Calvin De Kuiper, Superintendent of Ludington Public Schools, was unanimously selected in a 7-0 vote by the ZPS Board of Education as the next superintendent of Zeeland Public Schools at a board meeting and final interview Thursday at Zeeland West High School.
De Kuiper officially signed into contract with the District, with a likely start date set for mid – January. “Details are pending in terms of his obligations in Ludington,” ZPS Board President Tom DenHerder announced. “We will work collaboratively with the Ludington Board to select a date that works well for both districts.”
On November 12, De Kuiper was named the top candidate of nine through a targeted search. A targeted search allows applicants to vie for position interest without making that interest publicly known. Once named the leading candidate, a public interview followed on November 14 and community- wide meet and greets continued throughout November 15 & 16.
De Kuiper’s public interview was also posted to the district website, which received over 520 views. A feedback survey was made available at all events and on the district website through Wednesday. Prior to the vote on Thursday, the Board reviewed all comments.
“The community feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” DenHerder explained. “I am confident Cal will be a fantastic leader for our district and his family a welcome addition to the Zeeland community.”
Thursday’s final interview followed a site visit to Ludington on Tuesday, made up of a panel of 16
ZPS Board of Education members, administrators, teachers and parents. Site visit participants were given an opportunity to talk to Ludington staff, Board of Education members, and the greater Ludington community to further gauge De Kuiper’s commitment to educational leadership and community.
De Kuiper has been highly applauded for his strong leadership skills in Ludington. He credits district successes to the collaborative efforts of the community, district staff and students. His team approach toward school improvement initiatives proved successful in May 2012 with the passage of a $10 million dollar bond issue by more than a two-to-one margin, despite a tumultuous economy. The Ludington bond package is designed to improve the district’s technology and provide for the rollout of digital tablets to 2,000 students.
Prior to his eight years of experience as superintendent, De Kuiper served the Ludington district as the high school assistant principal for 12 years. His credentials also include experience in Greenville, where he served as athletic director and taught science for several years.
Interim Superintendent Gary Feenstra, who has been leading the Zeeland district since July, will remain involved with the district mentoring De Kuiper over the next several months to ensure a seamless transition for the district and maintain a strong presence in the schools and community.
De Kuiper and wife Beth have one son who will be enrolled at ZHS. They also have two daughters, one who coincidentally works in Zeeland and another enrolled at nearby GVSU.
“My family and I are thrilled to become a part of the Zeeland community,” De Kuiper said. “I appreciate the values and strengths found in this community and look forward to calling Zeeland home.”
A public reception welcoming Mr. De Kuiper and his family will be scheduled for a later date in January.