JPS Board of Education Welcomes Chris Reed

The strength of the Jenison Board of Education leadership comes from a determination to see JPS excel in everything that we do. Our Board representatives continue to set the bar high for all of us who serve the children and parents of our school district. I am proud to collaborate with each one of them as they bring their diverse thoughts and experiences to the table. They employ their skills with vigor as we continue to launch our district towards success. Today, I’m proud to introduce you to the newest member of the Jenison Public Schools Board of Education, Chris Reed.

Chris Reed, Ph.D.

Jenison Board of Education, Trustee

As residents of Grandville, Chris and his wife concluded that there was something exceptional about the community within Jenison Public Schools. Through school of choice, they enrolled their children in the Spanish Immersion program at El Puente. Eight years ago, the Reeds found themselves solidly involved with their district of choice and Chris and his wife felt it was time to move their three kids and two dogs across town.

Chris is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Grand Valley State University, where he specializes in human anatomy; with a research focus on craniofacial growth and development.

Chris Reed’s name was added to the general election ballot this past November and we’re excited to have him join for his first year as a board member. In addition to the typical, yet complex work of a Board member, he and the group are also leading the charge in the search for a new superintendent following my retirement this summer. I appreciate his commitment to the Jenison district and his determination to help our district stand out. Welcome Chris!


My family is so appreciative of the Spanish Immersion program and we have since grown to love so much more about the Jenison Public School district. I wanted to join the school board because our family is invested in this community, and I sincerely want to support JPS in their continued pursuit of excellence in education. The Jenison Center for the Arts, intentional STEM curriculum at the elementary level, Spanish Immersion program, dedication to the arts and athletics, as well as the outstanding faculty and staff, are all reasons I love our district. Being as directly involved as possible in supporting those efforts, and to continue working towards progress for the future, is a privilege and I’m happy to be an advocate for families in our community.

Last summer, I proudly introduced the other Jenison Board of Education members. I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to work with such gifted, dedicated, and compassionate men and women who serve on the Board of Jenison Public Schools. Please visit these previous posts to get to know them and thank these passionate, hardworking people if you see them around town.

Post #1 – Board Members 1

Post #2 – Board Members 2

Post #3 – Board Members 3

JPS Board of Education Members (3)

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.

You’ve already met Amanda Peterman, Bill Waalkes, Jennifer Postema and Eric Hartman and this week, we will finish with Craig Jenison, Craig Rockwell and Mark Richter. Thank you, Board of Education, for your passion and dedication to the families of our district.

Craig A. Jenison

Jenison Board of Education, Trustee

As a fifth generation founding family member, Craig Jenison is firmly planted in our community. He married his high school sweetheart, Kelly, and they have proudly seen their two sons go through Jenison Public Schools.

Craig founded his own law firm in 1990, around the same time his oldest son started Kindergarten. Memories of his own experience going through JPS prompted the start of his position on the Board of Education that same year. His love for, and commitment to the families in our community has been nonstop for 30 years. He was also part of the Jenison Athletic Boosters while his boys played a variety of sports. Craig is convinced that there is a high quality life experience to be gained at JPS which needs to be preserved for the success of future generations. Our community has benefited from Craig’s commitment in countless ways over the years.

In his spare time, Craig uses the same level of passion to play golf, spend time with his family up north, and does his best to take advantage of the slower seasons in life.


“It’s been such an honor to be part of an organization that has enjoyed consistent and stable leadership. A district with a history as long as ours but has only had 3 superintendents, speaks volumes of the deep strength and commitment we have seen from these men, as well as the community who supports us.”

“When I first started my position with the Board of Education, I was advised to view every decision through the lens of ‘What is best for our students?’ that advice rings just as true today as it did then. And I believe this is the driving force for our entire board and staff. Over the years, it has also grown to intentionally consider how we can support our students as a whole-person.  Expanding beyond their education in the classroom while showing concern for social, emotional and mental health and wellness. 

Dr. Craig Rockwell

Jenison Board of Education, Trustee

Craig has been part of the Jenison BOE for 14 years. He is every bit an important team player, ready and willing to help out and go the distance for our district.

He established his Jenison based chiropractic practice 38 years ago and has enjoyed being a licensed amateur radio operator for 42 years. Craig and his wife Marjorie have three children that attended Jenison Public Schools. 

He enjoys antique model trains and loves to share this with others. He was instrumental in installing (and now maintaining) the model train that runs at the Early Childhood Center.


