This summer has witnessed a flurry of excitement surrounding the addition of several new faces to the JPS staff. Necessary in large part to fill the newly state-mandated all-day kindergarten classes as well as provide for new Spanish requirements, these teachers are ready to dive in with high expectations and goals fixed on student success. Several special education teachers and our new Jenison High School athletic director, Todd Kolster, round out the group pictured below on Orientation Day.
While we won’t spend time here going in depth with all nineteen of them, we’d like to introduce you to a handful of these extraordinary individuals who will begin shaping lives in our classrooms over the weeks and months to come.
[ Pictured from left to right above: Blake Smolen, Jenna Wiley, Dennis Kaboos, Tara Eparvier, Katelyn Kielezewski, Brittany Douglas, Rachel Eriks, Tami Scholma, Shanna Richey, Lindsay Smith, Ashlee Stansbury, Becky Chicklon, Angela Trace, Todd Kolster, Alison Bydalek, Brandon Bosch, April Windemuller, Travis Sands, Kendra Krestan. ]
1. Lindsey Smith is a graduate from Grand Valley State University with a Major in Psychology-Special Education and a Minor in Elementary Education; she also holds an endorsement in teaching students with emotional impairments. Lindsey will be teaching 1st grade at Pinewood this fall and is “very excited to meet my students and get to know their personalities and start building relationships.”
A little known fact about Lindsey is that she grew up on a dairy farm and loves anything related to Holstein cows! She and her husband will be celebrating their one year anniversary this month and have a cat named Neko. Be sure to stop in and welcome Lindsey next time you’re at Pinewood!
2. Blake Smolen is another Grand Valley Laker-turned-Wildcat! Blake has a degree in Special Education and is endorsed to teach both emotionally and cognitively impaired students. He also provides some flexibility in that he is additionally certified to instruct grades K-5. Blake comes to us from Grand Rapids Catholic Central where he spent 2011-2012 as their resource room teacher. This background makes him a great fit as the Intervention specialist at our Early Childhood Center.
Mr. Smolen is ”looking forward to getting into the classroom and making a difference in my students’ academic lives!” Though he is too humble to trumpet his accomplishments on the field, a little known fact about Blake is that he played football at GVSU (and did so with excellence!). Please say hello to him if you find yourself at the ECC this fall!
3. Alison Bydalek is a GVSU graduate who spent 6 years teaching in both a cognitively impaired classroom and 3rd grade classroom in Kenowa Hills Public Schools. She has a Masters Degree in Learning Disabilities and returns to the classroom after spending several years at home raising her four children.
Alison is” looking forward to establishing relationships with students and staff…and embraces this opportunity for making a positive impact as well as fostering a love for learning with the students I will work with.” Mrs. Bydalek has been married for 14 years enjoys swimming, skiing, traveling and many outdoor activities with her family. She is proud to be both a parent and teacher in our district. A warm welcome to you, Alison!
4. Shanna Richey earned her BA from Bethel College and comes to us from Shelby County Schools where she taught 3rd grade and 4th grade. She is most looking forward to “meeting my students and getting to know the people in the Jenison community” when she joins us as a 1st grade teacher at Pinewood Elementary.
A little known fact about Shanna is that she was the National Champion in college golf! (feel free to contact her for your next scramble!) She and her husband Troy will celebrate their first wedding anniversary this October. Please introduce yourself to Shanna and welcome her to Pinewood.
5. Angela Tracy is a proud graduate of Hope College and Western Michigan University and is re-joining our family after having worked at JPS from 1995-2001, and then briefly leaving to serve as a Minister of Children and Families at Fellowship Reformed Church from 2008-2012. Angela joins us as another Intervention Specialist at Bauerwood Elementary.
Angela shares, “I can’t wait to get back in the schools and start teaching and collaborating with faculty, staff, children and parents to help every child reach his and her fullest potential! I am extremely grateful to be part of a district and building that is committed to each other and their community.”
A little known fact about Mrs. Tracy is that she lived in Germany for a year with her family when she was 10. She currently lives in Holland with her husband and three children, ages 6, 9 and 10. We’re so glad to welcome you back, Angela!