What Gary Lipe learned in his 44 year career as an educator is that there is a lot of validity in the axiom "that which gets measured gets done."
The first year of his career-1962- was spent in the Flint Community Schools as an elementary teacher. In 1963, Lipe moved to Grand Blanc Schools where he would serve as a counselor, middle school administrator, assistant superintendent for curriculum, and in 1992, he was named superintendent until his retirement in 2006.
During those years, he was involved in implementing, and often being disappointed by, innovations that were purported to be the "Silver Bullet" cures for what was ailing public education. It wasn't until 1990 that Grand Blanc Schools began using its own Strategic Planning process that both identified problems and found solutions.
"Within two years of beginning this process, the drop-out rate fell from 13% to less than 1%," recalls Lipe. "And, the overall academic performance of Grand Blanc students came to be recognized as the equal of those from the highest performing districts in the state."
The district has received recognition from a variety of sources:
· Grand Blanc remains the only school system to receive the Michigan Quality Council's Quality Leader Award. All other awards have gone to high performing business organizations.
· The North Central Accreditation Commission named Grand Blanc as a model for all school districts seeking accreditation under the National Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.
· Standard and Poor's cited Grand Blanc for being among a small group of Michigan school districts they identify as "Outperformers which achieve exceptionally above average student performance with ordinary resources."
After attending Flint Junior College (Mott Community College), Lipe received his BA in English from St. Benedict's College, and both an MA and Ph.D., from Michigan State University.
However, over the years, he has maintained a strong relationship with UM-Flint. He served for many years on the Dean's Advisory Board for the College of Arts and Sciences, and currently is in his 5th year on the Advisory Board for the School of Health Professions and Studies.
"In addition to gaining appreciation for U of M-Flint through these Advisory groups, I also have 21 members of my immediate and extended family whose lives and careers have been enriched by attending U of M-Flint. So, although I am not an alumnus, through these personal experiences I have become an admirer and cheerleader for this educational jewel in our community," said Lipe.
The Sunday, May 2, 2010 Commencement Ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Perani Arena and Event Center. It is expected to be one of the largest for UM-Flint with over 600 graduates expected to participate.