Monica Merritt, the superintendent for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, was named the 2023 Michigan Superintendent of the Year.
The award, presented by Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators and sponsored this year by Michigan Virtual, annually recognizes one individual for their leadership and dedication to their communities and the profession.
Merritt, who earned her doctor of Educational Leadership in 2022, learned of the accolade during a surprise meeting at a PCCS board meeting in October 2022, and was formally presented with the honor during MASA’s Midwinter Conference in January 2023.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be Michigan’s Superintendent of the Year for 2023,” said Merritt. “Such recognition reflects the collaborative culture at Plymouth-Canton Community Schools and all the individuals who work together every day to build a welcoming, nurturing and safe environment so each child can thrive and succeed. Receiving my doctorate at Michigan State University helped strengthen my role as an educator, administrator and leader. The Spartan spirit is one of resilience, diligence and teamwork, and it’s something I have with me every day.”
Merritt was named PCCS superintendent in 2015, and serves the state’s fifth-largest district with more than 16,300 students. She has, according to the MASA press release, “embraced the district’s commitment to the success of each student so they become productive citizens in a global community. The district is continually recognized as one of the top districts in the state.”
Merritt’s team at PCCS were among those who nominated her for the honor.
“Under her leadership, our staff has supported students as they endured not only the global pandemic, but also national, state and local turmoil,” said Bethany Rayl in a press release from MASA. Rayl is the chief academic officer of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools. “Maintaining the focus on what is best for students at all times, [Merritt] helped ensure that all PCCS students were supported and cared for in these tumultuous times while consistently maintaining a focus on educational excellence.”
Prior to the superintendent role, Merritt held several educational and leadership positions within Ypsilanti Community Schools and Plymouth-Canton Community Schools including, most recently, as the assistant superintendent of human resources and labor relations for PCCS.
“We are thankful for Monica’s work, care and dedication toward students of today and tomorrow,” said Jerlando F. L. Jackson, dean of the MSU College of Education and MSU Foundation Professor of Education. “We are proud to count her among our alumni.”
Merritt joins several alumni from the college who have been recognized as Michigan Superintendent of the Year Honorees. They include:
- Yvonne Caamal Canul (2015 honoree) — M.A. ’77 (Elementary Education)
- Wanda Cook Robinson (2013 honoree) — B.A. ’76 (Special Education)
- Tina Kerr (2012 honoree) — Ph.D. ’05 (K-12 Educational Administration)
“I know what an incredible and dedicated leader she is,” said Tina Kerr, MASA executive director in the MASA press release. “In her time at Plymouth-Canton, [she] has shown her commitment to students, staff, and the community, and it’s reflected in her resume and her nomination for this award. We are very proud that Monica is representing Michigan as this year’s Superintendent of the Year.”
This story was originally featured on the College of Education website.