Friday Night Reunion

Last week, under the Friday night lights, there was a reunion of fans, players, cheerleaders and musicians. Amidst the regulations and protocols for public gatherings in this season of COVID-19, being together brought a little sigh of relief and a refreshing feeling of normal. Last week, in David McKenzie Stadium, the resounding theme of the evening for seniors on the field would be, this night was a dream come true.

Michael Care, wide receiver felt the opportunity to not only have a fall season but to celebrate on their home field last week with their cheerleading and marching band counterparts was a big relief. Michael and his teammates appreciated being surrounded by the community and hearing all the normal sounds that accompany their games. Time spent together as a team and the rallying of Friday nights, especially with a great win, is something that cements the bonds of everyone. For this senior, he hopes this is an indication that life will be slowly returning to normal. 

Shelby Monday, Varsity cheerleader was elated to be given the chance to continue her final Varsity sideline cheer season. Training and cheering with masks as an accessory to her uniform is something she never thought she’d have to do, but felt it was definitely worth it. Time seems to be on fast forward for Shelby these days, and she’s looking forward to enjoying the rest of her senior year with more glimpses of normal, while embracing other unique memory making opportunities as she can.  

The Jenison Varsity Cheerleaders, Class of 2021

For Madelyn Schab, Head Drum Major for the JHS Marching Band, it was an absolute dream come true to be given the opportunity to be under the Friday night lights. The marching band students experienced a great disappointment when their competitive season was cancelled 5 months ago, along with their football performances. Yet, she and the entire marching band and crew relentlessly pursued excellence as a team. Hopeful for a performance, they pushed forward perfecting their show. They have been so grateful that that approval for parent performances and this final football game became a reality.

Madelyn felt that this season was a reminder of the simple, pure experience of coming together as a group. Combining their passion and love for music, diligently pursuing perfection as they create an amazing show together, while supporting each other along the way, was a pretty great thing too. However, being able to support the football team and cheerleaders one last time as seniors, is something none of these musicians, (or this community) will soon be able to forget.

I’ll forever be proud of this class of students and teachers for the obstacles they have endured and the magic they have achieved. Go Wildcats!

Sandy Hill New Staff Spotlight

Sandy Hill Elementary has welcomed two new teachers and embraced them with open arms. We’re excited to put their passion and experience to work for our students.

Hannah Plawski

A first year teacher, Hannah is very excited to be off to a great start in her teaching career with 3rd graders at Sandy Hill Elementary. The reputation of Jenison Public Schools and the community drew her in and we’re so glad to have her. She has already enjoyed her students and the cohesive community with her new colleagues.

Hannah enjoys spending time outdoors, running/being active, and spending time with family/friends. If she wasn’t a teacher, she would probably be teaching fitness classes or traveling the world. 


Calvin Merritt

Calvin is no stranger to Jenison or the wonderful world of 5th graders. He spent 20 years teaching in Grandville, but has always been a Wildcat at heart. He is a resident, alumni and parent of children in the Jenison district.

As he leads a 5th grade class at Sandy Hill Elementary, he has been overwhelmed with how welcoming everyone was and he really appreciates the respectful, positive, family atmosphere. He feels the commitment of colleagues watching out for each other and taking care of one another. 

A few hobbies Calvin enjoys are cooking, yard work, spending time with family, and coaching baseball/softball.  If he wasn’t a teacher, he might take that yard work hobby a little more serious and own a lawn care business with his son.

Pinewood Pride Updates

This school year has presented many challenges to traditional teaching methods but the Pinewood team has forged ahead with giving their students every opportunity possible.

Our teachers are the best and are really showing their relentless spirit this year! Among many other unique ideas: outdoor learning and reading sessions have been a welcome break by students in all grades. Michelle U’Ren’s 5th grade students were able to visit the Gerald R Ford Museum virtually and they really enjoyed the very timely lesson of learning about the importance of Character in Campaigns.

A few weeks into the school year, Pinewood Elementary students received a great donation of new playground toys donated from local church, Chapel Pointe. We are grateful for all of our community partners.


Introducing Judy Ko

Formerly a youth pastor, Judy Ko became a JPS substitute teacher in 2018, returned to school for her teacher certificate and completed her student teaching this past spring. This year, she is taking the position of 5th grade long term substitute (for Kristen Carpenter) at Pinewood Elementary. Growing up in Jenison, and raising her kids here, she describes this as her dream job.

