JPS Board of Education Members

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 over the next few weeks.

Amanda Peterman

Jenison Board of Education, President

A 17 year Jenison resident who deeply loves the close knit feel of our community, Amanda and her husband, Daniel have three children. Between the activities of her children, she has enjoyed being a part of many of the different programs offered by Jenison Public Schools; Parent Club, Marching band, Performing Arts, Athletics, Special Education LINKS program and other clubs.

As a family, they love spending time together outdoors camping, going to the beach, visiting their family cabin up north, summer weeks in South Haven, and trying new restaurants.

Amanda exudes a contagious passion for children and families in her many roles as a volunteer in her church and at school, as well as her full time position with Bethany Christian Services. Her leadership role on our Board of Education is much appreciated as she continues her second 6 year term.


“What I love best about our time together as a board is our monthly meetings. We are given great opportunities to meet and honor various volunteers, teachers and students from all over the district. This time is set aside to learn about and affirm unique contributions to the district that might otherwise go unnoticed! I have met so many amazing parents, students, volunteers, teachers and administrators along the way. From parents building playground equipment, serving as crossing guards to families taking on fundraising for building improvements, to our amazing district Parent Advocate team and all the families they’ve helped along the way, to literacy coaches to media specialists, etc. And the kids!!! That is, of course, the most rewarding aspect of serving on the board – seeing kids blossom and  grow to their potential from grade school up through HS.  We have some amazing leaders in these kids! They are kind, thoughtful and generous.”

“I really do believe our district and our board is unique in that we have safety and space for honest dialogue, but have a deep sense of unity and love for the kids in our district. We also have a strong, healthy relationship with administration as well as with the teachers and the Michigan Education Association. There is strong mutual respect among our groups.”

Books on a Bike

This week, Jenison Pinewood elementary families experienced a fun delivery right in their own neighborhood. Something even more sweet than the summer ice cream trucks! Pinewood Principal, Dr. Rachael Postle-Brown and others from her staff hopped on the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, Book Bike. They took turns pedaling around the Pinewood neighborhood, having a great time passing out free books and smiles!

Keeping our students engaged and learning year round is so important and having access to high quality books is crucial for kids to continue reading, especially when they have been out of school for so long. 

Pinewood Elementary already has a free mini library in front of the building that is stocked for families to visit, but the Book Bike was sure to add even more excitement. Bringing the books to students in this unique way also gave the opportunity for staff to see many students, share a book and a friendly hello in a safe and socially distanced way.

Between yesterday evening and this morning, they spent about 4 hours riding through the neighborhood visiting families and students, passing out books and smiles!

The Pinewood Student Council works to raise money to provide school wide book shopping days for all students a few times a year. With the shorter in-person school year, they had plenty of great books ready to be loaded into the Book Bike. The Pinewood student council teachers, Mrs. U’Ren and Mrs. Carpenter pick out and order the books ensuring they have popular titles for all ages.

Dr. Brown (right) was really excited to try this experience when one of her teachers suggested it, “It’s been very difficult to not see our students for this extended break, this was a really great way to be able to bring our community together in a way that was safe for everyone. We distributed just under 100 books!  Which was great for our first ride with the Book Bike. “

I’m so grateful for all our Jenison Staff as they have been relentlessly encouraging their students to stay sharp over the summer. And parents, thank you for partnering with us to encourage your child to read daily. As little as 15 minutes a day will help them maintain academic skills and develop habits that will benefit them now and in the future.

Please Vote on Tuesday, August 4

From humble beginnings, Jenison Public Schools has risen to be a dynamic and nationally recognized school district. These recognitions and achievements have been made possible by the strong relationships we have with the families we serve and community we represent.

We are proud of our longstanding tradition of excellence and continued success. We attribute both to the hundreds of educators and community members working together to provide our students with a world-class educational experience. The opportunities our students have been given to develop their talents in terrific facilities is a tribute to our entire Jenison community.

On August 4, our taxpayers are being asked to consider a no tax increase bond proposal that is focused on protecting the investments our community has made in our district facilities.

Continue to learn more about the exciting plans for facility improvements. You are also invited to join me, virtually, for a Facebook live event in two weeks to discuss the importance of this bond issue to the future of Jenison Public Schools.

The date of the live Facebook discussion is Thursday, July 23 at 11:00am. You can join the conversation by visiting the Facebook page.
You are also invited to email any questions you have over the next couple of weeks to


Our district is service oriented, and we are committed to be champions for the children we are privileged to educate. When our students and staff are not preoccupied with the temperature and ventilation in the room, whether there’s a space to teach and learn, and there’s a belief that the environment is safe and secure; we can focus on what matters the most; pouring ourselves into the moldable lives that we are blessed to work with every single day. 

With our community’s investment in our facilities and educational programming, we will continue to provide a program of excellence for all students. Parents and community members partnering with Jenison Public Schools to impact our children has been a winning formula for the success of our schools. This is the essence of the saying, ” Together we are Jenison”.

Please vote on August 4.




