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Michigan Regional Teachers of the Year Named for 2024-25

LANSING – Ten Michigan educators have a new title in addition to the many roles they play in their schools – 2024-25 Regional Teacher of the Year.

Each of these outstanding educators also will be a finalist for 2024-25 Michigan Teacher of the Year.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) organizes the Teacher of the Year program to honor and elevate the voices of teachers. Honorees will have the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge as they work with stakeholders to strengthen Michigan’s public schools for students and educators.

“The Regional Teachers of the Year play key roles in their schools and communities, and in our statewide effort to improve our schools,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice. “They offer insights into the needs of our 1.4 million school children and educators across the state. We are grateful for their leadership and dedication to the teaching profession and look forward to working with them during the next school year.”

The 2024-25 Regional Teachers of the Year are:

Region 1: Michael Powers, a social studies teacher at Manistique Middle/High School in Manistique Area Schools.

Region 2: Molly Dunham, a third-grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary School in Kingsley Area School

Region 3: Kristen Ritter, a mathematics teacher at Greenville High School in Greenville Public Schools.

Region 4: Laura Baker, an English teacher at Shepherd High School in Shepherd Public Schools.

Region 5: Sasha Wakefield, a mathematics teacher at Clio High School in Clio Area Schools.

Region 6: Cassandra Eberhardt, a social studies teacher at Williamston Middle School in Williamston Community Schools.

Region 7: Melissa Frost, a science teacher at Buchanan High School in Buchanan Community Schools.

Region 8: Kristina Dennis, a third-grade teacher at Onsted Elementary School in Onsted Community Schools.

Region 9: Kelley Cusmano, an English Language Arts teacher at Rochester High School in Rochester Community Schools.

Region 10: Calvin Nellum, a science teacher at Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences.

The Regional Teachers of the Year were selected following a multi-part, competitive application process that began with being nominated for Michigan Teacher of the Year. Students, staff, and community members from across the state submitted nominations. A map of the 10 Regional Teacher of the Year regions can be found on the MDE website.

The 2024-25 honorees were chosen for their dedication to the teaching profession, as evidenced by their commitment to their students and track record of service in the teaching profession.

Together, the Regional Teachers of the Year make up the Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council. The council’s mission is to bring teacher voices to a wider audience, including direct work with MDE to provide input on proposed policies and initiatives, and help to share valuable information and resources with their colleagues in their respective regions.

The next step in the process is for each Regional Teacher of the Year is to interview with a panel of statewide  education stakeholders, with one person selected as the 2024-25 Michigan Teacher of the Year. The Teacher of the Year has a seat at the State Board of Education table as a non-voting member, attends several national conferences with fellow state teachers of the year from other U.S. states and territories to represent the experiences of Michigan’s teachers and students, and will be Michigan’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

Program expenses for Michigan’s teacher of the year program are covered through a generous partnership with the Meemic Foundation.

“As a proud sponsor of the Michigan Teacher of the Year program, The Meemic Foundation would like to offer our congratulations to the 2024-25 class of Michigan Regional Teachers of the Year,” said Pam Harlin, director of the Meemic Foundation. “We wish them all the best as they begin this tremendous adventure to unite and share their vast experiences from their regions to support the continuous pursuit of excellence in Michigan education. All of us at Meemic could not be prouder to have each of them representing Michigan education.”

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