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ICYMI: Gov. Whitmer Appoints Director of Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential 

Michigan Business Network
May 31, 2024 3:00 PM

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LANSING, Mich. — Thursday, May 23rd, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the appointment of Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea, known widely as Dr. Beverly, as the director of the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential, or MiLEAP.     

“I’m proud to appoint Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea to lead MiLEAP,” said Governor Whitmer. “Her long record of leadership and excellence in the education space will help her deliver on MiLEAP’s mission of expanding pre-K and higher education and lowering costs for students and families. I look forward to all that she’ll accomplish, and I am grateful to Acting Director Richard for her excellent work to get the department up and running. Dr. Beverly will build on that strong foundation to create opportunities for Michiganders from the playroom to the boardroom.”   

Dr. Beverly is the seventh president of Mott Community College (MCC) in Flint, Michigan, where she is the first female and first African American president in the college’s history. In another historic first, as of July 1, 2024, Dr. Beverly will be the first MCC president to have the title of “President Emeritus” bestowed upon her. Since being named president in 2014, Dr. Beverly has been instrumental in the transformation of MCC through the implementation of new resources and student support programming, and numerous plans and initiatives that will carry the school forward for decades to come.    

Prior to joining MCC, Dr. Beverly served as senior vice president for student services at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, vice president of student affairs at Virginia Peninsula Community College in Hampton, Virginia; dean of student development at Houston Community College-Central Campus; and interim dean of health and environmental sciences at Spokane Community College. Additionally, while at Spokane Community College, Dr. Beverly earned tenure in three years as a counseling faculty member leading the award-winning Single-Parent Program and served as chair for the Institutional Diversity Department.   

Dr. Beverly has served nationally as the president for the American Association for Women in Community Colleges and as a member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Board of Directors, where she earned CEO of the year in 2023. She has also served as chair and co-chair of several AACC Commissions. Currently, Dr. Beverly is a member of the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Foundation Board of Trustees. She has been a force locally, as well, where she serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Flint Health Coalition, McLaren-Flint Hospital, Carriage Town Ministries, Metro Community Development, and the Michigan Community College Association, where she served as chair of the board of directors from 2022-2023. In addition, Dr. Beverly is the chair of the Flint & Genesee Group Governing Board and a member of the Operating Board. She also serves as a member of the Flint Rotary Club, Flint Promise Zone Authority, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and is former president of the Ivy House Foundation.    

“I am grateful and humbled that Governor Whitmer has placed her trust in me to lead MiLEAP,” said Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea. “This is an exciting opportunity for me to use my education and experiences to improve Michigan’s workforce talent outcomes. I look forward to creating more pathways that prepare Michiganders with post secondary credentials that lead to family-sustaining jobs.”    

Dr. beverlyA native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dr. Beverly (left) holds a Doctor of Philosophy in child development from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, a Master of Education in guidance and counseling from Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, and a Bachelor of Science in radio, television and film: news and public affairs from Oklahoma State University. In recognition of her many accomplishments, she was recognized as a Distinguished Alumna by OSU in 2019 and as a Texas Woman's University Distinguished Alumna in 2022. Dr. Beverly was also inducted into the OSU Diversity Hall of Fame in 2022.    

Established by executive order, MiLEAP is tasked with improving outcomes from preschool through postsecondary so anyone can ‘make it in Michigan’ with a solid education and a path to a good-paying job. The new department oversees several early learning, higher education, and education partnership functions.   

Since its creation in December of 2023, MiLEAP has been led by acting director Michelle Richard, former senior education advisor to the governor, who will continue in the top role for the department until the appointment’s effective date. Michelle will stay with MiLEAP in a leadership role to be announced in the future.   

“Dr. Beverly has spent her career making education more affordable and accessible,” said outgoing MiLEAP acting director Michelle Richard. “The experience, expertise, and vision she will bring to MiLEAP will help us deliver on our mission to expand opportunities for students from preschool through postsecondary. It’s been an honor to lead the launch of this new department, and I look forward to building on our momentum alongside Dr. Beverly.”    

The appointment will take effect on June 24, 2024, and will expire at the pleasure of the governor. This appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Michigan Senate.   

To learn more about the work being done at MiLEAP, click here. 





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