Making a Difference: DPS's Steve Wasko

Find out what it takes to put together a successful school year.
Find out what it takes to put together a successful school year.

DETROIT – Public Education has been the foundation for many folks who have gone on and obtained successful lives. The cornerstones for public education are the dedicated teachers, administrators and employees who provide services in their assigned areas.

  Within the Detroit Public Education system, one such individual that daily goes about his business of providing administrative service is Steve Wasko.  He started with DPS in 1992 and he counts this as his third " tour of  duty". He has served in many capacities particularly in the area of communications and community relations.  Currently he is serves in an very important area as Executive Director of Academic Enrollment. This is a new division created to focus on student outreach and enrollment for DPS

 It is common knowledge, that for the past several years DPS has been challenged with lost of students enrollment. But recently there has been a stabilization of students that are being retained. Currently the number hovers around 47,000. When you add in the 3000 students who are Pre-K, the enrollment is at 50,000.

 The strategies of this Enrollment Division is based upon serving the needs of the family and connecting with other components of the community. DPS realizes that the school house is not a stand alone entity. Actually the two cornerstone of the community are the school and the church. Therefore one of the strategies has been for DPS to connect with and work with local churches in establishing activities and partnership.

 There are several programs and relationships that DPS has that the community needs to know. Wasko is proud to announce that this year Lawrence Technological University started a scholarship program that touches 50 students and is valued at 4 million dollars. It connects with students from the elementary school all the way through middle and high school.

 Wasko states, 'Success stories are abundant within DPS. Sometimes we just need to look and see. He continues by stating last year more than 40 million dollars in scholarships were awarded to Cass Tech students'

 Also he lifts up the fact that there is renewed interest in corporate participation within DPS. Mark Twain School for Scholars, located in Southwest Detroit, is a beautiful building with brightly colored hallways and class rooms. The Target Corporation came in an completely renovated the large library. Books , murals on the walls, computers, historical picture stories of  famous folks for inspiration can be seen everywhere.

 Wasko believes that the more folks look at DPS and talk about the positive things the better  it will be for our children. He is a tireless worker, often his days begin at 5am and end at 10pm. He says he does not mind the hard work, because the motivation is seeing the smiles, hearing the laughter and seeing DPS student learn inside the classroom.

 Steve Wasko states," If I had to pick a job, I would pick this one" He is truly an Everyday Hero, Making A Difference.

 On a daily basis in spite of ones life's struggles and challenges, there are some people who reach out an make a positive impact on the lives of others.

 That is why Local 4 and a prominent local clergyman, Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. have teamed up to find those people and tell their stories.

Do you know an everyday hero in your life? E-mail us and tell us about them.


About Rev. Lonnie Peek, Jr.

Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. located in Detroit in 1975. After teaching 2 years in DPS, he went to WSU receiving a Masters of Social Work, an activist on campus he created the Association of Black Students. He is an entrepreneur and serves on such civic boards as New Detroit, Inc, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. With extensive radio background expanding 25 years, he writes a weekly column for the Michigan Chronicle. He has been a regular on local/ national television shows dealing with political and social issues An ordained minister and seminary graduate, he serves on the executive committee and is the public relations chairman for the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and is Assistant Pastor at Greater Christ Baptist Church.