Michelle is a Boyne City native and was a first-generation college student. Graduating from North Central with her Associates in 1994, she went on complete her Bachelor’s degree in 1998 from Grand Valley State University.
“I wanted a good start before transferring to a larger university. Expectations regarding my experience at NCMC included smaller class size and low tuition costs. It seemed like a win-win. I wished for instructors that were easily accessible and knew me by name.” Michelle says of her decision to attend North Central immediately after high school.
“I loved that my classes were small and that we were able to receive individualized attention. The instructors were always available, they took time to help and answer questions. I also enjoyed having classmates, many whom I knew from high school, and getting to know others from neighboring communities like East Jordan, Charlevoix and Petoskey. It made it a nice transition from high school to college,” Michelle added.
During her time at NCMC, there were several instructors that provided guidance and inspiration to Michelle that lead her decision to study special education. Michelle’s advice to future students is “If you’re not sure what you want to do, take your time, there are plenty of opportunities to explore options and staff that will help lead you in the right direction.”
Upon graduating from GVSU, Michelle immediately began her career as a special education teacher at Wolverine Community Schools. After one year, she got a job with East Jordan Public Schools, where she is currently an elementary special education teacher. This fall (2019) will mark her 21st year in the East Jordan Public School system.
Michelle is an enthusiastic educator and community volunteer. “Over the years, I have taught at all levels K-12 in both a self-contained classroom and in a resource room. Students I service have a range of disabilities including, speech and language, emotional, and cognitive impairments as well as learning disabilities. I organize and implement plans to serve my students, work closely with teachers, support staff, and parents, as well as serve as the elementary coach for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). I enjoy organizing/volunteering time at school to other initiatives such as our annual Walk for Cancer, Blue Jean Day for Breast Cancer and more.” She has served on several boards for many years including the Boyne City Preschool and Boyne City Elementary PTO. Michelle is actively involved with her church and she continues to support local organizations near and dear to her heart, such as Challenge Mountain.
In Michelle’s words, “Attending North Central was one of the best decisions I ever made. I left after two years to continue my education with a great head start and debt-free. I learned many things as a student and made acquaintances with same aged peers from neighboring high schools and with non-traditional students.”
Michelle’s family carries on the education tradition, as her oldest daughter is a recent graduate of the early college program at North Central. “NCMC was an amazing start for me. I wouldn’t change my experience or decision to attend there for anything in the world.”