Teach Plus Michigan and The Education Trust-Midwest congratulate Kelley Cusmano on being named 2024-25 Michigan Teacher of the Year

Teach Plus Michigan and The Education Trust-Midwest congratulate Kelley Cusmano on being named 2024-25 Michigan Teacher of the Year


Lansing, Michigan, May 9, 2024—Teach Plus and The Education Trust-Midwest congratulate Kelley Cusmano, an English & student leadership Teacher Leader at Rochester High School in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and member of the 2021-22 Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative (MTLC), on being named the 2024-25 Michigan Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Department of Education. Kelley also serves as a High School English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum Consultant for Rochester Community Schools. She is passionate about empowering students to take on leadership roles in their community and fostering a love for reading, writing, and communicating in both honors and co-taught ELA classes. In her district, she has served on the English curriculum and equity district committees. Kelley was named an Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Emerging Leader (2016), Michigan Associations of Student Councils (MASC) Adviser of the Year (2017), and an EdReports Klawe Fellow (2020). In 2018, she was part of a team of educators that organized the Michigan Governor’s Summit on Education and Talent. She is also the teacher representative for the Michigan ASCD Board, and currently serves on the Teach Plus CEO Teacher Cabinet.

“After being named the 2024-25 Michigan Teacher of the Year, Kelley joked that she’s ‘not the best teacher in Michigan. But I have a really loud voice.’ I had the privilege of watching Kelley use that voice to advocate for students and teachers during her time as a member of the MTLC. Her passion and dedication came through in every interaction with Teach Plus, her fellow MTLC teacher leaders, and the countless stakeholders she spoke with about bolstering and centering equity in Michigan’s teacher recruitment efforts,” said Ben Locke, Teach Plus Michigan Executive Director.

“We celebrate Kelley not only for her extraordinary work in the classroom but as an alumni of the Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative, where she was a tremendous advocate for students who are the most underserved in Michigan,” said Amber Arellano, Executive Director of the Education Trust-Midwest. “It’s through the efforts of dedicated educators like Kelley that we can truly improve opportunities for all Michigan students to have access to an excellent public education.”

“Kelley is an exemplary educator and catalytic teacher leader, someone who articulately communicates and advocates for policy issues that ensure her students have the best possible futures. In my Teacher Cabinet, she is a champion for equity, especially when it comes to supporting student mental health,” said Teach Plus CEO Kira Orange Jones.

As a member of the MTLC, Kelley worked with a select group of teachers from across Michigan to advocate for increased state-level investment for Grow Your Own programs, a strategy for addressing the shortage of educators, and increasing workforce diversity. Specifically, Kelley and her fellow MTLC educators advocated for a provision that targeted those Grow Your Own funds to teachers working in low-income districts, a recommendation that was ultimately included in that year’s state budget. In her role on the Teach Plus CEO Teacher Cabinet, she is leading efforts in her district to support student mental health through the creation of an advisory period built into a restructured school day.

About The Education Trust-Midwest

The Education Trust-Midwest is the Michigan-based office of the national nonprofit, The Education Trust, that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families. As a nonpartisan, data-driven education policy, research and advocacy organization, we are focused first and foremost on doing what is right for Michigan children, working alongside partners to raise the quality of teaching and learning in our public schools.

About Teach Plus

Teach Plus is dedicated to the mission of empowering excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that advance equity, opportunity, and student success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders across the country to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning, to create an education system driven by access and excellence for all. teachplus.org

About the Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative (MTLC)

Co-convened by The Education Trust-Midwest and Teach Plus-Michigan, The Michigan Teacher Leadership Collaborative is a highly selective leadership opportunity for outstanding Michigan teachers looking to share their expertise around equity-focused instructional practices, deepen their knowledge of education policy, and gain a voice in decisions that affect historically underserved students and the teaching profession. As part of the program, MTLC members join working groups where they work collaboratively to advance systems change on key policy topics. This year’s group explored areas including equitable school funding, educator workforce and support, social-emotional learning, transition to post-secondary, and early childhood education.