The State of Michigan Chapter 1607 of Phi Delta Kappa awards up to two $1,000.00 scholarships each year to high school or undergraduate students seeking a career in education. For more information and the application form, visit our Prospective Educator Scholarship page.

Please share the application form with students who are planning to become future educators in our schools: high school seniors or college undergraduates. Promote this opportunity with those in your area who can let students become aware of our State of Michigan PDK Chapter 1607 Scholarships. We would like to see applicants from all areas of Michigan. The deadline for the scholarship application this year is March 2, 2018.

Photo of Ron Laeder
Ron Laeder, Chair of the Scholarship Committee, reads information about our award winner, Taylor Huggins.

Our chapter held its annual Scholarship Dinner on May 4 at Gilbert & Blake’s in Okemos. This year we awarded our Prospective Educator scholarship to Taylor A. Huggins. Taylor is a 2017 graduate of South Haven High School, with a 4.145 GPA. Taylor’s father, Darrin Huggins, accompanied her to the dinner.

Taylor participated in the Cadet Teacher Academy through the Van Buren Technology Center during her junior and senior years. Through this program, she had the opportunity to work in first-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade classrooms. In her letter of recommendation, her Cadet Instructor/Coordinator Sheri Johnsen commented that “she possesses great internal motivation and has an innate ability to connect with her students and the staff like she has been teaching for years. Taylor is what I would call a ‘natural’ and the mentor teachers she works with are amazed at her integrity, responsibility, and most importantly her desire to change lives and help all children learn.”

Taylor served as the secretary and vice president of the student council at her high school and was a member of the tennis and cross-country teams. She also participated in Family, Careers, and Community Leaders of America and provided instruction on self-worth and anti-bullying to fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade students. She was a member of the National Technical Honor Society and the National Honor Society, a Girl Scouts Daisy and Brownie Troop Leader, and a coach for Girls on the Run.

In her essay, Taylor emphasized that “successful and effective teachers are able to work beyond curriculum standards. They express enthusiasm and overcome stereotypes to create a nurturing environment.” She also expressed a goal of connecting with each student and working to create strong relationships based on mutual trust with both students and parents. Taylor will be attending Albion College in the fall to study elementary education.

Be sure to check our website for the 2018 Scholarship Application, which will be available in January, and encourage any qualified high-school or college students to apply. The application deadline is March 1, 2018.

Photo of Dr. Wei Gu and Taylor Huggins
Dr. Wei Gu, Scholarship Co-chair, presents the award certificate to Taylor Huggins.
Photo of Taylor Huggins and her father, Darrin Huggins
Taylor’s father, Darrin, accompanied her to the awards dinner.

Greetings! I am honored to serve as the new president of the state of Michigan chapter #1607 of Phi Delta Kappa. I want to thank Dr. James Schwarz, superintendent of Avondale Schools, who has served as our president for the last six years. I am also grateful for the members of our Executive Board who have agreed to serve the organization this year.

  • Treasurer: Dr. Mary Anne Homann
  • VP for Membership: Dr. Cynthia Cockrel
  • Secretary: Dr. James Schwarz
  • Newsletter: Kay Cornell
  • Awards/Recognition: Ronald Laeder
  • Foundation Representative: Sherie Williams

Earlier this year, we were thrilled to celebrate our three scholarship winners at our Awards Dinner on May 4 in East Lansing. Kayla Mantey from Spring Arbor University and Joshua Shank from the University of Michigan-Flint received our Chapter Scholarships and Cierra Crawley from Martin Luther King Jr. High School was the recipient of our Foundation Scholarship. See the follow-up story below for more information about these three outstanding students.

Our goal for this coming year is to concentrate on the fiscal stability of the chapter. Following the recommendations of the Executive Board, we have already taken steps in this direction and we will continue throughout the year to work toward this goal.

As always, we welcome your participation in our chapter leadership and activities. If you are interested in joining us, please email me at or call me at (269) 501-4287.

Jane Kramer

At our chapter’s annual awards dinner on May 4, we honored three outstanding students. Cierra Crawley from Detroit Martin Luther King Jr. High School received our Foundation Scholarship of $1,000. Kayla Mantey from Spring Arbor University and Joshua Shank from the University of Michigan-Flint were the recipients of our chapter scholarships of $1,000 each.

Cierra Crawley with Dr. Cynthia CockerelCierra Crawley graduated from Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Detroit with a 3.62 GPA, despite the challenge of limited access to technology and the need to use flawed public transportation. She is now enrolled at Michigan State University, planning to study Secondary Education with a major in Social Sciences and a minor in Psychology. With a commitment to her goal to become an educator and work in an urban school environment, Cierra set upon her career path by volunteering to tutor underclass students at her high school.

