The Michigan Center for Civic Education is guided by a committed Board of Directors that meets at least quarterly with committee meetings in between full board meetings. In 2007 the MCCE Board adopted a strategic plan (PDF, 204 KB).
Board Of Directors
Barbara Gazda – President – Educator, Hartland Public Schools
Barbara is entering her 21st year of teaching High School Social Studies.
Prior to teaching, worked in Development for The Rotary Foundation and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
“Civic engagement is critical in a democracy and without civic education, it is in peril. Students at all ages need to understand our system of democracy as well as our rights and responsibilities as citizens.
The work MCCE does for the students and the communities is critical in keeping an open and engaged society.”
Regan Gibson – Vice President – Partner, Varnum, LLC
Regan is a partner at Varnum LLP in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a SE Michigan native who moved to Massachusetts to attend Smith College, and then spent ten years living and working in Washington D.C. She worked as a paralegal for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia while attending law school at Georgetown, before joining the D.C. office of an international law firm. She returned to Michigan to join Varnum in 2019, and splits her practice between commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense.
“The success of a democracy comes from having an educated and engaged citizenry. It is critical that students not only taught civic principles, but that they are given tools and opportunities to use their own voices to influence change. Engaged students become engaged citizens and engaged voters that strengthen our society and broaden our political discourse.
I support MCCE because it empowers students and teachers to engage in civics and the law in an authentic way. MCCE programs give students the opportunity to grapple with legal, constitutional, and public policy issues while developing the skills to help them participate fully in civic life. MCCE also supports educators by providing them with tools and support to guide and facilitate their students civic educational journeys.”
Hillary Baker – Secretary – Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Allegan Public Schools
“I choose to support MCCE because this organization was instrumental in developing my own civic education through its professional learning offerings when I was a classroom teacher, and supported my students through its WTP and Mock Trial programs.”
Fatima Bolyea – Treasurer – Senior Counsel, Taft Law
Fatima M. Bolyea serves as Senior Counsel in the Detroit office of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. In her commercial litigation practice, Fatima represents a wide range of business clientele, with a focus on small businesses, close corporations, family-owned companies, and their owners. Her representation of these clients extends to all phases of the business life cycle, including drafting operational and governing documents, serving as outside general counsel for the company’s day-to-day legal issues, and providing effective representation during litigation and business divorces.
Fatima contributes her time and leadership skills to serving the broader legal community. She is the immediate past Chair (2021-2022) of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Michigan. She is also part of the Michigan State Bar’s Representative Assembly for Oakland County, where she serves on the Special Issues Committee. Fatima serves on the Litigation Advisory Board and New Lawyers Advisory Board of Michigan’s Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE). She is also a regular contributor to ICLE in the form of articles, book chapters, and seminars. Fatima is a member of the Board of Directors of the Arab American Women’s Business Council. She also serves on the AAWBC’s Small Business Development Committee and Mentorship Committee. Fatima is a Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Subcommittee of the ABA Litigation Section’s Commercial and Business Law Committee. She also serves on the Detroit subcommittee of Taft Stettinius & Hollister’s Firm DEI Committee. Fatima was named an Up & Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyers Weekly in 2017. She has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine in 2018-2023. In 2022, Fatima was named an Influential Woman of the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.
“The Michigan Center for Civic Education is truly my favorite organization. The passion and dedication that I have witnessed and experienced from MCCE’s staff, volunteers, and students are unrivaled. Civic education is massively important in today’s society and political landscape. The existence of an organization that is dedicated to educating Michigan’s youth and inspiring them to act in their community is vital. I am honored to help in some small way.”
Petra Alsoofy – Petra Alsoofy, Vice President – Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
She holds a BA in Political Science with focus on Middle Eastern History and American History from Grand Valley State University. Petra is currently the Outreach & Partnerships Manager at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), an organization that provides objective research and education about American Muslims to support well-informed dialogue and decision-making.
Petra works with scholars, community and religious leaders as well as policymakers. Before ISPU, Petra spent five years at the Arab American National Museum educating the public, students, educators, policymakers and professionals on Arab Americans history, culture and contributions. She developed and delivered cultural competency training for law enforcement, health care providers, teachers, and business professionals. She was the Museum’s Smithsonian liaison. Petra is a Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL) Racial Equity Fellow and an alum of New Detroit’s Multicultural Leadership Series.
She is also serving as the Vice-president of the Board of Directors at the Michigan Center for Civic Education, and a Member of the American Association for State and Local History Religious History Committee. Petra has been active in interfaith work, leadership, and public education for more than 15 years.
Ernscie Augustin – Owner, Founder, and Attorney, Augustin Law Offices
Attorney Augustin is the founder and Owen of Augustin Law, Offices In addition to private practice, Ms. Augustin was appointed Ingham County Public Administrator and she is the youngest to be appointed in Michigan’s history. In this capacity, Ms. Augustin is appointed to administer estates of deceased persons without wills and no known heirs.
