Lowell — Liz McCall loves to be in the classroom, modeling best practices in special education instruction for teachers.
“I spend a lot of time in classrooms,” she said. In the ever-changing world of special education, she is willing to step in and demonstrate how something works in action to help make things click.
McCall started as the district’s new special education director in October. She oversees all things related to special education in the district as well as all 504 Plans, which are created for students with disabilities who require accommodations.
She comes from the Upper Peninsula, where she was director of special education at Delta Schoolcraft Intermediate School District for one year. Before that, she was a special education department supervisor for six years and worked as a classroom teacher for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. She has worked in North Carolina, Washington D.C. and Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.
Originally from Traverse City, McCall has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University. After a several-year stint in car sales, she worked as a substitute teacher and “instantly loved it.” Two months later she returned to college and eventually received a master’s degree in special education (emotional impairment) and another in education leadership from Eastern Michigan University.
Serving students with special needs is in McCall’s blood. Her grandmother was the director of special education for Detroit Public Schools and her grandfather was a special education administrator who ran a self-contained program; both had their master’s degree from EMU as well. She also has two aunts, a sister and cousin who are all teachers.
McCall is currently meeting with principals to hear from them about district needs. She says her goal is to make teachers feel supported and have all the tools they need.
“I love that it’s different all the time because we are really able to focus on students as individuals,” she said. “I get to be creative with each and every one of them in making decisions and supporting them and supporting the teachers who support them.
“Now I get to support teachers and reach more and more kids.”