Calumet teacher gets state role

Chris Woods named to leadership advisory council

Photo provided by Chris Woods Chris Woods, Calumet High School teacher, was chosen to be a member of the newly-created Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council, which will advise the Michigan Department of Education.

CALUMET — Chris Woods has been a teacher at Calumet High School for 18 years, and now he’s hoping to get the opportunity to use his experience to guide state education policy.

Woods, who teaches ninth and 10th-grade algebra and applied geometry at CHS, in July was named as one of 24 Michigan teachers to serve on the state’s newly-created Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council (MTLAC). He was chosen from a group of more than 300 applicants to the council.

He learned about the council from an e-mail from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Woods said. It seemed like something of which he wanted to be a part, so in June he applied.

“I was very excited,” he said about being chosen. “They were looking for a wide spectrum (of teachers) across the state.”

Woods said he considered applying for the MTLAC because he thought he had something to offer policy makers.

“I saw it as an opportunity to share my classroom experience,” he said.

Woods said he understands setting education policy is probably difficult for legislators.

“It’s not easy for them to write these laws,” he said.

The MTLAC is intended to assist the MDE with its efforts to become a Top 10 education state in 10 Years, and to help the state comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind program. It is created from a $10,000 grant from the national Council of Chief State School Officers.

As part of the MTLAC application process, Woods said he had to write an opinion piece, and explain his leadership qualities. At CHS, he is on a leadership team, and he’s been a member of various committees at the school.

Besides himself, Woods said there is only one other teacher from the Upper Peninsula, Gina Pepin from Escanaba, and having representation from the U.P. is important for setting the state’s education policy.

Chris Davidson, principal of CHS, wrote in an e-mail he thinks Woods was a good choice for the council.

“Mr. Woods is an exceptional educator, and a very dedicated member of the C-L-K team,” Davidson wrote. “He possesses the ability to build rapport with all students, incorporate Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) into his lessons regularly, and he has even created an Algebra I iBook that he utilizes with his students to name just a few of Mr. Wood’s qualities as a teacher. Calumet High School is very fortunate to have such a dynamic educator.”

Davidson said Woods will be a benefit for the council.

“His creativity is something that the council will greatly benefit from,” he wrote. “Mr. Woods has experience, knowledge, and is an advocate of incorporating STEM into education. In addition Mr. Woods keeps his students best interests as his main focus, which will be very important when working with policy makers on implementing ESSA Laws. Mr. Woods has made countless valuable contributions to Calumet High School and our students. I am confident he will make a positive impact with the Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council.”

There will be one meeting for all 24 members of the MTLAC on Aug. 9 in Bath, which is near Lansing, and Woods said he will get more detailed information about the purpose and function of the group then. Other meetings throughout the year will take place online.

Woods said he’s looking forward to beginning the work of the MTLAC.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” he said. “It’s a great honor.”