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Tag Archive | "Board of Education"

From the Superintendent’s Desk


Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Dear Cedar Springs Public Schools Families:

Exciting School District News: 2017 Refunding Bonds! The Board of Education Cedar Springs Public Schools is proud to announce the successful sale of its 2017 Refunding Bonds in the amount of $7,060,000.  The Bonds are being issued for the purpose of currently refunding a portion of the School District’s outstanding 2007 Refunding Bonds and to pay the costs of issuing the Bonds. The 2017 Refunding Bonds reduce the School District interest expense over $679,873 for the taxpayers and will occur through lower debt payments over the next 12 years.

In preparing to sell the 2017 Refunding Bonds the School District, working with their financial advisor, PFM Financial Advisors LLC, requested that S&P Global Ratings, acting through Standard and Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”) evaluate the School District’s credit quality.  S&P assigned the School District the outstanding underlying rating of “A+”.  The rating agency cited the School District’s stable economy with good incomes, strong market value per capita, stable enrollment, strong reserves and moderate debt burden in their rational for rating of the School District at this level.

I’m extremely pleased with the results of the refunding and thrilled that we’re able to save the taxpayers of Cedar Springs almost $700,000 over the next 12 years!   When you add that to the $2.5 million saved from last years’ refunding, that’s significant.

The School District’s financing was conducted by the Michigan investment banking office of the brokerage firm, Stifel, the financial advising firm, PFM Financial Advisors LLC and the law firm serving as bond counsel, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.  The School District’s 2017 Refunding Bonds were sold at a true interest rate of 2.85% with a final maturity of 2029 (a repayment term of approximately 12 years). Jeffrey Zylstra, Managing Director with Stifel states, “Cedar Springs Public Schools’ Bonds were well received by the bond market.  We were able to take advantage of current interest rates that met the goals of the District and resulted in a nice savings that will be passed on to the District’s Taxpayers.”

Please feel free to contact me should you have questions about this exciting news.

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

Office:  616-696-1204 ext. 1001    Cell: 925-899-3111    Email: laura.vanduyn@csredhawks.org

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Board rates Superintendent highly effective 


 

Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn

Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn

Dr. VanDuyn’s contract renewed through 2020

Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn has been rated “highly effective” by the Board of Education for the third year in a row, and they have extended her contract through 2020.

According to a release from current Board of Education President Matthew Shoffner, they met with the Superintendent in closed session on December 12 for her annual evaluation. They used the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) superintendent evaluation tool/rubric, and rated her in areas of performance that include: Governance & Board Relations; Community Relations; Staff Relations; Business & Finance; Instructional Leadership; Student Growth. Board members were trained by the MASB in best practices of evaluating the superintendent.

“Dr. VanDuyn received the highest possible rating of ‘Highly Effective,’ said then-Board President Patricia Eary. “She’s taken on many difficult situations, but has done so with grace, courage, servant leadership and professionalism. She’s a champion for all students and a firm believer in and supporter of our staff. Highly effective does not mean there is not room for growth. We can all improve; therefore, the Board sets goals for the superintendent each year. One such goal moving forward is a focus on the culture and climate of the District.”

Dr. Laura VanDuyn began as Superintendent of Cedar Springs Public Schools in July of 2014. She replaced retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

“Since that time there has been notable progress throughout the District,” it says in the Board statement. “At the State of the Schools presentation on January 23, 2017 it was evident once again that the superintendent, administration, teachers and support staff are working hard to provide for the best education for our Cedar Springs students. Accomplishments from all areas of the District were presented. Dr. VanDuyn continually thanked the fine staff, students, parents and community for their collaborative efforts to produce such impressive results.

“Some highlights of the great work this year include:  high-quality professional learning for staff in math instruction, Responsive Classroom, Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coaching; completion of strategic planning; a high school ‘silver’ rating by US News for two consecutive years as well as being selected by the College Board to be on the AP Honor Roll for the first time this year; high-quality special education professional learning and improved compliance ratings; implementation of new K-5 math curriculum; implementation of a counseling/mental health/crisis plan; the award of two State grants—one for early intervention and one for our first-ever robotics program; the well-deserved ‘lime green’ rating with the state of Michigan—that is a remarkable 2-level improvement in state assessment scores in just 2 years; many advancements in operations and business for effective and efficient practices.”

