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Champions for Literacy in Michigan - Book Reviews and Ideas for the Classroom or Home Environment

Dr. Paula Daniels Reflects on "Dreams" by Langston Hughes 
Dr. Paula Daniels has always been an advocate for ensuring that all children receive a quality education. She believes that education gives learners an opportunity to increase their "life" choices and dream big dreams. She notes that it is our responsibility as educators to help students make their dreams a reality.   

A wide variety of experiences have enriched her educational career. In addition to many years of teaching, she has served as a building principal, a central office administrator, and superintendent in multiple districts.  Her duties have included oversight of school and district: State and Federal Programs, School Improvement, Professional Development, Curriculum, Assessment, and School and Family/Community relations.  

Dr. Daniels joined the Michigan Department of Education in 2014. At MDE, she has served as a Regional Consultant Manager in the former Office of Field Services, Interim Director for the Office of Partnership Districts, and currently serves as the Director of the Office of Educational Supports. Dr. Daniels is the newly elected vice president of the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators.  Paula believes in beginning and ending each day with a song and keeping a smile on her face. 

Dr. Michael Rice, State Superintendent, Reflects on the Works of Langston Hughes 

Dr. Michael F. Rice was appointed Michigan's 45th superintendent of public instruction by Michigan's State Board of Education in May 2019. He officially began his work as state superintendent on August 1, 2019.Dr. Rice came to the Michigan Department of Education after serving 17 years as a local district superintendent: 12 years as superintendent in Kalamazoo, Michigan and 5 as superintendent in Clifton, New Jersey. His most rewarding work remains his mentoring and teaching of, and informal discussions with, school children-- which he continues to do as Michigan's state superintendent. 

Dr. Leah van Belle, Executive Director for 313 Reads! Reflects on Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney  

Dr. Leah van Belle is the Executive Director at 313 Reads!.  313 Reads! is a city-wide initiative that works to ensure that all Detroit children read at grade level by 3rd grade.  Dr. van Belle is a Detroiter who believes in the brilliance of our children and youth and is committed to serving urban students, teachers, schools, and communities. 

Angela Justice, Educator and Literacy Interventionist, reflects on Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o 

Angela has been an educator for 20 years. She has served with Kalamazoo County Head Start, Battle Creek Public Schools and Kalamazoo Public Schools. While in the classroom, she taught 1st, 3rd, and 4th grades. She has been a literacy interventionist, literacy and math coach, and Reading Recovery Teacher. She is currently the Coordinator of English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Library Services for Kalamazoo Public Schools. In addition to her work with KPS, she teaches both undergraduate and graduate reading courses at WMU. She has a passion for literacy teaching, learning, diversity and equity.