U.P. Center for Educational Development

UPCED History

Formed in 1986 as a collective and collaborative organizational effort between seven U.P. Intermediate School Districts and Northern Michigan University, UPCED was charged to address common educational issues.  The primary issue at that time was School Improvement as legislated by Public Act 25.

Michigan Technological University and Lake Superior State University joined UPCED in the 1990s.  Institutes of Higher Education membership grew again with addition of Bay De Noc Community College, and Finlandia University in the 2010-2011 year. Membership changes occurred in 2021 that resulted in the redesign of UPCED, it's logo now reflecting the seven Upper Peninsula ISDs, Bay College, Gogebic Community College and NMU as the members. 

From 1986 – 2001 NMU employed the UPCED Director, Kirk Nigro (also an instructor for NMU classes) and supported the Director’s salary with matching funds from the 7 ISD partners.  Following Kirk Nigro as Director were Carl Wozniak and Doug Russell (2002 – 2008).  In 2008, NMU, with guidance from the UPCED Governing Board, developed and posted a Request for Proposal for the 2008-09 management of UPCED.  The contract was awarded to Marquette-Alger RESA.  Betty Burke-Coduti, Associate Superintendent at Marquette-Alger RESA, served as UPCED Director beginning in 2008-09 through 2010-11.  UPCED extended its contract with Marquette-Alger RESA in 2011-2012 and Debra Asano, Associate Superintendent of General Education,  started as the organization's Director serving her colleagues a menu of professional development opportunities until her retirement in August 2019.  Marquette-Alger RESA Associate Superintendent of General Education, Melanie Allen, took the reigns of the directorship in 2019-20. She continued the professional development traditions while the Board worked to determine who should next lead.  Steve Martin, Superintendent of Menominee County ISD,  was awarded the Director position in 2021-22 and continues to serve his colleagues well to the current date. 

UPCED Mission

The mission of the UPCED remains the same since 1986 --- to increase educational achievement and citizenship among regional learners through educational development and technical assistance, resource development and coordination, and collaboration among Intermediate School Districts/Regional Educational Service Agencies, universities, community colleges and local school districts of the region.

UPCED Purpose

The purpose of UPCED is to provide a collective leadership and technical assistance with educational issues facing school districts and institutions of higher education across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

UPCED will promote educational development and provide assistance to all Upper Peninsula ISDs/RESAs and their constituent school districts:

  1. UPCED Director and Facilitators will assist LEAs in the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment and data.
    • a) Curriculum efforts (K-12) will focus on College and Career Readiness through use of Common Core State Standards in ELA and Math; Michigan GLCEs/HSCEs in other subjects areas; and on newly-adopted curriculum standards as they become available.
    • b) Instructional efforts will focus on evidence-based strategies, best practices, and 21st Century skills.
    • c) Assessment efforts will focus on the establishment of genuine, balanced models that include summative, interim, and formative.  Special attention will be given to the next generation of required assessments.
    • d) Data support will include assistance to LEAs in using local, state, regional, and national data;  and the effective use of warehousing (ie. MiSchooldata portal and Data Director) to support data-driven decision making.
  2. UPCED Director and Facilitators will provide technical assistance for School Improvement reporting requirements and initiatives throughout the Upper Peninsula.
    • a) LEAs will be provided assistance with District and School level: Improvement Plans, Data Profile and Analysis, and Process Profile and Analysis through AdvancEd; and with the Annual Education Report through MiSchoolData portal.
    •  b) UPCED Director and Facilitators will attend regional or statewide meetings related to school improvement and share information with stakeholders.
  3. UPCED Director and Facilitators will assist in the coordination and support of regional and UP-wide professional development activities for teachers and administrators pertaining to: curriculum, instruction, assessment, data, and school improvement.
    • a) Data harvesting and needs assessments will be conducted to inform the direction of professional development offerings for educators and administrators.
    • b) Professional Development support will be provided for emerging or critical issues as necessary.
    • c) Based on the results of the needs assessment, UPCED Director and Facilitators will coordinate support for professional development for educators and administrators.
    • d) UPCED Director will attend and share information with and from MASA Region I monthly meetings.
    • e) The UPCED Director will appropriately direct resources to maintain the UPCED website.

UPCED will identify, coordinate, and disseminate shared resources for the Upper Peninsula educational community.

