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Archive | Voices and Views

Vote for a person of high integrity


I am writing to endorse Heidi Reed as a member of the Cedar Springs school board. I have had many business transactions with Heidi Reed over the past several years and always found her to be a person of high integrity. Heidi never makes a decision without researching all the pertinent facts.

Anything that Heidi Reed has an interest in becomes a passion with her.

Heidi understands the need for a well-educated population and would work tirelessly to improve the graduation rates in the district.

Heidi Reed would be an excellent addition to the school board and would be totally committed to serving the district.

Karen A. Carbonelli, Spencer Township

Associate Broker, Greenridge Realty

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Preserve work being done on behalf of all students


There are 2 people who’ve been advocates for students with no other agenda: Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed. Vote for them on November 8 to preserve the work being done on behalf of all students in our district.

Joe Marckini has seen his two daughters graduate from Cedar Springs Public Schools and go on to be successful in college and beyond. Joe knows what a wonderful staff and community it takes to provide for a successful education for our students. As a sheet metal construction worker, Joe understands that all students need to be prepared for their future, whatever their interests may be. He’s a school board member who asks staff and students for their opinions and wants them to be a part of the educational process. Marckini is a school board member who wants to ensure that there is equality for all students. Incumbent Joe Marckini loves this district and this community. He is positive about the all the advancements of the district. He keeps a close eye on finances, policy and opportunities for students. For these reasons and more, I am voting for Joe Marckini, a man with integrity, passion and courage to lead the way.

Heidi (Zank) Reed is a Cedar Springs native who has advocated on behalf of all students, including special needs students. She has taken the time to cheer on and personally thank the excellent teachers and support staff of this great district. She is a believer in Cedar Springs Public Schools and has seen her own children and others thrive as students. As a long-time businesswoman in Cedar Springs, she has proven her service to others in this community. Heidi Reed has been actively engaged in school board meetings and advocacy for staff and students alike. She understands the role of the school board and how it will serve to lead the district forward. Please join me and so many others in voting for Heidi Reed, a community-centered, collaborative leader focused on kids first.

Grayson Claiborne, Solon Township

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Don’t let “We are teachers” letter fall on deaf ears

Don’t let “We are teachers” letter fall on deaf ears

The letter that appeared in the Post last week signed by 97 current and recently departed staff members gave me chills. The educators listed span across the district in all grade levels, all subjects and all buildings. Everyone in this community can find at least one educator on that list whose opinion they value. Uniting and coming forward to express their support of the two candidates they feel would best represent our staff and students was a real leap of faith. After two-plus years of virtual silence while the community has been begging for answers, the people we entrust our children with day-in and day-out have spoken. It was well written, entirely positive, and accurately displayed (with profound emotion) the love they have for our community, our schools and our children. This is a larger display of unity than any of us have seen in recent years, and it’s our responsibility to listen. Please read between the lines. They are loudly and clearly giving us what we’ve been asking for and we cannot let it fall on deaf ears. Vote Sabinas and Bowser on November 8, and unite this community in moving forward.

Tami Elliston, Algoma Township

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Candidates will not hide behind “policy”


The past couple of years I have become actively involved in our board meetings and learning about the choices we are making at the leadership level within our district. As a parent, I am concerned about my children’s education. I have watched many valuable programs that were once in existence disappear. They were great programs that worked to support our children like Habits of Mind, Red Hawk Kids Club, Cognitive Coaches and advanced math to name a few. We had become the best-kept secret in Kent County for education; Cedar Springs was leading the way. It makes me sad to see the shift. Changes take place every day; I am not afraid of change if done with good intent, respect, leadership and purpose.

As we prepare for the November 8 election, I want a positive change for our students, staff and community and that is why I am supporting Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser. They have the kid’s best interest at heart and are willing to lead and collaborate to make the best decisions for our district and our children. They both are collaborative, curious and discerning to ensure we make the best decisions for our district. They know what a good leader is and are committed to demonstrating those qualities as Board of Education members. They will be willing to listen at the board meetings and answer questions, they will be involved in the schools and they will not hide behind “policy.” I am looking forward to seeing positive leadership at the top again. I know that is what Ted and Mistie will bring to the school board and our community! Please vote yes to Sabinas and Bowser on November 8th.