She has fallen fast for her colleagues and students, appreciating their friendly help and welcoming attitudes. When she’s not living her dream with her students at Pinewood, she enjoys being outside and spending time with friends and family, taking walks and bike rides. If she wasn’t a teacher, she could see herself being a stunt driver!

Rosewood New Staff Spotlight

Rosewood Elementary is proud to welcome some amazing teachers this year. It’s always exciting to attract new talent to our district as well as see Jenison teachers take on a new challenge and shift to a different post. Check out the new additions to the Rosewood teaching team.

We are thankful for each of them and everything they bring to Jenison Public Schools!

Stacey Miller

Stacey starts her 5th year teaching as a Special Education Interventionist at Rosewood. In the first few weeks of school, she has been impressed by the kindness and respectful attitudes of her students. She comes from the Grand Rapids area and chose Jenison based on the reputation of the district. Stacey enjoys traveling to see friends and explore their new diverse cities. She also loves reading, drinking coffee and loving on her young niece.


Kelsey Wolffis

Kelsey officially joined the Jenison District this fall after spending time at Bauerwood for her student teaching and a long term substitute position at Sandy Hill. After these experiences, she couldn’t imagine officially beginning her career anywhere else and we’re excited to have her in the role of Special Education Interventionist at Rosewood. She has really enjoyed the inclusive team atmosphere at each school and is looking forward to getting to know her students better. A few of Kelsey’s hobbies include basketball, volleyball, and painting. If she was not a teacher and the ocean was not so far away, she might have been a marine biologist studying ocean animals.


Amanda Maxted

Amanda kicks off her 17th year of teaching in an Extended Traditional post for Third Graders. Extended Traditional students are learning from home with a dedicated online teacher. Amanda and her students are embarking on a new type of learning this year and we’re grateful for her efforts. Amanda loves spending time outdoors, hiking, kayaking, rock hunting, and reading. She loves horses and if she weren’t a teacher, she might have been a large animal vet.


Cindy Schenkel

The Rosewood Kindergarten teacher position gave Cindy a reason to return back to her hometown. She taught for 18 years in Indiana and is happy to be back. She wanted to be a teacher ever since she was in Kindergarten herself. When Cindy is not at school she enjoys spending time with family, bike riding and spending time at Lake Michigan.


Randi Alferink

Randi is no stranger to JPS as she has previously filled teaching positions at Bursley and Rosewood; in Spanish Immersion and General Education. After a few years home with her son, she is now choosing Jenison again and is excited to become reacquainted with the “Let’s work together” attitude that exudes Rosewood Teachers. Randi is now a Spanish Specials teacher at Rosewood.

In her spare time, she is learning a third language with her son through LAMP Words For Life (a program used on a communication device for those who are unable to speak or those who have difficulty speaking).


Melanie Lason

Melanie is not exactly new to Rosewood but after 6 years of short substitute teaching posts, we’re happy to add her as a long term 2nd grade teacher. She has chosen Jenison because she feels decisions are made with a perspective of what is best for the kids and she really appreciates the sense of unity among her colleagues. She truly has a passion for kids that even if she wasn’t a teacher, she is confident she would still work with kids in some capacity. Her hobbies include reading, sewing, and camping.


Kari Reynolds

Kari taught for 18 years before joining Jenison Public Schools at Bursley in 2019. This year, she comes to Rosewood as a sixth grade Extended Traditional Teacher. As someone who may have been a starving writer instead of a teacher, she is pleased with the district’s commitment to quality literacy instruction through reading and writing workshops and has been very excited to join the welcoming staff of Rosewood. Kari enjoys cooking, traveling with her husband and children, writing, and reading great books. 


Student Retailers Respond to Changes in Business Landscape

Jenison High School’s ‘Green Bean’ coffee shop and ‘Cat’s Corner’ spirit store offer more than just a place to snag a tasty snack and the latest Wildcat wear. They are both self-sustaining, student run, school-based enterprises providing real life business experience. Students develop plans for the shop and are responsible for the operation, including details like ordering products and even dealing with the Health Department.


The Career and Technical Education classes in the business department at Jenison High School are relevant and help students gain valuable insight and skills for college or future careers. Through both levels of her Marketing Studies classes, Jordan Whittecar leads groups of students as they manage the operations for the storefronts. The student groups represent six different business ‘departments’ including Visual Merchandising, Operations, Digital Marketing, Human Resources, Finance/Inventory, and Promotion.

