Teachers

Teachers & K-12 Certified Educators

From improving professional practice to protecting employment rights, MEA is proud to serve Michigan’s teachers and other K-12 education staff such as counselors, social workers, therapists and librarians.

Teacher News

MI Educator talks with U.S. Ed Secretary, White House Advisors: ‘I am hopeful about public education’

Theresann Pyrett, president of the West Ottawa Education Association, traveled to Washington D.C. in late April to speak with the Biden Administration about the positive impact federal school rescue funds have had on her school district and ways in which Michigan educators need continued support. Pyrett is among a handful of educators from across the country who briefed U.S. Education…

Escanaba MEA member named Michigan Teacher of the Year

Nanette Hanson Congratulations to MEA member Nanette Hanson, a first-grade teacher in Escanaba Area Public Schools, for being named Wednesday as Michigan Teacher of the Year for 2022-23. Hanson teaches at Lemmer Elementary School and will be entering her 26th year of teaching this fall. “Nanette is a life-changing educator who has been serving her community for 26 years and…

‘Beyond awesome’ special-ed teacher involves students in wedding

Gabe Purdy (left), MEA member Elaine Zomberg, and Riley Jo Peltier The past three years brought MEA member Elaine Zomberg so close to two special students in her class for cognitively impaired young people that the fourth-year Grand Haven educator invited them to play important roles in her spring wedding. The COVID-19 pandemic began during Zomberg’s first year running a…

MI Teacher Briefs U.S. Ed Secretary on Uses of Federal Rescue Funds

Addressing students’ academic and mental health needs, while lightening the load for overstretched educators, are among the most urgent uses of federal school rescue funds prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to one local union leader in west Michigan. Theresann Pyrett, president of the West Ottawa Education Association, took that message to the White House on Wednesday. Pyrett is among…

Member Spotlight: Julie Tolfree

Every school should have a Julie Tolfree, a veteran teacher-turned-behavior-specialist who supports both students and staff at Bridgeport-Spaulding Middle School in Saginaw, her colleagues say. Julie Tolfree Tolfree extends a safe space to talk, help with physical needs – food or clothing, for example – and time to regroup from a difficult moment. She operates whole-school systems to inspire and…

A Lesson on the Educator Shortage

Katie Hillyard tried not to be an educator. As a teen, the MEA member didn’t want to be just like her parents – both music teachers in the Grand Rapids area who are now retired. But when it became clear in college she was drawn to the profession, Hillyard followed her calling and today is finishing her ninth year in…

Educator Appeals: ‘Let us Teach’

Steve Galvan wants people to understand educators are on the front-lines just as health care workers have been, “and we too are digging our claws deep into the dirt and holding our ground, because those students need us now more than ever,” he said. “Our students may not come from a two-parent home. They may have to deal with food…

Educator-to-be: ‘We need minority teachers’

MEA member Leya Woods is concerned about the lack of teachers and administrators who come from minority populations across many school districts in Michigan and the message it sends to students of color sitting in all of those classrooms. The problem is especially striking when comparing the number of support staff who are people of color working in lesser-paid roles…

MEA Survey Points to Educator Concerns

In February, MEA released a statewide survey of nearly 2,600 educators, with the vast majority of those surveyed saying the state’s acute educator shortage and its impact on students is the most pressing issue facing Michigan schools. Ninety-one percent of respondents said they were extremely or very concerned about the educator shortage, followed by concerns about student behavior and mental…

Above and Beyond: Huron Valley Teacher Wins Humanities Prize

MEA member Isaac Perry of Huron Valley Schools has won the Moveen Prize in Humanities, an annual award presented by Lynch & Sons Fund for the Arts, for his work as a community volunteer, advocate and organizer. Isaac Perry Perry, English department chair at Lakeland High School, was honored for numerous community efforts he has led, including as co-founder and…

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