September 27, 2023

West Michigan Teacher Collaborative Creates Opportunities for Educators and New Teachers

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Kent ISD along with Ottawa Area ISD and Muskegon Area ISD are creating new pathways for more than 300 existing and aspiring educators to obtain advanced credentials or earn a teaching certificate tuition-free through West Michigan Teacher Collaborative. The brand-new initiative is designed to recruit, train and retain the next generation of excellent teachers in West Michigan.

In partnership with Grand Valley State University, West Michigan Teacher Collaborative prepares candidates with the knowledge, skills and mindsets necessary to become effective teachers. All tuition, fees and supplies are covered for participants, and many will be eligible for stipends of up to $20,000.   

West Michigan Teacher Collaborative offers three programs providing options for: 

  • people without a Bachelor’s degree who would like to earn one and become a teacher
  • people with a Bachelor’s degree who are looking to switch to a teaching career
  • current educators seeking additional credentials through advanced degrees

Designed for working adults, WMTC removes common barriers to becoming a teacher and provides support to participants throughout the program in an effort to ensure that every child has excellent teachers.

“This unprecedented program has an unflinching focus on excellence and will provide training, education, resources and support to nearly 300 new and existing teachers across our three ISDs,” said Ron Koehler, Kent ISD Superintendent. “Together we aim to recruit those who are passionate about children and the future of our communities and train them to be the high-quality education leaders that our children need and deserve.”

Ottawa Area ISD Superintendent Dr. Kyle Mayer said, “Throughout my career of more than 25 years in education, I've seen community members and support staff with the potential and desire to teach, held back from realizing their dream by various barriers. The West Michigan Teacher Collaborative addresses these challenges, drawing significant interest and applications. This program will be transformative for future educators and, in turn, their students.”

"In every Michigan classroom sits the future of not just our state, but our entire nation. Our future doctors, lawyers, first responders, service workers, and entrepreneurs are being sculpted each day by the passionate commitment of their teachers,” said Randy Lindquist, Superintendent of Muskegon Area ISD. “With the introduction of the West Michigan Teaching Collaborative, we're not just launching a program; we're embarking on a journey to cultivate world-class teachers who will light the way for the next generation."

Applications for all West Michigan Teacher Collaborative programs are open now through November 1, for programs beginning in January and May. To learn more and apply, visit

“GVSU’s College of Education and Community Innovation is honored to partner with our local districts and regional ISDs to address the teacher and school professional shortage. Collaborating on this initiative showcases how PK-12 and university educator preparation programs can leverage their close relationship by co-creating innovative programming that removes some of the barriers to becoming a teacher while maintaining high quality teacher preparation standards and in ways that support the unique needs of the region,” said Dr. Amy Schelling, Grand Valley State University Associate Dean.

West Michigan Teacher Collaborative is made possible through a partnership with Grand Valley State University and in part through funding from a Grow Your Own Program Grant from the Michigan Department of Education. 

Please direct media inquiries to:

  • Joy Walczak, Kent ISD Communications Specialist, or 906.632.6290. 
  • Ben Kalb, Muskegon Area ISD Director of Communications, or 231.767.7263 or 720.899.1529
  • Michelle Ready, Ottawa Area ISD Associate Superintendent of Communications and Integrated Marketing, or 616.738.8940 x 4093

About Kent ISD
Kent ISD is a regional educational service agency devoted to achievement for all students.  We provide instructional and administrative services to more than 300 schools, 20 public districts, three non-public districts, and many public school academies and non-public schools within our boundaries. We serve the broader community by helping our schools prepare nearly 102,000 students for school and life success. 

About Muskegon Area ISD

The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) is an educational service agency dedicated to fostering the growth and enrichment of the entire Muskegon community. Through a range of programs, from early childhood education to career technical training, they touch lives across various age groups. MAISD emphasizes the importance of quality education, collaboration with local school districts, and preparing students for a bright future

About Ottawa Area ISD
Ottawa Area Intermediate School District works collaboratively with schools and communities to meet the educational needs of students of all ages in the Ottawa area. By pooling resources and providing services regionally, Ottawa Area ISD provides important programs and services to local K‐12 school districts, charter, parochial and private schools and adults in the most cost‐effective ways possible.