Overcoming barriers to opportunity for Battle Creek Central High School students


For more than 90 years, WKKF has worked in partnership with the Battle Creek, Mich. community to serve its children. In 2017, WKKF made a five-year, $51 million investment to Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) to fund a comprehensive, equity-informed transformation to achieve success for every student in the district. This piece, by Greyson Steele for the Battle Creek Enquirer, highlights the inspiring story of Tyler Gilland and his career pathway from a BCPS teacher to Battle Creek Central High School’s new executive principal.

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — Tyler Gilland, executive principal for Battle Creek Central High School, never anticipated he would work in education until a conversation with his guidance counselor, Mr. Blackwell, changed the trajectory of his life.

In the early 2000s, Gilland was a struggling student at Kalamazoo Central High School where he was failing multiple classes and felt as though teachers didn’t care about him. Mr. Blackwell challenged him to do more for the next generation of learners – to become the freshman teacher he’d wished he had. “I had no intention of really going to college but that challenge kind of sat with me and resonated with me for a long time. When you have a purpose, it changes,” he said. 

For Gilland, he’s committed to expanding educational opportunities for students inside and outside the classroom to empower them to dream about what’s possible.

Read more from the Battle Creek Enquirer: Tyler Gilland hopes to shrink ‘opportunity gap’ for students as BCCHS principal

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Tyler Gilland with graduating students at Battle Creek Central High School’s 2019 graduation.

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