Meet the Directors

Brian Whiston State Superintendent
Sheila Alles Chief Deputy Superintendent
Susan Broman Deputy Superintendent, P-20 System and Student Transitions
Kyle Guerrant Deputy Superintendent, Finance Operations
Venessa Keesler Deputy Superintendent, Educator, Student, and School Supports
Martin Ackley Office of Public and Governmental Affairs
Leah Breen Office of Professional Preparation and Certification Services
Lisa Brewer Walraven Office of Child Development and Care
Patty Cantu Office of Career & Technical Education
Reneé DeMars-Johnson Office Great Start/Early Childhood Development and Family Education
Ann Dennis Office of Financial Management
Kaitlin Ferrick Head Start-State Collaboration Office
Linda Foward Office of Improvement and Innovation
Abbie Groff-Blaszak Office of Educator Talent
Vacant State Aid and School Finance
Teri Johnson Chapman Office of Special Education
Dave Judd Office of Systems and Integration
Richard Lower Office of Preschool and Out-of-School Time Learning
Andrew Middlestead Office of Standards and Assessment
Vacant Office of School Support Services
Joetta Parker  Office of Human Resources
Mike Radke Office of Field Services
Michelle Ribant Director for 21st Century Learning
   

 

State Superintendent
Brian J Whiston The Superintendent of Public Instruction is appointed by and responsible to the State Board of Education, which is elected at-large on a partisan basis.  The Superintendent sits on Governor's Cabinet, the State Administrative Board, and acts as chair and a non-voting member of the State Board of Education.  The Superintendent advises the Legislature on education policy and funding needs, as defined by the State Board of Education. The Superintendent is responsible for the implementation of bills passed by the Legislature and policies established by the State Board of Education.
Sheila Alles
Chief Deputy Superintendent
Sheila Alles

The Chief Deputy Superintendent is responsible for facilitating the state’s Top 10 in 10 plan to make Michigan one of the top 10 education states in the next 10 years.  This responsibility includes ensuring the following:

  • Learner centered supports focusing on the way students learn and the skills they develop; the systems that support that learning; and the need for individualized supports are available for each and every learner.
  • An effective educator workforce is well prepared and supported in order to build a quality education system.
  • Strategic partnerships with a variety of stakeholders who collaborate to support our children and work together to accomplish our goals and vision.
  • All aspects of the education infrastructure systems are improved so they are functioning effectively and efficiently to meet the needs of internal and external stakeholders.

This position also assists the State Superintendent by serving as a member of the Superintendent’s leadership team.   

Susan Broman
Deputy Superintendent, P-20 System and Student Transitions
Susan Broman
The Office of Great Start, created by Executive Order No. 2011-8, consolidates early childhood programs and resources under a single agency in an effort to maximize child outcomes, reduce duplication and administrative overhead, and reinvests resources into quality improvement and service delivery. The new office will refocus the state's early childhood investment, policy and administrative structures by adopting a single set of early childhood outcomes.

The initial programs/services that have been brought together in the Office of Great Start are the: Office of Early Childhood Education and Family Services, Head Start State Collaboration Office, and the Office of Child Development and Care. Both the Office of Child Development and Care and the Head Start State Collaboration Office were previously housed in the Department of Human Services.
Kyle Guerrant
Deputy Superintendent, Finance and Operations
Kyle Guerrant
The Deputy Superintendent for Administrative and Support Services, provides leadership and supervision for: Grants, Coordination & School Support Services; Financial Management; State Aid and School Finance; Administrative Law & Federal Relations; Audit Functions; and Information Technology

The Deputy Superintendent also coordinates collaborative efforts with other state government agencies, serves as the department's emergency management coordinator, oversees the department's responsibilities for school construction, and provides leadership for educational policy initiatives.
Venessa Keesler
Deputy Superintendent, Educator, Student, and School Supports
Venessa Keesler

The Deputy Superintendent for Accountability Services is responsible for developing and administering assessment and accountability programs comprised of five programs. Michigan Educational Assessment Program and the Merit Examination, Assessment of Students with Disabilities, Assessment of English Language Learners, Accreditation / Accountability, National Assessment of Education progress. This position also directs the activities and provides leadership and supervision for the department's Offices of

  • Standards and Assessment
  • Evaluation, Strategic Research, and Accountability
  • Accountability Business Operations
  • Systems, Psychometrics, and Measurement Research
  • Professional Preparation Services
Martin Ackley
Office of Public and Governmental Affairs
Martin Ackley

The Office of Public and Governmental Affairs is the official source of news, information and outreach involving Michigan Department of Education and State Board of Education programs, policies and initiatives, as well as the liaison between the department and state and federal legislators.