“The administrative team at Jenison is fantastic, hardworking and committed to each student. Working with these wonderful people has been one of the highlights of my time on the board. Our district is marked by a very cooperative, team-focused atmosphere and this is a very talented and professional group of people – and the envy of many surrounding districts. I can truthfully tell you that there is none better than our Jenison Administrators.”

“I really love graduation and hearing about all the great accomplishments of the students. As I experience my final Jenison High School graduation ceremony soon and conclude my 14 years on the JPS Board of Education, I would like to thank all my fellow school board members through the years for the help and guidance they have offered. Our district has been blessed with a wonderful group of people and it was a gift for me to have met each one. I also want to thank the voters of Jenison for entrusting the responsibilities of BOE member to me. This has been a great experience, you are special to me and ‘Together, we are Jenison’.”

Mark Richter

Jenison Board of Education, Treasurer

The Richter family may not be Jenison born and raised but they’ve come to love our community and they wasted no time getting involved once their daughters were enrolled here. Mark and his wife Marnie served on the Bursley Parent Club board and also followed their girls into sports and orchestra volunteer opportunities.

Mark is currently President/CEO for a local credit union and in his first term as a member of the Jenison Board of Education. His drive to see our district grow and remain competitive has propelled him through projects of all sizes. While on the Bursley Parent Club board, the group worked together to reclaim an unusable area of the playground by raising funds and donating their Saturday to clean it up. Mark was also the co-chair for a recent ‘Vote Yes for JPS’ committee to pass the JPS bond proposal that helped build the Kids First building, among other items of need for the district.


“Making sure that ALL students feel welcome at JPS is something we work really hard for. I’m glad that we have recently started an Equity Task Force to consider these things. It’s an honor to partner on this committee with other board members, parents, students and administrators.”

“I am excited to be in the BOE role at Jenison and I love that our district has so many programs for students to participate in. The community is truly a strong partner that has given us the resources to excel and put our district on the map. Our natatorium is one of the best on this side of the state and our recently new Jenison Center for the Arts offers a great showcase for our bands, orchestras and performing arts programs.”

Thank you for joining me as I express a well deserved, ‘thank you’ for all of the hard work and dedication from our Board of Education members. These volunteers give their time and energy selflessly as servant leaders, striving to help make Jenison an amazing place to learn and grow. 

I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to work with such gifted, dedicated, and compassionate men and women who serve on the Board of Jenison Public Schools. The strength of their leadership and determination that Jenison Public Schools excel in everything that we do continues to set the bar high for all of us who serve the children and parents of our school district. 

JPS Board of Education Members (2)

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. 


“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.”

Jennifer Postema

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.


“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. 


“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!”

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.”

Something Special to be Thankful For!

[L to R] Katie Bremer, Mary Pollock, Betsy Norton, Sara Melton, Dan Searle

Did you know that something as small as a Tootsie Roll can earn $2500 for our schools? Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Jenison Knights of Columbus, the JPS Cognitively Impaired Categorical Program at Sandy Hill took home their generous donation from this year’s Tootsie Roll drive!

At this month’s Board of Education meeting, teachers Katie Bremer and Betsy Norton, along with Sandy Hill Principal Sara Melton and Special Ed Director, Mary Pollock accepted the donation on behalf of this important program.

According to Dan Searle, The Knights of Columbus in Jenison (Council #7487) is made up of 240 Catholic men “dedicated to the good works of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. With our #1 priority being charity”. Each year the members vote on the organization that will receive the donations from their annual Tootsie Roll Drive that takes place the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Easter. With volunteer families stationed outside local businesses, they happily pass out Tootsie Rolls in exchange for any donation.  Mr Searle adds, “Every cent we collect from the Tootsie Roll Drive stays in the community. The more we collect, the more that is donated back. Through other programs, our Council alone collects and donates approximately $40,000 each year back to the community.”

The donation will be used to support and advance programs within the categorical program at Sandy Hill. In the past, the monies have been used to purchase i-pads and supporting apps, assist with peer-to-peer groups and many other activities.

Ms Pollock knows the value of these donations to the amazing work being done by teachers and staff. “We have an amazing staff in JPS. Teachers, both general ed and special ed, and support staff are constantly meeting and planning to make sure all students have opportunities to be a part of the school community. This donation will help support the goal of meaningful inclusion. The Knights of Columbus organization has been incredibly supportive of our efforts and they contribute via their Tootsie Roll Drive every year. It is greatly appreciated!”