Cierra credits her success to date to her principal, Dr. Deborah Jenkins; her counselor, Denise Barnes; and Mrs. Nesbitt, her English teacher. She believes that she can make a difference in the field of education by helping future students who have had life experiences similar to hers. Cierra also believes, as stated by Dr. King, “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively, and to think critically. Intelligence is character, that is the goal of true education”.

Kayla Mantey with Dr. Wei GuKayla Mantey, a graduate of Armada High School, is currently a senior music education student at Spring Arbor University with a 3.9 GPA. A gifted signer, Kayla participates in the school’s choir and honors program, and works in the A-V department. She co-directs a home school choir, worked as a counselor at a summer camp and volunteers at her church.

Kayla wants her classroom to have an inviting atmosphere where students know and feel comfortable with one another. She wants students to look forward to choir as a chance to sing beautiful music with friends, increase their self-confidence and worth, and leave in a better mood than the one with which they entered.

Joshua Shank with Ron LaederJoshua Shank is a senior at the University of Michigan-Flint (3.85 GPA) who plans to be a secondary education French teacher. He is a graduate of Lakeville High School where he studied both French and Spanish. During his high school years, he was dually enrolled at the University of Michigan-Flint and Mott Community College. He has worked as a French tutor and in a small business to pay for his school expenses.

His high school French teacher’s passion for foreign language and dedication to her students influenced Joshua’s decision to become a teacher. He believes that by teaching students a foreign language, they not only learn a new language, but it helps them to broaden their cultural tolerance, eliminate any stereotypes and prejudices they may have and think critically. Joshua looks forward to sharing his passion for French with his students and helping them become empathetic, tolerant, critical thinkers and positive members of society.

Be sure to check our website for the 2017 Scholarship Application which will be available in January and encourage any qualified high school or college students to apply. The application deadline is March 1, 2017.

Congratulations to the three students who received the State of Michigan Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) scholarships this year. The scholarships were awarded at our Annual Dinner held at Gilbert and Blake’s restaurant in Okemos on May 6.

Anna Bensel and Nicholas Iveson were awarded the chapter scholarships ($1,000) and Brianna Jones was awarded the Chapter Endowment Scholarship. Nick also received the Edna Wilhelmina Snell Nichols Endowed Scholarship from PDK International.

Anna Bensel
Anna Bensel
Anna Bensel is a graduate of Grand Ledge High School and just completed her fourth year of college at Cornerstone University with a 3.98 GPA. She completed two teaching practica last year  – one in a high school ESL classroom and the other at a charter academy, helping to teach Spanish to 4th, 5th and 6th graders. This fall, Anna is completing her student teaching in Spanish at Hudsonville High School and Baldwin Street Middle School (Hudsonville). She spent a semester studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador and has volunteered on several mission trips – one to Jamaica and one to the Quad cities area.

Nick Iveson
Nicholas Iveson
Nicholas Iveson graduated this year from Thornapple Kellogg High School with a 4.077 GPA. While in high school, Nick participated in the Teacher Cadet program and assisted in a middle school math classroom. He was a three-sport (football, wrestling and baseball) athlete and was also involved in Student Council, Young Life, National Honor Society and Teens against Tobacco. Nick is attending Central Michigan University this Fall.

Brianna Jones graduated from Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School in Detroit with a 3.517 GPA. Her principal, Dr. Deborah Jenkins, and school counselor, Ms. Denise Barnes who accompanied her to the dinner, recommended Brianna for the scholarship.

We extend our congratulations and good luck to these future educators.

The three students awarded the State of Michigan Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) $1,000 scholarships for 2014 are:  Kelsey Setla, Jenny Lee and Enayath Hossain. The Chapter Endowment Scholarship was awarded to Bri’Elle Jones.

Kelsey Setla is graduating this year from Caro High School with a 3.8 GPA.  She plans to pursue a teaching career at the Elementary level. For the past two years, she has been a student in the Careers in Education/Early Childhood Program at the Tuscola Technology Center and has gained experience at both the kindergarten and eighth grade level.  Kelsey is also a member of the National Honor Society (this year serving as the Treasurer) and the National Technical Honor Society (this year she is the President). She has been on the varsity softball team for four years and this year was elected as the captain of the team.

Kelsey has also been an active volunteer in a variety of community service projects including the Tuscola County Pumpkin Festival, Red Cross Blood Drives, Special Olympics and various school and community fundraisers. Kelsey will be attending Saginaw Valley State University in the fall.

