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2024-25 MTLAC Cohort

2024-24 MTLAC Cohort

Region 1 Michael Powers

Michael Powers

Region 1: Manistique Area Schools

Michael Powers is a high school social studies teacher at Manistique Area Schools in Manistique, Michigan. Michael is in his 43rd year of teaching, his 43rd at Manistique Middle/High School. Michael is the advisor for the Manistique High School Key Club.

Region 2 Molly Dunham

Molly Dunham

Region 2: Kingsley Area Schools

Molly Dunham is a third grade general education teacher at Kingsley Elementary School in Kingsley, Michigan. Molly is in her 30th year of teaching at Kingsley Area Schools. Molly is the director of the New Teacher Mentor Program for her district. She is an active member of the Kingsley Federation of Teachers and serves as the Scholarship Supervisor. Molly also works as an adjunct faculty in Central Michigan University’s Education Program.

Region 3 Kristen Ritter

Kristen Ritter

Region 3: Greenville Public Schools

Kristen Ritter is a 10th grade math teacher at Greenville High School in Greenville Public Schools. Kristen is in her 11th year of teaching, her 8th year at Greenville High School. She is the advisor for the Greenville High School Be Nice program, department head for the high school math department, coordinates summer school for the district, and serves on the district technology team.

Region 4 Laura Baker

Laura Baker

Region 4: Shepherd Public Schools

Laura Baker is a secondary English teacher at Shepherd High School in Shepherd Public Schools. Laura is in her 16th year of teaching, her fourth at Shepherd High School. She teaches primarily 10th grade English. Laura is a liaison for the be nice. program, a Student Leadership teacher, a coordinator for the LINKS German Exchange program, a member of the Building Leadership Team, and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Region 5 Sasha Wakefield

Sasha Wakefield

Region 5: Clio Area Schools

Sasha Wakefield is a dedicated high school mathematics teacher with 18 years in education. While pursuing her teaching certification, she worked as a paraprofessional and long-term substitute at Flint Community Schools. Sasha is committed to equity and integrity while inspiring students to achieve academic excellence at Clio High School, where she has taught since 2010. She believes in building relationships with students and developing a culture within her classroom where students learn to see mistakes as learning opportunities and challenges as moments for growth. Sasha’s influence extends to community and school initiatives. She created a peer-to-peer tutoring club, initiated the Clio Christmas Giving Tree, and the Clio NHS Veterans Appreciation Program. Sasha serves as the Mathematics Department Chair, National Honor Society Adviser, member of both the Promoting Positive School Culture Committee and the MICIP, Academic Strategic Planning Committee, Secretary of the High School PTO, and Middle School Cross Country Coach. Sasha is a lifelong learner. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, Mathematics Major, from Ferris State University, and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with a Mathematics Education emphasis, from Concordia University. Currently, she is advancing her expertise further by pursuing an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Region 6 Cassandra Eberhardt

Cassandra Eberhardt

Region 6: Williamston Community Schools

Cassandra Eberhardt is a 7th grade social studies teacher at Williamston Middle School and will begin her 12th year teaching in the fall. She graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in history and continued on to get her master's in teaching and curriculum. Cassandra has taught 7th-12th grades over the course of her career but loves the energy and creativity of middle school students. She is the Social Studies Department Chairperson, serves on the Building Leadership Team in her school, and has served as a mentor teacher for Eastern Michigan University. Cassandra is so grateful for such a meaningful job where connections with students inspire her daily.

Region 7 Melissa Frost

Melissa Frost

Region 7: Buchanan Community Schools

Melissa Frost is an accomplished educator with 24 years of experience in the field. For the past 19 years she has honed her skills in the classroom as a professional teacher for Buchanan Community School’s high school. In that position, she has been one of their lead science teachers, mentors, and science curriculum curators. Melissa currently teaches in the subject areas of chemistry and biology. She is known for her innovative teaching methods and her dedication to student success. Melissa holds a master's degree in education and has completed a research experience for teachers (RET) with the Kellogg Biological Station and Michigan State University. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) where she presented her work in the RET program. She is passionate about creating a positive and inclusive learning environment for all students. Her commitment to continuous professional development and her ability to inspire both students and colleagues make her a valuable asset to the education community.

Region 8 Kristina Dennis

Kristina Dennis

Region 8: Onsted Community Schools

Mrs. Kristina Dennis is a dedicated teacher with 22 years of teaching experience in Lenawee County. She has also been an undergraduate and graduate adjunct professor at Siena Heights University and Lourdes College during her career. Each position has awarded her opportunities to become a more passionate educator, mentor, and leader. Kristina has worked in several teaching positions in Onsted Community Schools for 21 years. She has been a third grade teacher for the past 15 years. Along with that role she has also been a Reading interventionist, fourth grade teacher, and a fifth grade teacher at Onsted Elementary School. She began her teaching career at Onsted Community Schools as a Spanish K-8th teacher and a fifth grade teacher before staying home with her three daughters. As destiny would have it, her return to the profession brought her right back to Onsted Elementary School. She is grateful for the privilege of working with many amazing students and families, as well as colleagues during these years.

Kristina graduated from Hillsdale College with her Bachelor of Education degree and Siena Heights University with a Master of Elementary Education. Kristina is passionate about teaching and truly loves what she does. She cherishes the relationships that she has built with her students over the years. It has always been her goal to make her classroom a fun and inviting space where her students feel safe, respected, and loved. Kristina believes that the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of her students has been one of her greatest blessings. She is a member of the Building Implementation Team, new teacher mentor, grade level representative, School Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports Team member, and an after-school and summer tutor, as well as a mentor for future educators. Kristina hopes to be remembered for showing her students the importance of perseverance, integrity, and resilience, as well as a loving, caring, and passionate teacher.

Region 9 Kelley Cusmano

Kelley Cusmano

Region 9: Rochester Community Schools

Kelley Cusmano is an English & Student Leadership Teacher Leader at Rochester High School in Rochester. She is in her 19th year of teaching and has taught in Rochester since 2008. She serves as the ELA curriculum consultant for Rochester Community Schools as well as on the Michigan Association of Student Councils Advisory Board. In March 2017 she was named MASC Adviser of the Year. Previously, she was an ASCD Emerging Leader (’16) and participated in the Teacher Leadership Initiative sponsored by the NEA. In 2018, she was part of a team of educators that organized the MI Governor’s Summit on Education and Talent. Currently, she is an at-large representative for the Michigan ASCD organization and serves on the CEO Board for the Teach Plus Organization.

Region 10 Calvin Nellum

Calvin Nellum

Region 10: Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences

Calvin Nellum is a teacher at Detroit Academy of Arts and Science (DAAS), located in Detroit Michigan. He specializes in teaching 8th grade middle school and science.

With the commencement of the 2024-25 academic year, Calvin celebrated 7 years of dedicated service as an educator. Calvin has been fortunate to contribute to the growth and development of students at DAAS, fostering an environment of learning and discovery. Beyond the classroom, Calvin is actively involved in educational organizations such as The Fannie Richards Fellow. At the heart of his work lies a passion for empowering students to reach their full potential and become lifelong learners.