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District hires new man to lead virtual academy



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October 05, 2011 - Oxford Community Schools has found the next leading man to take its Virtual Academy to new heights.

At the board meeting on Monday, Sept. 26, the district officially hired Andrew Hulbert to become the Director of Oxford Virtual Academy (OVA), effective immediately.

Hulbert will be taking over for Marty Johnson, who, according to Hulbert, is no longer working with the Virtual Academy.

According to the district website, Johnson previously was the principal for OVA and is currently working as an assistant principal at Oxford High School.

"I am actually extremely excited about it," Hulbert said. "I think it's going to be challenging, but with the opportunity to lay some ground work here that has never been done in the state of Michigan."

Hulbert added he "felt honored to be welcomed into this school district."

With the new position, Hulbert will make approximately $103,862 in salary and benefits.

He said what attracted him the most about Oxford was the district's vision and opportunity for growth.

"The support we have through (Superintendent) Dr. (William) Skilling and the support on the vision we have, we have the opportunity to really grow and touch students, and really grow something here that has never been done before in the state," Hulbert said.

Online learning is nothing new for Hulbert as he developed Bloomfield Hills online summer school and worked with the Berrien Springs and Battle Creek virtual academies.

In addition to his online learning expertise, Hulbert has an undergrade degree in Chemistry and Biology from Eastern Michigan University and a Master's degree in Education from Marygrove College.

According to Hulbert, Bloomfield Hills approached him last year about heading up the district's online learning.

"We ended up having quite a few students on it, and I was able to redesign the entire program they were looking for, which led us to revamping our entire summer school to a 100 percent virtual summer school program," he said.

According to Hulbert, the biggest difference he sees between Oxford's Virtual Academy and other online learning centers school districts in Michigan created are the students Oxford is targeting.

"There are virtual academies elsewhere in the state, but we're tapping into some markets that have never been tapped into," Hulbert said. "We are trying to reach out into the community and reach past the students that are just in our district," he said.

Hulbert found out about the opening when his name came up through a consultant the district used for virtual learning. Hulbert said he closely watched the district the last couple of years.

"They have been setting the standard in Oakland County for the last couple of years...they are kind of a go-getter district," Hulbert said.

"Everyone really follows what they are doing out here and tries to model, but not everyone has the willingness or vision to follow everything they are doing," he added.

According to Hulbert, his first priority is to make sure the virtual academy is accessible and user friendly for students "just to ensure everybody is able to have a successful year learning."

"Our number one goal is to make sure there isn't any side distractions that is avoiding them of learning in their full capacity," he added.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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