Congratulations to the 2016 Award Recipients that were celebrated at our Fall Conference!

Outstanding Educator

From Patrick Brown, Okemos Public Schools

rebecca-schwartzRebecca Schwartz (Advanced ESL Teacher) A dedicated teacher creates a classroom environment that allows for students to realize their own potential in order to achieve success.  Rebecca Schwartz, a teacher in the Okemos Schools A+ English Language Program is truly a dedicated teacher.  As a member of the ESL staff for the last three years, Rebecca has been instrumental in helping students to help grow and transition in their lives here in the United States.  She has been helpful in providing information to students at our program both at the beginning level and the advanced level.  At the beginning level, Rebecca was instrumental in helping to build a project-based curriculum.  Rebecca has created curriculum for ESL writing and transition ESL for those who test out and need additional ESL services before entering post-secondary education.  At the advanced level, Rebecca has helped to coordinate expanded partnerships with local community agencies.  These partnerships have helped students to overcome barriers with transportation, housing, childcare, and other services.  She organized her class in the assemblage of a Community Resource Book.  This is a project that has been shared with other community organizations in the Capital Area that host international students.  Rebecca also networks to invite guest speakers to present to our students on a variety of topics from fire safety to MichiganWorks!  She volunteers to help coordinate fun activities in the school such as our fall harvest party, family literacy night, thanksgiving pot luck, international festival, and certificate day.  She takes a vested interest in each of her students and communicated with them as both a teacher but also a valued mentor.  Rebecca is known to come in to school on her days off to prepare additional materials for students or prepare materials for the next week.  Rebecca continuously challenges her students to use English readily in their lives and to form action plans to complete tasks and goals.  She is a valuable member of our ESL staff.

Support Staff Person

From Mary Marcil and Chris Whitman, Orchard View Schools

tracy-willet-ogleTracy Willet-Ogle (Administrative Assistant) Tracy Willet-Ogle has been an administrative assistant at Orchard View Schools for almost 30 years.  For the last 10 years, she has work tirelessly for the Community Education Program.  She is one constant in the ever changing world of Community Education.  She is our first line of communication in our office.  She always has a smile on her face, is upbeat, and very personable. She is the personification of customer service.  She has a font of knowledge about the working of the many and varied programs under the Community Education umbrella.  A typical day for Tracy is taking payments and giving out information on our many travel trips, setting up a room for the Senior Bridge class, giving information or taking registrations on current class offerings in Preschool, Adult Education, Drivers Ed, Adult & Youth enrichments, and the Senior Program.  She will direct visitors in the office to our other sites, show them where to find the Township Library in our building or the Head Start parents to their child’s classroom and she does it all with a smile.  In addition, she handles requisitions, purchase orders, credit card payments & receipts, and the deposits for all programs.  She is the one woman that makes our program go!
Sadly for us, Tracy will be retiring and leaving her administrative assistant position at the end of the year, her shoes will be hard to fill.  Fortunately, after a long break in Florida, she will be coming back as our part-time Enrichment coordinator next year.
Tracy is not aware of this nomination, so please contact either Chris Whitman or Mary Marcil if she is selected.  Thanks.


From Mary Murphy, Mt Pleasant Public Schools

traci-florianTraci Florian (T-Flo) (Data Entry, Office Assistant) Traci is starting her 3rd year as MPCE’s Data Entry Office Assistant. Traci was new to the adult education world when she started three years ago, but since then, she has eagerly learned about the legislation, funding, and policies that govern our operations.  Although her job title is “Data Entry,” she does more than just type in what is written on the page in front of her.  She has taken it upon herself to understand how the individual data elements relate to our program performance and correct inaccuracies.  She is not afraid of learning new tasks, and contributes new ideas to improve our workplace.

Traci has not only done a remarkable job managing our data, but is also the face of MPCE at our lobby front desk.  Traci’s warm friendly smile immediately greets everyone who walks through our front doors. Within a student’s first two days, she’s greeting them by name. As a student put it “Traci says Hi to me every day, even before I make it all the way through the door.”  Traci’s compassion for people, caring demeanor and positive attitude makes her a magnet to MPCE students, to the point where we had to place a sign on her desk that reads “Traci has work to do, go to class.”

