In an effort to promote continuous academic gains, Zeeland Public Schools has announced a rearranging of positions at the secondary level and aligning various position descriptions throughout the district.
Changes being announced will be effective July 1, 2016 following Colleen Johnson’s retirement on June 30. Johnson has served ZPS for 16 years and is the first principal of ZWHS. An opportunity to honor Johnson for her years of service will be announced in the spring.
With Johnson’s retirement in the forefront, District officials began to evaluate the setup of the high school administration to determine the best organizational design to encourage positive teaching and learning. Numerous conversations were held over the last three months with secondary staff members, administrators, parents and community members.
“All conversations stressed the importance to maintain the small school feel,” Cal De Kuiper noted. “We knew that whatever direction we were to go, that remained a critical factor.”
Coinciding with the small school feel, parents and staff felt important to maintain two separate high school principals for both ZEHS and ZWHS and maintain separate identities between the buildings, versus a merged, single administration.
“We are proud of our unique blend of one academic institution with double the opportunities for student involvement,” Board of Education President Ron Scott stated. “These were big ideas just a few years ago. It is exciting to see the vision flourish.”
Therefore, beginning in the fall of 2016, ZEHS will remain under the leadership of Marc Van Soest. At ZWHS, Greg Eding will step into the principal role following Johnson’s retirement. Eding has served as principal at Creekside Middle School for the last 12 years.
To encourage and build upon Zeeland Public Schools ‘one academic program, two mascots’ model, both high school principals will now align under the direction of Assistant Superintendent Jon Voss. Voss will hold office time at both high school buildings to develop academic unity and building equality.
Voss is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services at the administration building. Effective this fall, Voss will maintain his role overseeing human resources, but will scale back on certain responsibilities to work with the high schools.
Another change at the high school level involves Tim Ritsema, ZEHS Athletic Director and Mark Werley, ZWHS Athletic Director, who will both shift to a combined role of AD and Dean of Students. Along with John Holwerda, the team of three will oversee daily student matters. To allow for this role modification, both AD’s will hand over the management of middle school athletics to the middle school building principals.
“The timing is appropriate to reorganize,” added De Kuiper. “As a team, we are all here for the kids, and we believe this plan provides the most for our students while saving district dollars at the same time.”
At the middle school level, Craig Greshaw, current Assistant Principal at ZEHS, will fulfill the role of principal at Creekside Middle School. Greshaw served the Creekside building for 3 years prior to his position at ZEHS. Serving alongside Greshaw will be Counselor Leah Locker, an unchanged role.
Cityside Middle School will continue under the leadership of Principal Sarah Huizenga and Dean of Students Steve Turner.
A rework of position titles will also occur at central administration, following the recent retirement of benefit administrator Kathy Rynbrandt and the position change of Jon Voss.
Over the next few months, specifics to the job positions will be clearly defined and key issues resolved. With positive momentum, the transition will improve the overall commitment to student achievement and academic excellence. All changes will be effective July 1, 2016.
Reducing overall administration costs and eliminating the need to hire will save the district $181,000.00 next year.