Public Charter School: Paragon Charter Academy
Public Charter School Location: Jackson
Authorizer: Grand Valley State University
Michael Cousins is an adjunct professor of communications at Grand Valley State University, and the Communications Manager at the GVSU Charter Schools Office. He experienced the impact a high quality public charter school can have on student success firsthand, when his parents enrolled him in Paragon Charter Academy at the beginning of the 4th grade.
“(I remember) even at an early age, that the school was something the community cherished,” said Cousins. “I remember the school seemingly being full when I started just a year after it opened. I also remember my parents being very happy that it was an option for them...”
The foundation of the community enthusiasm for his public charter school were Paragon’s public school teachers.
“I enjoyed the teachers collectively during my time at Paragon,” said Cousins. “It was very easy to be motivated in such a passionate environment. I felt supported and challenged, and am thankful for every minute of it.”
Paragon helped equip Michael with the tools he’d use not only to complete a college degree, but to begin teaching students himself. He’s a communications professional, and a professor training the next generation of communications professionals.
“At the CSO, I’m responsible for the development our office’s publications, website, social media pages, and other communication-related projects. I also provide consulting to our schools who are looking to better their own communications channels.
“Without (my public charter school) experience, I think it would have been much more difficult to step into my role and understand the impact that our work has on so many families around the state.”