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  • Rick Joseph

Teacher Leaders Cultivate Relationships


The genius of Gary Abud rests in his relentless pursuit of relationships. Gary understands the power of connecting with everyone he encounters, from colleagues to community members to the students he serves as a science teacher at Grosse Pointe North High School. He knows that he cannot teach kids until he has reached them.

On a recent visit to Gary's school I witnessed his genius in action. As he hosted me that day, he effortlessly moved in and out of multiple roles. There was Gary facilitating a dynamic lesson on the changing states of matter in his chemistry class, complete with brain breaks for students and an engaging lab activity. There, too, was Gary slipping into an administrative role, stopping students in the hallway to remind them of the values they must uphold as students in the GPN community. There, finally, was Gary uplifting the work of a colleague in the Innovation Lab, a dynamic technology-infused project-based learning space where students were empowered to create through a digital medium.

Throughout my day I realized that Gary gets it. Gary understands that he is only as effective as the quality of his last relationship and the extent to which those relationships empower others to be their best. It is not only this understanding but its practice that makes his selfless role as a teacher leader powerful and effective.

Gary Abud always manages to keep a lot of balls in the air in his science classes

Don Pata's physics students gather data

Hands-on, minds-on learning prevails in science labs at North

Technology is meaningfully integrated in science lab work

The Innovation Lab affords students the opportunity to generate code and apply it to game design

A watched beaker never boils?

Gary coaching a pair of his chemistry students

Students gather quantitative data in chem lab

Brain breaks help kids refocus for learning

Science teacchers Don Pata, left, and Gary Soto


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