Michigan’s Teachers of the Year will gather together in Lansing on July 5 to celebrate their formation of a new statewide organization dedicated to cultivating teacher leadership.
The Michigan State Teacher of the Year Network is comprised of state Teachers of the Year and finalists for the award who seek to influence education policy decisions at the federal, state and local levels.
“It is imperative that the voices of classroom teachers and those with years of classroom teaching experience be represented and heard at the policy table,” notes Rick Joseph, MTOY 2016 from Birmingham. “The MI-STOY Network will enable proven teacher leaders to leverage their voices in ways that has not happened in the past and inform the discussions and decisions that impact public education across Michigan.”
The MI-STOY Network will also welcome their newest member, Laura Chang, a second grade teacher from Vicksburg. Laura will serve as the Michigan Teacher of the Year 2019. Laura brings 18 years of teaching experience from early elementary to the college level to the distinguished group of teacher leaders.
“Being the Teacher of Year in Michigan is about service,” says June Teisan, MTOY 2008 of Harper Woods. “The opportunity to serve as the MTOY comes with the understanding that you will elevate the teaching profession through your leadership and willingness to speak up and speak out at all levels of decision-making.”
Teisan adds, “Teacher voices must be heard for the sake of the students we serve and the success of public education.”
The MI-STOY Network initially met in January 2017 with late State Superintendent Brian Whiston. “The message from Brian to the Teachers of the Year was, ‘We need you. You are welcome here. We value your opinion and expertise.’ He wanted the TOYs to inform the policy conversation that happens at the state level,” says Matinga Ragatz, MTOY 2011 from Grand Ledge.