Newly appointed Board President, Matthew Shoffner, would like to see continued forward progress in the District and said, “Dr. VanDuyn came to CSPS with immense background and knowledge in educational leadership, along with a variety of experiences, which have begun to strengthen and temper us. I am committed to working alongside Dr. VanDuyn to continue to improve our great district. As we move ahead Dr. VanDuyn will gather survey data from all stakeholders to inform her and the Board of Education of the direction we all want to see for our CSPS. We look forward to using that data to continue our growth.”

Per standard practice, the Board also reviewed the Superintendent’s contract at the same time as they did the evaluation. A special board meeting was called for December 15, 2016 for the Board to discuss and vote in open session on the contract. The Board moved to make revisions to the contract that included firming up or adding language to meet the legal requirements, such as the definition/components of Michigan Revised School Code 1249b. One of the components under 1249b says that if the Superintendent has been rated highly effective for three years in a row, the evaluation shall be biennial, as long as the performance remains highly effective.

Additionally, the superintendent was granted three additional vacation days (to make it 28) and two additional sick leave days (to make it 12). “The superintendent contract was extended another year through 2020 as a result of her performance and commitment to our CSPS,” it said in the release.

According to the contract, Dr. VanDuyn’s salary is $152,796 for the 2016-17 year, $155,852 for 2017-18; $158,969.04 for 2018-19; and $162,168.42 for 2019-20. If the Superintendent’s contract is automatically extended for a year through 2020-21 as a result of being highly effective, her salary would be $165,411.78 for that year.

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Exciting School District News: 


Board of Education take Oath of Office at the January 9, 2017 Board meeting.

Board of Education take Oath of Office at the January 9, 2017 Board meeting.

2017 Refunding Bonds

The Cedar Springs Public Schools Board of Education is committed to providing an excellent education for every child in the district.  The Board of Education is committed to high expectations for excellence in all we do as a district.  We hold ourselves and all others accountable and expect every person to work with integrity in all positions.  To that end, this Board of Education is providing transparency in all they do.  This Board is proud of the impressive forward motion of the school district and a list of many accomplishments by the outstanding staff and students of Cedar Springs.

An example of a recent accomplishment that will serve our district and community well is the 2017 refunding of Bonds.  The Superintendent, Board of Education, Director of Business and Finance, CSPS Accountant, financial advisers to the District, banks and legal counsel are working through a lengthy process to make the bond refunding possible.   A summary of the bond refunding process is illustrated as follows:

December 12, 2016: Board of Education adopted a delegating resolution at a regular board meeting. This authorized the Superintendent to accept and execute a Bond Purchase Agreement with the Underwriter.

January 12, 2017: Due Diligence Conference call with all parties to review POS

January 26, 2017:  Conference call with the rating agency

February 7, 2017: Pricing of bonds (subject to market conditions)

February 8, 2017:  Execution of the bond purchase agreement

February 27 or March 13: Board of Education adopts a “ratification resolution” at a regular board meeting.  This is an additional, but not mandatory step, to add a greater depth of transparency and support to the process.  Signatures from the Superintendent, Board President and Board Secretary are required to adopt the resolution.

March 16, 2017: Bond Closing

This Board of Education and District Leadership Team are excited to be working through this long and involved process to save our taxpayers over 1.1 million dollars over the next several years!

Please see our website www.csredhawks.org where all documents related to the bond refunding will be available for your review.  Please feel free to contact Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Superintendent of Schools, at 696-1204, should you have questions about this exciting news.

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From the superintendent’s desk


Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Superintendent Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

Happy 2017 – it is going to be a terrific year!  We welcome everyone back to school as we continue our focus on teaching and learning at CSPS.

As we kick off a brand new year, it is an ideal time to learn about the vision, mission, core values and brand promise that was adopted by our Board of Education in December.  The Board of Education embarked on the strategic planning process to update the direction of the District.   The most important part of that process was to gather stakeholder feedback.

To that end, approximately 125 teachers, support staff, administrators, parents, students and community members participated in focus groups to provide input on the future and direction they (and those they represented) would like to see for CSPS.  Additionally, the entire staff of CSPS was asked to provide their input on selecting the core values, which define the way will go about our work.  The engagement and input was impressive and the outcome is just the same.  The following was formally adopted by our dedicated Board of Education and will shape our work as we move forward:

Vision (where we are trying to go):  Cedar Springs Public Schools will prepare all students to be independent thinkers and life-long learners who are confident and engaged in their community and world.

Mission (why we are doing what we’re doing):  Cedar Springs Public Schools is a welcoming, inclusive educational environment where students are challenged to reach their potential, and are prepared for life beyond school.

