The Prices are right for each other

Teaching brought them together and keeps them close

Adam and Kate Price, both teachers in GPPSS, graduated from Michigan State University in 2009. This moment, captured by Adam’s father, is the first photo taken of the two of them together.

Adam and Kate Price met by chance in a class on crafting teaching practice. He got switched into the class at the last minute and she tried unsuccessfully to switch out of it.

They were education majors at Michigan State University with one semester left to go before graduation. A mutual friend who sat between them in class introduced them.

“We were always the first two to get to class,” Adam said. “I’d walk in every day and Kate would be eating lunch at the table.”

Kate had a class earlier in the same building and took advantage of the half hour between classes to eat lunch. Adam, who hated even the thought of being late for class, typically arrived early. As a result, the two of them spent about 20 minutes before each class getting to know one another.

They started dating that summer after graduation. They returned to their hometowns — Adam grew up in Jackson and Kate, a 2005 graduate of Grosse Pointe South, in Grosse Pointe — to complete their student teaching, but would visit one another in their family homes. Then Adam got a sixth grade teaching position in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“The whole plan was Kate was going to move there with me,” Adam said.

That plan almost came to fruition.

After she was offered her first job teaching first grade at Maire Elementary, Kate was setting up her classroom when she got a call from Adam’s school offering her a teaching position down the hall from him.

“I knew that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to teach in Grosse Pointe,” Kate said. “I knew eventually — I was hoping at least — that down the line we would get married and he would move back.”

Adam did move back after two years, teaching third and fourth grade in Hamtramck for three years before he finally landed the coveted position in GPPSS at Kerby Elementary.

“I always wanted to get to Grosse Pointe somehow,” he said. “That was our goal to raise our family and then live here.”

Kate, now in her 12th year in the Grosse Pointe Public School System teaching first grade, moved to Trombly Elementary for nine years after that first year at Maire and is currently in her second year at Defer Elementary.

Adam spent four years at Kerby, the first as a third-grade teacher and then in a first and second grade split classroom, before moving to Monteith Elementary as a Title 1 teacher. In this role, he has the opportunity to work with all the teachers throughout the building to find ways to help students who may need extra support in math or social-emotional development. At the same time, he is present to help with day-to-day procedures and routines and to spend time building solid relationships with his students while helping them increase their confidence and be successful.

“It’s very rewarding for me,” Adam said. “I think it’s really helped me grow as an educator and helped me realize the importance of what we do and how we’re making a difference in our students’ lives. It’s a very special job and I’m appreciative that I get to do this at Monteith and get to know the families there. It’s good to know I’m making a big impact schoolwide.”

With their three boys now at GPPSS — Nick, 4, is in the pre-K program at Monteith; Luke, nearly 3, is in the pre-school prep program at Barnes Early Childhood Center; and Ben, 6 months, is in the infant room at Barnes — the Prices have made their commitment to the school system a family affair.

“It’s one thing to teach in a great community,” Kate said, but even better “to have your own kids thrive because of the schools in that community. Nick’s been with Grosse Pointe at Barnes since he was an infant. We always say how thankful we are for all those teachers and everything they do for those kids at Barnes.”

There are several advantages to both parents working as elementary teachers, they point out. First, they’re on the same daily schedule, enjoy the same breaks and summers off, and can share pick-up and drop-off duties while enjoying the luxury of being able to sit down together at dinner each night.

They also share common language and, encountering many of the same challenges, can bounce ideas off one another and trade advice.

Kate was helpful to Adam, for example, when he began teaching younger students at Kerby.

“That was a whole new ballgame being in lower elementary like that, because I had only taught third through sixth,” Adam said. “She was a great resource for me having taught first grade for so long. It was a very positive thing for me.”

“It’s nice just to be married to a teacher,” Kate said. “We both get it when we come home with frustrations and when we come home with triumphs.”

They also share the same pride in what they do.