After an abrupt closure in March, the business students now face reopening both operations in a completely different business atmosphere. As the school year resumed, the marketing students have been part of the preparing and planning for this new business climate. Tackling the current challenges include restaurant trainings sponsored by the Governor’s office, writing their own Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan and planning a shift in distribution for the sale of retail items.

Last week, students representing the Operations team met with high school principal, Dr. Brandon Graham, and presented their plans to reopen both storefronts and safely move forward. Approval was given and they are very excited to be back serving customers soon. 

The Green Bean coffee shop is located in the High School Media Center. This was an important part of their original intent to provide a central location for students to enjoy a beverage or snack and relax or get some homework done in a casual environment. However, current social distancing practices and limiting the gathering of people throughout the school building makes it impossible for students to visit the Green Bean. The students went to work figuring out what would be needed to shift to a ‘take-out’ and ‘delivery’ model. They will be putting technology to work for them and utilizing a website order form. This will allow students to pick up their order or receive a delivery.

The Green Bean delivery cart will be visiting classrooms soon to serve students and teachers. Hannah Gingerich is ready to offer service with a smile.

Students, Sophia Velez and Alyson Scholten have been stepping into leadership roles getting both stores open. They recently represented the students in a virtual brainstorm session with Erin Mitrzyk, a designer from the Visual Merchandising team at Wolverine Worldwide

Advanced Marketing Students Sophia Velez and Alyson Scholten

They came away with some real life application and ideas to reopen and encourage sales to continue. The marketing students will proceed to evaluate the ideas, which include a possible new reward and incentive program for both students and teachers, a program to schedule automated orders (managing workload of orders and minimizing classroom disruption), and a possible alternative payment method suitable for students of all ages (reloadable payment card or account).

Cat’s Corner is also located inside the high school and is following social distancing and mask protocols as you see in other retail locations around town. Currently, customers who are not students and/or teachers are not allowed in the building. This has required the students to investigate other ways to keep business moving. Online ordering has already been an option so they will continue to evaluate ways to make that a seamless process with affordable shipping options. Something new for this year is a tent sale scheduled for next week. It’s really exciting to see these students embracing the current challenges and coming up with some creative ideas. If you’re able to support either of these student businesses, please do – and be prepared to be impressed at the professional level of service and goods!


The Cat’s Corner Tent Sale outdoor tent sale is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday (September 30 and October 1) from 7:30am – 5:00pm both days. Stop by for some great deals on Jenison merchandise.

Orders can also be placed on the Cat’s Corner website and shipped directly to you. SHOP NOW at  https://jenisoncatscorner.square.site/

Check out other stories about Cat’s Corner and the Green Bean:

https://tomtenbrink.com/2013/06/27/jhs-green-bean-gives-many-a-reason-to-smile/

https://tomtenbrink.com/2013/03/21/jenison-high-school-deca-students-take-honors/

Caring Nurses of Jenison

The Jenison school nurse role derived from the daycare component of our Early Childhood Center when it opened 16 years ago. Expanding on the district’s commitment to meeting the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical needs of each student; we also believe that the ECC program helps to establish a healthy foundation for families. This is the first ‘school’ experience for the majority of our students and parents. These beliefs combined with state licensing requirements paved the way for a school nurse to be part of the original ECC programming.

Since the beginning of the ECC in 2004, the program has grown exponentially. Today, we offer daycare, 13 preschool classrooms, 8 Transitional Kindergarten classes and provide services for all early childhood age kids in the Special Education program.

I’d like to introduce you to the ECC Nursing staff and acknowledge the ways they support their students as well as families around the district.


Leslie Kidd

Early Childhood Center School Nurse

We’re delighted to welcome Leslie to the Early Childhood Center as a school nurse this year. Previously, she spent 8 years as a cardiac nurse in the Meijer Heart Center of Spectrum Health and then was a District Nurse Supervisor for Wayland Union Schools for 4 years. 

Her role as a nurse at the ECC includes daily caring for our youngest students and offering procedural support to other buildings. This includes annually training district personnel in medicine administration, training secretaries, administrators and bus drivers regarding allergic response and EpiPens.

Leslie is a Jenison High School alumna and she credits the Jenison community for shaping her life in a positive way, she is excited to put her passions to work for the families of JPS. 