Leah Breen
Professional Preparation and Certification Services
Leah Breen

The Office of Professional Preparation Services (OPPS) fosters the educational achievement of all Michigan youth and adults, Pre-K through 12th grade, by assuring that all professional school personnel complete quality preparation and professional development programs which meet standards established by the Michigan Legislature and the State Board of Education.

Lisa Brewer-Walraven
Office of Child Development and Care

Lisa Brewer-Walraven

The Office of Child Development and Care supports low-income working families by providing access to affordable, high quality early care and afterschool programs. To achieve this end, the office supports numerous efforts designed to assess and improve the level of quality across the spectrum of Michigan's early learning and care settings.

This office administers Michigan's federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) dollars and through these funds support:

  • The Child Development and Care (CDC) Program, the state's child care subsidy program.
  • Quality improvement initiatives for early learning and development programs and unlicensed subsidized providers coordinated through the Early Childhood Investment Program.
  • Licensure and monitoring of licensed and registered early learning and development programs.
  • T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarships to individuals working in the early childhood field.
Patty Cantu
Office of Career & Technical Education
Patty Cantu
The Office of Career and Technical Education oversees high school instructional programs that teach students skills in a specific career cluster.  The mission of the office is to prepare students so they have the necessary academic, technical, and work behavior skills to enter, compete, and advance in education and their careers.  Most secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs offer early college credit opportunities to provide students with a seamless transition to postsecondary education.  Students in CTE programs also have the following educational experiences: instruction on career and employability skills; participation in work-based learning, and; leadership opportunities through participation in student organizations associated with their career of interest.  To keep current, CTE administrators and teachers must maintain close relationships with local business and industry representatives.  Staff within the Office of Career and Technical Education also coordinate the Department’s Early/Middle Colleges which are five year high schools where students earn a high school diploma and substantial college credit upon graduation.
Reneé DeMars-Johnson
Early Childhood Development and Family Education
ReneƩ DeMars-Johnson
Early Childhood Development and Family Education (ECDFE) provides information, consultation, and resources to families, educators, and communities concerned with the progress and development of our youngest citizens and their families. ECDFE manages federal and state grant programs and consults with parenting support programs, family literacy programs, infant/toddler services, early intervention and system-focused development. Major programs managed by ECDFE include Part C of I.D.E.A. (aka Early On®, the 32p Block Grant and Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.)
Ann Dennis
Financial Management
Ann Dennis The Office of Financial Management facilitates the development of the annual agency budget, and provides oversight of Department budgets.  The office is responsible for all accounting and purchasing activities for the Department.   This includes disbursing, recording and reporting grants; collecting revenue; developing and securing federally approved indirect cost rates; and procuring supplies and equipment.
Kaitlin Ferrick 
Head Start-State Collaboration Office
Kaitlin Ferrick The Head Start-State Collaboration Office (HSSCO) is charged with facilitating and enhancing coordination and collaboration between Head Start agencies and other state and local entities that provide comprehensive services designed to benefit all low-income children from birth to age five and their families, as well as pregnant women. HSSCO is responsible for assisting in the building of early childhood systems including access to comprehensive services, encourage wide spread collaboration with appropriate programs and services, and facilitate the involvement of Head Start in policy and planning efforts that affect the Head Start target population and other low-income families.
Linda Forward
Office of Education Improvement and Innovation
Linda Forward
  • High School reform
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Public School Academies
  • High Priority Schools
  • School Improvement
  • Educational Options (dual enrollment, alternative education, advanced placement, international baccalaureate)
  • Educational Technology (competitive grants for Title II, Part D and other educational technology issues)
Abbie Groff-Blaszak
Office of Educator Talent
Abbie Groff-Blaszak

The Office of Educator Talent (OET) is responsible for creating, implementing, and administering programs to develop and maintain Michigan's educator workforce. These programs help ensure that Michigan's educators have the tools, training, and supports to deliver effective instruction and leadership for all Michigan students. Major projects of the OET include the implementation of Michigan's educator evaluation law (PA 173 of 2015), Michigan's State Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators, and the Michigan Teacher of the Year and Milken educator awards programs.

