Ms. Schumacher was named Executive Director of The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools (the Center) in March 2012. At the Center she leads a team of passionate professionals dedicated to transforming public education through leadership in chartering schools, overseeing and supporting their operations and evaluating their performance. She believes all students deserve a quality education.
Prior to being named Executive Director, Cindy served as Chief Deputy Director at the Center and she began her career at the Center as Director of Fiscal Performance and Accountability in 1999. During her career Cindy has been instrumental in putting the Center on a course to build tools and systems to help schools reach their goals and to help authorizers streamline their processes and perform more effectively and efficiently.
Before joining the Center, Cindy was a leader in the Office of Internal Audit at Central Michigan University, where she helped propel many campus departments forward in the development of internal controls and business processes.
A 2009 graduate of the Michigan Chamber Foundation's Leadership Program, Schumacher is well known for her professional experience and routinely called upon by the Michigan Department of Education, other authorizing agencies and industry associations to share best practices.
She began her career as an accountant and earned her CPA. Cindy earned her undergraduate degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Central Michigan University and her Master's Degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. Cindy currently lives in Beal City with her husband and two teenage children.
CMU is a state and national leader in charter school authorizing, with 17 years of experience launching, supporting and overseeing charter public schools. CMU currently authorizes 59 schools serving more than 30,000 students in the state.
As the Chief Deputy Director of The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools (the Center) at Central Michigan University, Mary Kay Shields helps lead the first university authorizer of charter public schools in the nation.
Driven by a passionate belief that all children deserve a quality education, Mary Kay began her career as a special education teacher. From the classroom, she worked on school finance and policy reform through her service with the House Fiscal then Senate Fiscal Agencies in the Michigan Legislature. During that time, she was instrumental in the passage of the seminal School Improvement Act (P.A. 25 of 1990) as well as several school finance reform ballot proposals. From there, she was recruited by Michigan Governor John Engler to serve as his Special Advisor for Charter Schools Development, where she propelled Michigan's charter schools movement forward by establishing the infrastructure necessary to support its growth. In 1999, Mary Kay joined CMU, where she worked with the Center and also served as Special Advisor to the President for Capitol Relations.
Mary Kay's influence can be seen at state and national levels. In 2001, she left CMU to serve as the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Charter Schools Institute. One of many accomplishments during her tenure at the Institute included obtaining a $1 million Congressional designation to support the development and performance needs of charter schools. Mary Kay also served as the founding Executive Director of the Michigan Public Educational Facilities Authority, where she successfully helped charter schools gain access to facility financing funds, resulting in nearly $5 million in credit enhancement dollars used to establish a revolving loan fund for charter schools' long-term borrowing needs.
In her quest to advocate for those children in greatest need of educational options, Mary Kay assumed the position of Senior Vice President/Chief Program Officer for White Hat Management - Michigan. In this role, she helped establish and oversee the operations of five alternative urban charter high schools serving primarily homeless teenage dropouts and developed partnerships with community service organizations. In 2007, Mary Kay returned to CMU to lead the Center's strategic partnerships, school operations and performance data efforts. Under her leadership as Interim Executive Director and Deputy Director, CMU has developed tools and practices for effectively chartering, supporting, overseeing and evaluating schools. Mary Kay has played a key role in broadening the University's capacity to influence educational practice and advance quality charter public schools, impacting the educational opportunities for students in Michigan.
As Deputy Director of School Performance for The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University (the Center), Barbara Zeile helps lead the first university authorizer of charter public schools in the nation. Barb is responsible for overseeing the operations and performance of the schools authorized by CMU. In this role, she leads a team of professionals that strive to ensure the relationship between the University and the schools it authorizes is built upon a shared vision and commitment, mutual trust and respect, and clear expectations.
Dedicated to providing quality education, Barb began her career as a teacher in 1994, enriching the lives of students in their primary years of learning. From the classroom of a Detroit charter school in 2000, she was quickly elevated to director of instruction, where she shared best practices and oversaw the development and delivery of instructional programs for a K - 11 student population, while more than tripling enrollment and growing the school from a single site to three campus locations. It was under Barb's leadership that Old Redford Academy was selected for the prestigious Golden Apple Award, in 2002, by the State of Michigan. In 2004, Old Redford Academy achieved the third highest cumulative MEAP gains of all charter schools in Michigan, as acknowledged by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.
Recognizing that her talent and skills would be instrumental in growing and improving schools, the Center recruited Barb in 2005 to serve as a regional administrator and focus challenged schools on turning around their educational programs and business practices to more effectively serve students. As a result of Barb's success in this area, she was tapped by the Center to serve as director of field operations and lead the team of liaisons working on the ground with school boards and administrators, ensuring that authorizer/school relationships were cultivated and that clear expectations and performance remained at the forefront.
Barb's dedication to moving Michigan's charter strategy forward has largely contributed to CMU's success and reputation of being known as the Gold Standard of authorizers. Having earned a Juris Doctorate and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration, combined with her rich history of charter experience and educational background, Barb is widely recognized and respected for her leadership in the industry. She remains dedicated to improving the lives of Michigan's children as the schools authorized by CMU prepare students for success in college, work and life.