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Alumnus Kyle Goodall

Central to Detroit: Using change to invest in the future

Teacher and his students are driven to make a difference

Contact: Heather Smith

Editor's note: Central Michigan University is involved in the entire state's success — after all, Michigan is our middle name. This is part of a special report on people with CMU connections making a positive difference in Michigan's largest city, Detroit.

Like any good teacher, Kyle Goodall sees the potential for greatness in all of his students.

The questions they ask and the interest they show in improving their world inspire the Detroit Renaissance High School 11th-grade English teacher.

Kyle is passionate about improving society, too. The 2014 Central Michigan University alumnus from Lake Orion got into teaching partly to tackle equality, racism, diversity and social justice.

"I'm not big enough to tear down the walls of injustice in our society by myself," Kyle says.  "I realized that I can make a greater impact by getting students to think about the kind of world they want to live in and asking themselves how to make that shift possible."

Evolution to spark a revolution

Kyle says his first few visits to Renaissance gave him the chance to work with students to build a new school culture.

While teaching English and publications-related courses, Kyle leads social justice education programs. He hosted guest speaker Ajamu Baraka — the 2016 Green Party vice presidential nominee, who discussed socialism and his party's platform — and Skyped with educator and LGBT and anti-racism activist Jane Elliott.


Kyle Goodall

Hometown: Lake Orion
Occupation: Teacher, Detroit Renaissance High School
CMU degrees: Integrative public relations major, public affairs minor, and global and cultural studies certificate, 2014
Noteworthy: Lem Tucker scholar — and mentor to a Lem Tucker scholar

Kyle says it's a matter of equipping students to support change in their neighborhoods and communities and to improve their lives and others' lives within the city of Detroit.

He says asking students "why" and "how so" is a surefire way to get them to consider their impact on the world.

"There is always more thought to be pulled from students — sometimes thoughts they didn't even know they had," Kyle said. "Questioning until there is an evolution of thought is the way to spark a revolution."

Outside the classroom

Kyle's focus on social justice goes beyond his teaching. For a decade, he has led Focus: HOPE's Generation of Promise, a youth leadership development program that nurtures understanding and respect among metro Detroit's diverse people and regions.

Kyle also co-facilitated an undergraduate class at CMU discussing causes of racism and ways to achieve a just society.

Scholar to scholar

Kyle foresaw working in secondary education shortly after he received CMU's four-year, full-ride Lem Tucker Scholarship to study journalism.

This scholarship is awarded each year to two high school seniors who promote the participation and success of minorities in journalism. It is named after CMU alumnus and Saginaw native Lem Tucker, who worked for three major television networks and earned two Emmy awards. Tucker died in 1991.

Kyle was a member of Lake Orion High School's broadcasting program for four years. His stories as a lead anchor and reporter for the news often focused on diversity and inclusion.

"I can make a greater impact by getting students to think about the kind of world they want to live in and asking themselves how to make that shift possible."​

 Kyle Goodall

CMU prepared Kyle to be an educator and an activist through his integrative public relations, public affairs and global and cultural studies, as well as his participation in programs such as Speak Up, Speak Out forums addressing social issues.

The Lem Tucker scholarship meant so much to Kyle that, in the past school year, he strongly encouraged one of his students — Sage Sanders — to submit her application.

His push paid off. She received the scholarship and will start classes at CMU this fall.

"Everything I wanted to do was possible through the Lem Tucker Scholarship," Kyle says.

"I couldn't be more excited for Sage, and I'm hoping to develop many more 'Tuckers' over the years," Kyle says.

While in high school, Sage was recruited to write for her friend's social media- and web-based Defiance Magazine to help empower, educate and unite the urban/minority community. She also volunteered with the Abayomi Community Development Corp. putting on community events and mentoring young teens.

"I want to serve my community as a journalist," Sage said in her scholarship application. "I am inspired and proud to know that an African-American journalist's legacy is helping students like me defy stereotypes of racial minorities and become successful."

Read more about alumni in Detroit:

CMU grad leads bike-share effort


Public service has always been in Lisa Nuszkowski’s worldview. Now she’s putting Detroit’s public on wheels.

Read her story

In vested interest


As he works on million-dollar deals to benefit city residents, Aaron Seybert has two people in mind.

Read his story

Rebuilding with social capital


Community leader Marlowe Stoudamire focuses on Detroit’s future by looking back 50 years.

Read his story

Building a company, rebuilding a city


Thirsty for success, entrepreneur Cason Thorsby says he and his chosen city have a lot in common.

Read his story

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