Office of K-12 Outreach debuts “Eloquent Educators” video series

May 5, 2022

The Michigan State University Office of K-12 Outreach is announcing a new video series highlighting female educational leaders from across the state and how they are changing the future. The series—“Eloquent Educators: In the Spirit of…”—will feature a different leader each month and will rotate what the video is in the spirit of each time one is released. 

Part of the graphical intro for the "Eloquent Educators" video series. The graphic depicts a TV with a purple background, on which, in white letters, is written: "The Office of K-12 Outreach Presents:" and underneath, in white letters on top of a green background: "Eloquent Educators."

“We’re engaging in conversations with incredible women who have chosen careers in education,” said Shirley Jackson, an outreach specialist in the Office of K-12 Outreach who will lead all interviews across the series. “We’ll explore the many ways these professionals continue to influence our thinking about topics related to the ways we educate learners in our state—from the very youngest to young people who attend our colleges and universities.”

The first interview, in the spirit of Women’s History Month, features Rema Vassar, who was elected to an eight-year term on the MSU Board of Trustees in 2021. Vassar is also an associate professor in Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education and the Morris Endowed Chair leading the Leadership Talent Development Project in the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

If you want to change the world, you change schools.

Rema Vassar, MSU Trustee
Rema Vassar, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of MSU Board of Trustees)

“Everyone has to be schooled in some kind of way in the United States,” said Vassar in her interview. “If we’re thinking about transformative change, we need … to change the space that everyone goes through, because whatever we do produces society. Whatever choices we make—pedagogically, instructionally [or with] discipline—all these things have lifelong implications for the individuals going through that system, but also society. If we want to see a different world, a better world, we need to change what we decide to do in these spaces.”

Over the next several months, forthcoming interviews will include:

  • Sonya Gunnings-Moton, associate dean and associate professor emerita of the College of Education
  • Dorinda Carter Andrews, chair of the MSU Department of Teacher Education
  • Ann E. Austin, University Distinguished Professor and interim dean of the College of Education
  • Punita Thurman, vice president of program and strategy for the Skillman Foundation
  • Sharon Russell, the creator, author and founder of the Adolescent Critical Reading Intervention (ACRI) model
  • Sheila Alles, who served as Michigan’s chief deputy superintendent and interim state superintendent between 2017-2021.

Each interview will be about 30 minutes and will be debuted in the Office of K-12 Outreach’s In Focus newsletter.

“These interviews are an opportunity to introduce all students to women who have helped to shape the educational, economic and social context of our state,” said Theodore Ransaw, an outreach specialist in the Office of K-12 Outreach and coordinator of the series. “We view these conversations as opportunities to celebrate their tremendous contributions to the world in general, but particularly to Michigan citizens.”

Portions of this story were written by Jeff Cech, video producer/director for the Office of K-12 Outreach.