Jenny Lee is an undergraduate student in the School of Education and Human Services at Oakland University. She has earned a 3.6 GPA in Elementary Education. During her undergraduate study, she has earned great academic success and demonstrated exceptional leadership through a variety of educational activities. For example, she has been serving as the President of the Student Michigan Education Association (SMEA) Oakland Chapter and as the Co-Director of the Sunday School Program at Han-Bit Korean Christian Reformed Church. She has also worked as a camp counselor for the Michigan Council of Korean Churches Summer Camp.

Jenny possesses many traits of an effective teacher. She is caring, organized, passionate, positive and respectful.

Enayath Hossain is an elementary education candidate specializing in Math in the College of Education at Wayne State University. He has earned a 3.9 GPA. He has worked as an online tutor of language arts and as a teacher assistant at a local elementary school.

Enayath has been an active volunteer in a number of community organizations including the Islamic Center of North Detroit’s Community Outreach Department. He has participated in their Annual Neighborhood Appreciation Day by organizing and distributing fruit baskets to community members. He has also volunteered for Helping Hand for Relief Development, a multiservice organization that provides global relief during times of hardship and/or disaster. He is also active in the Muslim Ummah of North America Youth Group, currently serving as the secretary of the organization.

Bri’Elle Jones is a graduating senior from Detroit Martin Luther King High School. She will be attending Michigan State University in the fall.

Our PDK Michigan Chapter cordially invites all members to our Annual Spring Dinner and Scholarship Banquet on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. at Gilbert & Blake’s Seafood and Steak Grille at 3554 Okemos Rd., Okemos, MI 48864. Please join us in honoring this year’s scholarship recipients, and enjoying fellowship and networking (as well as a complimentary meal).  Please RSVP to James Schwarz at All members are invited!!!

Greetings PDK members.

It has been a busy year in our Chapter with many activities and organizational tasks.  We are proud of our recent scholarship recipients who well-represent hard work and dedication to our profession.  Please see the attached scholarship application for the selection of this year’s recipients.  Please pass this on throughout your network of prospective educators.  In addition, we are attaching a revised set of by-laws for our Chapter, which include many new requirements of Chapters from our PDK International organization. Please review and send me any questions or any hesitations as to why we should not approve these by-laws (send to  We welcome and thank you for your input.  Our plan is to approve these by-laws as written within our March meeting.

In other news, we will soon have a website for our chapter up and running with all of our news, events, and professional development opportunities.  The new site can be found at It is currently under construction, but will be available soon.  This will provide a great service to our membership.

We greatly appreciate all of your efforts in positively impacting our students.  Please email me (address above) with any interest in becoming active with our chapter and its activities.  We’d love to include you and even expand on what we can do provide opportunities for prospective educators.

I hope everyone is staying warm and healthy in this new year!


James Schwarz

President, PDK State of Michigan Chapter #1607

PDK Chapter Members who attended our Annual Dinner Meeting in Okemos last May were excited, happy and very pleased to honor our 2013 Prospective Educator Scholarship winners and their parents.  Each of our recipients received $1000 awards that evening.  What a pleasure to host these outstanding young people and catch the spirit of their enthusiasm for becoming future educators.  Two of our honorees were undergraduates at Michigan Universities:  Katie Schnettler, a graduate of Oxford High School and now a student at Wayne State University with plans to become an elementary teacher; and Lexie Sittsamer, a graduate of North Farmington High School & currently a student at Western Michigan University majoring in pre-Special Education.  Both Katie and Lexie expressed a sincere passion for teaching as they shared their goals and aspirations with us.  Their many positive experiences with children were admirable.

Our third recipient, Laquita Hart, a graduating Senior of Detroit Martin Luther King High School received the $1000 PDK Scholarship Endowment Award.  Laquita is now enrolled at Bethune Cookman College to prepare for a career in Secondary Education.  She was an energetic leader at her High School and an active participant in multiple activities, serving as a positive role model for her fellow students.  Her High School Principal, Dr. Deborah Jenkins, accompanied her and gave testimony of Laquita’s many contributions to her school and her desire to become an educator.

The Annual Dinner Meeting is a great opportunity to meet fellow PDK Chapter members and the outstanding scholarship honorees.  We hope you will be able to attend the 2014 Dinner this Spring.  Watch for the announcement when plans are complete.

The Scholarship application form can be found here [link removed].  Please share this form with students who are planning to become future educators in our schools:  high school seniors or college undergraduates.  Promote this opportunity with those in your area who can let students become aware of our State of Michigan PDK Chapter 1607 Scholarships.  We would like to see applicants from all areas of Michigan.  The deadline for the scholarship application this year is March 10, 2014.