for Leadership & Learning will house all MEA’s member-facing programs, including field services, professional development, communications and public advocacy. The Center is dedicated to providing high-quality professional development and leadership training to MEA members, educators in related fields and students considering careers in education.

Westra will report to MEA’s interim senior executive director Dr. Earl Wiman, who has agreed to remain in the interim role into 2024 to allow for a broad search for the union’s next top staff leader.

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