Philip Girard

ELA & History Instructor

Growing up in a rural area outside of Gaylord, MI, I developed a love of the outdoors early on. I would play and explore for hours in the wooded areas around my neighborhood. As a teenager, I came to know the Pigeon River State Forest quite well, as it was only a few minutes drive from my house. Camping, canoeing, and mountain biking became the main draw of the woods. When it came time to leave, I headed north to Northern Michigan University in Marquette. As I developed a love of the Upper Peninsula’s wild places, it became apparent that I would follow a path towards environmental education. I graduated with a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership Management in 2004, which was also the year I moved to Traverse City.

Once my wife and I settled into the area, I soon began working for the Grand Traverse Conservation District. There, I got to work with students of all ages, and I got to help manage some of our beautiful parks (including the Commons Natural Area behind our school). Many of the wonderful projects in the park (stairways, bridges, etc.) were products of my work with the Grand Traverse Youth Corps, a program to help At-Risk youth learn important leadership and job skills. It wasn’t too long after that I decided I’d like to see kids for longer than a half day field trip. In 2008, I went back to school for a degree in English from Grand Valley State. After I finished my studies, I spent a majority of my time teaching at Traverse City West Senior High School (as a student teacher and long-term sub). There, I was lucky to teach a wide array of courses (many of my own design), including English (10-12th Grade), Biology, and Mythology. In 2013, I was employed by Suttons Bay Schools as a Language Arts teacher in their virtual program. I had the good fortune to work with a uniquely diverse group of kids from all over Northern Michigan.

My wife (a teacher also) and I live in the Traverse City area and have loved making this place home over the last decade. Coming to The Greenspire School is truly amazing, as it allows me to bring together my two fields of study and passions, stories and the outdoors. I look forward to helping this school achieve its mission for years to come.