Governor's Educator Advisory Council

Governor's Educator Advisory CouncilOverview

Governor Gretchen Whitmer created the Governor's Educator Advisory Council, within the Michigan Department of Education, on April 11, 2019 via Executive Order 2019-9.

The Governor's Educator Advisory Council consists of 15 voting members appointed by the governor and includes individuals representing various roles in Michigan's public education system, including the Michigan Teacher of the Year.

The responsibility of the Council is to advise the governor and make recommendations for legislation relevant to Michigan's public education system, including:

  • Identifying and analyzing issues impacting the effectiveness of Michigan's public education system; 
  • Identifying best practices in public education; 
  • Recommending changes and improvements to our public education system; 
  • Reviewing and making recommendations regarding legislation relevant to our public education system. 
     

Official Committee Actions

 

2020 GEAC Meeting Dates

Agendas, Minutes and Public Notices


2020-2021 Governor's Educator Advisory Council

Governor's Educator Advisory Council
Seated: Annie Markey (term expired May 2020), Angela J. Pérez (Chair), Gregory Talberg, Dr. Margaret "Gigi" Lincoln and Ruth Lahti
Standing: Jeffery C. Whittle, Cathy Longstreet, Dr. Mandy R. Stewart, Zeinab Chami, Anthony Greenburg, Marcus A. Walton,
Benedict L. Pineda, Dr. Ramont M. Roberts and Dr. Lisa R. Rivard
Not pictured: Leah Porter, Eva Coleman

 

Current Council Member Bios

Leah Porter
Zeinab Chami
Eva Coleman
Ruth Lahti
Dr. Margaret Lincoln
Cathy Longstreet

Glenn Martin, Sr. 
Angela J. Pérez (Chair)
Benedict L. Pineda
Dr. Lisa R. Rivard
Dr. Ramont M. Roberts
Dr. Mandy R. Stewart
Gregory Talberg 
Marcus A. Walton
Jeffery C. Whittle

 

Michigan Teacher of the Year 2021-22, Leah Porter

Leah Porter
Wilcox Elementary School

Leah Porter has been a Kindergarten, Reading Recovery, and Intervention teacher in Holt Public Schools over the last 15 years.  Rooted in a passion for literacy and learning, she has stood as a leader and advocate for the youngest learners, presenting at conferences at the local, state and national level, along with publishing articles in The Reading Teacher, The Journal of Reading Recovery, and Michigan Reading Journal. With a drive for community outreach and support, she has developed and led an annual summer outreach program for historically underserved youth, providing enrichment and literacy experiences within the community. As leader of the Wilcox Elementary Student Council, she provides leadership and volunteer opportunities for 2nd-4th grade students in projects and fundraisers for the school and community at large that support local students and families.  In her role as a Kindergarten teacher leader, Leah plans and organizes curriculum, assessment, and professional development with her grade level colleagues, striving to support her district teachers in new initiatives.  She is a leader on her school Building Leadership Team, organizes yearly building wide Reading Month activities, and serves on several district committees.  She has worked collaboratively with local businesses, and community members to plan and develop several garden spaces around her school that include a Michigan Native Garden and gardens that are maintained by students and used as outdoor classroom spaces.  She has recently become a co-chair on the Student Committee of her district Equity and Access team, leading and supporting projects in mentorship, student clubs K-12, and developing character and leadership curriculum which strives to provide equitable experiences for all students. [Term expires: August 1, 2022]

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Zeinab Chami
Fordson High School

Zeinab Chami is the daughter of immigrants, born and raised in Dearborn. She graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a bachelor's in English Literature. She later returned to obtain her second bachelor's and master's in teaching concurrently. Before moving into education, Zeinab's drive to serve her community led her to work in communications and education at a number of prominent non-profits in Metro-Detroit, including the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan, and the Arab American National Museum. She is currently in her ninth year of combining her passions for literature and community as a teacher at her alma mater, Fordson High School. [Term expires: May 9, 2023]

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GEAC Member Eva Coleman

Eva Coleman
Cesar Chavez Academy High School

Eva Coleman, a native of Southwest Detroit obtained her undergraduate degree in Communication Studies at The University of Windsor, along with two master's degrees from Marygrove College in the areas of Social Justice and Instructional Technology.  Eva has spent the majority of her 22-year teaching experience in Southwest Detroit, first at Holy Redeemer High School. She is now teaching Social Issues, African American Literature and English 10 at Cesar Chavez Academy High School.  She is passionate about student awareness regarding the current social climate that will have an impact upon her students and Southwest Detroit. Spending the last two years as a mentor teacher with the University of Michigan guiding future teachers in the classroom environment and serving as a building steward for MI-ACTS/AFT (Michigan Alliance for Charter School Teachers/Staff) she is passionate about the fair treatment of her fellow colleagues. Eva enjoys reading and traveling to visit her two adult children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Austin, Texas. [Term expires: May 9, 2024] 

