An Announcement from 826michigan’s Executive Director

January 4, 2022 | 826 Blog Post

At 826michigan, we ignite a sense of wonder and possibility for young people, who often are experiencing and expressing THEIR voices through writing or seeing their words published in a book for the first time through our programs.

These moments, whether in-person or online, plant seeds of possibility in the hearts of our young authors that will bear fruit for years to come and it has been my tremendous honor to be a part of this work. After four wonder-FULL years, my tenure as executive director at 826michigan is coming to an end, effective January 31, 2022. It has truly been a magical feat to partner with teachers, volunteers, and this amazingly agile team to inspire thousands of students to follow their imaginations, tell bold stories, and share their voices with the world. We have sustained our programmatic strength and financial growth through the challenging periods of expansion and a global pandemic and I am immensely proud of all that we have accomplished together. I am beyond grateful to the board of directors for trusting me to lead this literacy-building, liberatory work and I will be on the sidelines cheering as the organization moves forward. 

My departure brings with it a fantastic opportunity for a new, innovative thinker to take 826michigan into the post-COVID era. The search for the next executive director (ED) will be led by Non-Profit Personnel Network, a local consulting firm with more than 30 years of executive search experience. The search will begin immediately and continue until the right candidate is identified. 826michigan’s executive committee is working to place an interim ED, effective February 1, 2022. This person will oversee the day-to-day operations until the new ED is in position. With the talent of the existing staff and the depth of organizational expertise on the board, I have no doubt that 826michigan is in great hands and will continue to be a thriving gateway to creative storymaking for students in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Detroit.

With unwavering enthusiasm for what is to come, ONWARD ROBOTS!

Naimah Noelle Wade, Ph.D.

“Once Joy and Sadness were playing and they both fell down. Sadness was crying as usual but Joy wasn’t. Joy got up and laughed. Then she said, ‘Come on, Sadness. Let’s play another game.'”

– Prisha R., Age 9, 826michigan Student Author

It certainly is odd to feel a heavy heart and joy at the same time. We are all saddened by Dr. Wade’s impending departure from the executive director position at 826michigan, but we are also filled with joy for her future and for the future of this amazing organization.

Dr. Wade has been a tireless champion through challenging times, and an inspirational leader, taking the role at a time of expansion from Washtenaw County into Detroit. She maneuvered us through a pandemic that severely restricted our model of interaction and outreach, and was still able to advance our internal systems, establishing new and powerful relationships with our partners and community supporters. The well of our gratitude for her efforts is too deep to measure.

As we say our farewells and send best wishes to Dr. Wade, we also look to the promising future of 826michigan and to carrying our mission forward in exciting new ways. We have learned and grown a great deal over the past four years, expanding our digital outreach and creating new ways to collaborate with students, their families, and our teaching partners. Our students continue to be inspired by creative and effective programming at a multitude of levels. This includes our Wee-bots after school program, where many students are introduced to the power of writing and feel the joy that that expression can bring to their lives, all the way to collaborative and focused project work at the high school level with education partners in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Ypsilanti. Our volunteer network has expanded and we remain committed to providing all of our services and outreach at no cost to students, parents, and teachers. The astounding 826michigan staff remains dedicated to building, managing, and delivering effective, creative, joyful programs to motivate and support students in their writing and educational growth across all subjects. And, as always, we will continue to be proud of 826michigan student authors as we release their work in professionally published books for all to read.  

Please join the board of directors, staff, and volunteers of 826michigan in expressing our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Wade for her service, leadership, and commitment to championing the impact of student writing on young authors and the communities they influence.  

While Dr. Wade’s shoes will certainly be daunting to fill, we have already begun the search for her successor and are excited by the opportunities and possibilities this next phase will bring our way.

We owe Dr. Wade a debt of gratitude for positioning 826michigan to continue its growth and succeed in the next chapter. Please join me in sending her our deepest thanks and well wishes.

Warmest Regards, and Onward Robots!

Sean Emery
826michigan Board President

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