When I first came to Jenison in 1987, I never dreamed that my work in the junior high would one day lead to overseeing a district of 400+ staff members, with 5,400+ students sprinkled across eight buildings plus a substantial online learning program. Now, having served and arrived at the conclusion of my career as superintendent, I can say that it’s been a phenomenally rewarding, yet challenging and humbling journey.
Jenison Public Schools is a family that is 100% committed to meeting the needs of our students, staff members, and community. No one person can do it alone. Together, we make a powerful difference and I am blessed to have lived in the midst of it every day for 34 years.
The years brought good times and challenging times, but nothing changed the game more than the worldwide health pandemic caused by Covid-19 starting in 2020. That was certainly a year to remember and a year to forget, and it definitely brought many unique challenges and obstacles for all of us. However, I was never more proud than I was this past year watching everybody come together to meet the needs of our families.
It has been an incredible honor and privilege to serve the students, parents and staff of Jenison Public Schools for the last 34 years. I’m so grateful to those who helped build a strong culture by prioritizing family, relationships, and servant leadership! Retirement is truly a bittersweet moment for me but I know each and every person that is a part of this amazing culture will only continue their relentless pursuit towards excellence. Together, We Are Jenison.
This may have been my journey as superintendent but I was not walking this road alone. Just as this past year has demonstrated, I’ve been surrounded by many groups who have played an integral role in this journey. I am deeply indebted to our Jenison neighbors for the generous ongoing support of our school district; the voters, churches, private businesses and organizations, the most committed and caring teachers and community members who serve on the board of education.
Receiving approval on bond issues – even during difficult times was such a huge contribution that allowed us to maintain our facilities as well as add incredible environments for our students to learn and develop their talents. Teaming up with churches and organizations kept our kids clothed and fed during all seasons. And watching our students soar with success as a result of parent partnerships helps set them up for a solid future. The JPS team of administrators and Board of Education members are second to none, laser focused ensuring all district decisions are child centered. The JPS teachers and support staff continue to prove day in and day out (even during those uncertain pandemic months) that they are champions of children. Thank you all for your selfless acts that made our community a better place.
Last but not least, the students we exist to serve have routinely shown themselves as servant leaders eager to give back to their community and classmates. I have become more convinced than ever that the Jenison staff possesses the kind of integrity that influences young minds and fills fledgling hearts with compassion. In the past 22 years, they have raised over a quarter million dollars to help feed hungry children in our community. Each year they help to provide JPS families with Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas gifts. Whether it would be Pink Out, Make-A-Wish, blood drives or so many other fundraisers, our students continue to amaze me with their desire to serve others. Thank you for doing your best and being an inspiration for us all.
Sitting in a reminiscent posture, absorbed with memories these last six months I am more aware than ever that JPS is not only a special place—it’s world-class. I have been blessed to be supported and surrounded by so many of you during this journey and I am so proud of all we have achieved together. Together we are Jenison.
Thank you all, thank you for an amazing 34 years.
Tom Ten Brink
Welcome Dr. Brandon Graham, Superintendent, Jenison Public Schools
Today, with great enthusiasm, I officially welcome Dr. Brandon Graham to his first day in the role of the Superintendent of Jenison Public Schools. Selected from a pool of nationwide applicants, he is absolutely the right leader to continue building on the Jenison Tradition of Excellence!
As Dr. Graham is celebrating 21 years with JPS, he counts himself lucky to have worked with a highly dedicated and focused group of individuals throughout his years here. He recently completed his 16th year as principal of JHS. He really enjoyed having a front row seat watching the students grow into caring and compassionate young people who are dedicated to serving those around them. Dr. Graham is an appreciative leader who digs in, joins the team and is fiercely dedicated to meeting the needs of the entire student body. Congratulations Dr. Brandon Graham.