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Inaugural cohort of Michigan Leadership for Equity and Transformation Fellows announced

The text "MI Leadership Fellows" along with the MCAN and MASSP logos over a dark blue background.

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) and the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) are proud to announce the inaugural cohort of Michigan Leadership for Equity and Transformation Fellows. This groundbreaking collaboration between MCAN and MASSP is designed to empower a diverse, statewide cohort of rising secondary school leaders. The 18-month project-based fellowship aims to create a robust pipeline of equity-minded, transformative principals who will champion postsecondary educational access and success for all Michigan students.

The Michigan Leadership for Equity and Transformation Fellowship will equip educational leaders with the tools needed to face the multifaceted challenges of principalship. The accepted fellows currently hold leadership positions in their schools, and they have committed to seeking secondary school principal roles within three years of completing their fellowship.

The inaugural cohort of Michigan Leadership for Equity and Transformation Fellows is:

  • Mohamed Abusalah, Salina Intermediate School, Dearborn
  • Sidney Bailey IV, Portage West Middle School, Portage
  • Jessica Garber, Escanaba Junior Senior High School, Escanaba
  • Jason Henshaw, Royal Oak Middle School, Royal Oak
  • Zach Macintosh, L'Anse Creuse Middle School East, New Baltimore
  • Lisa O’Connor, Howell High School, Howell
  • Angela Rancillio, Lincoln High School, Warren
  • Hanan Reda, Maples Elementary School, Dearborn
  • Jennifer Rodas, Burton Middle School, Grand Rapids
  • Gina Schmitt, Grand Haven High School, Grand Haven

Graphic featuring all of the MI Leadership Fellows listed above.

“We constantly hear about the serious shortfalls in the teacher pipeline, but rarely hear about the dwindling principal pipeline in our secondary schools,” said Tom Lietz, MASSP associate director for training and development. “This fellowship answers that challenge and does so with a priority on developing future-focused building principals committed to providing postsecondary opportunities for all Michigan students. That’s exciting.”

The fellowship places a strong emphasis on equity. Fellows will engage in critical conversations, research and action planning to ensure that every student, regardless of background, has access to high-quality education and postsecondary opportunities. They will be equipped with equity-driven strategies that dismantle barriers and promote success for all students. By establishing best practices and networking with other education leaders across the state, these fellows have the potential to positively affect the paths of students far beyond their own buildings.

“This fellowship invests in rising leaders who can build equitable postsecondary practices for the next generations of students,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “By developing secondary school leaders with the ability to enact meaningful, systemic changes, we can help ensure that all students — especially low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color — have access to postsecondary education that helps them reach their personal and professional aspirations.”

For more information on the Michigan Leadership for Equity and Transformation Fellowship, please contact Tom Lietz, MASSP associate director for training and development, at or (586) 822-4822; or Jeneen Hatoum, MCAN director of high school innovation, at or (703) 577-8595. For media inquiries, please contact Tom Lietz for MASSP or Ty Forquer, MCAN strategy manager for strategic engagement, at or (517) 816-7768.



The Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) is a 1,800-member organization representing the state’s high school, career technical education and middle-level principals and assistant principals. MASSP was first established in 1911 and for more than 100 years has worked to be the premier educational association, promoting excellence in school leadership and advocating for education system improvements — including guiding curriculum and transforming state standards — for the benefit of students, teachers, education leaders and schools throughout Michigan. For more information, visit

Michigan College Access Network and Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals join to offer professional development opportunity for aspiring K-12 principals