New Emergency Manager, Student Board Member Introduced at Heights Academy Meeting

Andrew Trzaska | October 21, 2013

Two new faces attended Muskegon Public School Academy’s board meeting Monday night: Its new emergency manager and a student who will be involved in board discussions as a non-voting member.

Gregory Weatherspoon was introduced first at Monday’s meeting as the replacement for Dr. Donald Weatherspoon, who will move on to work on resolving the financial difficulties of the Pontiac School District.

Gregory Weatherspoon is the younger brother of Donald, and carries a background in education reaching back 40 years, including time as a principal at Lansing Public Schools and as superintendent for Cassopolis Public Schools. He most recently worked as a consultant with the Michigan Department of Education on educational reform.

Gregory Weatherspoon will also take over responsibility for Highland Park Public Schools from his brother as well.

When the news of the emergency manager change broke last week, it became clear that Gregory Weatherspon would focus on educational achievement in Muskegon Heights, while his brother focused more closely on getting the district’s finances in order.

Greg Weatherspoon toured all buildings in the charter district on Monday, and will meet all staff on Friday during a district professional development day, according to Alena Zachery-Ross, Regional Vice President for Mosaica Education.

After introducing the younger Weatherspoon, Zachery-Ross, turned her attention to Jeremie Harris, Jr., the Muskegon Heights student who will serve as the board’s new student representative through the end of the 2013-2014 academic year.

The student board representative role was first presented several months ago to the board and was voted through last month in a unanimous decision.

The student representative’s responsibilities to the board will include attending all meetings, including off-site meetings, except for closed session discussions including legal or personnel matters.  He will have full input on decisions but will not have a vote.

Students have several requirements to meet to be considered for the newly-created position that Harris fills. A student must have a 2.7 GPA or higher, an attendance rate of 92% or more, no suspensions on their record for the year, and good standing relating to matters of conduct in and out of the classroom as well. A student must have a minimum of two teacher recommendations and the recommendation of the head of school to be considered as well.

Zachery-Ross read from Harris’ nomination at Monday’s board meetings. It described him as “a model student,” and said “he carries himself with great pride.”

Harris is dual-enrolled at Muskegon Community College and is currently taking a sociology class at the college.  He plans to attend Grand Valley State University after graduating from Muskegon Heights Academy to study business management.

After a formal welcome at the meeting, Harris gave some thoughts to the audience about his position:

 

“I know there’s been a lot of negativity thrown our way,” said Harris. “I believe I can help make a difference. That’s what I am here to do.”

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst