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Whitmer names members for parent-led education budget council

The group was established by the governor as an advisory council to bring parents into the education budget process for the state.
Credit: Trevier Gonzalez

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the appointees to the Michigan Parents' Council Monday.

The council is an advisory group that was established through an executive order aiming to bring parents into the education budget process for the first time in Michigan's history.

The Michigan Parents' Council consists of 11 members who were appointed by the governor to represent parents from across the state. The original order called for seven members on the council, but due to the response from parents, it was increased to its current 11 members.

"Parents are their children’s first and most important teacher, and we need their input to help our kids thrive in school," said Gov. Whitmer. "Today, I am proud to announce the members of the Michigan Parents’ Council who will represent the parent perspective and ensure that parents have an empowered seat at the table in Michigan. We need parents’ perspectives to help our kids learn in-person, tackle unfinished learning, and get on track for long-term success. The bipartisan education budget I just signed delivers record resources to our schools, and with the input of Michigan parents, we can help schools implement this historic funding."

The first meeting of the Michigan Parents' Council is to be held virtually on Sept. 20 and will include the appointees, the governor’s K-12 policy advisor and a designated representative of the Superintendent of Public Instruction from the Michigan Department of Education. 

Meaningful parent engagement directly impacts the educational success and well-being of all students in Michigan,” said Tracey Troy, President of the Michigan PTA. “This council is the opportunity to empower Michigan parents and caregivers to work collaboratively with Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Education to help students reach their full potential. Governor Whitmer thoughtfully structured the council to include diverse perspectives while recognizing the uniqueness of each child and the essential partners families are in education.”

In addition to sitting on the council, its members will convene regional roundtables with families across the state to establish partnerships between parents and schools.

The results of those roundtables will be put into a report for the governor that includes proposals and major themes to be considered for the governor's 2023 budget recommendations.

Appointees

  • Blanca J. Astua, of Holland, is a health promoter for Strangers No Longer. 
  • LaQuitta Brown, of Detroit, is a certified nursing assistant at Boulevard Temple Care Center in Detroit and as a COVID-19 health screener for Great Lakes Wined and Spirits. 
  • Jennifer L. Figler, of Gwinn, is an active volunteer in her community and a former breastfeeding peer helper. 
  • Cindy E. Gamboa, of Detroit, is the director of community organizing and advocacy for the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation. 
  • Sarah Kucher, of Birch Run, is a senior commodity buyer for ValuePoint Solutions. 
  • Yazeed Moore, of Grand Rapids, is a senior programs officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 
  • Bailey Nuss, of Traverse City, is the Northwest region impact director for the United Way of Northwest Michigan.  
  • Ranya Shbeib, of Bloomfield Hills, is a co-founder and board member of the Muslim Foster Care Association and a member of the Michigan Foster Care Review Board. 
  • Tracey Troy, of DeWitt, is a project manager for Dart Container Corporation and president of the Michigan PTA. The Governor has designated Ms. Troy to serve as the Chair of the Council. 
  • Rafael Turner, of Grand Blanc, is the manager of community affairs for Consumers Energy. 
  • Monique Zantop, of Jackson, is a co-founder of Birthbrite. 

In addition to the 11 appointees on the Council, the following parents will participate on behalf of the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and Executive Office of the Governor:

  • Stacy Ann Sipes, of Potterville, is a departmental specialist for MDE and the president of the Potterville Board of Education. Ms. Sipes will represent MDE as the designee of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Stephanie O’Dea is the K-12 education policy advisor for the Executive Office of the Governor. She will serve as the representative of the governor’s office and facilitate the operations of the council. 

The members of the council and more information on the structure and responsibilities can be found here.

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