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Rockstar Teachers

There's just something about certain teachers that draws students to them in droves and keeps them checking in years, even decades later. Here, we highlight some of these rockstars of the classroom.

Michigan art teacher of year makes all subjects ‘artful’

Art teacher Adrienne DeMilner brings art into all subjects and areas at East Kentwood Freshman Campus and out into the community. She was recently awarded 2018 Michigan Art Educator of the Year and Secondary Art Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Art Education Association...
Hugs from students like Allison Klimek are nothing unusual for English teacher David Lyons

‘Such Good and Such Promise in Each of Them’

Fourteen students form a semicircle, discussing in detail the meaning of a poem by Pablo Neruda, "I Like When You Are Quiet." Witness the teaching of David Lyons. He lets them talk for 45 minutes, with hardly a pause, about...

Helping Teen Parents ‘Go As Far As They Want to Go’

It had been a week since Robert Brant met with Shelley Bauer, a teen parent educator, and he had big news. He could now begin visiting his nearly 2-year-old son by an estranged former girlfriend. “How do you feel about this?” Bauer...

She chose music over medicine, and her students are glad she did

Wendy Tenney Tenney is one of 10 Michigan educators who were named as 2018-19 Regional Teachers of the Year...

‘My Class is More Than What I Teach Them’

At 7:45 a.m. daily, teacher Terry Blevins begins the day with his 30 audiovisual broadcasting students tooling about a warren of separate rooms stuffed with computer screens, Canon cameras, teleprompters, professional video cameras on pedestals and video monitors. In...

‘Bring your best every day’

Katie Bredeweg, a second-grade teacher at Stoney Creek Elementary, talks about her experiences in the classroom and the lasting impact that a teacher can have...

‘I Hope They Feel That I Love Them’

Libby Metiva’s seventh-graders were spread out in her classroom and the adjoining hallway, working in small groups on the answer to a science experiment: Why did an egg immersed in corn syrup shrivel? Some students just weren’t getting it. Metiva...

Retirement, Yes! Leave School? No Way!

For Sue Blackall, retirement is just the beginning. After 32 years and 800 pupils, the Appleview Elementary third grade teacher plans to open the book on two new projects in the district when she hangs up her teacher's hat this...

Helping Students Love Messy, Beautiful Nature

On a damp and chilly morning, two dozen children follow Greg Petersen down a woodchip path toward a thick woods. He stops them by a fenced-in pond, just where the path leads into the woods like a tunnel, and...

Director takes joy in teaching student musicians, ‘to see what they can do and...

Band director Greg Wells grew up as part of Northview’s proud tradition, in a family of music educators, and feels honored to carry it on

Sisters Follow Identical Career Paths

West Godwin Elementary School Principal Steve Minard remembers interviewing teachers for a third-grade position. One candidate had an ideal background: an elementary education degree from Hope College and teaching experience in Honduras. Later that afternoon, another teacher interviewed with the...

He Pushes Students to Excel, with Pushups and ‘Geronimo!’

When it comes to encouraging students to give it their all, band director Troy Anderson says take the leap and yell "Geronimo!" By that he means hold nothing back. Blow those horns and pound those drums with gusto. "Why are you...

Seismic lessons from this rock star teacher

GRCC Geology Professor and volcanologist Tari Mattox brings her first-hand knowledge of eruptions, rocks and much more into class...

‘She will fill your bucket if you are empty’

This art teacher provides a solid skill base, then encourages her students to infuse their work with elements of their own lives. And she shares her own, which she says creates a safe space for them to reflect...

Fast Talking, Storm Chasing, Globe-Toting Teacher

The first thing you notice in Dave Carmichael's weather and science class is that he often carries around a globe, using it as a prop to explain intertropical convergence, polar jet streams and pressure belts. The second thing you notice...

‘It is what I was meant to do. These are my kids.’

Whitley Morse greets her first-hour Monday history class with smiles at the door – “I love your glasses!” – then with a chat-around about their weekends. A couple of her Ottawa Hills High School students tell of fixing their...
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