JPS offers Special Ed categorical programs for the variety of needs presented by our students (Cognitively Impaired, Emotionally Impaired, Autism Spectrum Disorder). Ms Pollock adds, “We appreciate the community partnerships because it helps to foster understanding in the community of how our programs and services are provided. We are very intentional about making making sure all our students spend as much time as possible with typically developing peers. Teachers Katie Bremer and Betsy Norton have done a wonderful job with their peer-to-peer program at Sandy Hill. Students with disabilities are accepted and benefit from the relationships with their peers and the typical peers gain from helping others and learning to understand differences.

The Knights of Columbus are certainly important community partners and the admiration between organizations is mutual. “Our kids attend these schools. We love our schools and know we are blessed to have such great and caring educators”, says Mr Searle.

On the day we take an extra moment to appreciate what we have, please add the Knights of Columbus and JPS teachers and support staff to the list! Giving all of our students the best education possible is certainly a team effort! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at JPS!

Board of Education Appreciation Month!


Second Row: William Waalkes, Paul Peppel, Craig Jenison, Eric Hartman First Row: Amanda Peterman, Geoffrey Brown, Craig Rockwell Not Pictured: Adam Tountas, newly appointed trustee

Public education is the backbone of American society, and local school boards are deeply rooted in U.S. tradition. It’s the foundation on which our democracy was built. Today local school boards continue to do the most important work of their communities—that of educating our youth.

As citizen leaders, members of the Jenison Public Schools Board of Education continue to face complex and demanding challenges. Their extraordinary dedication to Jenison Public Schools is greatly appreciated. The job of a school board member is tough, the hours long and the thanks few and far between. Too often we’re quick to criticize school board members without really understanding the complex nature of their decisions. We often forget about the personal sacrifices school board members make in fulfilling their responsibilities. Jenison School Board members contribute hundreds of hours each year leading our district. The time spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the time school board members spend helping to lead our district.

The month of January is set aside to time to thank them for their untiring efforts. This is a time to show our appreciation and begin to better understand how local trustees work together to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. Join with others from our district and throughout the state to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools.

Please take time to show your appreciation to the Jenison Public School Board members who faithfully and with great passion provide leadership for our school district. The members of the Jenison Public Schools Board of Education include:

Mr. William Waalkes, President

Dr. Craig Rockwell, Vice-President

Mr. Geoff Brown, Secretary

Dr. Eric Hartman, Treasurer

Mrs. Amanda Peterman, Trustee

Mr. Craig Jenison, Trustee

Mr. Adam Tountas, Newly appointed trustee

As further evidence of their dedication, be looking for a post at the end of January on an important, upcoming Bond Issue.

Thank you, Jenison Board of Education members for putting our students and their education at the top of your priority lists!  We are so grateful for you!

Thank You, Jenison Board of Education!

Jenison Board of Education, Jenison Public Schools, Jenison Michigan

From Left to Right: Ms. Amanda Peterman, Dr. Craig Rockwell, Mr. William Waalkes, Mr. Paul Peppel, Mr. Geoffrey Brown, Dr. Eric Hartman (not pictured: Mr. Craig Jenison).

This past Monday night was special for many reasons: not only did Jenison Public Schools honor staff and students at its monthly board meeting, it had the opportunity to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the community members who serve on behalf of us all.

The seven individuals who make up the Jenison Board of Education come from all walks of life and give their time to help guide the district on its path forward. Their input, wisdom, and desire to see Jenison reach its full potential are felt by all who work with them.

Superintendent Tom TenBrink shared a touching reminder that these individuals are true servant leaders who volunteer their time and lead by example. They are driven by a shared commitment and desire to help the district maximize budget dollars, promote the best course offerings possible, and impact kids’ lives positively and meaningfully. Their service to and for Jenison Public Schools models dedication and support for the tradition of excellence for which we’ve come to be known.

“There’s no question: without the leadership of the board, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Tom TenBrink

As a token of the district’s appreciation, Mr. TenBrink gifted each member with a pen made by Jenison employee, Jeff Clark. Crafted from the wood of a tree that once stood outside the former district office, the pens are a reminder of our common past and point the way to a future of growth and health. Another employee, Randy Noaeill, engraved the JPS logo on the top of each wood case, adding detail and beauty to each gift.

Like the tree from which these pens came, the Jenison Board of Education reminds us that we have shared roots in this community. The Board keeps us grounded, fighting the erosion of challenging times, and encouraging us to spread a shady canopy over each student who walks our hallways each day.

Their job is not an easy one, but it is one that we applaud and one that we honor.

Thank you, Jenison Board of Education!