GPEA Newsletter

June 2015 - Issue 11 Volume 1

President's Corner

TGIF and Welcome Summer!

I know you are sick of reading anything school related so the fact that you are reading this is actually pretty awesome.

My reflection on this year revolves around our GPEA goals from last year. There were three primary goals we identified last spring. We wanted to make the MEA more accountable to the GPEA, improve our sick leave policy and increase communication between GPEA members. Fast forward to this newsletter and the MEA has been kicked into gear with providing workshops throughout the year (with more coming next year) as well as being active and vigilant in legal issues that we have encountered this year, sick leave language is improved for all of us next year and the last newsletter count showed 388 readers. :-)

There were many secondary goals we identified as well: cultivating and maintaining a positive and vocal presence with our BOE and Human Resources, a positive public relations campaign for our teachers in public and in the media, keeping our professional staff updated on current legislation, hot button topics and so many others. These goals are in place and will be ongoing.

I am committed to working this summer on these topics and identifying new ones. What would you like to see as GPEA goals? I can't change state laws but I'd like to hear your thoughts. I will be working on your behalf both locally and nationally throughout the summer. Will bring you up to speed on all that ............ in the fall.

One more thing, I would be remiss in not extending heartfelt thanks to Mike Rennell, Chris Geerer, Greg Johnson and Judy Ignagni for being my "go-to" people all year. Each holds an area of expertise that I would tap into often as issues arose all year. There is no doubt that the GPEA benefitted from the collaboration of these great people.

The Mikesell family wishes all of you a restful, restorative and safe summer.


Laura Mikesell, M.Ed.

GPEA President

2015 K-12 Niche ranks Grosse Pointe Teachers #2 in Michigan

The Best Public School Teachers ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the quality of the teachers at school districts in the United States and Puerto Rico. K-12 Niche uses data sourced from various government and public data sets, Niche’s own proprietary data, and opinion-based survey responses about teachers from current students, recent alumni, and parents.

A high ranking in Teachers generally indicates that:

*Teachers are intelligent and engaging,

*The district is invested in its teachers and provides a good educational environment

*Students and parents rate their teachers favorably.





These results were shared publicly by GPEA leadership at the BOE meeting in May and sent to Grosse Pointe news publications.

Professional Focus Group - Evaluations!

GPEA leadership has met several times with the MEA to begin the process of launching a Professional Focus Group. This is designed to be a proactive group of Grosse Pointe educators who would like to gather and discuss hot button topics that can be brought to administration with the intent of collaborative problem solving. We are the first EA group to do this formally on the east side of Michigan and our first identified topic is Evaluations. Please consider joining us for light refreshments and professional dialogue in an environment that is conducive to frank discussion.

To become part of this group please contact: Chris Geerer ( or Laura Mikesell ( for more information. Our anticipated first focus meeting will take place in August.

Good Bye Jane - Hello Sheryl!

Our part time office manager, Jane Nutter, leaves us June 30th to full retirement status. Jane leaves with a wealth of institutional knowledge. She was a former BOE member and held many different positions at 389 before coming to the GPEA in 2011. Her contacts at the board office were used daily for the benefit of our members. We wish her well in her retirement.

On July 1st, Sheryl Hogan, longtime secretary at Parcells, will be coming on board as our part time office manager. Sheryl brings tremendous knowledge of helping with management of our MEA dues, central office contacts and will be working with GPEA leadership this summer to establish and maintain a new website for our members.

MSTEP Debrief

Please send some of your thoughts on how the MStep went this year to Those comments and discussion points will be compiled with no names attached (grade level will be attached as it's pertinent) and delivered to the Board of Education and Administration at a future date.

Consideration of the following is appreciated: (Kindly keep any four letter words describing M-Step to a minimum.)

What went well?

What didn't?

How much estimated time was taken away from classroom teaching?

How were the instructions from the state?

How did it effect specials teachers?

Thank you to the two staff members who have shared their experience.

Additionally, please take this Parent Survey put out by the MDE on the MSTEP. The Michigan Department of Education is sharing publicly that the MSTEP went "very well."

2015/16 GPPSS Budget Process

The budget process for next year is underway and, as always, we are concerned about the State of Michigan and how it appropriates money for our public schools. The GPEA is tied to the budget if we are more than 1% from the targeted fund equity for the year and per pupil state funding allowance drops or MPSERS (retirement costs) increases. GPEA leadership remains vigilant as the Board of Education and central office unfold the budget for next year. Stay tuned.

GPEA Summer Office Hours

GPEA Office Summer Hours:

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 11am - 4 PM or by appointment.

Laura Mikesell

Cell Phone (313) 310-3643

Office Phone: (313) 469-8193


NEA RA 6/30 - 7/6 Orlando, FL

MEA Leadership Conference July 28-31 - Lake Superior State University.

FAQ from the GPEA

What is the pay schedule for membership dues?

Your last payment for membership dues for this school year (SY 14/15) will be June 25. Your next payment won't be until September 25th for SY 15/16. A complete breakdown of your dues for next year will be forthcoming in August.

What is happening with Teledoc?

Welcome packets for our NEW health benefit "Teledoc" should start arriving at employee’s homes between June 12-19th. Please look for a fully explained packet about what Teledoc is and how it works in your home MAILBOX (snail mail.) This is indeed a convenient program for our GPEA members and our families. This will apply only to those members who take the GPPSS benefits.

The War of Attrition Over Public Schools

Public schools are in the midst of a war of attrition over their control – and even the very institution of public education is in danger. An important read!

What does it take to fire a teacher around the U.S.?

Detailed comparison of teachers job protections around the United States. Michigan ranks among the worst.