“We always say what a privilege it is that we have the opportunity to give back to our community in one of the best ways we know how, and that’s working with the kids and family of the community,” Kate said. “That’s really what makes our community so great is the families and the kids. We feel really honored that we’re not only a part of this community, but we’re helping to shape the future of it.”

Look for more GPPSS “power couples” in future editions of School Pointes.

Ferry teacher named WNIC Teacher of the Week

Julie Walkley and paraprofessionals, from left, Shelly Voss, Christine Kline and Judy Griffith, with their class at Ferry Elementary School.

100.3 WNIC – iHeart Radio loves teachers. To show their appreciation, the radio station selects a Teacher of the Week nominated by a student or teacher to recognize with a plaque, gift card and an interview on the Jay Towers in the Morning Show.

Ferry Elementary teacher Julie Walkley was the first Teacher of the Week honoree for the 2021-22 school year. Her interview with Chelsea Kivell aired Friday morning.

The recognition came as a complete surprise to Mrs. Walkley.

She arrived in the school parking lot Thursday morning when she saw a woman speaking with Valter Dervishi, the school’s head engineer.

“I asked, ‘Can I help you?’” Mrs. Walkley said. “And she said, ‘Yes, I’m here to present this certificate. She turned it around and it was my name on it!”

The certificate recognized the special education teacher for her contributions and dedication to the students of Grosse Pointe public schools. She was nominated for the honor by Heidi Jackson, mother of former student Ashleigh Jackson-O’Brien.

Mrs. Walkley described the experience as “a great way to start my day” and “very humbling.”

GPFPE Fall Frolic fun for all

The GPFPE Fall Frolic took place Thursday, Sept. 30, at Cadieux Cafe in Detroit. Drone photo courtesy of Jack Ryan/Skyview Aerial Productions

Bob Bury, president of the Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education, knew the Fall Frolic was a success when he and his wife, Mary Ann Bury, arrived at the Cadieux Café last Thursday evening. Looking around the patio beneath the strung lights of the outdoor venue, they recognized few of the guests.

That was the goal of the event, according to GPFPE board member and event co-chair Caroline Marks: to attract people who hadn’t attended their events in the past.

“Really, we were looking to make connections and build relationships to build support for the organization,” Marks said.

This meant “reaching folks who maybe they’ve heard about the GPFPE. Or maybe they have never heard about it, but they know about Leader in Me or their kid’s class got a new 3-D printer or their gym class got new gym equipment. Or they might have a kindergartener coming in so they might not know anything about what the GPFPE does. So that was our goal: to reach those folks and for them to have a great time.”

“The Foundation has supported teachers and students with technology and supplemental curriculum. In developing the Grosse Pointe Learning Network, the GPFPE allowed us to invite dynamic guest speakers for professional learning. The Foundation additionally has supported Leader in Me at all buildings I’ve had the pleasure of serving.”

Jodie Randazzo, principal, Ferry Elementary School

To achieve this goal, Fall Frolic co-chairs Marks, Sara Gough, Maria Quint and Brendan Walsh put together a host committee of parents representing every elementary school across the district, some with children in middle and high school as well.

“A lot of us on the committee have younger children, but if we weren’t on the board, we wouldn’t know who GPFPE is,” Walsh said. “We wanted to be clear: it is not a fundraiser. It is only an event to come out, learn about who we are, have a fun night at a local establishment and hear some music from our local principals and administration. That was how it all came up. When that idea germinated, that was when our committee all enthusiastically jumped on board.”

They knew they had put together the right group of people after their first planning meeting at Cadieux Café at the end of August.

“They were the most energetic, enthusiastic people,” Marks said. “They were so enthusiastic about the organization, the school system, for making the event a success.”

“The GPFPE has been an integral part of our school and supported both learning and social-emotional development across our grade levels. Recently, they donated to our new playground, which has already brought thousands of smiles. Additionally, they have continued to support what we do in our classroom through books, supplies, training and more. Richard is glad to have them as a partner for our school and community.”

