Journey of Michigan Teacher of the Year
What a year it has been! I am extremely humbled and honored to be serving as Michigan’s Teacher of the Year representing all of you and our fellow educators across this great State of Michigan. First of all, I would like to thank Meemic Insurance for their support of the Michigan Teacher of the Year Award. Meemic, a proud partner of the Michigan Department of Education, has been the sole sponsor of the monetary award for the Michigan Teacher of the Year since 2007. Giving back to the educational community we serve has been Meemic’s philosophy since the company’s inception in 1950 and the MTOY award is but one example of the company’s commitment to encouraging excellence in education. Meemic generously donated $1,000.00 to Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southeast and is providing me the use of a car for the school year by leasing a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox from Sundance Chevrolet! THANK YOU Meemic!!
As I reflect back to the award announcement that occurred in May, it has been just an amazing journey thus far! I would like to take this opportunity of my first blog installment to get you caught up on all of my travels and activities around the state. I am experiencing daily what I believe will be the best year of professional development that I have been afforded in my educational career while still being the classroom. When I was nominated for the Michigan Teacher of the Year Award (MTOY) by Dr. Sue Maxam, Career Focused Education Consultant, Oakland Schools, I had no idea what to expect. I was humbled by that fact that she felt I was worthy of a nomination for this prestigious award, but I had no way of knowing how being named Michigan Teacher of the Year would change my life. The award announcement was highlighted by State Superintendent Mike Flanagan and several members of the State Board of Education visiting our campus to present the award. Being able to share this award with my students, family and friends was very special! The State Board of Education Meeting in June was also a very memorable moment for me and my family. In my role as Michigan Teacher of the Year, I am afforded the wonderful opportunity to sit on the State Board of Education (SBE) for the 2011-2012 school year. Monthly, I provide a Teacher of the Year report to the SBE explaining the different events that I have attended as well as educational topics and issues. This has been a great opportunity to share the wonderful options available to students through Career and Technical Education. This past July, I was asked to serve on a committee to help select outstanding secondary educators from across Michigan, recognizing the quality of their teaching, their professional leadership, and their potential for greater contribution to the healthy development of the children they serve. It was wonderful to be a part of the process to bring such recognition and public attention to the importance of excellent educators. August was a busy month preparing for the start of the school year. As co-founder of America’s Marketing High School (www.americasmarketinghighschool.org), the summer is always a time of updating our curriculum. America’s Marketing High School (AMHS) is a national educational leader in providing FREE online business and marketing curricula. Our curricula are focused on business, marketing, advertising, sports and entertainment and entrepreneurship. All our materials are contemporary and imperially based. AMHS Co-founder Professor Mike Bernacchi believes in a “paint by numbers” approach to teaching and learning. In other words, we use data to help explain the world in which we live and work. Our curricular components include weekly podcasts, over 20 vodcasts or video lecture modules are available and the collection continues to grow. America’s Marketing High School’s partners include secondary education represented by Oakland Schools, post secondary education represented by University of Detroit Mercy and business and industry represented by Immersive Engineering. If you get a chance, check us out on the web!
In late August I had the opportunity to meet with Governor Rick Snyder. Barb Fardell, Michigan Department of Education Technology Manager, arranged for the meeting and was able to accompany me to the meeting with Governor Snyder. It was a great opportunity to briefly meet the Governor and I hope that we might have an opportunity later this year to meet again for further discussion on the current state of education in Michigan.
At the October 2011 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher Academy that was hosted in Lansing, I had the privilege of providing the keynote address to over 100 Career and Technical educators. It was a wonderful experience to spend the day with them and collectively share how we are changing the lives of students through CTE.
The start of November began with a flurry of activity. November 1st was a “Two for Tuesday.” During the first half of the day, I spent the morning facilitating a professional development session at the county-wide in-service day for the Career and Technical Educators (CTE) in Monroe County. The session was hosted at Monroe Community College. The theme of the day was “CTE Partnerships for Student Success and focused upon the partnerships with Community Colleges.” The emphasis of the day was the relevancy of CTE in the continuum of education from secondary to the postsecondary education. We also addressed how to increase business and industry involvement within CTE programs by expanding mentorships, internships and job shadowing experiences for students. During the second half of the day I spent it in Lansing at the “Fall Office and Career Technical Education Administrators Conference.” During the afternoon I led a discussion on the topic of “Administrators ... Help Your Teachers to Be Successful.” Both of these events produced a great exchange of ideas to ultimately increase student achievement! Also in November, I had the pleasure of participating in the very first Oakland County Diversity Forum hosted at the Birmingham Conference Center. This diversity form represented a state-wide collaboration initiated by students. I was invited to this forum by Harrison Shelby who attends my Business, Management, Marketing & Technology program at Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southeast and is also a student at Oak Park High School. Participants gathered to address diversity learning. Students, teachers, parents, administrators and community members engaged in this important work of “Dialogue on Diversity.” This forum was a student driven movement and on May 10, 2011 a group of students presented a draft resolution to the State Board of Education that would support diversity learning in Michigan. Upon approval of the resolution, The Michigan Department of Education asked student representatives, The University of Michigan, Farmington Public Schools and Oakland Schools to collaborate and create a model community forum that would begin to the attend to the elements of the resolution that could be used in other parts of the State for additional forums. It was a wonderful day of interaction among students, teachers, administrators and community members. One of the most striking elements of the day was that a student, Ashna Khanna, of Farmington High School, was the one who championed this very important topic. She had a vision, executed that vision and made it reality by providing an interactive opportunity to help continue to move diversity learning forward in our schools, homes and neighborhoods. This is a prime example that one person can truly make a difference! I also had the honor and privilege of participating as a panelist on Detroit Public Television’s Teacher Town Hall hosted by noted journalist Hari Sreenivasan of PBS NewsHour that aired “live” on Friday, November 18. The Teacher Town Hall was a Detroit Public Television live broadcast event designed to amplify the voices of teachers about the issue of children dropping out of school and to help propose solutions to improve the graduation rate.
Throughout the school year I have been able to meet with several of our state legislators. Representative Chuck Moss invited me to appear on his “Eye on Oakland” cable television show. This show provided an in depth look at the Career and Technical Education opportunities provided in Oakland County, particularly at the four Oakland Schools Technical Campuses located in Royal Oak, Pontiac, Clarkston and Walled Lake. The discussion included student achievement data regarding CTE students along with the academic courses students are able to take at the four technical campuses. Both of these television shows are available at www.paulgalbenski.com.
It certainly has been a very busy year as 2011 comes to a close. I am looking forward to welcoming 2012 and all the wonderful experiences and opportunities that lie ahead!
Paul Galbenski is the 2011-2012 Michigan Teacher of the Year. He is a Business, Management, Marketing & Technology Instructor at the Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southeast located in Royal Oak, MI. Paul has over 20 years teaching experience and is the first Career and Technical Education Teacher to earn this prestigious award. He is the co-founder of America’s Marketing High School. America’s Marketing High School (AMHS) is a national educational leader in providing FREE online business and marketing curricula. Paul has extensive experience in utilizing technology to facilitate learning within his classroom. This facilitated approach to learning has allowed his students to earn national certifications and certificates in the Informational Technology and Business arenas. Paul is a member of many professional organizations and he has extensive experience as a conference presenter and provider of professional development for teachers on a local, state and national level. Check out the Teacher Resources and Celebrate Success on www.paulgalbenski.com!