Meet the 2017 chaperons!
Judy Nixon retired in 2010 after teaching for many years at Eaton Rapids High School, teaching Special Education, English, Spanish and Japanese at various times in her career. She has been teaching online for Michigan Virtual Schools for the past 9 years, teaching both Spanish and Japanese to students all over Michigan and beyond. She is a graduate of Spring Arbor University with a B.A. in English and Spanish and Michigan State University with an M.A. in Special Education. She studied Japanese in a program sponsored by the State of Michigan and studied in both Tokyo and Kyoto.
Judy has been a member of the Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange for many years and has chaperoned the group three times, most recently in 2013. In addition, she has led student groups on other trips to Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Russia and other exchange programs to Japan a total of 14 times. All of these trips included home stays so that students could experience life in the countries they were studying. She has also hosted many exchange students through a variety of programs for a few weeks to a full year.
Judy volunteers by presenting pension seminars to potential retirees from the teaching profession and working with a group that provides educational opportunities and scholarships to young women and early-career educators in Eaton County. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening (Mostly plants and flowers, her husband takes care of the veggies!), gourmet cooking, language study (most recently Portuguese) and travel.
“An exchange with a home stay opens up a whole new world. Students and their families make friendships that can continue long beyond the exchange itself. So often I see students and families on both sides of the exchange crying inconsolably when a student leaves at the end of the exchange. That means that a real personal and cultural understanding has taken place. The founder of the Toyota Company said, ‘Open the window. It’s a big world out there!’ This exchange is a window on a big world for Michigan students.”
Mike earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Oakland University and his Masters of Education Degree in Educational Leadership from Saginaw Valley State University. He taught in New Zealand through a teacher exchange program. Since 2008, Mike has been a math and science teacher in the Chippewa Valley Schools. He is a member of Michigan Education Association and Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning. Mike is dedicated to student success and enjoys being an active member of the community. He is a Blogger at The Light Bulb. Connect on Twitter @mj_lerch.
“Why do I teach, you ask? I teach, because it is a highly rewarding and fulfilling profession. We share valuable information and important skills to encourage a love of learning that will serve students the rest of their lives. I do this work because I am committed to having a positive impact on the future of each student that I serve.”