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Column - Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns

Photo of Superintendent Dr. JohnsExcellence benefits everyone

It is easy to assume that around the world, a strong public education is available for everyone.  Yet, when reviewing global economies, it becomes clear that developing nations often lack strong educational programs and institutions. 

In today’s world, it is easy to take for granted what we experience and see every day.  However, it is important to remind ourselves that every member of our community is impacted by the educational excellence found within Utica Community Schools.  The members of our community continue to support the students and programs of our district and in turn these same students give back to that community.

From graduates to local business owners, our community’s commitment to high standards has a direct bearing on the quality of life in this region.  When a student receives a UCS diploma, they carry with them the unique skills and experiences that reflect our community values. They carry these values forward as they return to establish their own roots in this region.

UCS graduates are leaders in every industry: education, technology, skilled trades, business, science, health, and the arts. They build their families in our community and become active contributors to all facets of the region.

Here are just four examples.

Caroline Franzen is a 2015 graduate of Utica High School. As a student, she had the opportunity to take part in many leadership activities – from her school’s advisory council, as a member of superintendent’s advisory group, and through her participation in the school’s cheer team.

From these experiences, she learned the values of hard work, service and how to be a confident leader.

She graduated a semester early from the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University – thanks to the advanced placement programs she had in high school – and has returned to this area to take a human resources position in Macomb County government.

Nick Monacelli is someone you may see every day as a reporter on Channel 4 - WDIV.  His start in journalism can be traced back to the Vanguard Newspaper at Stevenson High School. He credits his success at journalism to not only the high school paper, but also his access to the arts – particularly music.

In addition to his reporting duties, you will see Mr. Monacelli using his public profile to host community events. He is also mentoring and coaching the next generation by teaching at a local college and working at a cable access station.

Angel Stallings has been honored by Central Michigan University for her work to be a mentor and advisor to younger business students, creating the first National Association of Black Accountants.

Prior to CMU, Ms. Stallings was a mentor to younger students at Henry Ford II High School – something she continued to do even after her she graduated in 2016.  In April 2018, she spoke to a group of UCS graduates.  These students had received the same superintendent’s scholarship that she had received three years earlier. Her message – “While you are learning, others can learn from you.”

Dr. Sarah Wilson is a local veterinarian who graduated from Eisenhower High School.  As one of the first graduates of the Utica Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology, she developed a passion for science.  Her time at Michigan State University was made easier due to the challenging academic rigor during her high school years. In addition, the bonus was that she had college credit before she ever set foot in East Lansing.

Dr. Wilson is an outstanding local business leader, supporting the local economy and serving the community with her UCS values of compassion, dedication to excellence and strong work ethic.

Working together, our community and UCS are creating a strong positive future.  Vibrant communities have schools of excellence.  Thank you for your support of our children and your commitment to public education.  Together, we are making a difference locally and globally.

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