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Ypsilanti Paraeducator Named 2021 Michigan Education Support Staff Professional of the Year

November 4, 2021

LANSING - Carla Whitsett, a paraeducator at Achieving College & Career Education High School at Ypsilanti Community Schools was named Michigan's 2021 Education Support Staff Professional of the Year, according to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

Whitsett, who has worked as a support staff professional for more than 20 years, was selected from among more than 100 nominations for this year's award.

"Working together, it takes an entire school community to help our children achieve their full potential," said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. "Ms. Whitsett has shown devotion and care to Ypsilanti's students for many years as a paraeducator, and I want to offer my appreciation and congratulations to her on being named Michigan's 2021 Education Support Staff Professional of the Year."

Each school community benefits from the contributions of countless individuals who work tirelessly to ensure the needs of the whole child are met. Education support staff professionals play an essential role in a child's education and MDE salutes all educators and support staff as part of its efforts to uplift and honor Michigan's educational staff.

"Ypsilanti Community Schools is so fortunate to have many exceptional educators," said Ypsilanti Superintendent Dr. Alana Zachery-Ross. "Ms. Carla Whitsett is one of these educators who goes above and beyond for each and every student she interacts with. We are extremely grateful for her commitment and service to our students, parents, and community. She has been a consistent pillar in this community. Thank you, Ms. Whitsett for all that you do on behalf of all of our students in YCS."

Lauren Fardig-Diop, a teacher at Achieving College & Career Education High School who nominated Whitsett for this honor, said: "Carla grew up in the community, and her commitment to generations of young people in Ypsilanti is unmatched. She aims to love everyone who walks through our doors, to let them know that they are valued and cared for and deserve to be well-educated."

As part of its ongoing commitment to highlighting and recognizing the contributions of individuals across the state who go above and beyond for their students, MDE is proud to partner with the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, the Michigan Education Association, and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 25 to offer this award. This was the third year MDE partnered with Michigan's educational labor organizations to present this award.

For more information about the Education Support Staff Professional of the Year award, please visit,4615,7-140-5683_13651_38021---,00.html or e-mail Jennifer Robel at