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Michigan Charter School Teacher, Administrator of the Year both from GVSU-authorized schools

  • University Prep Science and Math Middle School teacher Joel Hockin with principal Latasha Goodall.
  • From left are College of Education affiliate faculty member Cindy Shinsky, Grand River Preparatory High School principal Koree Woodward, Associate Vice President for Charter Schools Rob Kimball, and Charter Schools Office staff member Alissa Thelen.

Posted on May 15, 2019

Both the Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year and the Michigan Charter School Administrator of the Year come from charter schools authorized by Grand Valley State University. 

Joel Hockin, the teacher of the year, is an 8th-grade science teacher at University Prep Science and Math Middle School in Detroit, where he has worked for three years of his 15-year teaching career.

Koree Woodward is the administrator of the year, and is the principal at Grand River Preparatory High School in Kentwood, where she has worked for four years. She has 10 years of school administration experience throughout West Michigan.

Hockin and Woodward were selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations. This is just the second time that both winners come from charter schools that are authorized by the same entity. The first time occurred in 2016, when both winners also came from GVSU-authorized schools. 

The awards are distributed by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. Awards have been handed out since 2002. With Woodward's win, an administrator from a GVSU-authorized school has won the administrator of the year award for three of the last four years. Woodward is the sixth administrator from a Grand Valley school to win the award. Hockin is the seventh teacher from a GVSU-authorized school to ever win the teacher award.

Woodward said winning the award was unbelievable and surreal.

"When I went into education, being selected for something so amazing certainly wasn't on my radar," Woodward said. "It's very humbling."

Hockin said his passion for teaching stems from his students.

"I do this for the kids every day, and it's amazing to be recognized for that," Hockin said. "I'm hopeful that this recognition will help open up more opportunities for kids in Detroit."

The process for selection is rigorous. MAPSA follows up with each teaching nominee for additional information, including how they are using innovative ideas in their classroom, while administrators are asked to share results that focus on topics like teacher retention, student growth and community partnerships.

Nominees are considered for the award by an external panel of judges, including legislators, education leaders and past award winners. 

For more information on MAPSA, visit https://www.charterschools.org.

To learn more about Grand Valley's Charter Schools Office, visit gvsu.edu/cso.