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November 16, 2018

SVSU selects K-12 educators for Gerstacker leadership program

Gerstacker FellowsA new group of K-12 education leaders committed to professional growth will join the Saginaw Valley State University Gerstacker Fellowship program for 2018-19.

As part of the initiative, 11 teachers, principals, and program administrators from across Michigan will receive concentrated leadership training over a 1-year period. The experience will include an international trip to Finland and Germany in March.

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

These trips send participants to educational institutions, where participants learn about international educational systems and corporate settings. There, they discover how leadership plays out in different cultural and economic settings.  Last year's group visited Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong.  The group visited Tsnjhua High School International, in Beijing, China where TImothy Wedge - a member of the first cohort of the Gerstacker Fellowship program - serves as the principal of the school.

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 and experts in the field instruct the group on subjects such as organizational leadership, ethics, finances, communication, human resources, entrepreneurship and education with a global perspective. 

The Michigan educators selected to participate in the program in 2019 are:

  • Marilyn Benn, a Spanish teacher in the Mt. Morris Consolidated School District
  • Kevin Champagne, an instructional coach with the Institute for Excellence in Education located in Mt. Pleasant
  • Kathy Dardas, an assistant principal in curriculum and instruction for the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center
  • Neil DeLuca, a high school principal for Rochester Community Schools
  • Lori Lee, an English learner district coordinator for Saginaw Township Schools
  • Nicole Rethman, a special education supervisor in the Swan Valley School District
  • Tielannette Schurman, an assistant middle school principal for Midland Public Schools
  • Ann Sheffer, a multi-tiered system of supports coach and student support principal for Freeland Community Schools
  • Jacob Voisine, a high school dean of students for Bay City Public Schools
  • Jill Waliczek, an elementary principal in the Frankenmuth School District
  • Kymberli Wregglesworth, a high school social studies teacher for Onaway Area Community Schools

For more information on the Gerstacker Fellowship at SVSU, visit