Monique Gayles

MA in Educational Studies: Educational Policy and Leadership with K-12 Building-Level Administrator Certification (LPAC)

Monique  Gayles, School of Education

Student status: Alum, graduated 2015

Geographic region of origin: Detroit, Michigan

Previous education: University of Michigan, B.A. Secondary Education – English

Prior to joining the program: I worked as an English Language Arts teacher and an Instructional Coach in a Detroit charter school.

Why the Educational Leadership & Policy program?

In my pursuit to find a graduate institution, it was very important that I found a university that would allow me to remain connected to the city of Detroit and hold true to my mission-driven work in education, while building my expertise in educational leadership practices and policies. My undergraduate experience helped move Michigan up my list of prospective schools. However, it was a telephone conversation with a current student and a sit down with Don Peurach, a professor of the program, that helped me to decide Michigan was the place for me (again).

Making the decision to return to the University of Michigan was an easy choice for me; it was all about the Michigan difference. At Michigan, I am in a community of intellectuals who are genuinely interested in both my social and academic progress. My undergraduate experience at Michigan allowed me to study with, and learn from, a diverse population of scholars. It was eye opening to see how many social and academic platforms Michigan offered to expand my cultural experiences while working with people from all walks of life. No matter what year you graduated or what state you are from, as a Michigan student–former or current–you are forever a part of the Michigan network.

Highlights of the Michigan Experience

While attending as a full-time student and a full-time employee, my social life on campus was not very exciting. However, the highlights of my Michigan experience would definitely include the relationships I was able to build with my cohort and professors. The professors of the program teach multiple courses and you are enrolled with other members of your cohort; therefore, the faces become familiar and the atmosphere becomes family-like. In fact, most of the time, attending class feels like having intellectual conversations with your closet friends and family.


I completed my 250-hour internship at my place of full-time employment. My mentor, the principal of my school, worked to gradually release administrative tasks to me while I completed my work obligations as the Instructional Coach in the building. Upon completing my internship I produced a portfolio that included artifacts from my internship work.

Life after U-M

After graduating from the program, I continued to fulfill my role as an instructional coach in a Detroit charter school. I am working to sharpen my lens as a teacher-learner by studying the teaching and learning cycle in my school in order to close the achievement gap for students of color, particularly those in urban areas. I am confident that my coursework and work experience is preparing me to be an instructional leader of my own school, where my students’ success will be viewed as the norm and not a defying-the odds-story.

Monique invites prospective students to contact her about her experience attending the program as a full-time student and a full-time employee, or about her experience at Michigan in general.  

Gayles’s program of study:
Educational Leadership and Policy