2022 Special Recognition Award Recipient

Doug is starting his eleventh year of teaching (depending on how you figure it), mostly at Hiawatha Elementary in Okemos. Although a majority of his teaching is in the at-risk role working with struggling learners with literacy and mathematics, he has served in numerous other roles along the way. These roles included long-term substitute teaching (at Cornell Elementary), daily substitute teaching, teacher aide, playground supervisor, and early release after-school program coordinator. He also volunteered in numerous classrooms, as well as serving on Hiawatha’s Parent Teacher Organization (including two years as PTO President).


In 2017, Doug returned to his alma mater Michigan State University to obtain his elementary teaching endorsement and to renew his secondary endorsement. In addition to his Bachelor of Arts in multidisciplinary students, Doug has a Master’s Degree in the field of Journalism, also obtained through MSU.


Prior to working at Hiawatha, Doug’s professional life started in the field of journalism, where he worked for a political newsletter as a reporter and editor, primarily covering the Michigan Senate. He also worked for various non-profit organizations, in positions such as a communications specialist and Director of Communication.


Outside of school, Doug is also a tutor in literacy, mathematics, and English language – primarily for elementary-aged students. He also coached his two sons Conor (age 21) and Braden (19) for a number of years, mostly in the sport of soccer. Recent empty nesters, Doug and his wife JoLynne enjoy traveling and seeing their boys march in their respective university marching bands – Conor on the trumpet with the Spartan Marching Band and Braden on the clarinet with the Central Michigan University Chippewa Marching Band. Doug is also writing a series of non-fiction books geared toward upper elementary students, which he hopes to have published one day.


Doug shares that, “Whether it’s working with students as a teacher in an at-risk group, a full classroom, tutoring, or somewhere such as the playground, education starts with building relationships. From that foundation, showing students – of all abilities – that they too can succeed is very achievable. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping students discover the joys of learning through developing a belief in themselves.


“I want to thank the numerous co-workers who have inspired me throughout the years, and the students I’ve worked with who have challenged me to be the best I can be as well.”

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