Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (2023)

Kristi Nickel always looks forward to the cold days of September when school starts.

Now in her 20th year as a teacher in the Mount Clemens Community School District, Nickel is busier than ever. Outside of her high school job, she serves as the president of the Teachers Union and she and her husband are the proud parents of 6-year-old Melanie and 18-month-old Charlie.

But despite her busy schedule, Nickel is excited for the coming year and all it will bring.

"In the fall, everyone had a long summer and we enjoyed it," he said.

“But I think we all really want to go back. Change is hard for everyone, but in a good way. It's a new school year, new learning opportunities, and new people to meet."

With that in mind, here's a quick look at some of the new faces, locations, and safe spaces students will see in every Macomb County neighborhood over the next 10 months.

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (1)

Anchor Bay School District

new faces

The St. Clair-based county hired more than 20 nearby teachers over the summer, including five new social workers. A director of special education and a risk coordinator were also hired.

New places

Twenty administrators and staff became ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Information, Counter, Evacuate) trainers and prepared for active fire situations.

Voters will respond Nov. 6 to a proposed $169 million bond issue that school officials say would allow the district to modernize facilities, address transportation issues and improve building security. According to school officials, if approved, the bond will not result in a tax increase.

A Maker's Space has been added at Middle School South to provide a place for students to make or create whatever they want.

Schools in the Armed zone

new faces

Andy Kasti will be in charge of Armada High School while he takes over the building. For the past four years, he has served as the principal of Richmond High School.

New places

According to Superintendent Michael Musary, the district went through a five-year strategic planning process in the spring and will launch new initiatives in the fall. The last two years have been challenging and a big goal is to bring more joy to education again. The district's new vision is to have a community of excellence, achievement, and joy.

In addition, Armada area schools will have three propositions up for the ballot on November 8, and none will increase current property taxes.

Proposals include 1) 18 mills for non-residential lot renovation, 2) 0.85 mills for the end of the world fund, and 3) $26.5 million bond issue for multi-district improvements.

A detailed listing of the $26.5 million bond can be found on the district's website at

Improvements for the upcoming title offering include a new entrance and offices for the high school; Expansion of the parking lot of the elementary school; Expansion of the dining room of the secondary school; new furniture for students and staff; paving throughout the district; artificial turf for football/soccer fields and softball sports fields; and new buses.

security rooms

Another enhancement to Bond's proposal will be the installation of new security entrances to the university and the Macomb Academy of Arts and Sciences.

hub public schools

new faces

• Andrea Kenney is the principal of Roose Elementary School

• John Kelley is the new principal of Center Line High School

• John Grub, former Roose principal, becomes assistant principal of the school

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (2)
Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (3)
Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (4)
Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (5)

New places

The collaborative work continues as Roose Elementary students move into a newly renovated building this fall, and elementary and middle schools have removed asbestos and installed new flooring in all hallways.

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (6)

Center Line Academies took time out over the summer to expand their "toy" collection.

Construction is underway as Center Line High School's Academy of Industry, Technology and Innovation (ITI), in partnership with AIS Construction Equipment, prepares for its new heavy equipment operation and repair training program. After completing a two-year practice-oriented program, students can work for companies such as AIS, Caterpillar, or John Deere.

Elsewhere in the building, the Academy of Health and Human Services (HHS) is setting up its new $80,000 Anatomage table.

The table is the most technologically advanced 3D anatomical visualization and virtual dissection tool for teaching anatomy and physiology.

Resembling an X-ray machine, the table has been adopted by many of the world's leading schools and medical institutions.

Chippewa Valley Schools

new faces

District spokeswoman Diane Blain says students will find some familiar faces filling new roles, as well as some new hires.