Community Food Update

Since March 13, Jenison Public Schools has had a small army of food service staff and volunteers working super hard to keep our local families fed! In the early days of the COVID-19 closure, they used our food inventory efficiently and solved problems quickly.

Now 16 weeks later, they are a well oiled machine with this new distribution method and I am so proud to share that we have served nearly 260,000 meals to students in our community.

Although the end of school year dates have officially come and gone, we’re not done yet! Jenison High School and Hudsonville High School will continue serving through the summer with distribution dates of July 6, 13, 20, 27, August 3 at 11:30am-12:30pm.

Again, I’m so grateful for Mary Darnton, Director of Food Service and her team in the Jenison Food Service department for their steadfast commitment and caring hearts as they support our community in this impactful way.

LINK TO PREVIOUS STORY: Jenison Food Service Continues to Serve During COVID-19 School Closure

Frontline Fuel Boost

Our local heroes are highly respected and always deserving of our gratitude. However, the recent days of the COVID-19 pandemic have required them to go even more above and beyond with their servant attitudes.

As we closed the year without the spring sports season, the Jenison Athletic Boosters found themselves with an inventory of concessions that would have expired. Wanting to say thank you, they made a sweet donation to the frontline workers at Metro Health and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

Thank you again, to all our local frontline workers, for the sacrifices you make, every day and especially during this pandemic. Your dedication, commitment and courage deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration. Your service is saving lives and making differences daily. 

Cross Country Challenge

Most people don’t even run 4 miles a day much less 48 miles in a weekend – but the Jenison High School Boy’s Cross Country team isn’t “most people”. In preparation for the fall season, the team usually participates in spring and summer fundraisers which were canceled this year. This required Coach Jacci Storey and her Jenison running family to get creative, organizing a 4x4x48 challenge, where they would run 48 miles in 48 hours.

Throughout the canceled track season, the team of runners felt the pain of separation, yet remained connected by their commitment to the team and their love of the sport. Supporting each other while training individually.

Coach Storey, Connor Vachon, Jaden Henderson, Luca Pham, and Austin Winkle, along with other members of the cross country team participated in the 4x4x48 challenge. The feeling of family was evident as graduated Cross Country athletes from the past season also came out to run the last leg. It’s amazing to see this strong family culture thrive – even when they graduate, they are still part of our Jenison Cross Country family!

As a sophomore at Jenison High School, Hunter Bowen was a member of the Cross Country team this past fall when he passed away. It was a devastating loss for this close knit group. Three of Hunter’s siblings who also were part of Coach Storey’s running family at JHS joined the 4x4x48 challenge. It was a beautiful reunion of friends and family.

The challenge kicked off at 4am on a Saturday morning at Maplewood Park and they ran another 4 mile distance every four hours until they completed 48 miles. And it wouldn’t be our team if they weren’t pushing themselves within the challenge. They started the 10th leg of the race on Sunday at 4:00pm and met a record for the group with an impressive 37 minute time.

Legs were tired but hearts were full as they accomplished their goal (actually completed in less than 48 hours) and exceeded their fundraiser goal amount Sunday night around midnight! Well done, gentlemen! Way to seize this opportunity to challenge yourself and finish strong.

Coach Storey’s daughter made a special appearance for one 4 mile leg as well!

Recognition for our Athletic Leaders

Jenison Varsity Football Coach, Rob Zeitman and Jenison Athletic Director, Tim Ritsema have received some exciting recognitions. Both men are well respected in their fields and committed to the families they serve in the Jenison community. The dedicated efforts from both of these leaders make our Wildcats Roar!

Rob Zeitman is nearing 20 years in Secondary Education. He loves focusing on all of his students – in the Economics and World History classrooms as well as on the football field. He led his staff as they spent many hours during the COVID-19 closure lending their time and muscles to help the Jenison Food Service Department continue to feed the community.

A member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, Coach Zeitman is a leader among his peers and has been elected Regional Director. Having him as a part of the Jenison family, teaching our students, and coaching our athletes is of great value to the Jenison community!

We’re blessed to have Tim Ritsema leading our 7-12 athletic program. His passion and commitment to our student athletes is exceptional. He was recently recognized with the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association “Award of Merit”. Elected by peers, this award is given annually for the demonstrated long-term contributions, leadership and meritorious service to their profession. Jenison has definitely benefited from his experience and the expertise he has shown. Full MIAAA news story here.

Class of 2020 Celebration

On the original date scheduled for commencement this year, the Class of 2020 took their turn in the spotlight and was able to close the chapter on their high school career. However, it looked very different than any of us had imagined and they weren’t walking across a stage that night. As the closures of COVID-19 threatened to cancel every event, the Class of 2020 Senior Planning Committee sprang into action. Typically this parent-led volunteer committee spends about a year working on plans to celebrate the accomplishment of their students with a safe night of fun following graduation. With a true resilient spirit, they quickly shifted gears and pulled off an amazing community celebration in the form of a ‘Senior Parade’.

