Detroit Principal, Livingston County Teacher Named Michigan’s Top Charter School Educators

LANSING, Michigan  – A principal from Detroit and an elementary school teacher from Livingston County were announced today as the top charter school educators in Michigan. The announcement was made by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association, on the first day of National Charter Schools Week.

Both educators received their awards today during surprise presentations at their schools.

Chanavia Patterson, the principal of Detroit Enterprise Academy, was named the 2017 Michigan Charter School Administrator of the Year, while Gordy Hyska, a first- and second-grade teacher at Charyl Stockwell Academy in Hartland, was named the 2017 Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year.

Patterson has done an incredible job since taking over four years ago as the principal of Detroit Enterprise Academy, a K-8 charter school located in one of the most challenging neighborhoods on the city’s east side. When she took over as principal, Detroit Enterprise ranked as one of the worst schools in the city, mired in just the 8th percentile on the state’s top-to-bottom rankings.

Under Patterson’s leadership, the school now ranks as one of the best in the city. It has vaulted all the way up to the 51st percentile, ranking now as one of the highest-achieving schools in Detroit. Detroit Enterprise Academy is managed by National Heritage Academies and authorized by Grand Valley State University.

“Chanavia Patterson is working miracles at Detroit Enterprise Academy,” said MAPSA President Dan Quisenberry. “She’s a lifelong Detroiter who made the decision to stay and work in her hometown to make a difference in the lives of children there. She took a school that was one of the worst in the city and has turned it into one of the best in the state – in just four years. She’s shown everyone that it’s possible to have great schools in every city in Michigan.”

Hyska has taught first and second grade for the past six years at Charyl Stockwell Academy. He brings academic subjects to life for his students by, for example, turning math into an adventure. He becomes an action hero called “Michigan Hyska” (his version of Indiana Jones), and invites his students to solve math problems as they search for the treasure.

“Gordy Hyska perfectly embodies the charter ideal – that when teachers are empowered and allowed to be creative and innovative, they can change lives,” Quisenberry said. “Gordy has come up with one of the most innovative ways we’ve ever seen to get first-graders excited about learning math. It’s incredible.”

Charyl Stockwell Academy is managed by CS Partners and authorized by Central Michigan University.

These awards are among the most prestigious that a charter school educator in Michigan can receive, Quisenberry said. There are 300 charter schools in Michigan, with more than 10,000 teachers and 1,500 administrators. Just over 10 percent of all children in Michigan attend a charter school.

The five finalists for each award were honored during a ceremony at the State Capitol last week. In addition to Patterson and Hyska, the other finalists were:

Michigan Charter School Administrator of the Year finalists:

  • Kerri Barrett, West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science, Grand Rapids
  • Ali Bazzi, Star International Academy, Dearborn Heights
  • Lyn Sperry, Countryside Academy, Benton Harbor
  • Dr. Hosep Torossian, AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School, Southfield

Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year finalists:

  • Lindsay Andrade, second-grade teacher, Achieve Charter Academy, Canton
  • Sydney Azzi, English teacher, Grand River Preparatory High School, Grand Rapids
  • Jennifer Melero, kindergarten teacher, Holly Academy
  • George Pavey, Dean of Aviation, West Michigan Aviation Academy, Grand Rapids