They include:

• Niyoka Wright is the new Data Analysis and Evaluation Coordinator

• Michael Johnson becomes assistant principal of Shawnee and Cheyenne Elementary Schools

• Katie Shellabarger will serve as Assistant Principal for Ojibwa and Miami Elementary Schools

• Ebony Carter has been named an expert in scope and risk

• Rene Ribant-Amthor accepted the position of assistant principal at Dakota High School

• Heather Batko torna-se Directora da Cherokee Elementary School

• Mark Johnson, formerly Cheyenne principal, held the same position at Erie Elementary School

• Anthony Lewis will be the next director of Cheyenne

• Kristin Doyle is the principal at Clinton Valley Elementary School.

• Monica Gabriel accepted the position of Principal of Sequoyah Elementary School.

• Shane Finney is the new athletic director at Dakota High School. He previously worked at Cranbrook

In addition, 12 new teachers have been hired and more are expected.

This year, Chippewa Valley welcomes approximately 1,000 new kindergarten students to the class of 2035.

New places

A new STEM+ class will be offered for K-5 K-5 students. The course presents science, technology, engineering, and math concepts integrated into fun, hands-on lessons. The curriculum will be developmentally appropriate, integrating real-world problems and encouraging collaboration, communication, and creativity.

security rooms

All classrooms are equipped with impact resistant SchoolGuard glass.

Emergency call systems are available that automatically alert the police in an emergency.

Several high-resolution surveillance cameras were installed.

School administrators recently completed specialized training in threat assessment and professional development.

Four full-time School Resource Officers (SROs) will be visible at schools working with staff and families.

Clintondale Community Schools

new faces

The South Clinton Township-based district is welcoming about two dozen new educators, along with two administrators who switched locations.

Maria Romain is the new principal of Clintondale High School, as she changes roles with Maurice Woods, who replaces her previous position as the school's assistant principal.

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (7)

Romain, a self-proclaimed workaholic, has been coaching secondary coaches since joining Clintondale in April 2019.

The district also has a new director of business and finance, Edward Makinen, who has more than 10 years of automotive experience.

Clintondale has also hired 22 faculty and staff, including: Darlene Bronson, Maqueisha Brown, Maria Buccilli, Jo-Dee Burton, Peter Danquah, Sherwonna Dennis, Patrice Elem, Kristen Fifield, Erika Hoornaert, Christopher Kasprik, Beith Kraft, Richard Lerman, Cassandra Lipari, Sarah Ostrowski, Kelly Paton, Ann Pattie, OtherRucker Jr., Angela Smith, Michael Szymanski, Charles Thomas Jr., Danielle Vernon-Carleton and Eugene Williams.

Eastpointe Community Schools

new faces

Eastpointe students will see a new but familiar face at the helm of the district as Christina A. Gibson begins her first year as superintendent.

Other new administrators are:

• Assistant Superintendent Stephanie Fleming
• Kristen Crawford, Principal of Crescentwood Elementary School
• Eastpointe High School Principal, Deniescha Malone
• Pleasantview Elementary School Principal, Falisha Moreland-Trice

New places

All classrooms at the four elementary schools and the Early Childhood Learning Center now have new tile floors and new entry canopies.

Work is underway to modernize the primary school's main bathrooms.

security rooms

The Early Learning Center has a renovated reception area to improve entry security

Fitzgerald Public Schools

new faces

The Board of Education began the search for a new superintendent following the resignation of Kimberly Pawlukiewicz in August.

Pawlukiewicz left Fitzgerald after 19 years to accept a position at another community school. The board named general manager Hollie Strange as interim superintendent.

Community members are invited to participate in an anonymous survey. The deadline for submission is September 12 at 12:00 noon.

To respond to the survey,

Fraser Public Schools

new faces

•Charlene Barla has been promoted to Director of Secondary Education. Previously, she worked as a training consultant.

• ·Brent Brasure has been promoted to Director of K-12 Career and Technical Education. Previously, he was the director of career and technical education for grades 7-12.

• Amy Porter transitioned from assistant principal at Fraser High School to principal at Disney Elementary School.

• Keith Tonn went from principal of Eisenhower Elementary School to principal of Mark Twain Elementary School.

• Jennifer Kelley has been promoted to principal at Eisenhower Elementary School. Previously, she was the Title I Coordinator at Eisenhower

• Abigail Wasil was appointed to the Board of Education in July. She will act as trustee.