  1. UPCED will serve as a conduit for capacity building and information exchange:
    • a).  UPCED Director and Facilitators will support the content of a UPCED website to serve as an online resource for use by stakeholders.  (Covers former # 2) a., b., and c)
    • b).  UPCED Director and Facilitators will disseminate evidence-based best practices in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and data via its website and via professional learning opportunities
    • c).  UPCED Director, Facilitators and Governing Board will promote UPCED resources and capacities to the Upper Peninsula educational community.
  2. The UPCED Director and Facilitators will evaluate a variety of funding sources for projects within its scope and mission:

    • a).  UPCED Director and Facilitators will present funding sources and opportunities to the Governing Board for their review.
    • b).  The UPCED will establish protocols for a grant submission that includes screening, fiscal agency, establishment of writing team, submission and grant management.

The UPCED will collaborate and communicate with partner universities/colleges, seven ISDs, and other partners.  (including, but not limited to: UP Math/Science Centers, UP Regional Literacy Training Centers, UP Special Education Directors, UP CTE Directors, UP REMCs & Tech Directors, Regional, State and National Organizations)

  1. The UPCED will develop and maintain relationships, which further the mission of the organization:
    • a).  UPCED Director will maintain and develop positive relationships with its members through monthly meetings of the facilitators and monthly meetings of the governing board.
    • b).  UPCED Director will attend and report out on the following organizations’ meetings: U.P. Curriculum Network, Statewide School Improvement Facilitators Network, MASA Region I, and others as appropriate.
    • c).  UPCED Director and Facilitators will have ongoing communication with Upper Peninsula institutions of high education for the purpose of coordination of grant activities, identification of resources, and other UPCED initiatives.
    • d).  UPCED Director will attend appropriate meetings of the U.P. community organizations for information sharing and work on collaborative efforts.
  2. The UPCED will take a leadership role in capacity building within the Upper Peninsula educational community:
    • a).  The UPCED Director and Facilitators will meet monthly as needed to accomplish activities within the strategic plan.
    • b).  The UPCED Director and Governing Board will meet monthly as needed to accomplish activities within the strategic plan and ensure communication among all stakeholders.
    • c).  The UPCED Director will coordinate professional learning for ISD/RESA facilitators as appropriate.

The UPCED will collaborate with LEAs, universities, community colleges and other post secondary institutions/programs to ensure students’ success at each stage along the P-20 continuum.


  1. The UPCED Director, Governing Board and Facilitators will work to ensure that Career and College Readiness Standards (CCRS) are in place as students move from PreK-12 to post-secondary education and/or employment:
    • a).  The UPCED Director and Facilitators will focus on student readiness for post-secondary education by utilizing CCRS data such as ACT, SAT, PLAN, to determine gaps and needs for improving student achievement.  
    • b).  The UPCED Board and facilitators will design activities that broaden communications among K-12 and university/community college faculty and focus on improving student transitions and readiness for entering post secondary programs.
    • c).  The UPCED Director and Governing Board will work with post-secondary faculty to identify areas of need and continue to build relationships between PreK-12 and post-secondary programs and opportunities.
    • d).  The UPCED Director and Facilitators will work together to include Pre-service Teachers in opportunities to gain experience or training that will assist them in their transition to the K-12 system. This will be accomplished through collaboration with IHE staff on the preparation, articulation and needs of pre-service teachers.
    • e).  The UPCED Director and Governing Board will communicate with Higher Education Business Coalition and other economic development organizations to identify and address skills that help students transition to the world of work.

The UPCED will engage in a continuous improvement process and 5-year strategic planning cycle incorporating annual monitoring and adjustment of the mission and goals of the organization as necessary to ensure its future and place in the P-20 educational community.


  1. The UPCED Governing Board will adopt a Continuous Improvement model and conduct a self-assessment that sets the strategies and activities of the organization to meet the changing needs of education.
    • a).  The UPCED Director and Facilitators will compile an annual report outlining UPCED activities.
    • b).  The UPCED Governing Board will conduct an annual assessment of the UPCED Director, the UPCED activities & human/material resources to determine if progress is being made toward the goals set by the Governing Board and if efforts are aligned with the organization’s mission and purpose.
    • c).  The UPCED Director and Governing Board will develop and conduct a comprehensive self-assessment of the organization every five years to determine its fiscal viability and responsiveness to its members and constituents in meeting educational demands.