WMU News

State superintendent to speak at special forum

April 22, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- State education chief Tom Watkins is the featured speaker for a Western Michigan University event aimed at parents, teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders in public education.

"Helping Teachers Teach and Children Learn" will be the focus of Watkins' presentation at the Tuesday, April 30, dinner meeting in rooms 157 and 158 of WMU's Bernhard Center. Sponsored by the College of Education Alumni Society and Phi Delta Kappa, an international professional educators association, the public event begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception, followed by Watkins' address. Dinner will be served after a question-and-answer session with the superintendent.

Watkins also is expected to offer an update on accreditation and special education--issues which are of broad interest to teachers, says Mary Ellen Agar, vice president of the College of Education Alumni Society.

"Because there are so many children with special needs--physical as well as mental--in our classrooms, educators will be anxious to hear his ideas," she says." And for those who are instructing students majoring in education, it will be good to hear his views on what more we should be doing in the training of new teachers."

A strong advocate for quality, public education, Watkins served in former Gov. James Blanchard's administration as deputy chief of staff and as director of the Michigan Department of Mental Health. Most recently he worked as president and chief executive officer of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, Fla. The organization is a coalition of 135 top CEOs dedicated to improving the quality of life for Palm Beach County's residents and businesses. He also is the former executive director of the Education Partnership of Palm Beach County. Watkins was named superintendent by the Michigan State Board of Education last year.

In addition to having dinner, participants will have an opportunity to talk with Watkins about education issues. Reservations must be made by April 24, and the cost is $20 per person. To reserve a seat, call Dr. Gregory A. Moorehead in WMU's Office of Alumni Relations at (269) 387-8775.

Media contact: Gail H. Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400