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (8)

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (9)
Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (10)
Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (11)

New places

Teams worked to install new flexible furniture in elementary school classrooms. The furniture helps teachers design learning with students in mind and follows the principles of Fraser's Universal Design for Learning. It coincides with the completion of UDL teacher training and all K-6 classrooms now have new furniture.

Richards High School students will receive MacBooks from Apple this fall. Until now, they have been using iPads. Fraser also purchased new MacBooks for all students at Fraser High School and new iPads for students in grades 3-6.

security rooms

The district introduced the Second Step program for middle and high school students in January 2022. The program offers weekly age-appropriate classes on social and emotional learning, such as kindness, empathy, and bullying. We will continue to use it next year.

Lakeside public schools

new faces

• Ed Baalaer, former assistant principal at Kennedy Middle School, will lead Rodgers Elementary School as the new principal for the 2022-2023 school year.

• Stephen Gaffigan, former dean of North Lake High School and Shorian alumnus, becomes associate principal of Kennedy Middle School.

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (12)

security rooms

Lake Shore's security initiatives for the coming year include Lake Shore Public Schools receiving the Michigan State Police Competitive Security Grant, which allows locks to be installed on classroom doors throughout the district.

During the summer break, teams from each building received training in threat assessment.

Lake Shore voters approved a $66.7 million bond proposal that would include enhanced security measures throughout the district.

Lakeview Public Schools

new faces

Lakeview Public Schools is seeking qualified candidates for a seat on the 2023 Board of Education.

The position was created following the resignation of James Kouri, whose term expired on December 31, 2024. Board members filled the temporary position through an appointment expiring at the end of the year.

Interested part-time candidates from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2024 must apply for an upcoming election.

L'Anse Creuse Public Schools

new faces

• Kevin Blum is Principal of L'Anse Creuse High School - South

• Paul Clotworthy is Subdirector at L'Anse Creuse Middle School – South

• Kimberly Criner is the new Director of Special Education

• Amy Gole is Associate Director of the Frederick V. Pankow Center

• Justin Hauser is Principal of L'Anse Creuse High School - East

• Trisha Lewis is the Director of the Adult and Alternative Education Program

• Drake Okie is the District Athletic Director

• Darren Weir is Associate Director of the DiAnne M. Pellerin Center

Additionally, this year the district hired 40 new teachers along with seven teacher paraprofessionals to support students and created new administrative support positions for elementary schools to provide additional support to staff and students.

New places

The Clinton Township-based district has added several improvements to the buildings:

L'AnseCreuse has added an air purification system to its HVAC systems to improve indoor air quality and safety in all buildings and classrooms.

security rooms

To improve security, L'Anse Creuse has added new devices to all schools and buildings

And they have partnered with the Macomb County Sheriff's Office to hire two additional security officers.

Mount Clemens Community School District

new faces

Mount Clemens students will have 23 new teachers this year, along with two new administrators.

New Seminole employees include:

• Leah Fowler, fourth grade

• André Fullwood, Lernraum

• Kayla Gamble, kindergarten

• Kayla Hood, first class

• Jennifer Jones, Ressourcenraum

• Allison Lynn, first class

• Karen Minor, high school

• Katy Morehouse, third grade

• Laura Pruitt, speech therapist

• Rachel Russo, first class

• Laura Stark, kindergarten

• Rachel Stockwell, Developmental Kindergarten

• Mandi Wise, media specialist

New educators in high school:

• Nadita Barnabas, Middle/High School Science

• Jeremy Brock, Sozialkunde Secondary/Middle School

• Joshua Conover, high school math

• Lauren Finn, English Language High School

• Grant Hill, High School, English Language Arts

• Dylan Jaskolski, High School Social Studies

• Kelly Jensen, middle and high school English language arts

• Mensalidade na Danielle Stephens High School / Middle School

Meanwhile, the new administrators are David Lavender and Diya Bethel.

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (13)
Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (14)

Lavender, a 22-year-old preschool teacher, is the new assistant superintendent. Previously, she worked for the Lakeview Public Schools in St. Clair Shores, where she served as principal of Jefferson Middle School for the past 15 years.

In 2004, he was named Teacher of the Year at Lakeview High School.

Across town at the Seminole Academy, Bethel takes over as principal.

The 19-year-old educator used to work as an assistant principal/interim principal at Hilbert High School in the Redford Union School District. Prior to that, she worked for the Detroit Community Public School District as a teacher, interventionist, and elementary school teacher.

New places

Senior Producer Patrick Linabury says a new phone app aimed at high school students and their families is available for iPhone and Android.

The full app provides information on class schedules, teacher contact, special events, and other information and may include social media.

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (15)

New Haven Community Schools

new faces

Cheryl Puzdrakiewicz is the new district superintendent, which includes the town of New Haven and parts of Macomb, Lenox, Chesterfield and Ray counties.

Puzdrakiewicz, a former principal of Fitzgerald Public Schools, has 32 years of experience in education, from classroom teacher to site manager to special education administrator in a central office position.

Richmond Community Schools

New places

Richmond completed construction of new baseball and softball fields and new parking lots. The projects complete the second year of a three-year construction program financed by a voter-approved bond issue.

The district is introducing three new CTE (Career and Technical Education) courses for the upcoming school year. Courses are Cadet Teacher, Computer Programming and Video Game Development and Automotive Technician in Partnership with Dick Huvaere's Richmond Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM.

The world-renowned Kagan Cooperative Learning spent two days partnering with Richmond faculty to provide professional development on cooperative structures.

Romeo Community Schools

New places

The $87.5 million title for 2021 is already in development for the first batch of projects. These include renovations to the Croswell Early Childhood Center; STEM, art, and outdoor classrooms at Hamilton-Parsons and Indian Hills elementary schools.

Other Bond work includes renovating the Memorial Field facility.

Meanwhile, work on Romeo's last two bond projects for 2016 is nearing completion.

This includes the new Romeo High School shoe that was recently completed. Construction on the new transportation facility is underway, but its completion schedule has been pushed back due to a series of delays affecting construction sites everywhere.

Projects pending for 2016 will be incorporated into the 2021 commitment plan and include replacement of interior doors and student lockers at Romeo High School and improvements to the service area.

Roseville Community Schools

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (16)

new faces

The district welcomes these new administrators:

• Chris LaFeve, Principal of Roseville High School

• Robert Beato, director de Eastland Middle School

• Kirk Duncan, Associate Principal, Roseville High School

• Joe Jelsone, Studiendekan der Eastland Middle School

New places

Roseville has increased green initiatives throughout the district, including adding recycling bins, planting trees in various locations, and upgrading windows

security rooms

According to county spokesman Joe Genest, officers spent much of the summer thinking about safety procedures.

In August, Michigan State Police officers trained administrators in “Run, Hide, Fight” protocols for active shooters. Administrators will train the rest of the staff on these protocols this fall.

During the summer, all doors in the building were equipped with Legacy Barricade door security systems. These systems provide an additional level of protection for classroom staff and students in the event of a lockdown situation.

south lake schools

new faces

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (17)
Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (18)

The southern school community of St. Clair Shores has brought on two new administrators, according to Superintendent Ted VonHiltmayer.

Andrew Rousselo will assume the leadership role as the high school principal next year.

At Elmwood Elementary School, Heather Bowersox is the new principal.

Utica Community Schools

New places

District officials will present a new strategic plan titled AccerlateUCS.

Last year, Macomb County's largest school district sought input from the community and employees to help achieve the district's long-term goals.

This year, the district will present a new mission and vision, as well as practical plans to achieve the established goals. For more information, see

In construction projects, 2018 title-funded facility improvements were implemented at 21 sites throughout the district. The projects fall into all three target areas for the bond issue: security, technology, long-term need for facility improvements.