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Ruth Lahti 
Houghton High School

Ruth Lahti hails from Hancock, located in the Upper Peninsula's Keweenaw Peninsula, where she teaches English 12, AP English Language and Composition, and theater at Houghton Central High School. She is also the head of the English department and the women's golf coach. In 2015, Ruth co-founded "Right Start UP," a non-profit organization that promotes the healthy physical and psychological development of children and families. She currently serves as the chair of the organization, and is working to expand its non-profit childcare center, "Right Start Kids Academy." Ruth holds bachelor's degrees from the University of Michigan and Michigan Technological University, and a master's degree from Northern Michigan University. She enjoys golf, skiing, being with her family, and traveling. [Term expires: May 9, 2022]

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Dr. Margaret Lincoln
Lakeview Public Schools

Dr. Margaret "Gigi" Lincoln has been District Librarian and National Honor Society Advisor at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek since 1973. A lifelong learner, she earned a Ph.D. in Library and Information Sciences from the University of North Texas in 2006. She is a co-author of Designing Online Learning: A Primer for Librarians. Together with Miriam Brysk, she wrote The Stones Weep: Teaching the Holocaust Through A Survivor's Art. Gigi is an American Memory Fellow with the Library of Congress and a Teacher Fellow with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Under her leadership, the Lakeview High School library received the Michigan Department of Education's 2018-2019 Model 21st Century School Library Award for its outstanding dedication to collaborative instruction among school library staffers, educators, and community groups. [Term expires: May 9, 2023]

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Cathy Longstreet
Hastings High School

Cathy Longstreet has worked in the Hastings Area School District since 1996. Although entering the educational profession as a second-grade teacher, she has spent the majority of her career as a school counselor. Cathy is currently serving as a high school counselor assisting students within the academic, social/emotional, and college and career realms. She spends the majority of her professional time crafting programs and working alongside students as they create and implement their post-secondary plans. Cathy is passionate about college equity and access as it relates to both rural/underrepresented students, as well as school counselor professional development.
[Term expires: May 9, 2025]

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Glenn Martin Sr. 
Mott Community College Upward Bound Programs

Glenn R. Martin Sr. was born and raised in Detroit Michigan. A graduate of David Mackenzie high school class of 1984, he has worked in education for more than 25 years as a Middle School teacher, and presently as the Director of Upward Bound Programs at Mott Community College.  He has a bachelor's and a Master of Education degree from the University of Washington in Seattle WA, and an Educational Specialist degree from Central Michigan University. He has spent the last 22 years providing academic support and post-secondary educational access programming to the underrepresented student populations in Genesee County. [Term expires: May 9, 2025]

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Angela J. Pérez (Chair)
Muskegon Public Schools

Angela J. Pérez has served as an educator for Muskegon Public Schools since 2001. She is currently a K-6 English Language Learner (ELL) teacher where she provides support for students who are English Learners and their teachers. Prior to her work as an ELL teacher, Angela held a variety of instructional and leadership roles, including as a lead teacher in a Spanish two-way immersion program and as support for at-risk students. She is passionate about bilingualism and is a long-time member of the Michigan Association for Bilingual Education. In her free time, Angela enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, as well as coaching youth soccer. [Term expires: May 9, 2024]

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Benedict L. Pineda
Haslett Middle School

Benedict L. Pineda is in his 32nd year of teaching, with 29 of those years at Haslett Middle School - a majority of which he has served as an 8th grade social studies teacher. In addition, Ben is the advisor for the middle school's Gay-Straight Alliance Club, Conservation Club, Fishing Club, and Junior Achievement Club. Ben also serves as the mentor teacher for Michigan State University (MSU) teacher education seniors. In addition, he facilitates two monthly educator meetings - a support network for teachers who serve as mentors for MSU teacher education interns and NEST (New Educators Support Team), which offers support and guidance to help new teachers navigate and thrive in their profession. Ben also works with the Michigan Department of Education to evaluate and write standardized test items for social studies and language arts. [Term expires: May 9, 2025]

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Dr. Lisa R. Rivard
Macomb Intermediate School District and Wayne State University