Her interests include hiking, traveling anywhere tropical, and owning the role for her kids’ biggest cheerleader through softball, volleyball, baseball, and basketball seasons! She and her husband Ryan have three children, all attending JPS at Bauerwood Elementary. 


Kerri Ten Brink

School Nurse and District COVID Liaison

Kerri joined Jenison Public Schools as a nurse when the Early Childhood Center building opened. It’s an honor to continue to have Kerri on staff and we’re thankful as she has taken on the additional support role of District Covid Liaison. Instrumental in developing guidelines and implementing protocol related to all aspects of the prevention and management of Covid in our schools, Kerri is staying in daily communication with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. It is her desire to serve and make a difference in the lives of everyone in our district as we navigate daily challenges together. She also serves as a medical resource for parents, maintains the AED machines and provides guidance to our administration team and faculty as we work together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our Jenison students and staff. This liaison role requires great patience and an extreme amount of flexibility as we respond to the recommended health and safety practices in alignment with the CDC. While we work hard to keep our students safe and healthy with continued face to face instruction, it is a gift to have someone who loves, and knows our district so well in this role.

COVID-19 UPDATE

I also want to extend a generous amount of gratitude to our community for adapting to a flexible mindset. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) protocols are regularly changing based on the health needs of our community and county. We are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe and respond and adjust to these protocols as they are being provided to us.

Please visit the COVID-19 Update Center on the JPS district website for ongoing updates.

Festival of Plays

The resilient Jenison High School thespians have pulled off a totally new experience this year! The “Festival of Plays” is a 26 year old Jenison theatre tradition that hasn’t missed a beat. From student directors choosing their scripts, organizing auditions and casting the parts with fellow students; it remains a largely student led experience, offering each participant unique points of learning about acting, and the direction/production of their own shows. Through ticket sales, it has also been considered a major annual fundraising event.

During early summer, the directors conducted auditions through video chats and prepared for the show to go on! Throughout the next few months, casts would meet virtually, outdoors and in-person while adhering to the appropriate safety recommendations. Now, they are ready to ‘hit the stage’ and tomorrow the public will have the opportunity to view the three shows that have been underway.

Check out the short promo video done by Senior, Brandon Sams.

The YouTube link below will take you to the recorded performances, Friday, September 11 at 7pm.

There will also be an online opportunity to donate to the Thespian program if you’d like as well.

FESTIVAL OF PLAYS 2020 – WILL BE “LIVE” Friday, Sept 11 at 7pm.

It is really exciting to see these passionate students work hard and be able to complete their goal in the midst of this difficult season. Please join me; mark your calendars and make a plan to watch the students perform three great shows this weekend!
1) 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview

Two college interviewers are tasked with finding another applicant by the end of the day, or else they’ll be fired. Their only option is to look at the waitlist, which has 13 unseen students. Directed by Alex Wood and Carmine Sabatini.


2) The 9 Worst Breakups of All Time

You think your breakup was bad? Eve Tonsil, an employee of the nonprofit company “Relationships for a Better Tomorrow” is here to take you on a tour of the nine worst breakups of all time, from the Cro-Magnon era to the Civil War, to a smattering of modern-day breakups. A comedy that proves that no matter how hard someone has stomped on your heart…it could always be worse. Directed by Liberty Kasper and Katelyn Warkentien.


3) 12 Angry Jurors

A drama in which a jury decides whether to put a 19 year old man on death row for the alleged murder of his father. Directed by Connor Vachon and Maddison Cheyne.

Can’t make it this weekend? The link will remain available online so you won’t miss your chance.


Meet Ashlee DeGraaf

Jenison Theatre Director & English Teacher

This is also a great opportunity to introduce the newest addition to the Jenison Theatre program. As Todd Avery prepared to retire at the end of last year, Ms. Ashlee DeGraaf was introduced at the annual (virtual) student Thespian award show last spring. We’re very excited to have Ashlee accept the position of Theatre Director and English teacher at Jenison High School.

Ashlee is a West Michigan native who made teaching stops in California and then Indianapolis before finding her way back home. She has really enjoyed the school year so far and has been connecting with theatre students while sponsoring the Festival of Plays show alongside Julie Oosterink (Jenison Junior High School Theatre Director).

She enjoys spending time with family and looks forward to more of that now that she’s back in the area. She has made the most of her Covid year while hiking, traveling and reading (with a count of 46 books already)!