John Kernan, principal, Richard Elementary School

Charlene Williams was one of those parents with younger children recruited to the committee. With four children between the ages of 5 and 11 — kindergarten and grades 3, 4 and 5 — she knew a little about the organization, but she and her husband didn’t have the time to get involved.

“We’ve always been intrigued with the foundation and what they do and the programs they bring,” she said. “We figured this was a good way for us to get to know more about the foundation and what they do and also to share our network,” Williams said.

She was so successful in recruiting her friends, by the week leading up to the event she overheard a few people saying, “Hey, are you going to Charlene’s party?”

Williams was quick to remind people she had “zero” to do with the planning of the party — those kudos went to the event co-chairs — but she was proud to be part of its success.

“It was flawless,” she said. “I honest to God did not hear one negative comment about the way it ran — the food, the drinks, the music. Everybody had glowing reviews. I give the event co-chairs all the credit for that.”

“At Monteith over the years, the Foundation has supported us with grants for Handwriting Without Tears, Leader in Me, math intervention materials, kindergarten center materials, and many more things we are eternally grateful to have at our school.”

Shelleyann Keelean, principal, Monteith Elementary School

Walsh credits the host committee for spreading the word, evident by the fact they exceeded a goal of 100 to 150 guests with more than 200 in attendance. He attributes this to a variety of factors, including the venue.

“The reason we picked Cadieux Café is, one, it’s a legendary local place that a lot of people drive by and say, ‘I’ve always wanted to go and I’ve never actually been’ — and two, they put a significant investment into an outdoor entertainment venue which is really beautiful and it fit us perfectly.”

Next, “the food was fantastic,” he added, and the entertainment was a plus.

Shelleyann Keelean, John Kernan and Roy Bishop, pictured above, joined Sara Dirkse, Jodie Randazzo and Walter Fitzpatrick as guest DJs, with Dr. Bishop taking home the coveted Golden Record prize. Two photos on left courtesy of Cherished Candids by Erin

“We had six guest DJs,” Walsh explained. “We had five principals and one administrator — Roy Bishop, the deputy superintendent. They competed for the Golden Record. Everyone got a raffle ticket and they could put it in a Mason jar to vote for who they thought was the best DJ of the night.”

Not only did the guest DJs engage the crowd with their banter, share their music tastes, and get people on the dance floor, they “talked about the impact they have seen at their schools with the GPFPE,” Walsh said.

For Williams, who knew a few of the administrators, “it was cool because you got a glimpse into their personality.”

Marks said she spoke to several of the principals afterwards and “they had a ton of fun. Some of them went all out.”

“I have always appreciated the support the GPFPE has extended to the educators at Mason Elementary. In my new role as deputy superintendent, I am in awe seeing exactly how the foundation has touched every school in our district. The support we receive from the foundation is remarkable. Thank you for all you do.”

Roy Bishop, GPPSS deputy superintendent for educational services

The affordable ticket price also was a draw, according to organizers.

“It floored me when they said the ticket prices,” Williams said. “For open bar, food and admission — $25. It was a great way to grab everybody. Even for both parents and the cost of a babysitter, that’s a great deal.”

And while “higher ticket price galas are great too,” she was grateful for the casual nature of the event, when the only attire required was “jeans with a zipper.”

“We were really mindful that we were going after that younger parent,” Marks said. “I remembered when I had little kids, you really don’t get out much and you want to make sure you make it’s worth people’s while. So, I was really glad to hear that it exceeded expectations.”

GPFPE Fall Frolic co-chairs, from left, Brendan Walsh, Maria Quint, Sara Gough and Caroline Marks. Photo courtesy of Cherished Candids by Erin

The hope is the Fall Frolic will have long-lasting benefits and even become an annual event “to kick off the school year, celebrate the Grosse Pointe Public School System and celebrate the GPFPE,” Marks said.

