Education and human development alumni recognized as top teachers of Jackson

Contact: Chris Hybels

Clockwise from left are Erin Hull, Kristin Olmsted and Amanda Miller. (Photos courtesy of Jackson Area Career Center, Jackson Magazine and Amanda Miller)

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Three alumni from Western Michigan University's College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), have been recognized as Jackson County's 2024 Top Teachers. Published in Jackson Magazine's May 2024 edition, teachers on this list demonstrate commitment, connection and caring of their students. To receive this distinction, teachers had to be nominated, complete questionnaires and be observed by the award committee in two classroom visits. Along with being featured in the magazine, winners will be honored at an award ceremony. Read about each individual below:

  • As the daughter of two high school teachers, Erin Hull, M.A.'19, workforce education and development, was instilled with a passion for teaching early on. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in public health education and health promotion and spending time as a X-ray technician, Hull started her teaching journey at a career and technical education school in Lenawee, MI. Since 2017, she has been a health care technician instructor at Jackson Area Career Center. At Jackson, her students learn in engaging classes and develop their knowledge and skills for future health-care careers. According to Hull, the best part of her job is seeing the excitement and motivation of her students for the health tech field. 
  • Although Amanda Miller, B.S.'09, elementary professional, has been teaching for over a decade. She actively looks for opportunities to make learning more fun and engaging. As a first grade teacher at Sharp Park Academy, Miller frequently dons costumes relevant to coursework and lessons. While working on language skills and using the "ar" sound, she and her students dressed up and spoke like pirates during class. Miller has also been an early adopter, keeping pace with innovative teaching methods and test piloting new classroom furniture to suit Gen Z learning. According to one parent, Miller always takes into account the unique needs of all her students to help them find success. 
  • Kristin Olmsted, B.S.'88, physical education elementary, is always trying to find new ways to improve the health and well-being of students as the physical education teacher and Northwest Elementary School. As a participating teacher in the Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle Michigan Health Endowment Fund's research, she is helping teach students the impact of physical activity through the use of heart monitors. Using this data, students will then be able to track their health throughout the school year and see improvements. Olmsted also led the development of the school's "Jump Start" program this year. This program invites students reading below their grade level to participate in activity before the start of their day. Since the implementation, participating students have had more than 15% in their reading scores. She plans to continue the program next school year.

about cehd

As the cornerstone of Western Michigan University, the College of Education and Human Development continues to build upon its rich tradition of excellence by facilitating the preparation and growth of pre K-12 teachers, community educators, innovative designers, and health and wellness professionals. To learn more about programs within the college, visit the CEHD webpage.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.