Key projects this year include completing secure entry routes to every UCS school; continued support of the district's 1:1 initiative, replacing 2,000 laptops and 650 iPads; and site work, paving, roofing, and heating and cooling projects throughout the district. For information:

security rooms

Working closely with law enforcement, Utica Schools regularly evaluates and improves its multifaceted approach, which focuses on changes to facilities, training, and student mental health. Enhanced training, student mental health professional development and the installation of the Nightlock security door are examples of security-related initiatives this year.

Van Dyke Public Schools

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (19)

new faces

Several new faces can be seen at the Van Dyke buildings this year, including:

• Vic Breithaupt, Director of Security and Crisis Response

• Joann Iras McKinley, Principal of McKinley Elementary School

• Melissa Pluszczynski, Principal of Carlson Elementary School

• Steve Filiccia, director de Lincoln Middle School

• Van Daugherty, Subdirector de Lincoln Middle

• Derek Lawson, director de Lincoln High School

Van Dyke will welcome approximately 20 new teachers, along with new paraprofessionals and classroom monitors.

New places

Several new and enhanced programs are underway, including Responsive Classroom Training in grades K-5; personnel retention strategies; library material and books; installation of the ionization project; supplies for individual school initiatives; behavioral intervention support staff; additional laptops for students; Mi-Fi devices for wireless support, as well as mobile hotspots.

Back to School: Updates on 21 Macomb County school districts as students return (20)

Van Dyke also offers tutoring and transportation; employee vaccination; water bottle stations; mental health staff: additional school social workers; HVAC and plumbing upgrades; High School Math Pilot; additional charging carts for laptops; paths of the senses; and Smart Cards and Installation.

security rooms

The Warren Police Department will provide an additional School Resource Officer.

The district has a security camera and improvement project.

Warren Consolidated Schools

new faces

• Xavier Whitacre, Schulleiter, Beer High School

• Kelley Durand, Assistant Principal, Sterling Heights High School

• Coreen Tremmel, Executive Director, Human Resources and Employment, Human Resources

• Susan Andrzejewski, Senior Manager of Tax Services, Business

• Ashley Agrusa, Assistant Director of Nutrition Services, Nutrition

• Chad Ballee, Cousino High School Athletic Director

• Stephen Bardelline, athletic director at Warren Mott High School

Warren Con also welcomes seven new teachers, two social workers, one speech therapist, one technician, 10 nutrition workers, two transportation workers, one principal, four secretaries, two cafeteria workers, four child care workers, and 21 aides. of Education.

New places

Warren Con officials are implementing several construction projects funded by a $150 million bond program approved by voters in May.

The first priority is the replacement of buildings and cooling systems. Planning work is ongoing and installation is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2023.

security rooms

More than 125 Warren Con employees participated in Active Shooter Response training in August, presented by the district's director of security and crisis management, Rick Scholz, along with the Sterling Heights and Warren police departments.

The training sessions placed employees in realistic scenarios in a variety of school settings, such as classrooms, hallways, media centers, and cafeterias.

Other security protocols include security cameras installed at all county facilities, including buses, with real-time access by county and local police departments; school resource officers stationed at all three high schools; regular A.L.I.C.E. Stick; all employee crisis drills; secure entrances with controlled access; and a comprehensive security and crisis management plan.

warren wood hearingschools

new faces

Warren Woods is welcoming two new members this year: Pinewood Elementary School Principal Heather Brodi and Warren Woods Elementary School Assistant Principal Jennifer Boggio.

The district has hired about 10 new teachers.

New places
Warren Woods hosted the largest summer school program he has ever hosted, with over 250 students enrolled in grades K-5 and over 230 high school students.

The district will introduce 1:1 device access for all high school students in school in the fall. All high school students have access to a laptop in every class.

Other classroom improvements include each middle school classroom being equipped with a smart panel, a document camera, and a sound system funded by the 2020 bond issuance. Identical systems were installed in kindergarten through eighth grade at beginning of last year.

A new math program for grades K-5 will launch in September. This will be followed by research and a pilot program for the Bridges Math program. The staff anticipates that the new tools and resources will help both teachers and students.

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