“I’m really hoping it embodied what they were trying to convey,” Williams said. “It was an introductory thing. I think it opened a lot of people’s eyes to the fact (the GPFPE) exists, what it does. Even if they don’t learn everything, it’s piqued interest. Certainly, my husband and I are very interested in getting involved. We’re not even halfway through with our kids (in GPPSS). We have a long way to go to see this organization and what it can provide.”

“The whole idea was this is what we do, this is who we are,” Marks said. “Most likely your children already are being positively impacted by something the GPFPE has granted into a classroom. When you’re at your school or when you’re in our neighborhood, look for what we’ve done. Keep us in mind. Talk about the good work we’re doing.”

Alumni Through the Decades

Our 100th anniversary series on GPPSS alumni continues.

Dr. Christopher Lee
Grosse Pointe High School
Class of 1964

Dr. Christopher Lee’s family represents three generations in the Grosse Pointe Public School System. Dr. Lee’s father, Howard A. Lee, attended The Cadieux School, now the home of the central administration offices at 389 St. Clair. According to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, the school, built in 1905-1906, was named after the Cadieux family, and Francis Cadieux served as the District No. 1 School Inspector for 33 years.

The Cadieux School was the second school building built for the Grosse Pointe schools, known then as District No. 1. The original two-story building was home to eight classrooms and approximately 240 pupils.

Dr. Christopher Lee’s father, Howard A. Lee, was a student at The Cadieux School in the 1927 picture on the left. On the right, he is pictured at his 90th birthday party. Photos courtesy of the Lee family

Howard A. Lee was one of those pupils who attended through sixth grade. He then went on to what was then known as Grosse Pointe High School, starting seventh grade when the school opened in 1928.

Howard Lee’s brother and two sisters also attended GPHS, followed by Dr. Lee and his two brothers. Dr. Lee’s nine children all attended Grosse Pointe public schools, with six graduating from and three currently enrolled at South. Twins Matthew and Charlotte are in ninth grade and Mary is a junior.

After graduating from GPHS in 1964 — “I was part of the 1964 Roar,” he said — Dr. Lee attended the University of Michigan College of Engineering, then went on to the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He completed his surgery residency at WSU and his fellowship training in pediatric orthopedics at Stanford Children’s Hospital. He has had staff appointments at St. John Ascension, Henry Ford Macomb and Beaumont Grosse Pointe, as well as practiced with St. Clair Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. He served as Chief of Orthopedics at St. John from 2008 to 2018.

“I’ve been in orthopedic practice in Grosse Pointe from 1977 to the current time,” Dr. Lee said. “I’m still working. Just about any kid who broke his arm or leg somewhere in the last 40 years, there’s a good chance I took care of them.”

Dr. Lee was elected to the GPPSS Board of Education in November 2018. He and his wife, Cathy, live in the City of Grosse Pointe.

To read more Alumni Through the Decades spotlights, go to gpalumniandfriends.org.

Grosse Pointe South Fall Follies

Grosse Pointe South’s award-winning show choirs kick off the 2021-22 season with two performances on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15 and 16, with their annual Fall Follies show at Brownell Middle School. Both shows begin at 7 p.m.

The shows feature all three choirs: The Pointe Singers, The Tower Belles and South Singers, as well as the extracurricular a cappella group, The Suspensions, and solo performances. Grosse Pointe South Choir is under the new direction of Vince Matia.

Tickets are $15 and are available at gpsouthchoir.org.

Other performances for 2021 include:

  • Nov. 14 – South Sings in the Park, an evening of music with GPS Choir students

  • Nov. 19 – Tree lighting in the Village

  • Dec. 3-4 – Sounds of the Season at Brownell Middle School

  • Dec. 10-11 – Caroling in the community

School Pointes is a publication of the Grosse Pointe Public School System. To submit story ideas or Pointes of Pride, email info@gpschools.org.