Josh PR

We are thrilled to announce that Principal Josh Chase of Hemlock Middle School has been accepted into the prestigious Gerstacker Fellowship Program, a premier leadership development initiative for outstanding teachers and administrators. Principal Chase's commitment to addressing critical challenges within the education system and his exemplary leadership at Hemlock Middle School have earned him this distinguished opportunity.

Superintendent Don Killingbeck said, "Upon assuming the role of Middle School Principal during the challenging times of a pandemic, Principal Chase exhibited unwavering determination and innovative strategies to navigate the hurdles faced by both students and staff. Recognizing the prevalent issues of anxiety, depression, and learning loss stemming from the pandemic's impact, Principal Chase proactively implemented a series of initiatives to address these challenges head-on."

To support the mental health and well-being of students, Principal Chase worked to provide essential services, including anxiety groups, counseling, and support sessions. Additionally, he orchestrated the integration of classes focused on cultivating positive mindsets and communication skills while also developing targeted support programs through the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to cater to individual student needs.

Principal Chase's leadership extends beyond addressing challenges to nurturing a positive school culture and climate. He dedicated himself to building strong relationships with both students and staff, leveraging his understanding that relationships form the foundation of effective leadership. By establishing a robust student council and fostering an environment where students feel valued and motivated, Principal Chase demonstrated his dedication to creating an environment that goes beyond academic achievement.

Principal Chase's application to the Gerstacker Fellowship Program reflected his deep commitment to educational leadership and his desire to further enhance his skills. He expressed a genuine interest in gaining insights from fellow educators, harnessing their strengths to improve his own leadership capabilities, and contributing his experience in fostering a positive school culture to the program's learning community.

Board President Matt Wesener stated, "Principal Josh Chase's acceptance into the Gerstacker Fellowship Program reflects his tireless dedication to educational excellence and his commitment to the betterment of our school community. His innovative approach to addressing challenges and fostering a positive school culture is truly commendable. We are proud to have him represent Hemlock Middle School in this prestigious program and are excited to witness the continued impact of his leadership journey."

The Gerstacker Fellowship Program, established by the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation in 2005, is dedicated to developing a new cadre of educational leaders who will elevate the quality of K-12 education across Michigan. The program provides comprehensive leadership training through two stages: Gerstacker Fellowship Program I and Gerstacker Fellowship Program II. Participants benefit from monthly sessions covering various topics, international travel experiences, and the mentorship of experienced leaders in the field.

Principal Chase's admission into the 17th Gerstacker Cohort represents his dedication to continuous growth and innovation in education. The fellowship will undoubtedly provide him with valuable resources, networks, and knowledge to further enrich his leadership journey and make lasting contributions to the field.

The induction ceremony for the 17th Gerstacker Cohort is scheduled for November 7, 2023, and the program will officially commence in September. We look forward to witnessing Principal Josh Chase's continued growth and impact as he embarks on this transformative educational journey.

For media inquiries, please contact:  Joy McMillan, Communication Specialist, 989-642-5282

About Hemlock Middle School: Hemlock Middle School is a grade 5-8th grade building located in Hemlock, MI. With a strong commitment to academic excellence and student well-being, Hemlock Middle School strives to provide a supportive and innovative learning environment for all students.

About the Gerstacker Fellowship Program: Established in 2005 by the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, the Gerstacker Fellowship Program is a renowned leadership development initiative for exceptional teachers and administrators. The program aims to cultivate a new generation of educational leaders who will elevate the quality of K-12 education across the State of Michigan.