Heidi Greenland, Nelson Township

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Support candidates who support direction of district


I am a lifelong resident of Cedar Springs who currently has two students attending Cedar Springs Public Schools. If you haven’t had a chance to read last week’s Post editorials, please do. Several community members felt the need to take the time to write editorials to share their stories about who they felt would best serve on the school board. Those letters speak loudly.

I am personally very thankful for the progress our district has made under Dr. Vanduyn’s direction; she has brought professionalism and fiscal accountability to our district. The programs and services she has implemented for our students have been many: a new health and dental clinic; a new teacher chosen K-12 math curriculum; Responsive Classrooms; Okay2Say program; and a school resource officer, just to name a few. She’s also helping our teachers. Just recently medical costs were lowered for the district with the same coverage for the teachers; professional development is now being appropriately tracked through the HR department, which helps the teachers with certifications; and budgeting has been moved to the buildings, which gives the teachers more of a voice in how funds are being used. She’s doing a great job for the sake of our students and our teachers. I urge you to vote for the two candidates who have voiced support for the current direction the district is headed—Marckini and Reed.

Kerri Hanes, Cedar Springs

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Help and support teachers


To Citizens of Cedar Springs,

School leadership is the process of enlisting and guiding the talents, energies of teachers, students and parents toward achieving common educational goals. The number one job of the superintendent is to lead learning. How have the CS Board and Dr. VanDuyn demonstrated and supported clear learning goals? To accomplish these tasks, it is imperative to work with teachers and students. School performance benefits from a collaborative approach to leadership, which includes sharing findings, failures, and concerns. Relationship building with our educators is essential to effective educational leadership, and it is vital to acknowledge, and support the roles and contributions of all. Effective leadership will create an educational environment in which opportunities for positive change are present and supported throughout the organization. What collaboration has occurred? How have the BOE and superintendent connected with our teachers—the most vital group impacting student learning? Culture is the underground stream of norms, values, beliefs, traditions, and rituals that have built up over time as people work together, solve problems, and confront challenges. This set of informal expectations and values shapes how people think, feel, and act in schools. This highly enduring web of influence binds the school together and makes it special. It is up to school leaders—superintendents, school BOE, together with staff to help identify, shape, and maintain a strong positive student-focused school culture. Without a supportive culture, reforms will wither, and student learning will suffer. Many folks have shared that our student and staff cultures are struggling. This is the clear job of the Superintendent and the BOE. They set the tone, drive and create positive culture. What clear perimeters have been determined for supporting a change in CSPS culture? Based on the number of people—57 in the last year and the 97 signatures of staff who are supporting a clear change for Cedar Springs—it would seem obvious to all that our culture is broken. In honor of those that have left and the teachers that are indirectly asking for help and support, vote yes for Ted and Mistie on November 8th.

Jennifer Harper, Concerned Mom, 

Algoma Township

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Don’t get ingrained with “the way we always do it”


This upcoming election is an important one for the future of CSPS. I saw before someone made the comment that “Cedar Springs was the best kept secret” my first thought was really? Why? Maybe because our schools are falling apart? The driveways are awful? I honestly wasn’t exactly sure what was meant. I believe change isn’t always easy, and any community tends to get ingrained with the “way we always do it.”

I have been a community member and small business owner in Cedar for a number of years. I have grandkids in school, and I have volunteered on many occasions. Our community is very divided. I believe it’s time to let the past be the past and move forward. We aren’t all going to agree on the issues nor should we, but we need to find the positive, mutual ground and respect each other. We need to assess where we are, and rally behind our current administration and board.

I feel I have done my homework about the issues and candidates. Honesty and integrity are two important things anyone should embrace. These will make us as a community stronger.

I know there are new programs being implemented that have directly affected our kids positively. One I feel is extremely important and is saving lives! It’s good when we can talk about tough issues like suicide; be proactive and implement programs that have already saved lives because of intervention in just a couple months. No matter how you feel about the current administration or the board, it’s time to unite behind them and move forward.

I feel we have to ask the question—are we going to continue to build this great school district? Then we need to re-elect Joseph Marckini and elect Heidi Reed. They both act with integrity, have a tireless dedication and are champions for all our kids!

