The 2021-2022 cohort of the Gerstacker Fellowship Program has begun a year-long leadership training program. The 14 members of the 15th Gerstacker Fellows cohort are (from left) John Folsom, Bay City Public Schools; Stephanie Hayward, Reese Public Schools; Kelly Frank, Iosco Regional Education Service Agency; Stacey Luberda-Criner, Alma Public Schools; Sarah Cooper, Midland Public Schools; Nancy Mahoney, Clarkston Community Schools; Rebeka D’Haene, Saginaw Township Schools; Sean Kelly, Oak Park Schools; Amanda Murray, Michigan International Prep School; Joshua Wrinkle, Rochester High School; Julie Alley, Port Huron Area Schools; Lisa Morford, Saginaw Intermediate School District; Tiffany Peterson, Carrollton Public Schools; Rachel Reid, Saginaw Public Schools.

With a keen awareness of the academic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, a 15th group of K-12 education leaders will focus on professional growth as part of Saginaw Valley State University’s Gerstacker Fellowship Program. 

This year’s Gerstacker Fellowship cohort includes:  

Sarah Cooper, an elementary teacher in Midland Public Schools  

Julie Alley, an elementary principal in Port Huron Area Schools   Rebekah D’Haene, an elementary principal in Saginaw Township Schools   John Folsom, assistant high school principal in Bay City Public Schools   Kelly Frank, an instructor at the Teacher Prep Academy at Iosco Regional Education Service Agency’s Career and Tech Center   Stephanie Hayward, an elementary principal in Reese Public Schools   Sean Kelly, high school teacher, Oak Park Schools   Stacey Luberda-Criner, superintendent of Alma Public Schools   Nancy Mahoney, assistant superintendent of Instructional Services, Clarkston Community Schools   Lisa Morford, a literacy coach in the Saginaw Intermediate School District   Amanda Murray, secondary interventionist at Michigan International Prep School   Tiffany Peterson, high school principal with Carrollton Public Schools   Rachel Reid, principal of Saginaw Arts and Science Academy in Saginaw Public Schools  Joshua Wrinkle, principal of Rochester High School

As part of the initiative, 14 teachers, principals, and program administrators from across Michigan will receive concentrated leadership training over a one-year period. The experience will include a trip to the Netherlands and Germany in June.  

“This work has become even more critical following the loss of classroom time during the pandemic. A focus on creating principles and tools for developing and facilitating collaborative groups is a priority as leaders are asked to create plans to respond to learning loss,” said Mary Anne Ackerman, executive in residence at SVSU and co-director of the Gerstacker program. 

The Gerstacker Fellowship Program was established in 2005 with a $1.5 million endowment from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland. Participants, known as Gerstacker Fellows, meet monthly. Experts instruct the group on subjects such as leadership practices, organizational leadership, communication, cognitive coaching, finance, and education with a global perspective.

“The Gerstacker Fellowship now includes over 160 people who have participated in the training,” said Ackerman. “Together they support each other in the work of providing top-notch academic opportunities for our children.” 

International trips are a vital component of the program. Gerstacker Fellows visit educational institutions to learn about international educational systems and corporate settings. There, they discover how leadership plays out in different cultural and economic settings. 

Previous overseas trips have included China, South Korea, Poland, Japan, Taiwan, Finland, and Germany. 

For more information about the Gerstacker Fellowship at SVSU, visit