Ashlee is grateful for the community support of the arts and is really looking forward to building on our distinguished theatre program.

“Well, this has been a wonderful and strange start to the year with distancing and masks, but all the students I have met have been so kind and welcoming.

I have some big shoes to fill but I also very much appreciate inheriting the gift of an amazing program like Jenison. I also look forward to adding some new elements, possibly some improv projects.

I have been super impressed with the students and their drive to overcome some some really frustrating circumstances. They have worked hard to produce the best shows that they can. We hope you enjoy the Festival of Plays!”

Ashlee DeGraff

WELCOME TO JENISON ASHLEE!

GO WILDCATS!

Fall Sports Update 2020

Out of the box thinking in response to the uncertainty of Covid-19 has not been limited to the classroom. Our coaches and athletes have been tenacious in returning to the water, course, courts, and fields and we’ve seen an interesting start to the fall 2020 sports season.

Jenison High School Athletic Director, Tim Ritsema has been working alongside our high school teams to ensure the safety of our student athletes and provide the best opportunity to return to competition.

Our coaches and student athletes showed up ready to work hard and they continue to do so despite the uncertainty of our fall seasons. Obviously they want to compete, but their commitment to their team and overall resolve has been nothing short of amazing!

Go Wildcats!

Tim Ritsema

Read below for more about the relentless commitment of our student athletes and coaches as they navigate their season during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also, don’t miss the CATS ROAR, an in-depth Jenison Athletic Boosters wrap up of last year’s sports programs and other Athletic department highlights.


Girls Swimming and Diving

Swimming coach, Kyle Stumpf and Diving coach, Brian Zuehlke started training with their teams in August. Covid athletic protocols made it necessary for them to find outdoor venues for their practices. The swimming team travels in two smaller groups for training at a variety of locations including Coopersville, Camp Geneva in Holland and open water training at a local residential lake (with coaches supporting from kayaks). The diving team has been practicing at a local house with a diving board.

The team’s new mantra has been borrowed from Teddy Roosevelt – “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” And they are doing just that. The coaches have been reminding the girls (and themselves) that perseverance is key. They want to have a season and are doing everything they can, considering the circumstances, to expectantly prepare for a return to indoor swimming and diving this season.


Volleyball

Varsity coach, Joe Steenhuysen and Junior Varsity coach, Mya Udell have called the start of their fall season, ‘interesting and non-traditional’. The team is training outdoors as well; on the football field and they have traveled to an outdoor court in Caledonia (in some wet weather). As the football team has dealt with the loss/rescheduling of their season, the team also gained some new team members when four senior guys joined up to train with and manage the volleyball team.

Coach Steenhuysen is a first year coach in Jenison and shared that he has been impressed by the determination and commitment of these athletes and their families. The team is clearly important to them and no matter what has been thrown their way, they come in each day to work hard. Even though it’s been a non-traditional start to the season, he and the players have enjoyed every minute.


Boys Soccer and Football

They proceed with caution, but there are many soccer and football players with fingers crossed these days as we await communication from Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer regarding potentially reinstating their seasons to occur during this fall.

Jenison Football… TO BE CONTINUED. (Photo taken at the final official practice on 8.14.2020)

Boys Tennis

Varsity coach, Aaron Boersma and Junior Varsity coach, Jeff Brown excitedly move forward with their season in full swing.


Girls Golf

Varsity coach, Linda Reimink and JV coach, Alanna Kremkow are happy to have their season count – no mulligan here!


Cross Country

Jacci Storey (Boys coach) and Kelly Tavis (Girls coach) are running full steam ahead with their teams; and the team has recorded some very impressive times in their first few meets.

Congratulations Class of 2020

This week, we had a great first day to kick off our 2020 – 2021 school year. And just one week before, we were able to finally celebrate the accomplishments of our 2020 graduates!

As a sign of the times, Commencement 2020, of course, looked very different. I’m so grateful they were able to have this long-awaited opportunity to celebrate. Even though the execution of the event was unique, I love everything about the tradition of commencement and the time it gives me to reflect on the hearts of each of those students and the obstacles they have overcome during their school career. I wish them well and hope they experience much success as they enter the next phase of their lives.