With a community that is united, working together for the kids, CSPS will shine and truly have a reason to be called “The best kept secret.” Let’s vote for our kids and vote Marckini and Reed!


Sally Petty 

Nelson Township 

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School Board election important for district


For a little over a year now I have been attending school board meetings, and have attended all but a few (when we were out of state and when my daughter was sick and needed me home). I have volunteered in the District Strategic Planning process and I volunteer as a member of the District School Improvement Team. I volunteered and was able to attend Responsive Classroom training with some of the district support staff last year. And I have volunteered in classrooms in the district 1-3 times per week for the past nine years. It has not been easy to do these things; it certainly takes commitment. Life is busy for everyone, but these things are something that my husband and I feel strongly about and know how important they are for our children’s educations. It has taken sacrifice on our part, lots of planning, scheduling, and asking grandparents for help with the kiddos. But it is all worth it because we have become involved, educated, and aware community members. We know the things happening in our district and the progress being made because we have witnessed it firsthand. We attend meetings, we ask questions, we schedule meetings with school staff; we are involved stakeholders of CSPS.

The November 8th school board election is very important for our school district, our students, our staff, the parents, and the community as a whole. I have taken the time, done the research, made my decision. I know my votes will go to Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed because I know without a doubt in my mind they will serve on the school board with the priority of putting kids first.

As a mom and an involved, educated community member I ask: Please vote Marckini and Reed on November 8.

Jennifer Skelonc, Nelson Township

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Board candidates are financially focused on kids


As someone who manages a $400 million budget, I can appreciate the complexity of managing multi-million dollar budgets. With a tight budget comes difficult decisions, especially when it affects the education of students. The school’s budget can be very complicated and challenging. One responsibility of the Cedar Springs Board of Education is to review the budget and ensure it is in order, while following the districts’ goals.

A BOE member also needs to be aware of the State’s educational budget and how it affects the districts students. That requires attending legislative meetings and advocating for public education with the local, state and federal government. It requires asking difficult questions and being persistent to get results and in the end, doing the right thing for the greater good.

For this CSPS Board of Education election, voters should take both of these into account when selecting which candidates they are voting for. I strongly believe Heidi Reed and Joseph Marckini both exemplify the ability to do both without a personal agenda. Heidi Reed has years of experience overseeing budgets and business acumen on the government level. Joe Marckini has years of experience advocating for the children of CSPS on multiple levels of the government. Both are financially focused for the kids of this district and want ensure the school’s money is used to benefit all learning styles of CSPS.

As a CS Red Hawk, I encourage you to please vote on November 8, for Heidi Reed and Joe Marckini. They both put kids first.

Michele Tracy, Palmyra, Pennsylvania

Formerly of Cedar Springs

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Candidate possesses wisdom and leadership


I am writing this letter in support of someone who has impacted my life immensely, and whom I hope can be given the chance to do the same for the community that I grew up in.

Ted Sabinas is full of endless positive attributes, but wisdom, and the leadership that is derived from that wisdom are two prominent ones. I had the honor of being an athlete under his coaching, which was both a privilege and a life-altering experience. I attribute many of my foundational skills, both on and off the track, to his guidance, advice, and care.

Specifically, I’ll always remember one particular time during my sophomore year of High School. We were sitting on the tailgate of his truck while the team finished their cool-down, and I had an injury that had kept me out of running for months. He told me that it’s during the hardest times that the strongest athletes and people are made, and I believed him. I believed him because he never gave me a reason to not put 100 percent of my trust in him.

He was the kind of coach who showed up and genuinely cared for the people he was around, and I know he is the same way in any role he possesses.

Coach Sabinas re-measured our cross country course way too many times because he is the most honest person you’ll find.

He encourages the youth because it’s in his nature to teach, to teach others something more than just measurable skills.

He pours out a sense of love and pride for two things: his family and his community.

It would be an honor for Cedar Springs to have someone like this lead us in molding a community full of strength, wisdom, and love for one another.

The future of our wonderful town can be, in part, in the hands of someone who will handle it with the greatest care. What a wonderful chance that is for us.

Kenzie Weiler, Nelson Township

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