Skip to main content
Transparency Reporting

Pembroke Receives Innovation and Vision Award from Authorizer Central Michigan University

Strong relationships, creative ways to connect, and a unified staff have helped Pembroke Academy set itself ahead of other public schools in the greater Detroit, Michigan area, and now the school has received accolades for its efforts from its authorizer.
During their annual conference on Aug. 15, Central Michigan University’s Center for Charter Schools presented Pembroke Academy with their Innovation and Vision Award. Pembroke Principal Salwa Kinsey accepted the award with Deans Shena Hill-Scott, Kyle Worden, and Rachal Hetzel.

School leaders receiving award.
Pembroke Academy leaders pose for a photo after being awarded CMU’s Innovation and Vision Award. From left: Middle School Dean Rachal Hetzel, Principal Salwa Kinsey, Upper Elementary Dean Kyle Worden, and Lower Elementary Dean Shena Hill-Scott.
“Winning Central Michigan University’s Innovation and Vision Award means so much for our school because of all the hard work we pour in as a united team, not only in regard to our unique grade level placement model, but also because of the collective responsibility we all take as a staff to intentionally build positive partnerships with our families for success of our scholars,” Kinsey said.
The placement model plays a large role in the relationship between the school and parents by creating a dialogue of truth about where students are in their education journey, and the best way for them to move forward, Kinsey said.
“Winning this award shows our families just how committed and dedicated we are to our collective success as a school,” she said. “Seeing their children’s school being recognized for our innovative approach to education just helps to reconfirm to our families that they made the right choice in education for their scholars.”

Kinsey and staff have shown that commitment in many ways over the years. To start the 2022-23 school year, they held an assembly that doubled as a symbolic “wedding ceremony,” where teachers and parents pledged their commitment and recited vows to work together for the best interest of the scholars.
“The unique approach we took with ‘marrying’ our parents and exchanging vows with them during last year’s Open House was just one example of the type of outside of the box, innovative ideas we collectively bring to the table and make happen, all for the success of our Pembroke scholars,” Kinsey said.
The award helps shine a light on everyone at Pembroke and the work they do daily to support their scholars. It’s no surprise the school outperforms the local district in all subjects.
The drive behind offering the award stems from CMU’s Center for Charter Schools goal of inspiring all schools throughout the state of Michigan to find new ways to support students in their education.
“The Innovation and Vision Award is an opportunity to celebrate the unique ways that CMU partner schools are serving students and communities,” said Corey Northrop, executive director of The Center for Charter Schools at CMU. “We are excited to have Pembroke Academy as this year’s winner and look forward to highlighting the great things happening at the school.”
Kinsey and her deans returned to the school after the conference to share the good news.
Innovation and Vision Award. CMU’s Innovation and Vision Award, presented to Pembroke Academy.

“Once we announced that we won, our entire team cheered so enthusiastically, from returning team members to brand new team members just joining the team,” she said. “It really feels great to be a part of a winning team.”
A special element of the award was how the winner was selected. Three finalists were announced during the conference and attendees listened to information to determine the winner.
“There were over 500 educators in the audience that voted, from school leaders to board members, from teachers to instructional coaches. Our peers voted for us because they felt our model here at Pembroke was innovative and deserving of this award. It really means so much to be voted for by your educator peers from all over Michigan!”
The contest is in its fifth year and Pembroke will receive $5,000 to spend on its school.
Great work preparing your scholars for the future, Pembroke!

Check out a school near you!

About Pembroke Academy
Pembroke Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Detroit, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

Visit Pembroke Academy's blog to read more stories like this.