Each year, Central Michigan University offers Charter School Educator Awards to assist charter public school educators with the cost of tuition as they pursue their graduate degrees. Uche Uchendu of Pembroke Academy is one such educator.

“The prospect of paying out of pocket for graduate school was overwhelming, making furthering my education feel out of reach. Fortunately, the tuition assistance I received from CMU through the Charter School Educator Award ensured my goal was attainable,” Uchendu said. “The skills and the new credentials I have gained have impacted my performance in my current role by increasing my knowledge base and setting me up for future promotion.”

It was the inspiring story of Uchendu’s father, for whom education was transformative, that helped draw Uchendu into her role as an educator.

“My father’s experiences showed me that teaching was the noblest profession anyone could have,” Uchendu said. “Through his experience, I learned very early that a teacher had to be committed to student learning along with personal and professional growth. I knew I had to be an educator!”

Uchendu says becoming a charter public school educator has transformed her life.

“I continue to be overwhelmed with joy when I see a student’s grades improve because of interventions I put in place as an academic specialist. Knowing that I have a part in inspiring them to succeed adds immense value to my own life,” Uchendu said. “Having this level of impact in another person’s life is a privilege I do not take for granted.”

Uchendu’s coursework at CMU helped her grow immensely as an educator.

“What an inspiring experience I had! I loved the interaction with colleagues from various parts of the country,” Uchendu reported. “I learned so much by exchanging ideas as we collaborated on assignments and projects. These positive and invigorating experiences will continue to shape my professional life for years to come.”