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From Transplant to Legacy

Janice Brown

Interesting career paths are rarely predictable, just ask Janice Brown, Executive Director Emeritus for The Kalamazoo Promise, a universal scholarship program for Kalamazoo Public School graduates.

A Detroit native, Brown is a self-proclaimed "true Michigan gal." She moved to Kalamazoo for a job opportunity in the mid-nineties.

"I am a transplant," Brown said. "I came here in 1996 to work for Kalamazoo Public Schools as the Executive Director for curriculum. I became the Superintendent in 2000. The rest is history."

That "history" is largely related to her role in preparing and introducing The Promise in November 2005. The announcement catapulted Brown to the forefront of the local and national excitement about the program. As a spokesperson for the program, Brown has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Katie Couric Show, ABC, The Today Show, CNN, Good Morning America, and the New York Times.

Nearly 20 years after moving to the area, Brown is still enjoying all that Kalamazoo has to offer and making new connections.

"I stay connected in Kalamazoo easily with my work for The Kalamazoo Promise, if I don't know someone that's okay; I just go meet them.

"Also, I love the music here and find all kinds of opportunity to connect through the arts. It's easy to find new friends here in Kalamazoo, we are a pretty connected community!"

Brown said she is also enthusiastic about the younger generation of Kalamazoo residents establishing themselves in the workforce and the community-a group that locally includes two of her four children and one of her two grandchildren.

"Now that I'm in the twilight of my career, I find it so exciting to see all of the young talent coming up to embrace the work of the community," Brown said. "I know our community will be in good hands for many years to come."

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