In a small rural high school, an English Language Arts teacher can be the Law Day Adviser, Book Club Adviser, National Honor Society Adviser, Powder Puff Coach, and Knitting Club Adviser, while also raising five boys of her own. Such is the case for this year's recipient of the 7-12 Educator Award, Allison Jordan from Merrill High School. She has taught every level of ELA and Civic classes at Merrill High. Allison led the charge to implement the MAISA reading and writing units in the district, and she is an ELA consultant for the Great Lakes Bay Consortium. One of her students stated that "she has always been there inside and outside the classroom; she was one of the most supportive teachers I met during my high school years."
She is a hands-on administrator – involved, supportive, and knowledgeable regarding reading strategies, programs and incentives. Julie Houle, this year's recipient of the Secondary Administrator Award has championed the growth of Lakeshore Middle School in Grand Haven from its 1997 conception. Julie speaks of how reading skills are a springboard for students' successes in any area - academic or social. She has also been a key player in setting up the district's At-Risk Middle School Summer Program, as well as the after school Community CHILL program that was recognized by the Michigan Association of Schools Boards in 2009. Julia has supported sustained silent reading, the Battle of the Books and Reading Week in her school. Whether it is a professional book study for staff or bringing students to the hospital to deliver books for newborns, Julie is a huge supporter of reading. As one teacher wrote, "I believe Julie Houle to be very deserving of an award that rewards a leader for supporting, promoting and leading the teaching of reading." She is described as "a wonderful role model as a reader, doer and a seeker of best knowledge and practice for her students and staff."
"How is it that when one is teaching, an individual just feels that the profession was made for them? I know how lucky I am that I have found my perfect fit." These inspiring words are from Karen A. Angeli, high school English Language Arts teacher, at Marquette Senior High School. The sentiments of the 7-12 Teacher Educator Award recipient for 2008 are echoed by her principal and colleagues. Karen has taught thirteen years at Marquette. In her her role as teacher and department chair, she led her department through changes in meeting the state benchmarks and standards. The first step taken was to develop a school- wide silent reading program. The Reading is Thinking program gives students time to read. "It has been an exciting journey learning to change with the times and figure out what new ways I must find to hook my students each year."
When a person first encounters her, they may have the impression that she is quiet, reserved, and almost shy. However, don't let her fool you, there is fire behind her sparkling eyes. Heather Hollands, English Language Arts teacher at Gwinn High School, hasn't fooled any of her students. You will find Heather's students sitting on the "hot seat" as they put themselves in a character's state of mind or hosting a Victorian Tea Party and taking on an author's persona. Heather is an integral part of the leadership team of the Upper Peninsula Writing Project. In 2005, Heather wrote and received a rural poetry grant; her hard work sent one Upper Peninsula student, along with a guardian and teacher, to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC to read personal poetry with former United States Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser. Heather encourages her students to observe the world by reading, reading, and reading. The Michigan Reading Association congratulates Heather Hollands as the Educator Award: Teacher 7-12 recipient for 2007.