Gary Feenstra named interim superintendent
Citing his 18 years of experience at the helm of Zeeland Public Schools and a good working relationship with staff, the Zeeland Board of Education Monday appointed Gary L. Feenstra interim superintendent of the district until a permanent leader can be found.
“We are very pleased that Gary stepped forward for consideration as interim,” Board President Tom DenHerder said. “He brings great depth of experience to the table and a good working relationship with teachers and support staff. We welcome his return.”
Feenstra, who retired from the district in June, 2011, plans to start work Tuesday at the district’s central office, 183 W. Roosevelt Avenue.
“I intend to maintain the forward momentum established this past school year under the leadership of Dave Barry,” Feenstra said. His goal is to reconnect with the district’s “wonderful staff” and keep the focus on several initiatives started during the 2011-2012 school year. Initiatives include the launch of the Zeeland Quest year-round school this August; the reform of the high school curr Z Plan; the availability of high school math courses at the middle school level; and the continued rollout of the iPads.
The timing of Feenstra’s return allows him to witness a host of changes funded by a $20.275 million bond issue okayed by voters in 2010 and spearheaded by Feenstra, fellow administrators, and parent supporters. This fall, Feenstra will oversee the placement of all kindergarteners at the elementary buildings for the first time since 1987; the iPad rollout to sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Cityside and Creekside Middle Schools; the opening of Adams Elementary in Zeeland Township; revamping of the kindergarten center into a hub for the district’s preschool programs; and renovations to improve security and traffic patterns at New Groningen Elementary.
With Feenstra appointed as the district’s interim leader, the school board can begin the search for a permanent superintendent, a process that could take several months and possibly the entire 2012-2013 school year.
“The appointment of Gary gives us a near seamless transition of leadership while we conduct our search,” DenHerder said.
Barry resigned June 30 after serving one year as superintendent.