The Jenison Board of Education is a group of elected members who work extremely hard to partner with me and the entire Jenison Public School Administration team, the teachers and the community.
I am proud to collaborate with each one of them as they bring their diverse thoughts and experiences to the table, and employ their skills with vigor as we continue to launch our district towards success.
Our board members are on the forefront of our pursuit of relentless commitment to the Jenison Public School district. I am excited to introduce each of our valuable board members to you.
Last week, you met Amanda Peterman and this week you will meet Bill Waalkes, Jennifer Postema and Eric Hartman.
William T. Waalkes
Jenison Board of Education, Trustee
The longevity of Bill’s participation in the Jenison Public School district is remarkable and admirable. Wildcat class of 1971, Bill has been on a journey with JPS from the early days.
When Bill becomes a part of something – it becomes a part of him. Our district has benefited from his steadfast commitment as he showed up in many ways while his own 3 children were students. This includes being a part of the school improvement team at Bauerwood and sitting on the board of the Jenison Public Education Foundation. Even though Bill is now a grandfather with grandchildren in the district, he hasn’t relinquished his ‘band dad’ title as he continues to own the role of equipment chair person with the Jenison marching band for 21 years.
Retired from Steelcase Payroll Department after 35 years, still logging time preparing tax returns after 40 years and serving JPS as a BOE member for the last 21 years. Bill is a man of numbers and his service is impressive. The numbers we can’t calculate are the countless hours he has spent pouring into our staff and students in small and big ways.
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
“As a board of education, we enjoy great cooperation between the schools and parents. Our board members vary in age, work backgrounds, experience and come from different districts, but we all strive to work together to make sure that the Jenison is doing what is best for our students.”
“Considering we are a relatively new district and are pretty small compared to our neighbors (in land area); we have a very large number of school of choice students. I love being a part of the Jenison family and I’m so proud of the quality of the education that JPS provides – it speaks for itself and makes a mark in our region.”
Jenison Board of Education, Secretary
During the early years of her marriage, Jen and her husband, Adam chose to move to Jenison because of the small, family-friendly community and school district with strong academic and fine arts programs. Today, she works tirelessly to uphold those values and keep our strong reputation intact.
Early on in the education journey of their four children, Jen caught the bug for involvement at Jenison Public Schools. Volunteering in many different classroom and extra curricular capacities, as well as holding formal member positions on boards and advisory committees.
Jen is authentic in every action and interaction, she is involved and relevant. She engages staff and students of all ages with an open heart and unconditional acceptance. Over the years, she has fallen in love with the family that is Jenison Public Schools and has met every opportunity with more than 100% commitment. Her experiences have allowed her to have a finger on the pulse of families throughout the district and she is a proud advocate for them as a much appreciated board member.
IN HER OWN WORDS:
“I consider it an honor and privilege to be serving the Jenison community. I truly care about the students, staff, and families. Investing in the schools not only supports and impacts the success of our students but is a critical investment in our community. I have learned a great deal over the years, and I’m looking forward to more of all of it! Serving the community in love with hard conversations and decisions that protect the integrity of the Jenison tradition of excellence, excites me day after day.”
“My time within this community and district has given me MANY great memories. Above that, are the numerous relationships that I have been blessed with. Long lasting friendships that have made me into a better person. I’m also completely humbled when students tell me that I have made a difference in their lives. Words cannot express how that feels, but little do they know that those students have touched me so much more. I love the experience I have with the students helping backstage in a theater production, and how the students impact me to be a better leader and friend. It’s so much fun to hear the kids’ experience and how something like theater makes a real impact on their lives.”
Dr. Eric Hartman
Jenison Board of Education, Vice President
Eric is a west Michigan native and he and his wife Kimberly chose Jenison as their home 12 years ago. They enjoy a very full life with their 3 boys. Ryan is going into 3rd grade at El Puente. JJ and Timothy, who recently joined their family through adoption after a 3 year fostering journey, are at Rosewood in 2nd and 1st grade.
Eric is a well established local business owner with his Chiropractic practice. As a proponent of overall health and wellness, Eric enjoys staying active and grilling up good, healthy food. His lifestyle and core beliefs are appreciated and revealed through his heartfelt and engaged attitude during the decision making process as a board.
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
“I have been on the board for 11 years and I get to relive my greatest memory and highlight each year with graduation. We have watched so many of these kids, now young adults, grow up, work so hard, and graduate. Seeing the joy on their faces and the pride exuding from their parents is my highlight. We rotate passing out diplomas and even get the opportunity to request a few students that we are connected with. That extra chance to share in their special day is priceless and the best honor of being on the board of education.”
“Over the years, we have had a number of board members come and go but each has put in their time with a servant heart. Each member comes in without any significant personal agenda, learns, often from a fire hose at first, all the intricate details of what it takes to run a large school district, then turns around and uses their gifts, education, and life experiences to help advise our administration and district to keep it safe, healthy, and reflect the values that our community have. We remain very unified throughout all our decisions. It’s been an incredible experience to be a part of!”