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Current Fellows<

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:



Back to March 16, 2015 Session

Public School Funding: How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going

March 30, 2015
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

Purpose: This session will have a multifaceted approach on issues surrounding school funding. The focus will be on the different funding streams (federal, state, and local), historical events (Proposal A) and current fiscal issues impacting education. Expert speakers will contribute to the presentation and panel discussion covering healthcare and retirement costs, inequity of salaries and benefits, consolidation of services which impact school budgets.





     a. History
     b. Current


Expenditures in Education:

     a. Impact of Healthcare/Retirement Costs

     b. Restricted vs. Unrestricted funds


Consolidation of West Shore ESD


Resiging Out of Deficit- Hale Community Schools


Question and Answer Panel


Speaker Biographies:

Kathryn Summers has been with the Senate Fiscal Agency since 1999, starting as a fiscal analyst and moving up to Chief Analyst in 2006 and Associate Director in 2011. She currently works on retirement issues and on the School Aid budget, to which she has been assigned since 1998, and also has worked on the Department of Education budget. Prior to working at the Senate Fiscal Agency, Ms. Summers worked two years at the House Fiscal Agency, assigned to the budgets for Community Colleges, Department of Education, and School Aid. Ms. Summers has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Michigan-Flint and a Master's Degree in Economics from Michigan State University, where she worked as a graduate assistant.

David Martell is the Executive Director for the Michigan School Business Officials (MSBO). MSBO is a professional organization for school managers who work in the non-curricular aspects of a school district, primarily in the areas of finance, accounting, payroll, purchasing, facilities, technology, transportation, human resources, and food and nutrition services. Before coming to MSBO, David worked for 10 years as the Director of Finance for Haslett Public Schools. Prior to that, he spent 9 years with Michigan State University in finance related positions. David has and is currently serving on various boards of directors and audit committees, including the Michigan Liquid Asset Fund (an investment pool with assets in excess of $1 billion), the Haslett Public Schools Board of Education, the Michigan Institute of Educational Management, and the School Employers Trust Property Casualty Fund. David has a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Kerri Harrie is the Business Manager at West Educational School District (ESD) in Ludington, Michigan. During her 15 years at West Shore ESD, she has achieved the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Certification through the Michigan School Business Officials (MSBO). Her strong commitment towards education is evident in her anticipated December 2015 completion of her Master's degree in Education with an emphasis in Leadership and Technology through Michigan State University. Kerri is also a registered Certified Public Accountant in the State of Michigan. She is a longstanding member of several professional organizations: Michigan School Business Officials (MSBO), Michigan Pupil Accounting and Auditing Association (MPAA), and the Michigan Certified Public Accountants (MICPA). She has been a governing board member for the Michigan Collaborative Administrative Solutions for Education (MI-CASE) consortium since 2010. She has been an active participant of several local and regional collaborative committees during her 15 year tenure at West Shore ESD. When she isn't working or focusing on her school studies, Kerri spends time volunteering as President of the local hockey association and spending time with her family.

Ron Kraft, a 1980 graduate of Alpena High School, earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Central Michigan University. As a former special education teacher, assistant principal, special education director, principal and superintendent, Ron has enjoyed the opportunities that have accompanied each of the leadership positions that he has been afforded. As an educational leader, Ron has been honored to work in economically disadvantaged and high poverty areas leading educational reform that has attained great student achievement results while being financially responsible. The districts Mr. Kraft has led have been recognized by various state and federal organizations for numerous student achievement awards during his tenure as Superintendent. Mr. Kraft has presented to members of the Michigan Department of Education regarding proposed adjustments in the School Improvement Process, state political leaders regarding educational reform and student achievement, and U.S. House and Senate members of the education committee and aides in Washington, D.C., regarding brain research and its impact in the classroom. He has been a guest instructor at Central Michigan University, an adjunct instructor at Ferris State University, and a presenter at Michigan Association of School Administrators. Ron Kraft recently had the opportunity to work closely with the Michigan Department of Education and Michigan Department of Treasury in leading a small rural district out of a deep financial deficit. The development of a deficit elimination plan allowed him to fund the district's needs, plan for the district's wants, and dream about the district's wishes. The result of this leadership and work is that Hale Area School District was recognized by Bridge Magazine as being in the top 8% of school districts in the State of Michigan for 2014.