Vacant
Office of State Aid and School Finance
  Distribution of funds to school districts, guidance on issues of school finance and tax policy, public school district financial accounting, various financing mechanisms available to school districts, and information on pupil accounting statutes and rules, also interpretation, analysis, and coordination of Departmental activities related to the annual development of the State School Aid K-12 budget.
Teri Johnson Chapman
Office of Special Education
Teri Johnson Chapman

The function of the Office of Special Education (OSE) is the general supervision, administration, and funding of special education programs and services for children and youth with disabilities ages 3-21. A free appropriate public education (FAPE) is provided to eligible children according to federal statute and regulations, state statute, administrative rules, and department procedures.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) established two separate age segments for students with special needs. Part B refers to special education services for students ages 3 through 21. Part C refers to early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities from birth to age 3.

Michigan special education services extend from birth through 25 (beyond the federal requirement of 21). Therefore, Michigan's special education services and programs serve eligible students ages birth through 25.

The OSE is tasked with implementing and monitoring Part B improvement plans. The Office of Great Start (OGS), in conjunction with the OSE, manages Part C services through its Early On® program. Some infants and toddlers may be eligible for special education services.

The OSE is made up of four units, administration, program finance, program accounting, and performance reporting, and is also responsible for the Low Incidence Outreach program as well as the Michigan School for the Deaf.

Dave Judd
Office of Systems and Integration
Dave Judd

The Office of Systems and Integration (OSI) is an office within the Division of Accountability Services (DAS). The responsibilities of this office include:

• Facilitating data coordination activities across MDE
• State Online Assessment Technical Readiness and Reporting support
• Program and data management of DAS projects
• Management of DAS systems (Secure Site, Item Bank System, etc.)
• Responding to assessment and accountability reporting and analysis requests

Richard Lower
Preschool and Out-of-School Time Learning
Patty Cantu The Office of Preschool and Out-of-School Time Learning (P&OSTL) provides information, consultation, and resources to families, educators, and communities concerned with the progress and development of children, youth and their families so that they will be prepared to succeed in school and in life. P&OSTL manages federal and state grant programs and consults with preschool/prekindergarten programs, preschool special education programs and services, transition into K-3 primary grades, and out-of-school time programs (i.e., before- and after-school, summers, vacations, and weekends) for K-12 students. Major programs include: Great Start Readiness Program, Early Childhood Special Education (IDEA, Part B, Section 619), and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
Andrew Middlestead
Office of Standards and Assessment
Andrew Middlestead The Office of Standards and Assessment (OSA) oversee the development, design, administration, and reporting of all statewide student assessments. This include the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP), the Michigan Merit Exam (MME), the MI-Access alternate assessments, and the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) assessments for English learners. The OSA strives, everyday, to produce and administer the best assessment tools possible for Michigan students and educators.
Vacant
Office of School Support Services
  Office of School Support Services covers a wide range of topics and programs, including school and summer meals; child and adult care food; free United States Department of Agriculture commodity food distribution; coordinated school health and safety; pupil transportation; educational technology (educational technology plans, technology literacy standards, and e-rate); and grant procurement and distribution. Please explore our website for in-depth coverage of these topics. Please feel free to contact our staff, should you require additional information.
Joetta Parker
Office of Human Resources
Joetta Parker
The mission of the Office of Human Resources is to provide quality, customer focused services to the Department of Education in support of its staffing, development and human resource management needs which are necessary for achieving the State Board's goal for Michigan education.
Mike Radke
Office of Field Services
Mike Radke

The mission of the Office of Field Services is to accelerate student achievement by providing state and federal grant support based on the unique improvement plans developed by schools and districts. The primary focus of the ESSA and State grants is to serve the needs of students who are most at risk. The office provides training and technical assistance in grants management, continuous improvement, program evaluation, networking on promising practices, and implementation fidelity. Our work is carefully aligned with the Top 10 in Ten state plan and coordinated with other MDE offices.

Michelle Ribant
Director for 21st Century Learning
Michelle Ribant The Office of Educational Technology and Data Coordination is responsible for implementing the states online learning graduation requirement, the Michigan Educational Technology Standards (METS), and accomplishing the eight goals of set forth in the State Board's Educational Technology Plan.

The Office also serves in the vital role of encouraging and coordinating the use of data to drive decision making in schools and at MDE.