TV and broadcast journalism/media teacher Michael Kaufman has been named the 2019 Michigan Film Educator of the Year. Pictured, Kaufman assists L’Anse Creuse High School-North sophomore Zach Tauriainen in the sound booth as they produce a school news broadcast.

TV and broadcast journalism/media teacher Michael Kaufman has been named the 2019 Michigan Film Educator of the Year. Pictured, Kaufman assists L’Anse Creuse High School-North sophomore Zach Tauriainen in the sound booth as they produce a school news broadcast.

Photo by Deb Jacques


L’Anse Creuse teacher takes top film educator award

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 5, 2019

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP/CLINTON TOWNSHIP — L’Anse Creuse Public Schools teacher Michael Kaufman has a way of molding hardworking students.

In his 30-year career as an educator, Kaufman’s ability to motivate students to do their best has been recognized across the state.

The TV and broadcast journalism/media teacher at the Frederick V. Pankow Center was recently presented with the 2019 Michigan Film Educator of the Year award by DAFT (Digital Arts, Film & Television).

Kaufman was nominated for the award by DAFT board member and media educator Bill Wolbrink.

“Mr. Kaufman has been teaching for many years, and still stays relevant and in touch with both his students and the profession,” Wolbrink said. “He is very professional and willing to help whoever needs it. I have gotten to know Mike over the past few years through various competitions, conferences and personal contacts, and I will tell you that he is a class act and loves what he does.”

Kaufman has taught in L’Anse Creuse for 12 years and took on his current teaching position when the broadcast and media program was launched six years ago.

“It’s an awesome group of fine educators,” he said of those who comprise DAFT. “It’s incredible to receive such an honor from your peers. They know what you do. It’s great to be among the great media teachers.”

The TV and broadcast journalism/media programs are open to high school students interested in learning filmmaking and television broadcasting. Broadcast journalism students also produce “Creuse Line,” Kaufman said, which is the district’s live weekly news show that airs on Youtube and Facebook.

Kaufman also operates a PBS Student Reporting Lab within his broadcast journalism courses, one of only four in the state; this opportunity allows students to produce pieces that air nationally on “PBS NewsHour.”

Kaufman will accept his award at the 51st Michigan Student Film Festival on April 27 at the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The educator’s accomplishments reflect on the students who are eager to do their best.

Jacob Ashby, 17, is enrolled in the TV broadcast and media course. He said the course stands out from traditional ones in that Kaufman’s teaching style keeps students engaged.

“It’s really great because he tries his (best) to not to take too long with speeches and doing PowerPoint,” Ashby said. “The class is more hands on. He lets us take control of our projects and likes to see you working hard.”

Ashby, a senior at L’Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Township, said he enrolled in the course this year because he had always been interested in filmmaking.

“I chose to take the class because I heard there are a lot of opportunities and jobs you could get from this class,” he said, referring to booking jobs filming special events like weddings. “I wanted to learn more about film — experience more in the actual industry, rather than just doing my own thing with my own equipment.

“I’ve learned a lot, and that has definitely expanded my horizons,” said Ashby, who plans to study film at Columbia College in Chicago next fall.

Kaufman also taught various subjects for 13 years in the Royal Oak school system, including debate, English and stagecraft. He has directed more than 60 plays and musicals for local high schools.

“It’s been nice. It’s been a good career,” Kaufman said.

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