Michigan Department of Education – News Release

LANSING – Michigan’s move to become a national leader in literacy continues as the first meeting of the Governor’s PreK-12 Literacy Commission will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, December 5, in Room 426 of the Capitol Building.

The commission was formed by Governor Rick Snyder through Executive Order 2016-18 to provide policy recommendations and reports on the state’s progress in becoming a national leader in literacy. The first meeting will focus on establishing the scope of work for the commission and hearing overviews of the literacy achievement, policy and leadership efforts in Michigan.

“Literacy is the foundation of learning and a keystone in moving Michigan forward both academically and economically,” said State Representative Amanda Price (R-Holland), chair of the commission. “My goal is to tap the expertise and insights of the commission’s members and develop precise strategies to help every child learn to read and write.”

The 13-member commission was appointed by the Governor, with two members submitted by the State Superintendent and one each by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Majority Leader of the Senate and Majority Leader of the Senate.

The PreK-12 Literacy Commission members and their backgrounds include:

  • Lois Bader of East Lansing, the executive director of the Capital Area Literacy Coalition. She holds a bachelor’s degree from California State College, a master’s degree from Kean University and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. She will represent a member submitted by the State Superintendent.
  • Steve Goodman of Grand Haven, the director of Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative, co-director of Michigan School Climate Transformation Grant and the Adolescent Literacy Model Demonstration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology/special education from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University.
  • JaNel Jamerson of Flint, the executive director of the Flint & Genesee Literacy Network. He holds both a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Michigan Flint. He will represent a member submitted by the Senate Minority Leader.
  • John Kennedy of Kentwood, president and CEO of Autocam Medical. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit Mercy and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan.
  • Kyle Mayer of Grand Haven, the assistant superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in educational leadership and a Ph.D. in educational leadership research and technology from Western Michigan University.
  • Susan Medendorp of Lansing, the center director of Abrams Teaching Lab at the Michigan Dyslexia Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences as well as an elementary education degree with special education endorsements for ages 0-25 in emotionally impaired, learning disabilities, and mentally impaired from Calvin College and a master of divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary.
  • Naomi Norman of Ann Arbor, the assistant superintendent of Washtenaw Intermediate School District. She holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in educational studies and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan
  • Amanda Price of Holland, a state representative for the 89th District who serves as chair of the Education Committee. Price holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Western Michigan University. She will represent a member submitted by the Speaker of the House and will serve as chair of this commission.
  • Jeremy Reuter of Haslett, the president of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in family community services and a master’s degree in family studies from Michigan State University.
  • Nadra Shami of Dearborn, a district language and literacy trainer for Dearborn Public Schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in instructional technology from Wayne State University, a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Michigan and an education specialist degree in education leadership from Oakland University. She will represent a member submitted by the State Superintendent.
  • Denise Smith of Detroit, vice president of early learning at Excellent Schools District in Detroit. She holds a dual bachelor’s degree in communications and French from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in human development from Pacific Oaks College.

The commission was created after state government leaders formed a workgroup to review state policies on literacy and determined that an independent commission was needed to set literacy goals for the state and provide reports on progress.

Established within the Michigan Department of Education, the commission will investigate, analyze and advise on changes to state programs, statutes, regulations and policies relating to the assessment, professional development, education programming, socioeconomic challenges, best practices, collaboration, parental engagement and teaching of literacy.

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