Darin Day – Director of Outreach, State Bar of Michigan
Darin A. Day is the Director of Outreach at the State Bar of Michigan. In this role, Day will serve as a liaison between the State Bar organization and its constituents, with a focus on local and affiliate bar association leaders. His work seeks to strengthen communications regarding the bar’s programs and activities, including Law Day and bar leadership programs.
Before working for the State Bar, Day served as general counsel and director of quality and risk management at Tucker Company Worldwide Inc., in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Prior to that he worked as an associate at the Boston law firms Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP and Goodwin Proctor LLP. He also served as a field instructor for the University of Michigan Graduate School of Social Work, as executive director and co-founder of Homeless Empowerment Relationship Organization in Flint and Ann Arbor, as service learning consultant for the Points of Light Foundation in Lansing and Washington, D.C., and as a special project consultant for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Belmopan, Belize.
Day has extensive experience as a volunteer in his community, having served as a member of the Michigan Community Service Commission and the Michigan Campaign for Volunteerism, on the boards of Maryville Treatment Centers and Trinity Center for Urban Life, as a lawyer advisor to Boston Citizen Schools/Discovering Justice Program, and as a big brother in Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Camden County, New Jersey. Day earned his bachelor’s degree in social work from Michigan State University and his juris doctor from the University of Chicago Law School.
Sgt. Travis Fletcher is currently assigned to the Government Relations Section within the Office of the Director at the Michigan State Police. He is responsible for reviewing and analyzing legislation affecting the Department and the broader law enforcement community, testifying in committee hearings representing the Department, responding to constituents inquires from legislators and the Governor’s office, and conducting legal research. Sergeant Fletcher has served in various roles within the Department including working at the Jackson Post, Training Division, serving as a Department Recruiter, and Community Service Trooper. He joined the MSP in 2016, has a bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University and a master’s degree from Purdue University in Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The Hon. Kameshia D. Gant was appointed to the Oakland County Circuit Court bench by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on April 30, 2019. Judge Gant is the 75th Judge to serve in this capacity. She is assigned to the Family Division and also has an Adult Treatment Court docket.
Judge Gant is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School.
Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge Gant tirelessly fought for justice and equality for the voiceless while working as a Consultant for the Neighborhood Legal Services of Michigan’s Children’s Justice Center for 15 years; and a Trial Lawyer with her own general practice law firm, Gant Law, PLLC, for 13 years. She also served the judicial system as a Probation Agent for the Michigan Department of Corrections, Judicial Court Clerk at the Oakland Circuit Court and a Judicial Intern at the Theodore Levin U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Judge Gant has a dedication to the legal community and civic organizations. She is active in several legal organizations that she maintains membership, including the State Bar of Michigan; American Bar Association; National Bar Association; Michigan Association for Justice; National Association of Women Judges; Wolverine Bar Association; and Black Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. Judge Gant is also active in the Oakland County Bar Association. She is an Oakland County Bar Foundation Fellow and a Judicial Team Leader for the Oakland County Inns of Court. She is the Chancellor for the Oakland County Inns of Court for 2023-2024. Judge Gant serves on the Board of Directors for the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and D. Augustus Straker Bar Association; she is on the Executive Board for the Michigan Judges Association; and is the Immediate Past President of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan.
In 2021, Judge Gant was elected to the State Bar of Michigan, Board of Commissioners in District I and nominated to serve on the Michigan Judicial Council. In 2023, she was nominated to serve on the Michigan Center for Civic Education Board of Directors.
She is also active in community-based organizations such as the National Congress of Black Women, Oakland County Chapter; Dr. Martin Luther King Task Force, Inc.; and Women Officials Network. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Southfield Community Anti-Drug Coalition and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Judge Gant is dedicated to public service and is passionate about her mentorship of youth and issues involving social justice and education.
“Civic education prepares students to be better informed and actively engaged members of our society. The programming provides an invaluable experience for students and contributes to a healthy and thriving society.”
Dr. Kimberly Jones – Director of Innovative Inclusion, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office
Kimberly Jones is currently the Director of Innovative Inclusion for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office. In this role she works with her colleagues to constantly evolve a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice across the organization. She is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory.
In addition, she serves as a Fulbright Scholar at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, as a visiting lecturer in the Law Department. Her courses include U.S. Constitutional Law, Law & Politics in an International Society, U.S. Family Law, and Law in Everyday Life.
Previously she served as full-time faculty member at Washtenaw Community College for nineteen years. During her tenure, taught courses in three departments: Academic Skills, English, and Criminal Justice. In addition, she helped create the Paralegal/Pre- Law program. She also served a six-month term as Interim Dean of the Arts & Sciences Division at WCC. She is now Emeritus Faculty.
In addition to her teaching and administrative work, she founded a non-profit law firm, Collaborative Legal Services. In this capacity, she helped low-income and indigent clients in need of legal counsel. The firm also provided community legal education. She was also a Michigan Assigned Appellate Counsel Roster Attorney. In that capacity, she won a pivotal appeal against a law enforcement agency that violated a client’s civil rights. She wound down her practice upon beginning her work with the Sheriff’s Office.
