Head of the Class

. January 31, 2020.
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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

The Ann Arbor area features some of the state’s best rated schools, led by great educators. These education leaders are dedicated to the area’s children, motivating and teaching them each day. This month we shine the spotlight on these select ‘heads of the class.’

Ken Ferguson Middle and High School English Teacher

Ken Ferguson

Middle and High School English Teacher

Kensington Woods Schools
9501 Pettys Rd., Lakeland | 517-545-0828 | kwoods.org

What is unique about working at your school

The school culture at Kensington Woods must be one of the most unique out there. Over and over, we get new students who go from hating school to loving school within a matter of weeks. Now that my daughter has gone to our school for the last few years, I have begun to see why. She loves the ability to simply be herself because our school culture does not create clones ­— it creates individuals. She has had a chance to be involved in so many events, presentations, organization, clubs, sports, and activities over the years, that she has become a well-rounded, unique, young adult. She loves her teachers and has gotten to know them as people, all of our students do. I’ve asked her many times if she ever thinks of going to our big local high school. She always looks thoughtful and then says she wouldn’t have had so many opportunities to grow. It’s so much more personal at Kensington Woods.

What sets your school apart?

What sets Kensington Woods apart from all the other schools is not just its small size, but its absolute dedication to seeing each student grow as whole people. Kensington Woods works hard at developing each of our student’s natural propensities— whether they want to be a chef, a dog trainer, a history professor, or in the military. We look for the spark that motivates each student and then encourage them in that, because schools should be about each individual relationship. That’s what we do best. Relationships!

Susan Swiderek Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Susan Swiderek

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

All Saints Catholic School
48735 Warren Rd., Canton | 734-459-2490 | allsaintscs.com

What motivates you every day?

Teaching Pre-Kindergarten can be challenging and exhausting at times. However, observing a child’s face light up when a learning connection has been made motivates me to continue working on lessons and classroom activities that create more of those moments each day. My students often motivate me to dive deeper into concepts they find interesting and to create lessons to further their understanding of those concepts. What teacher would turn down this request? When students show an interest in more complex learning, I know I have done my job right!

What is unique about working at your school?

All Saints is a preschool through 8th grade Catholic school that offers a challenging academic curriculum. Not only does the faculty focus on academic excellence in their students but they also integrate the teaching of virtues, love of God, and many important aspects of the Catholic tradition. The blending of strong academics and the religious tradition provides each student with the opportunity to learn and grow into a well-rounded adult. In fact, the students do grow in mind, body, and spirit, which is what the schools’ mission statement is all about. Even at the Pre-Kindergarten level, which I teach, I have found it beneficial and even natural to teach the traditional skills and basic aspects of the Catholic faith together every day in the classroom. Along with the alphabet, numbers, shapes and seasons, teaching virtues such as honesty, courtesy, respect, and responsibility (to name a few) help my students to understand themselves, and the people and world around them, in a real way.

Dr. Ellen Fischer Principal

Dr. Ellen Fischer

Principal

Early College Alliance @ Eastern Michigan University (EMU)
221 King Hall, Eastern Michigan University
734-487-4290 | earlycollegealliance.info

What sets your school apart?

Aside from the opportunity to earn 60 college credits, tuition-free (college textbooks included!), the ECA itself is located right on the campus of EMU. Even before students dual-enroll in university classes, they attend high school in classrooms right next to classrooms where EMU college classes are taking place. They walk from building to building, attend office hours, use campus facilities, and do it all without bells, hall monitors, or even high school hallways!

What is unique about working at your school?

The “home base” of our school is in King Hall­—one of the older buildings on EMU’s campus. Our teachers don’t have their own classrooms; they are scheduled into EMU’s classrooms just like the EMU professors. But we do have offices, where all ECA staff connect individually with students and their families in our roles as academic coaches and supporters.

What is your favorite part of the school day?

The best part of my day is right around 3:30pm, when our high school classes are over and students tend to head over to King Hall. They connect with their advisors and teachers for office hours, get help and study time at the Study Center, or hang out with friends in the Multicultural Lounge.