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Education Policy Fellowship Program

Education as a Business

March 30, 2015
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

Purpose: This session is designed to create an education model that utilizes the benefits of a business model to improve student achievement and ultimately produce contributing members of society. Education as a business, at a minimum, develops educational franchises that provide consistency of academic delivery to each and every Michigan student.




 1:10-1:15PM  Client Expectations

 Adaptability of the Educational System


 Resource Allocation - Strategic Solutions: Past, Present and Future Perspectives


 Processes and Efficiencies - Michigan's State Systemic Improvement Plan


 Conclusion and Wrap Up


Speaker Biographies:

Dr. Greg Gray is the Superintendent for Brighton Area Schools and has been a public school educator for over 20 years. His educational career began in his home town of Grand Ledge, Michigan where he was a middle school elective teacher and a high school core teacher. While in Grand Ledge he also coached high school baseball and football and worked as an administrator in athletics. In 2000, he began his administrative career at Owosso Public Schools as a high school assistant principal, then middle school principal, and finally as superintendent of schools. Dr. Gray then moved to Brighton Area Schools where he has been superintendent of schools for six years. Dr. Gray has a Ph. D. in educational leadership from Western Michigan University which he earned in 2009, an M.A in educational leadership from Western Michigan University which he earned in 2000, and a BA in history with a secondary teaching certificate from Alma College which he earned in 1994. Dr. Gray is also a member of the educational leadership teaching faculty at Oakland University and Eastern Michigan University bringing his extensive background in public school administration to masters and doctoral students. He has always had a special interest in leading the charge for public education and equity amongst students across the state of Michigan. His doctoral dissertation titled, "Career Decision Making for Male Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Model of Critical Factors Aiding in Transitional Efforts," focused on ways that public schools could put fail-safe methods in place to ensure that these students did not slip through the cracks or underachieve post K12.

Dr. Laura Surrey has been the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction at Brighton Area Schools for the past six years. Prior to becoming an Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Surrey was a teacher and then an administrator at Brighton High School. Her long-term experience in the district has given her the ability to focus on strengthening the district's organizational culture and student achievement in spite of the district's financial challenges. Dr. Surrey earned an Ed.D. from the University of West Virginia in 1993. While at WVU, Dr. Surrey conducted cross-cultural research on "Transformative Teaching." She interviewed teachers and students in Lithuania who participated in the 1990 struggle for independence from the Soviet Union. She also interviewed American teachers and students from underprivileged areas in Appalachia and urban Pittsburg. Her work highlighted the qualities of transformative teaching that change lives (i.e. modeling passion and deeply held values, engaging students in real-world, substantive dialogue, and conveying a profound sense of care). In addition to her work at Brighton Area Schools, Dr. Surrey has served as a District Improvement Facilitator for Michigan State University's MI-Excel Program. In this capacity, she worked with designated "Focus" schools across Michigan to close their achievement gap through a careful analysis of system and achievement data.

Dr. Maria Gistinger is the Assistant Superintendent for Finance at Brighton Area Schools. She has held similar positions at Iosco RESA, Birmingham Public Schools, Oak Park Schools and East Lansing Schools. She has also worked in public accounting where she prepared tax returns and financial statements and audited municipalities and school districts as well as other not-for-profit entities. Dr. Gistinger has a PhD from Michigan State University which she earned in 2009, and an M.Ed from SVSU which she earned in 1997, and a BA in accounting from SVSU which she earned in 1989. She also holds a Chief Business Official Certification through the State of Michigan and a CPA license which she earned in 1994. Dr. Gistinger is also a member of the doctoral faculty of Walsh College and brings with her an extensive background in public school finance. She has always had a special interest in governmental entities in fiscal distress. Her doctoral dissertation titled, "Michigan Schools Reaction to Budgetary Distress," focused on ways that public schools were adapting to fiscal crisis. Dr. Gistinger's research agenda includes qualitative research methods focused on fiscal management in not-for-profit entities.

Teri Johnson is the director of the Office of Special Education for the Michigan Department of Education. The function of the Office of Special Education (OSE) is the general supervision, administration, and funding of special education programs and services for children and youth with disabilities ages 3-21.

Learning Team Members:

Paula Coulier
Delsa Chapman
Michael Jones
Amanda Miller
Mel Rogers
Sean Hennika


Resource Material:



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