Bobbi Jo is a graduate from Cadillac High School.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Central Michigan University in 1995 with a major in Biology and a minor in Mathematics.  She earned her Master of Education from Grand Valley State University in 2002 with a 4.0 GPA.  She has been employed with the Grand Rapids Public Schools for the past 16 years where she has taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and II, Anatomy/Physiology, Biology and Forensic Science – a class she developed, piloted and is now adopted in other high schools in the  district.  She is currently in her 14th year at Ottawa Hills where she has been teaching 9th grade Biology.

Bobbi Jo is active in several leadership roles in her school. As co-chair of the Instructional Leadership Team, she and her colleagues develop the yearly School Improvement Plan, analyze school data, make classroom observations, and plan professional development for teachers to increase instructional effectiveness and student success in the classroom.   She is also part of the Michigan Fellowship of Instructional Leaders which is designed to support school leaders as they develop the skills necessary to systematically improve the quality of instruction in their building.  Other groups she takes an active role in include the Formative Assessment Team which focuses on ways of checking for student understanding and adjusting instruction, the MACUL MI Champions Team to incorporate technology into the classroom, the Positive Behavior Intervention Support Team to improve school climate and culture, and a member of the GRPS Academic Team to help work on the next steps to move student achievement forward in the district.  She has also been Science Department Chair at Ottawa for the past six years.

In addition to the above,  in past years she has been Junior Class Advisor, Sophomore Class Advisor, a Science Olympiad Coach and an Ignite Mentoring School Coordinator.   This year, she has worked with Girl Scouts of West Michigan to start a program called Girl’s University at Ottawa for young ladies to get involved in workshops, events, and conferences that help them to become empowered, confident leaders.

Bobbi Jo has also been a mentor to many first year teachers at her school and believes that this support is essential.  She oversees a New Teacher Group to give support for incoming teachers in her school and is a mentor in the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship through the Grand Valley State University education program where she has extensively trained a Fellow throughout the year to be a highly effective teacher.  She plans to work with GVSU to continue helping to train exceptional teachers who are committed to inner city teaching, and she looks forward to mentoring two new Fellows who will be placed with her this Fall.

Bobbi Jo’s professional interests include: helping give new teachers support, using research-based and “best practice” strategies in the classroom, sharing ideas and strategies with other teachers, using formative assessments to drive instruction, and incorporating technology into the classroom.

She also is passionate about teachers helping one another to become more effective and sharing ideas that help increase student success.  She would  like to connect with colleges  to help assure student teachers are prepared and to emphasize the importance that they are being placed with strong, effective teachers.  One of Bobbi Jo’s educational concerns is the high attrition rate of new teachers.   She believes there needs to be more discussion around how to give better support to this group and retain good teachers, especially in the inner city schools.

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