Learning Team Members:

Gretchen Walraven
Becky Pennington
Krishnan Sudharsan
Beth Soggs
Roxanne Balfour


Resource Material:



Back to March 30, 2015 Session

Michigan's Transition to a Knowledge-Based Economy

October 26, 2015
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

During this seminar Fellows will have an opportunity to explore the simultaneous shifts in economic forces -- from muscle to mind and from national to global -- that have pummeled the state for the past 10 years and that present fundamentally different policy challenges to lawmakers and educators. During the second part of the program we will share leadership lessons from the Regional Leadership Forum and discuss Adaptive Leadership as a framework for capacity building in an uncertain world.

Resource People:


Lou Glazer President,

Michigan Future, Inc.
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Mr. Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, nonprofit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations. Its two latest reports are: Michigan’s Transition to a Knowledge-Based Economy which provides a progress report on how well Michigan is positioned to succeed in a flattening world; and Young Talent in the Great Lakes, an analysis of Michigan’s success in retaining and attracting college educated Millennials.

Mr. Glazer currently is heading efforts to:

• organize leadership to implement a new agenda for a knowledge-based Michigan;

• implement a high school in partnership with the Ferndale Public Schools and Lawrence Technological University designed to connect students to good paying careers in the 21st Century automotive industry;

• implement an innovative system for reducing chronic unemployment with Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit.

Prior to joining MFI, Mr. Glazer served as Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Commerce during the Blanchard Administration. He received Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Michigan. 



Lou Glazer's Presentation Slides


Recommended Readings:

  • The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Published by W.W. Norton, 2014.



Back to the Monthly Meetings Calendar

Establishing a Policy Framework

November 16, 2015
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

This Seminar will focus on a set of concepts and strategies for creating a policy framework. Fellows will explore both the practical and theoretical aspects of how public policy is developed and implemented. Several policy issues of current concern to Michigan citizens will also be examined.

Resource Person:

Hollister-2012David C. Hollister

CEO of Hollister Solutions, LLC

Former President & CEO

David Hollister is currently CEO of Hollister Solutions LLC, consulting on a part-time basis in the areas of economic development, state and local government, public-private partnerships, and lifelong learning. Most recently, he has consulted with the Flint-Genesee Chamber of Commerce and Flint Area Reinvestment Office and is chair of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s Fiscal Health Initiative.

Hollister began his public service career as a high school teacher. He taught government, history and economics for both the Lansing and Durand school systems and spent the summers of 1966 and 1968 as a volunteer teacher in the Mississippi Freedom Schools in Holly Springs, Mississippi. While working as a full-time teacher, David Hollister was elected to the Ingham County Commission in 1968 and served until 1974, when he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, serving until 1993. He served on the powerful appropriations committee and chaired the social services appropriations subcommittee for over a decade. Hollister sponsored and was instrumental in passing significant legislation in such areas as open meetings, right to die, hospice, adoption reform, mandatory seat belts, clean water, Blue Cross Blue Shield reform, and anti-redlining/neighborhood improvement. 

David Hollister was elected Lansing’s mayor in 1993, 1997 and 2001. Mayor Hollister’s successes include $2.9 billion in investments to city infrastructure and civic life: a new city transportation center, a new downtown minor league baseball stadium, five new state office buildings, three General Motors manufacturing facilities, and revitalization of Lansing’s historic Old Town. He created and led the regional Lansing Works! Keep GM movement to maintain a major GM presence and Lansing continues to be an auto manufacturing city because of his efforts. Recognizing the importance of maintaining mid-Michigan’s insurance sector,  he helped structure a regional tax sharing agreement with Alaiedon and Meridian townships to keep Jackson National Life Insurance Company in the region. Hollister’s time in office was characterized by close collaboration with colleges and universities and cooperation with the region’s business and labor communities. For these and other achievements, he received an honorary doctorate from Michigan State University in 1997.

In 2003, Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed Hollister director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth where he served until 2006. The department integrated top economic development, workforce training, job creation, innovation, entrepreneurship and urban revitalization programs. Hollister’s major initiatives included launching the Cool Cities Initiative, establishing three new venture capital funds, creating 13 Regional Skills Alliances to help reshape Michigan’s workforce, luring 17 companies to move their headquarters to Michigan or expand their automotive research and development operations, and developing the 21st Century Jobs Initiative.

In 2005 Hollister cofounded, along with Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon, the Prima Civitas Foundation (PCF). As President and CEO, Hollister oversaw various initiatives designed to accelerate the transformation of Michigan to a more diverse, competitive, innovative, entrepreneurial and global economy. He also worked to carry out President Simon’s vision of transitioning MSU from a traditional “land grant” university to a “world grant” university more fully engaged in creating a 21st Century economy. From 2011 to 2013, Hollister transitioned to semi-retirement by becoming the foundation’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives.

Hollister currently serves on the boards of the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art, Genesee Global Action Team, Genesee Global Intermodal Corridor Initiative, Keep Learning, Capitol Area Michigan Works!, and the Information Technology Empowerment Center. He was a co-convener of, and continues to serve on, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) committee, which successfully championed Michigan State University to house the U.S. Department of Energy’s $800 million research facility.

Hollister earned Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degrees in government and history from Michigan State University. In 1997, he received an Honorary Law Degree from Michigan State University, and in 2014 an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Olivet College.

He is married, the father of three sons, and the grandfather of seven children.


Resource Material:


Back to the Monthly Meetings Calendar

Previous Learning Team Seminar Topics

Listed below are previous Learning Team Seminar Topics and the year they were presented.  Supporting materials (i.e. Agendas, PowerPoint presentations) are linked where available.  These materials can serve as models and examples of seminar design, structure, and format. In most cases, hardcopy resources were also developed and provided by the Learning Teams.

Change Process

  • Who Is Teaching Our Children? Developing Teachers for Local & Global Change (2-4-08)
  • Envisioning the Future: Bridging the 21st Century Global Achievement Gap (4-27-10)


  Education Reform

  • Best Practices: From Vision to Reality (3-18-02) Agenda

  • The Role of the MDE in the Effectiveness of Schools at the Local Level (5-13-02)

  • Implications of No Child Left Behind Legislation (1-27-03) Agenda; PowerPoint

  • Education Choices: Like an Iceberg the Challenges Lie Beneath the Surface (2-9-04) Agenda; PowerPoint

  • School Reform & Teacher Training Programs (3-29-04) Agenda; PowerPoint

  • From the White House to Your House (2-7-05) Agenda

  • Pre-K for All  (4/24/06) Agenda
  • 21st Century Skills: A Michigan Perspective (1- 21-08)
  • Removing Barriers to Flexible Curriculum Delivery: Replacing Seat-time as the Funding Criterion (5-4-09)


  • Leadership Issues (2-12-01) Agenda

  • Ethics as it Relates to Public Policy, Leadership & Individual Change (1-28-02) Agenda; PowerPoint

  • Public vs. Private Leadership (4-29-02) Agenda

  • Principal Leadership in Urban Schools (4-26-04) Agenda

  • Preparing Leadership for the 21st Century (5-9-05) Agenda; PowerPoint

  • Leadership Style Influences Upon People & Policies of Organizations (1/23/06) Agenda
  • Tough Choices or Tough Times? You Decide (3-10-08)

  • The Intentional Development of Educational Leadership (3-8-10)

Networking & Collaboration

  • The Impact of Networking, Partnering, & Collaboration (2-11-02) Agenda 

  • Creating a Community Agenda (5-18-09)

Politics & Policy

  • Making Michigan a Smart State (6-99) PowerPoint

  • Urban Revitalization (6-99) PowerPoint

  • The Politics Around Policy Making (3-19-01) Agenda

  • Providing Leadership & Developing Policy in a Culturally & Politically Divided Nation (3-28-05) Agenda; PowerPoint

  • Advocacy & Public Policy: Considering Systemic Change in K-12 Education (4-25-05) Agenda

  • Michigan Merit Curriculum: Making It Work (2-25-08)

  • Activating Change: Influencing the Development, Communication & Implementation of Elementary & Secondary Policy (5-10-10)

Technology & Learning

  • A Virtual Learning Experience (5-10-04) Agenda

  • Technology & Learning (4-16-01) Agenda

  • The Imperative of Technology in 21st Century Literacy (1-24-05) Agenda; PowerPoint (4-8-05; Washington, D.C.) 

  • Global & Technological Change & its Role in Transforming Education  (2/06/06) Agenda
  • Spirit of Assessment (5-5-08)

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