I recently had Traci update her job description for me.  On the bottom of the 3 pages of duties she added: Most Important – Listen and help students and staff with any issues they may have (unofficial Counselor). Supply comic relief to lighten the load.  Traci truly believes that, and lives it every day.
At a program level, I attribute our improved retention and follow up rates the past 2 years to having Traci at our front desk as students want to see her daily and talk to her.  As another student put it “No matter if she is busy or having a bad day, she always has time to say Hi and listen.”


Trail Blazer Award

From Lauren Cornett, SCMW!/Hillsdale Community Schools

pamela-goslaPamela Gosla (Director of Hillsdale Adult Education & Research & Education Manager (MWSE)

For the last seven years she has served as Director of the Hillsdale Adult Education Program, and throughout that time has fostered numerous partnerships to better serve the adult learning population within the region.  With recent expansion of the local adult education program, Pam has created valuable partnerships throughout several communities.  These partnerships have been established with numerous agencies and organization within Hillsdale, Jackson, and Lenawee Counties.  Pam consistently and passionately advocates on behalf of the necessity and inclusion of adult education throughout the community.

It is the pleasure of the following agencies, organizations, post-secondary institutions, and school district to nominate Pamela Gosla for the Trail Blazer Award with the Michigan Association of Community and Adult Education.

Pam has been an educator for over 25 years.  With her current position with Michigan Works! Southeast she has a unique opportunity to help bridge the gap between workforce development and education.  For the last seven years she has served as the Director of the Hillsdale Adult Education program, and throughout that time has fostered numerous partnerships to better serve the adult learning population within the regions.  With recent expansion of the local adult education program, Pam has created valuable partnerships throughout the several communities.  These partnerships include:  Jackson College, the College and Career Access Center (of Jackson County), Jackson District Library, Michigan Works! Southeast, Jackson County Intermediate School District, and Community Action Agency of Hillsdale, Jackson, and Lenawee Counties.

Pam is the epitome of a trailblazer as she consistently and passionately advocates on behalf of the necessity and inclusion of adult education throughout the community.  Her efforts to include multiple organizations in this area allow exponential future success with the adult learning population.

It is for these reasons that we, the undersigned, nominate Pamela Gosla for the Trail Blazer Award.

(Signed by Jackson County ISD, Superintendent, Hillsdale Community Schools, Jackson College, College & Career Access Center, Jackson County Cradle to Career Education Network, Cradle 2 Career)


Program Advocate

From Karyn Goven, Okemos Public Schools

jim-stedmanJim Stedman (Executive Board of Community Volunteers for International Partnerships [CVIP]).

For the last three years, Jim Stedman has been a community volunteer and advocate for international students in the Capital Region.  As a member of the Executive Board of Community Volunteers for International Partnerships (CVIP), Jim has been instrumental in helping students to help transition in their lives here in the United States.  Jim has been helpful in providing transportation, housing, childcare, and other services so that adult students can pursue their educational opportunities.  He has housed international students for an extended period of time and hosts international students who have nowhere to go during the holidays.  As a member of CVIP, Jim helps to coordinate and streamline program offerings.  Specifically for our program, Jim coordinates the yearly American home visits.   This is a great opportunity for ESL students to visit American homes in the capital region while learning about different customs as well as practice their English.  Jim coordinates all of the host homes, drivers for the day of the event, and the specific student home assignments.  He serves as an unofficial ambassador for our program, referring students as needed and attending all of our community events.  Jim is a natural born host, attracting new volunteers to our program and those associated with CVIP by hosting guests at his home.  He is actively involved in fundraising for adult educational program offering in the Capital Region.  Jim helps to coordinate scholarships for spouses of international students at MSU to further their studies.  He is an instrumental part of the CVIP Global Festival held every year at MSU.  On a personal level, Jim is a very kind-hearted, gracious friend of our program.  His tireless efforts have impacted our program and the lives of so many international ESL students in the Capital Region.


2015 Award Recipients