Because she has a deep commitment to serving the community, she serves on the Board of the Michigan Center for Civic Education as well as Jodie Randolph Dance.
“”A constitutional democracy is in serious trouble if its citizenry does not have a certain degree of education and civic virtue.” Phillip E. Johnson
“To whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48) I have been blessed to obtain a LOT of education, and it has molded me into the person I am today. I feel honored to help others grow in knowledge; it is my duty.”
Melissa Kiesewetter – MDCR Tribal Liaison/Native American Specialist, Michigan Department of Civil Rights
Scott Koenig – Social Studies Consultant, Michigan Department of Education
Scott Koenig serves as a Social Studies Consultant for the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). His work focuses on training, teaching, and leading educators as connected to Michigan’s social studies content expectations and best pedagogical practices that create positive learning spaces for Michigan’s social studies students. These best practices include efforts in supporting social studies educators to reflect personally and professionally as culturally responsive leaders within the learning spaces they create. This includes discussion around self-reflection, anti-racism, cultural competency, and equitable access to educational experiences for all children through the social studies’ disciplinary lens.
Additionally, he continues to grow a statewide network of social studies educators who are reimagining what the social studies learning experience can be for all of Michigan’s students. Today, Scott advocates for social studies education to be the opportunity for schools to promote equity, empathy, student voice and choice, and embrace community to be part of the student learning experience. Scott earned his Bachelor of Arts in Secondary History and Social Sciences from Alma College, and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University. He has earned continuing education credits through Grand Valley State University and is certificatied in Leading for Equity and Justice as presented by Eastern Michigan University through the African American Student Initiative (AASI) Program. He began his career as a secondary social studies educator and served as an interim elementary administrator before transitioning to serving under the Michigan Department of Education. He continues to maintain his Professional Teaching Certificate.
Marsha A. Lewis – Curriculum Lead, Detroit Public Schools Community District
Dr. Jane Lo – Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Jane C. Lo is Associate Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. She studies social studies education broadly, with a specific focus on the inequitable experiences of students in civic education.
Her recent works can be found in Teacher College Record and Theory and Research for Social Education. Her edited book on Making Discussions Work in Social Studies Classrooms can be found at Teachers College Press.
Rep. Gregory Markkanen – State Representative. Michigan’s 110th District
State Rep. Gregory Markkanen was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2018. He represents the 110th District, which includes Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties, as well as Breitung Township, Sagola Township, and the cities of Iron Mountain and Kingsford, in Dickinson County. Greg serves as Republican vice-chair on the House Committee on Military, Veterans, and Homeland Security. He also serves as a member on the Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS), Tax Policy, and Education committees. During the 2021-2022 legislative term, Greg served as vice-chair of the Energy and Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation committees. He also served on the Education and Workforce, Trades, and Talent committees.
Greg served as a medical Corpsman with the 82nd Airborne Division in the Airborne Infantry Platoon and spent additional time as a Medic with the 107th Engineer Battalion of the Michigan Army National Guard. He teaches high school civics, history and geography for Baraga Area Schools and served on the Hancock City Council as the Ward II representative.
Markkanen has worked with the Hanka Homestead Board of Directors and as a volunteer tour guide, as well as with the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Council. Greg has also served the Copper Country Americorp Program with the BHK Child Development Center. Greg is also an Endowed Life Member of the National Rifle Association.
Sarah Reinhardt – Director of Special Projects, Michigan Department of State
Eric John Roberts – Student, University of Toledo Law School
Eric-John (Szczepaniak) Roberts, MMC, is a passionate public servant focused on building agency and ownership in communities. He holds a Master Municipal Clerk (MMC) designation from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, joining the ranks of just ~60 Michiganders to ever complete such a feat. First elected at 18, Eric-John was the youngest elected school board trustee. He was also the body’s first LGBTQ+ member. During his tenure as a school board member (January 2017 to August 2022), he ensured 100% of KHPS students had WiFi-at-home throughout the COVID pandemic. His commitment to professional development earned him the highest honor bestowed upon Michigan school board members, the President’s Award of Recognition from the Michigan Association of School Boards. Secretary of State Benson appointed Eric-John to the Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force to advise the Secretary and State of Michigan about improving youth civic engagement and education. Eric-John was also named a “35 Under 35” by the Young Elected Officials Network honoring the best and brightest in progressive leadership. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Election Administration (GCEA) from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Arts in Public & Nonprofit Administration from Grand Valley State University, where he served as Student Body President. He is a 2022 graduate of the Michigan Political Leadership Program, a bipartisan leadership cohort dedicated to civic understanding and building better public servants.
“A robust democracy requires involved and caring individuals to continuously meet the needs of more people. Civic education allows people to see that they have a place here and that they can bring about positive change in our democracy.MCCE shows young people that they matter and that they are capable of making positive change for others. Our programs and development of educators strengthens our democracy because it asks the individual and the collective to see themselves in it. Our democracy is at its best when we have full participation, and MCCE is championing those who choose to make a difference.”
Lydia Mitchell, Director of Programs and Outreach
Ellen Zwarensteyn, Executive Director