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November 21, 2016

SVSU selects K-12 educators for Gerstacker leadership program

A new group of K-12 education leaders committed to professional growth will join the Saginaw Valley State University Gerstacker Fellowship program in 2017.

As part of the initiative, 11 teachers, principals, superintendents and program administrators from across Michigan will receive concentrated leadership training over a 1-year period. The experience concludes with a capstone international trip to Japan in April.

Previous overseas trips have included Finland, China, South Korea and Taiwan. Last year's group also traveled to Japan.

These trips send participants to educational institutions, where participants learn about international educational systems and corporate settings, where they discover how leadership plays out in different cultural and economic settings.

Kimberli McMahan, an elementary Spanish teacher in Midland Public Schools, was one of the 11 educators chosen for the opportunity.

“This is, without question, the most treasured and important opportunity of my professional career,” she said.

“I look forward to studying, in depth, what it means to be a good leader and a good educator in this global world with the other members of the cohort. The Gerstacker family is so generous to provide such a rich fellowship program, and I know the students of Michigan will benefit as we take action with the things we learn over the next year.”

The program was established in 2005 with a $1.5 million endowment from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland. Participants are known as Gerstacker Fellows. They meet monthly on weekends.

SVSU faculty from various disciplines instruct the group on subjects such as organizational leadership, ethics, finances, communication, human resources, entrepreneurship and education with a global perspective.

In addition to McMahan, those selected to participate in the program in 2017 are as follows:

•    Gordon Culver, a science teacher at Frankenmuth High School
•    David Farley, principal and the K-8 curriculum director at Richfield Early Learning Center at Richfield Public School Academy in Flint
•    Renae Galsterer, assistant superintendent of the Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools District
•    John-Matthew LaGalo, principal of Bridgeport High School
•    Patrick Malley, principal of Meridian Early College High School in Meridian Public Schools
•    Vicki Mikusko, an elementary school principal and director of special education in the Bullock Creek School District
•    Carla Postell, the director of curriculum integration and instruction at Hazel Park Schools in southeast Michigan
•    Noreen Saylor, a high school English language arts teacher at Carrollton Public Schools
•    Brigette Uhrich, an assistant principal at the Saginaw Intermediate School District Transitions Center
•    Lisa Williams, principal at Lincoln Middle School in the Van Dyke Public School District in Warren

The Fellows were nominated by their schools and selected on the basis of their past academic and service accomplishments, and the recommendations of others as to their potential for true excellence in leadership.