Tuesday, October 8, 2019


Natalie Fotias, The Skillman Foundation

Doug Pratt, Michigan Education Association

Anna Heaton, Business Leaders for Michigan


Diverse partnership is working to improve Michigan’s K — 12 education system


LANSING, Mich. — Launch Michigan has named former state Rep. Adam Zemke and Lindsay Case Palsrok as leaders of the organization. Launch Michigan, a diverse group of partners from business, education, labor and philanthropy, as well as parents and civic leaders, is working to improve Michigan’s K – 12 education system.

Zemke will serve as president, and Case Palsrok, formerly senior director of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, will serve as executive director.

Launch Michigan was formed in summer 2018 to improve K – 12 education through a student-centered system that helps ensure Michigan children can find lifelong success. Collaborative efforts have developed several key metrics, including:

  • Be among the fastest-improving states in the nation for all groups of students.
  • Close the achievement gap based on income, race, geography, language, gender and student need.
  • Prepare every student for success after high school.

Zemke, formerly global manager of STEAM education at Ford Motor Company, served three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the 55th district in Washtenaw County. A strong advocate for public education, he served in multiple caucus leadership roles and was Democratic vice-chair of the Education/Education Reform Committee. Zemke holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University. He was recently appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to serve on the MiSTEM Advisory Council.

“I am excited about Launch Michigan’s mission to provide all young Michiganders with the best education possible,” Zemke said. “From its start, I’ve known that Launch is the perfect coalition of leaders needed to make serious improvements to public education in our state. I am honored to be chosen to serve as its president.”

In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations, Zemke will champion Launch Michigan’s fundraising efforts and serve as the primary public relations representative for the organization.

Case Palsrok, who has served at the Detroit Chamber for more than eight years, previously worked as a legislative aide and as a public policy assistant for the Michigan Association of Realtors. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and an MBA from the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. A fellow of the Michigan Political Leadership Program and a policy fellow of the Center for Health and Research Transformation, Case Palsrok was also a member of the Grand Ledge school board from 2008 to 2011.

“Co-leading efforts on research, policy and advocacy on behalf of students in Michigan is an exciting opportunity,” Case Palsrok said. “Our work will help improve Michigan’s education system in a meaningful way. It will be rewarding to see our efforts positively impact kids in Michigan while they are in school and throughout their entire lives.”

Steering committee members for Launch Michigan were excited to announce the new leadership team.

Tonya Allen, president and CEO, The Skillman Foundation: “I am excited that through Launch Michigan’s efforts, children and their education are finally being put first in our state. Bringing in a dynamic leadership team to oversee the day-to-day policy and advocacy efforts is going to help propel Launch Michigan’s objectives even faster.”

Paula Herbart, president, Michigan Education Association: “For years, the educators of Michigan — the foundation of our public education system — have wanted to be asked about what is working and not working in Michigan’s schools. Launch Michigan is finally asking those questions, and I’m convinced Adam and Lindsay are the right people to put the answers into action.”

Doug Rothwell, president and CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan: “We came together united behind the idea that a strong public education system in Michigan is the cornerstone to success for our children, our economy and our state. This new leadership team is going to do a great job of building on our momentum so far.”

For more information on Launch Michigan’s members, initiatives and objectives, visit www.launchmichigan.org.