New Teacher Spotlight

Introducing three more new teachers with Jenison Public Schools this year!


Before joining the second grade Spanish Immersion class at Rosewood, Beth Zuwerink was teaching in Rockford Public Schools.  She had taken some time off to raise her son and missed Spanish Immersion so she decided to return to the classroom this year.  “I am looking forward to helping my students grow as students and as individuals. As I watch my son grow and develop, I’m even more reminded of how special and unique each child is.  I feel blessed to be able to get to know each of my students and to help them realize their full potential.  And, of course, I am also looking forward to all those goose-bump moments that come as I watch my students’ Spanish language skills progress!”  Beth is ‘hugely passionate” about immersion education and Rosewood students are lucky to have her on their team!

Olivia Mwakanandi

Olivia Mwakanadi is a new Intervention Specialist at Bauerwood Elementary.  “My students have already made great gains, and it’s so encouraging to see that my teaching is helping them (as an intervention specialist). It’s encouraging to be present for the “lightbulb” moments in my kids.”  Olivia is working on her Masters Degree in Learning Disabilities at Grand Valley and was most recently subbing at Bursley Elementary which she enjoyed immensely.  Her first introduction to Jenison was during her student teaching in 2012 and I really loved the team atmosphere I sensed, and how caring the teachers and staff were, not only for each other but for the kids.” When I subbed for 6 weeks at Bursley, the feeling of togetherness and team atmosphere continued, and I just loved how welcoming everyone was and how comfortable I felt after only 6 weeks. I am thankful to work in such a wonderful district, and that I am so excited for the opportunity to teach here!”

Sami Duval

Samantha [or Sami] Duval is a new Fourth Grade teacher at Bursley Elementary.  Like Olivia, Sami spent her student teaching and a period of long term subbing in Jenison at Rosewood and Bursley.  “The first time I walked into the building I knew Jenison was a great place to be as I was surrounded by such a kind and welcoming staff.”  Sami also took some time coaching the JV Cheerleading team and as the assistant coach for the Varsity team.  So far this school year she is already inspired by her students:  “[They] are so kind and giving. They took Kid President’s Socktober challenge and they collected 680 pairs of socks to give to the homeless. Watching the joy in their faces as they counted socks everyday was such an amazing experience.”  When Sami isn’t teaching she is spending time with her husband, their dog, Rosco, and drinking Biggby coffee.

Thank you to all of our teachers for sharing their passion and talent with our community!

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