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MiLEAP Welcomes Director Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea, Announces Staff Changes

Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) welcomed its first director, Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea, known widely as Dr. Beverly, on July 1. As Dr. Beverly takes the helm, the department announced that Michelle Richard, who served as acting director since MiLEAP launched in December 2023, will serve as the department’s Deputy Director of Higher Education.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to lead the team of dedicated public servants at MiLEAP as we work to help more Michiganders on their path to prosperity,” said MiLEAP Director Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea. “I am eager to use my background and expertise to bring innovation to education on the statewide level. MiLEAP and our partners will continue to build on Governor Whitmer’s efforts to expand access to affordable childcare, improve early childhood education, and connect Michiganders with the skills training and postsecondary education that will help them make it in Michigan.”

A national leader in education policy, Dr. Beverly served as president of Mott Community College (MCC) in Flint, Michigan since 2014. She is the first MCC president to be named President Emeritus in the institution's 100-year history, and she was its first female and first African American president. Her career has included roles at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland; Virginia Peninsula Community College in Hampton, Virginia; and Spokane Community College in Spokane, Washington. Dr. Beverly has served nationally as the president for the American Association for Women in Community Colleges and as a member of the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors. Among her many accolades, she was named 2023 CEO of the Year by the American Association of Community Colleges.

Richard, in her new role as the Deputy Director of Higher Education, will oversee the department’s work to accelerate progress toward the state’s Sixty by 30 goal, lower the cost of college, and support students’ success as they earn their degree or skill certificate to help them achieve their career goals.

“It has been my honor to serve as the acting director of MiLEAP, and I am excited to welcome Dr. Beverly to lead our important work,” said Deputy Director of Higher Education Michelle Richard. “I am delighted to launch Michigan’s first ever Office of Higher Education and continue progress toward sixty by 30. We have a long to do list ahead of us as we implement the new bipartisan budget that makes record and historic investments in education and will make the Community College Guarantee a reality for all Michiganders."

In addition to welcoming Dr. Beverly and announcing Richard’s new role, the department announced an additional hire to its leadership team:

Laura Hall joined MiLEAP as its Director of Policy, Communications, and Engagement. Hall brings more than 15 years of communications and media experience to the department, most recently serving as the Director of Communications at the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. She has her bachelor's degree in journalism from Oakland University and began her career as a reporter at the Flint Journal.

About MiLEAP:

Established by Governor Whitmer in 2023, MiLEAP’s mission is to improve outcomes from preschool to postsecondary so anyone can ‘make it in Michigan’ with a solid education and a path to a good-paying job. To learn more about MiLEAP, go to

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