Eastern Michigan University authorizes Saginaw charter school founded by former U-M and Pittsburgh Steelers standout LaMarr Woodley

A Saginaw charter school founded by former Pittsburgh Steelers star and University of Michigan football All American LaMarr Woodley and authorized by Eastern Michigan University will open its doors for students this fall.

The EMU Board of Regents voted to issue a charter for The Woodley Leadership Academy at its regular meeting Friday, April 20. The five-year charter will begin on July 1, 2018.

The Woodley Leadership Academy, located in LaMarr Woodley’s hometown of Saginaw, will serve as a kindergarten to eighth grade school starting in the fall of 2018. The academy is a theme-based public school, focusing on identifying and nurturing the leadership potential of its students.  

The academy will be the 12th school currently authorized by the EMU Charter Schools Office, which was founded in 1995 and opened its first schools in 1996.

The educational program highlights of The Woodley Leadership Academy will include the following:

• Personalized learning through the integration of technology into classroom teaching and utilizing timely data to adjust instruction to meet student learning needs.

• Rotational model consisting of: whole-group, small group instruction, group projects, individual tutoring, and paper-pencil assignments.

• Strong remediation and enrichment programming.

• Full wrap-around before and after-school programming (reading program, financial literacy/banking, foreign language, young chef/nutrition, acting/drama and entrepreneurship).

Embedded in the school's focus on leadership are plans for classroom student leaders, a student-run store and a school leadership team.

Also, The Woodley Leadership Academy plans to develop partnerships with various community and national resource providers to augment its array of services.

The academy is the latest of various efforts by Woodley to help students in his hometown.

As an example: Woodley donated 100 hooded sweatshirts to the Saginaw High band before its halftime performance at the 2012 Sugar Bowl between Michigan and Virginia Tech.

He also started a foundation to coordinate his charitable activities, which included covering the fees ($75-per-student) for participation in Saginaw City School District’s various athletic programs.

The EMU Charter Schools Office focuses on authorizing schools located in an area of demonstrated educational need, and that have an innovative approach to addressing the needs of historically underserved populations.

The office does not operate the schools it authorizes, but it appoints individual school board members and oversees the financial and academic performance of its schools along with providing yearly assessments.