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Second-Career Kalamazoo Educator Highlighted in Newest #proudMIeducator Video

LANSING - Third grade teacher Tony Spencer says that everything that was put into him was designed to support children. His journey of going from driving the school bus to being a proud Michigan educator inspires his students and colleagues.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is pleased to announce the release of the latest #proudMIeducator video, featuring Tony Spencer, a second-career Kalamazoo Public Schools educator, who shares his story of becoming an educator who believes building a community where every student will be successful.

The video can be viewed at: #proudMIeducator: Tony Spencer, Kalamazoo Public Schools

"It is important for us to continue highlighting the voices of educators," said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. "Tony Spencer embodies the idea that we are in part what we dream of becoming. So many of our support staff across the state have great relationships with students and families in their communities. To pour into support staff members who aspire to be teachers is to expand and diversify our teacher workforce and to pour into our students. The #proudMIeducator campaign is one way we honor the hard work of passionate educators, such as Tony, and we hope that others will consider a career in education after hearing his story."

Spencer grew up in Kalamazoo and after serving in the United States military became a school bus driver before starting teaching as a second career. He encourages all of his students to consider a career in teaching who want to give back to the community in which they grew up and attended school.

Increasing the number of certified teachers, especially in areas of shortage, is one of the eight goals of Michigan's strategic education plan.

Since 2016, the #proudMIeducator series has featured educators and supporters of Michigan educators who share their passion for education. The full playlist can be found on the MDE YouTube page.

If you know a proud Michigan educator who should be considered for a future video feature, please email MDE-PME@Michigan.gov.