A Linden resident was named the 2020 Michigan Charter School Administrator of the Year by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA).
Jeremy Brown, the superintendent at Woodland Park Academy in Grand Blanc, discovered he won the award over Zoom call on Friday, May 8.
“When I found out that I was selected as the Administrator of the Year I was shocked and overjoyed. There was such an amazing group of administrators in the selected finalists that I was shocked to have been chosen. In viewing the videos of the other finalists, I thought there were people in that group that deserved the selection more than I did,” he said.
Brown, who’s been in education since 2001, has been at Woodland Park Academy for the past eight years. Before that, he was a teacher at Holly Academy, where he worked with Jennifer Melero, who was named the 2020 Michigan Charter Teacher of the Year. The Times also interviewed Melero about her win.
The announcement about Brown was made on social media, and his students discovered through announcements made in virtual class meetings.
“The students are proud and have been very supportive throughout this process. The parents have also expressed their joy that I was selected,” he said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic and stay home orders began in early March, Woodland Park Academy made the transition from in-person to online education.
“Woodland Park Academy has always taken great pride in developing relationships and being agile and responsive to the needs of students. Our relationships made it possible to connect with 100 percent of our community very quickly. We had spoken to our entire population through phone calls by March 16,” he said. “Our agility and responsiveness made it possible for our very hard working staff to have a virtual platform ready for implementation and for learning to continue by March 17.”
These factors made the transition more efficient for them in comparison to other districts.
“We have continued to monitor engagement in this process and have shifted our attention to the management of the process and to provide resources to our families,” he said.
Brown said teaching in this current climate is “difficult” and he wishes the circumstances were different.
“However, we are all doing our best to ensure that students’ brains are growing. Educators have worked with minimal resources to achieve miraculous outcomes and will continue to do so. That being said, there is a lot of conversation happening about reducing our resources even further. This would be a catastrophic development as we would significantly impact the integrity of our educational product and outcomes if the resources are further reduced,” he said.