Greater Grand Rapids
Practice Makes Possible
Leading Educators supports a network of schools across Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan, through EDNET, an initiative of the Doug & Maria DeVos Foundation.
This approach is the backbone of an ambitious strategy to significantly increase academic achievement among economically-disadvantaged students who attend the nearly 120 district, charter, and religious schools in the Greater Grand Rapids urban area. This work uses the greatest asset within Grand Rapids’ urban schools—experienced educators—by supporting up to 300 teacher leaders along with their principals and district administrators.
By The Numbers
An inaugural cohort of principals and teacher leaders began development in the summer of 2017 to bolster their content knowledge and instructional leadership skills.
across four area school districts
served this year
supported this year with development in content and equity
Meet the Team
Mary Kay Murphy
Senior Director of Networks
Tina De La Fe
Director of Coaching & Content
Instructional Leadership Coach
Mary Kay Murphy
Tina De La Fe
About Mary Kay Murphy
Before joining Leading Educators, Mary Kay taught grades K-8, was a building principal, and was an instructional coach. In addition to school system work, she also gained experience working at national non-profits as a leadership coach at Partners in School Innovation and Associate Director at The Education Trust-Midwest.
Mary Kay holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Aquinas College and a M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, three children, and fur baby Miss Scout.
About Tina De La Fe
Previously, Tina was an instructional coach and ELA teacher in South Florida, including two years as a Teach for America corps member. She also taught Math and Verbal post-secondary exam courses at Florida Atlantic University. While in the U.S. Peace Corps in the West Indies, Tina worked on projects including after-school learning centers, libraries and adult education classes.
Tina holds a Masters of Education from Florida Atlantic University and a B.A. in English-Journalism/Communications from Averett College. She holds certifications in English, Reading and School Guidance Counseling, and was proud to be a finalist for the 2016 GLSEN Educator of the Year Award.
Tina De La Fe in the news
About Kristine Schipper
Previously, Kristine worked as an elementary teacher in the Grand Rapids Area. She also spent time as a School Innovation Partner working closely with building leaders in schools with historically underserved students to develop systems of improvement to foster sustainable building transformation. Most recently, Kristine held the role of Curriculum Director where she developed systems of professional learning, supported the district instructional vision and established coaching structures to support teachers.
Kristine holds an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Michigan State University and a B.A. in Elementary Education from Bethel University. She lives in Lake Odessa, Michigan, with her husband and three children. Kristine enjoys hiking, reading and being a parent cheerleader at her childrens’ events.
About Jennifer Sierra
Before joining Leading Educators, Jennifer spent four years supporting school transformation with Partners in School Innovation. Prior to that, she was a classroom teacher in Godwin Heights Public Schools, teaching early elementary for ten years before moving into the non-profit world.
Jennifer holds a B.S. in Child Development and an M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum, both from Michigan State University. She lives in Grand Rapids, MI, with her husband and 3 kids. Jen’s other interests are going to concerts, movies and comedy shows, spending time outside, cooking, and enjoying an occasional Netflix binge.