Dr. Lisa R. Rivard is a K-12 Language Arts Consultant for Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD)and an Adjunct Professor at Wayne State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Learning, Design, and Technology from Wayne State University. Lisa has a passion for literacy and in recent years has served as Director of Elementary Programs for Utica Community Schools and president of the Michigan Reading Association. Currently, Lisa serves on the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators' (MAISA) Early Literacy Task Force. Lisa recently completed Michigan State University's Educational Policy Fellowship Program - a national program of the Institute for Educational Leadership. She also serves on the Advisory Council for the Institute for Humane Education. [Term expires: May 9, 2022]

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Dr. Ramont M. Roberts
School District of the City of Saginaw

Dr. Ramont M. Roberts was appointed Superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools in September 2018. Ramont was previously a social studies teacher in Mt. Clemens Community Schools. He then moved back to his hometown of Saginaw and served as a middle school Assistant Principal and Principal, high school Principal and as the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Labor Relations. Ramont is a member of numerous professional organizations, including serving as the board chair for the Middle Cities Workers Compensation Fund and as a member of the executive committee for the Middle Cities Risk Management Trust. In addition, he is a former board member of the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame. Ramont is dedicated to the continued development of his home community of Saginaw through education, as well as other facets in which he can assist. [Term expires: May 9, 2023]

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Dr. Mandy R. Stewart (Vice-Chair)
Charlotte Public Schools

Dr. Mandy R. Stewart has worked in education for more than 20 years as a teacher, Principal and currently as the Superintendent of Charlotte Public Schools. She earned her Ph.D. from Wayne State University and is passionate about bringing that knowledge back to the public school system that directly influences our children. Mandy's research experiences connect with her areas of interest: acceptance of diversity in our school system and socio-economic disparities in academic success. In her free time, Mandy enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and volunteering as a proud baseball mom. [Term expires: May 9, 2024]

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Gregory Talberg 
Howell Public Schools

Gregory Talberg is a husband, parent, and educator. He has been a secondary social studies teacher for more than two decades, teaching AP Psychology, U.S. Government, social issues, and sociology courses. Greg has pursued his passion for public service by serving as a trustee and president of the Williamston Community Schools Board of Education from 2015 to 2018, by participating in the Michigan Political Leadership Program, and as a proud member of the MEA. He has master's degrees from the University of Florida and Michigan State University (MSU) in Social Studies Education and Educational Administration. He also has a bachelor's from MSU in Anthropology and a certificate of Latin American and Caribbean studies. Greg enjoys traveling with his family, reading, cooking, and playing tennis, as well as serving as the Williamston women's tennis coach. [Term expires: May 9, 2023]

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Marcus A. Walton
Detroit Public Schools Community District

Marcus A. Walton is a Special Education teacher for the Detroit Public Schools Community District where he has taught exceptional students with severe multiple impairments for 25 years. In 2011, Marcus was named Detroit's Special Education Teacher of the Year. Marcus earned his bachelor 's in Special Education from Wayne State University and is a graduate of Detroit's Cass Technical High School. Outside of the classroom, he is a union activist and agent for social change. Marcus has served as chair of the Detroit Federation of Teacher's Special Education Chapter, as a building representative at the Jerry L. White Center, and as a member of the Council for Exceptional Children. Marcus is married with three children and three grandchildren and enjoys all things sci-fi. [Term expires: May 9, 2022]

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Jeffery C. Whittle
Macomb Intermediate School District

Jeffery C. Whittle has been a paraprofessional with the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD)for 28 years, working primarily with children with Autism. He has spent time in the classroom, as a community job coach, in group homes, and as a home trainer. Jeff holds a Paraprofessional Certificate and Job Coach Certificate. He has served as president of the Macomb Intermediate Paraprofessionals Union for eight years and is a member of both the Michigan AFT Administrative Board and the AFT National Program and Policy Council. [Term expires: May 9, 2022]

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Past Council Members

Past Meetings

2021

February 19, 2021

January 22, 2021:

2020

December 11, 2020:

November 20, 2020:

September 18, 2020:

August 21, 2020:

July 7, 2020:

June 22, 2020:

June 19, 2020:

May 15, 2020:

Public Notice of Meeting (Canceled) - April 17, 2020

Public Notice of Meeting (Canceled) - March 20, 2020

February 21, 2020:

January 17, 2020:


2019
December 18, 2019:

Meeting Minutes (Approved) - December 18, 2019
Meeting Agenda - December 18, 2019
Public Notice of Meeting - December 18, 2019

November 8, 2019:

Meeting Minutes (Approved) - November 8, 2019
Meeting Agenda - November 8, 2019
Public Notice of Meeting - November 8, 2019

October 11, 2019:

Meeting Minutes (Approved) - October 11, 2019
Meeting Agenda - October 11, 2019
Public Notice of Meeting - October 11, 2019