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Military Veteran Finds Second Calling in the Classroom as Elementary Teacher

April 8, 2019

LANSING – From active duty to the classroom, many military veterans find a second calling in education and continuing to pursue the service of others. 

The latest #proudMIeducator video, released today by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), features Nicole Harp, an Army veteran who became a successful paraprofessional-turned-teacher at David Ellis Academy in Detroit.

Harp transitioned to civilian life in 2016, working as a substitute teacher, while also running her own small business. After connecting with students and seeing her impact in the classroom, Harp set her sights on a new goal – becoming a teacher, which she achieved with guidance and support from to the Troops to Teachers program.

“Great teachers bring a world of experiences to their classroom and their students,” said Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles. “Troops to Teachers is a dynamic journey for retired military personnel to continue their service to improve the lives of others through education. We take genuine honor in knowing they are Proud Michigan Educators.”

Today’s video release featuring Harp, available at, highlights her work in the classroom and the impact of her military background on both her students and fellow educators.

This is the fifth #proudMIeducator video in the 2018-19 season. Previous seasons and videos in the series are available at

The #proudMIeducator initiative is part of a greater effort by MDE to recognize, celebrate and enhance the state’s educator workforce as it works to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years. Anyone can participate in the social media-driven campaign designed to shine a spotlight on those making a difference for students in schools and districts across the state – simply tag posts using the #proudMIeducator hashtag. 

To stay connected, be sure to like/follow both MDE and the Office of Educator Excellence on social media:

  • Facebook: @MichDeptEd and @MIEducator
  • Twitter: @MIEducation and @MIEducator
  • Instagram: @MIEducator
  • YouTube: @michdepted

For more information about the #proudMIeducator campaign, please visit email Josh Roesner at For more information about the Troops to Teachers program, please visit