Seniors were driven through a parade route that was like taking them down memory lane. They first encountered the jubilant cheers from their elementary teachers, then the junior high and high school teachers and staff.

I’d like to extend a big thank you to Mike Schwartz and his son, Matthew (8th grader at JJHS) for putting together this awesome drone video! There was such a great turnout of seniors and supporters!

I had the best seat in the house as I waved each of them my best and sent them off to the last leg of the journey where their community and family members waited to celebrate their accomplishments. I’m beyond proud of the way this class of students finished strong during this recent interruption in their lives. I am so grateful our amazing seniors had the opportunity for this experience and for them to know that they have an entire community standing behind them during this time. Many more smiles in the full photo gallery.

Family support at its finest! Go Wildcats!


Another date that has come and gone is the evening of our annual High School Honors ceremony. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the seniors who comprise the Jenison High School Class of 2020 Top Ten. These young people are outstanding students that have excelled in and outside of the classroom. They are great scholars, but even better people. Well done!

  • Drew Bobeldyk, Valedictorian
  • Ashley Winger, Salutatorian
  • Stuart Tolsma
  • Rebeca Zeitman
  • Tristen Kloppe
  • Leah DeRitter
  • Andrew Ferguson
  • Jacob Frollo
  • Anna Bartz
  • Quinn Snyder

Congratulations to this incredible group of young men and women! You are examples of what hard work can achieve and we are so proud of you. The future is yours for the taking!

Military Wildcats 2020

The freedoms we enjoy in our country come with extreme sacrifice by countless men, women and their families. We all continue to be protected by those who volunteer to serve and defend our country. Today, I recognize members of the Jenison High School Class of 2020 who have signed on to fill this honorable role. We celebrate them as they take on many new challenges and choose to stand up for our freedoms.

Evan Conlon

Evan Conlon chose the military path because he felt it was a great fit for him to develop skills and accomplish his life goals. A hard working, physical young man, Evan worked a plan to complete high school graduation requirements early and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He has already been working hard to push himself beyond perceived limits and completed boot camp training in April. I’m proud to see him employing his dedication as he received graduate honors for his platoon and was eventually named Honor Graduate for the entire company as well. Bravo Evan! Best wishes as you await the next phase of training at the school of infantry and continue your military career.

Morgan DeBoer

Morgan DeBoer enlisted and participated in the swearing in ceremony last November for the Army National Guard. Following basic training, Morgan is planning to attend Lake Superior State University where she will study wildlife, fisheries and conservation. Morgan is goal oriented and she feels that JHS has prepared her to work hard for the things she wants to accomplish. Congratulations Morgan! I know you will take your commitment and leadership from the soccer field to your education and military duties.

Parker DeJonge

A military career is a life long dream for Parker DeJonge. The only question he had was which branch to join. Last November, Parker enlisted with the United States Army, where he will become an armament/electronics/avionics systems repair specialist for Apache helicopters. Playing baseball and spending time in the spotlights of the theatre program, Parker has gained leadership skills during high school. He is also looking forward to meeting new people as he embarks on this new adventure. Congratulations Parker, on step one of fulfilling your dreams as you serve your country.

Samuel Jipping

Samuel Jipping enlisted in the United States Navy and is looking forward to many wonderful growth opportunities during his career. He cites discipline in and outside the JHS classroom that have helped prepare him to be his best.

Eva Johnson

Coming from a military family, Eva Johnson knew from a young age that she was interested in and passionate about a possible military career. At the start of her senior year, she followed in the footsteps of her father and older brother and enlisted with the Army National Guard.

Eva appreciated many of her JHS teachers for their leadership; especially AP teachers like Mrs. McCluggage and Mrs. Clement that she feels have prepared her to be a responsible adult and encouraged personal accountability.

Eva plans to attend Grand Valley State University where she will major in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Applied Statistics while participating in the Army ROTC program. Many well wishes for you Eva, as you embark on your new role as local hero.

Parker Taft

Growing up in a military/law enforcement family, Parker Taft had an ingrained passion to serve his country and save lives. Parker appreciated his time at Jenison High School and valued not only the education but the leadership of his teachers. Nearly a year ago, Parker completed the comparison between Army and Marines and enlisted with the United States Army. Best wishes Parker as you employ your skills and pursue a fruitful career. Thank you Parker for choosing this noble profession, you will be an encouragement to others and your passion will take you far.

Light up the Night 2020

No one can deny the loss all students are experiencing during this time. It is especially real for the Class of 2020 who expected their high school career to culminate with a variety of memory making events. There’s nothing we can do to change it all but I want each of them to know they are loved and supported.

Joining other OK Red Conference schools, Jenison High School Principal Dr. Brandon Graham and Athletic Director, Tim Ritsema participated in a local effort called ‘Light up the Night’. On the official final day of classes for the Class of 2020 – students embraced the simplicity of the event with a drive through visit of the campus and some families strolled the grounds of the stadium. A simple gesture to show support for our seniors and it was a beautiful sight to see.