“One in the same with a different name” is how Michelle Nighbert and Cheryl Paull like to describe their conjoining schools – Macomb Montessori Academy and Second Home Child Development Center in Warren, MI.

Under the leadership of Cheryl and Michelle, the schools are thriving because of the relationship they have built.

“You know that feeling when you just know that you can trust someone? That was what it was like with Michelle,” said Cheryl. “I can trust her with anything.”

Open and honest communication has been the key to their relationship.

“We have gotten to know each other through various positions and transitions over the past 10 years,” commented Michelle. “Today, we are in a space where we are both leaders in the same building. It is such a great feeling knowing that you can trust the person who is your counterpart.”

At any given day you will see Michelle and Cheryl standing outside during the student drop off time, greeting parents and students. They want parents to know who they are and that they care about their student from the time that they enter the building to when they leave.

Michelle and Cheryl have the same belief in education – every child is important and can thrive if given the right support.

“Students always come first—always,” said Cheryl. “That is how we work around here.”

Macomb Montessori Academy and Second Home Child Development Center are environments where transparency, open communication and trust are foundational. Cheryl and Michelle’s leadership is setting the stage for this. It is creating a culture of safety and inclusion.

“We are proud that we are women balancing leadership roles together. It can be hard to find someone who is similar and experiencing many of the same things,” said Cheryl. “We look up to each other and hold each other accountable. There is a sense of security and comfort in knowing that we have each other.”

Macomb Montessori Academy serves more than 200 students while Second Home Child Development Center currently serves 128 preschoolers in the Great Start Readiness Program. Many of the students who start at Second Home matriculate into Macomb Montessori Academy and have a successful transition. This is just another example of leaders who put students needs first.