Kay Wade began her teaching career at Willow Run High School in 1970 teaching English. During her 24 years there, she taught a variety of English, Science, and Social Studies courses which included the required US Government course. She developed curriculum guides and created new courses for English and Social Studies. Additionally, she coordinated Willow Run’s School Age Parent program—designed specifically for school-age parents to help with parenting skills and with navigating high school as a parent. Kay was elected to the Board of Directors and subsequently became president of the Michigan Association for School-Aged Parents. After serving as the district school-aged parent coordinator, she became the Social Studies Department Chair and co-chaired the Middle Cities High School Improvement Team. Willow Run High School seniors selected her as the Distinguished Teacher for four years consecutively, and she was also selected as Willow Run Community Schools Teacher of the Year and was recognized as a finalist for Michigan’s Teacher of the Year 1981.
In 1995, Kay began teaching at Ann Arbor’s Huron High School where she, along with Krystal Hall Abney, created and taught the course, African American Humanities. This was an academically rigorous course designed to not only teach the African American experience but to give students the academic skills to be successful in any Advanced Placement course. Kay also trained to teach Advanced Placement courses and over many years, taught US Government and AP Government.
During her tenure at Huron, Kay was selected to chair the Social Studies department and the North Central Accreditation team. She also served as a liaison to central administration for the school improvement process. It was in this role that she became a part of the planning committee and leadership team for Ann Arbor Skyline High School. As a member of this team, Kay identified and analyzed the pedagogical research that guided the development of this new comprehensive high school. She led a team of social studies teachers who created a student-centered hands-on World History course that was theme-focused — a change from the traditional approach to teaching world history. When Skyline opened in 2008, Kay taught World History and served as Social Studies Curriculum Leader.
Kay has the unique experience of being a department chairperson at each school in which she has worked and has been at the forefront of many district-wide and building initiatives. In 2016, she became the Ann Arbor Public Schools Social Studies District Coordinator. Kay Wade attended Fisk University (HBCU) and graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA degree in History and a minor in Political Science and an MS degree in Health Education. She retired in September 2019, after 48 years of teaching.