Facility Teaches Teachers
Frank DeFrank, Macomb Daily, March 7, 2005
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McLain of St. Clair decided to become a special education
teacher, she chose Saginaw Valley State University's Macomb
Regional Education Center to help her achieve her goal.
Now, as a student in the center's Accelerated Certification
Education program, McLain completes her student teaching during
the day at L'Anse Creuse High School and attends classes four
nights a week at the Macomb Regional Education Center in
Chesterfield Township. In less than a year, she'll be a
certified special education teacher ready for her first job.
"I always wanted to go into teaching," said McLain, who earned a
psychology degree from Grand Valley State. "It's close to home
and it only takes a year."
Debbie Nitterhouse of Macomb Township and Roberta Janas of New
Baltimore already earn their livings as teachers. Both are
enrolled in the Regional Education Center's master's program,
where the lessons they learn tonight can be put into practice in
"You walk away with everything you can use in a classroom," said
Nitterhouse, a special education teacher at Fitzgerald High
School in Warren.
Janas, who is taking her final class before earning a master's
"It was so practical," said Janas, who teaches Title 1
(low-income) students at Crull Elementary School in the Port
Huron Area district. "The theoretical end is put into practice."
Three women at different stages of their education careers and
with different goals all chose the same institution, and it's
located in Macomb County.
"We feel we offer one of the best education programs in
Michigan," said John Armstrong, director of off-campus programs
for Saginaw Valley State University. "We're going to give them
the tools. The vast majority are successful.
"But there are still a lot of people who don't know we're here."
Two years ago, Saginaw Valley State University constructed the
$3.5 million Macomb Regional Education Center on 5.5 acres the
university purchased from the L'Anse Creuse Public Schools
district. The center is located off Hickey Road (24 1/2 Mile
Road, east of Gratiot), across the parking lot from L'Anse
Creuse Middle School - East.
Students can't earn an undergraduate degree at the center, but
anything and everything they want in post-graduate education is
available under one roof.
"We don't ever have to step foot on the (main) Saginaw Valley
campus," Janas said.
While the building is new, the program isn't. It dates back
three decades, when a few classes were offered at the Macomb
Intermediate School District.
Today, 800 students fill nearly 50 courses each semester and
learn from a faculty that includes 20 full-time and 20 adjunct
Programs offered include:
· Master of Arts in Teaching;
· Master of Education;
· Education Specialist;
· Accelerated Certification Education (for holders of degrees in
· Endorsement Programs.
William Putney, superintendent of South Lake Schools, said his
district welcomed this fall its first student-teacher from
"The supervising teacher and the high school administration were
very impressed with his performance and preparation," Putney
said. "We hope to be able to add him to our staff in the
Putney said several South Lake teachers enrolled in Saginaw
Valley's master program for aspiring administrators, and "their
feedback to me indicates a high level of satisfaction with the
"The fact that SVSU provides a facility in Macomb County and a
high quality program is extremely advantageous to our staff,"
Armstrong, former superintendent of L'Anse Creuse Public
Schools, stopped short of guaranteeing jobs for graduates. But
he insisted the Regional Education Center staff "will help them
out as much as we can."
He estimated as many as 300 are employed in education-related
jobs in southeastern Michigan.
For more information on the Macomb Regional Education Center,
call (586) 749-0067.
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