As the class of 2020 gets to finally close the book on their high school career, the rest of us turn the page to a new chapter. One where flexibility is the name of the game! I’m so grateful for the relentless team of teachers, staff and administrators of Jenison Public Schools who have come back to school with a renewed focus on building positive and meaningful relationships with our students; no matter what – because each one of them matter to us!

The energy the students bring to our school buildings is powerful and we met them with such celebration and great excitement on that first day. Here’s to a great year for all of us! Go Wildcats!

Honoring Retirees – 2020

I’d like to honor a few more amazing individuals who have recently turned the page in their career. Combined, these educational heroes have been pouring into our children and local community with over 100 years experience! If they had the privilege to partner with your student and family, I encourage you to reach out, wish them well and thank them for their dedicated careers.

  • Patricia Howard
  • Janice Staley
  • Deb Van Duinen
  • Lee Westervelt

Another group of 2020 retiring teachers is featured HERE.


Patricia Howard

Sixth grade teacher – Rosewood Elementary

“Living and raising a family in the Jenison community has been the best part of my life. Teaching for Jenison Public Schools was an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream. I am thankful for the many relationships, laughs, and memories that the last 20 years have given me.”

Pat always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She felt nothing could be better than knowing you could impact the life of a student, their understanding of the world and even help them find their place in the world.

She and her husband, Scott, have three adult sons who are all Jenison High School graduates. Pat is looking forward to expanding her travel season to year round (not just summers), taking things slow, reading more books and spending time visiting family.

For the last 15 years, Pat has celebrated her birthday while chaperoning Sixth Grade camp for Rosewood Elementary. She will miss the extra special treatment of the 90 voice choir signing happy birthday to her!


Janice Staley

Elementary Media Specialist

I would like to leave this thought from A.A. Milne the author of Winnie the Pooh, it’s perfect for the start of the school year and these uncertain times…

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and more loved than you’ll ever know.”

Jan spent a few years teaching elementary grades before she and her husband, Butch, started their family. She took a part time position with the Kent District Libraries while raising their children. Her experience there fanned the flame of a new passion. She pursued a master’s degree in Library and Information Science. This journey allowed her to combine her love of education and literature; and the Jenison community benefited from her passion for 20 years as an elementary media specialist.

The most rewarding moments were when she would introduce a book or series to a student and they’d take off and find their own love for reading. Jan is a driving force behind many Jenison students becoming readers and leaders!

If she wasn’t a media specialist, you might be reading her travel blog or taking yoga classes from her on the beach somewhere! In retirement, she intends to log many miles with travel of all kinds and staying active wherever their journey takes them… maybe even to a beach, where she can teach yoga.


Deb Van Duinen

Language Arts – Jenison Junior High

One of my favorite quotes comes from the poem “Speech to the Young” by Gwendolyn Brooks:

“Live not for battles won.

Live not for the-end-of-the-song.

Live in the along.”

Deb and her husband, Tom, have been married as long as she has has been on staff at Jenison Junior High. Deb has been a steadfast and loyal presence in the JJHS language arts department for 38 years. She has loved the times when she could influence her students to be lifelong readers, like she is, and share her love of the adventures in her favorite genre, historical fiction. She had also taken opportunities to expand her teaching experience through the OAISD Literacy Network, the Lake Michigan Writing Project, and the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project.

Asking her to choose a favorite memory from her time at JJHS is like asking her to choose a favorite book. She is overwhelmed with so many wonderful memories and moments, and relationships with students and colleagues. She cherished the opportunities to learn and grow personally, and feels abundantly gifted with the privilege of seeing young people learn and grow.

Deb is really looking forward to slowing down, spending time with her children and grandchildren, adding more books to her ‘To Read’ list and downsizing her ‘To Do’ list.


Lee Westervelt

Principal – Early Childhood Center

“The future is in God’s Hands.” 

Lee has spent his entire 38 year career in education administration – 30 of them with Jenison Public Schools, first as Principal of Bauerwood and most recently Principal of the ECC. Being constantly surrounded by curiosity and wonderment is something that excites him on a daily basis. Lee considered his daily playground duty as his classroom. Giving him the opportunity to guide the children in ‘Being a Good Friend – 101’. Watching them cooperate and play inclusively is a memory he’ll keep forever.

In the past, Lee also brought his administration expertise to the position of JPS Community Education Director, gave 10 years as Memorial Day Parade co-chair as well as many Charitable Board positions. Our community is very thankful for his strong leadership role.