Core Values (how we are going to go about our work- we’ll do so with):  Integrity, Respect, Compassion, Accountability, Collaboration

Brand Promise (our “trademark”):  Purpose, Potential, Pride

We are excited to keep these tenets of our strategic plan at the forefront of our work with students, staff, families and our community.  On behalf of the Board of Education and our outstanding CSPS collegial team, I thank each and every one of the many people who gave of their time to commit to this important process.  Thank you for your part in continuing to move forward our great Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Warmly, 

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., CSPS Superintendent of Schools

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Board of Education votes in new board president


Matt Shoffner, right,  is the new president of the Cedar Springs Board of Education.

Matt Shoffner, right, is the new president of the Cedar Springs Board of Education.

The Cedar Springs Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting on Monday evening January 9 and elected new officers to various positions.

Matt Shoffner was elected as board president for 2017. He has not previously held that position. Brook Nichols was voted in as vice president; former president Patricia Eary as secretary; and newcomer Heidi Reed as treasurer. Rounding out the board as trustees are Michele Bayink, Shannon Vanderhyde, and newcomer Ted Sabinas.

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Honoring Outstanding School Board Members


 

Dear CSPS Families and Colleagues:

It is the time of year when we focus on that for which we are thankful.  There are many things in our district and community for which to be thankful, including those who rise above self and serve others.  Mr. Joe Marckini and Mr. Jeff Gust have done just that as they have served on our CSPS Board of Education for several years.  Please join me in thanking them for their volunteerism and for taking on the challenges of leadership with courage, engagement and compassion.

csps-joe-marckiniMr. Joe Marckini is a lifelong resident of Kent County and has been a Cedar Springs resident since 1996.  He is the proud father of 2 wonderful daughters, both CSHS graduates.  He and his wife Elizabeth are strong supporters of public education and have been active volunteers throughout the CSPS district and the Cedar Springs community.

Mr. Marckini is an active participant in the legislative process at the local, state and national level. He has taken trips to Washington D.C. to advocate for our Cedar Springs schools.  He is passionate about always doing what is best for students and has dedicated nearly 10 years of his time to seeing that passion through to successful results.  Mr. Marckini has participated in thousands of hours of school board member training and has earned several levels of achievements and awards as well as serving as President of the Board of Education.

csps-jeff-gustMr. Jeff Gust is a lifelong resident of Cedar Springs.  He and his wife Barb are proud graduates of CSHS.  They are the proud parents of 3 great children who all graduated from CSHS!  Not only does Mr. Gust serve but his wife does as well as a secretary at our high school.

Mr. Gust is well respected for the countless hours he has spent throughout the district, whether it is to referee the Red Flannel Festival powder puff game, serve in the concession stands, join in the excitement of Back-to-School nights, or help our littlest students find the correct bus the first week of school.  Regardless of the event or activity, you’ll find Mr. Gust there exhibiting his great Red Hawk pride!

Mr. Gust has served for nearly 6 years, most recently as the Secretary of the Board of Education.  Prior to that he has dedicated much of his time as a member of the Finance and Sinking Fund committees.

As these 2 long-term Board of Education members go off the board at the end of December, we will remember them for their selfless volunteerism and leadership as it’s quite impressive to give so generously in an effort to do what is best for kids.

Thank you, Mr. Marckini and Mr. Gust, you and your service to our district and community will be sorely missed!

Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

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Student Presentation – Costa Rica: A Touch of the Tropics


csps-boe-student-presentation-a

November 7, 2016 Board Meeting 

csps-boe-student-presentationTeacher Amy Holmes and her students presented to the Board of Education an outstanding presentation of their adventures on their Costa Rica Trip. The Costa Rica trip took place June 23, 2016 – July 2, 2016. These students detailed their wonderful daily experiences with the local culture. Students commented that the trip was truly an experience; to be able to use the native language and communicate was incredible.  These students also commented on how the trip has positively influenced their lives and broadened their understanding of the world and other cultures. The Costa Rica trip was a great experience and filled with memories the students will take with them forever. They concluded the presentation with a big thank you to the Board of Education for approving this Costa Rica trip and encouraging more just like it in the future.

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From the Superintendent’s desk


Laura VanDuyn

Laura VanDuyn

Dear CSPS Families:

It’s hard to believe that November is here. We are so engaged in what we do as educators and students that the time flies…and YES, we are having fun! Our first 2 months of school have brought many fantastic opportunities for our students and staff. I’d like to update you on progress we continue to make as a progressive district serving our kids with passion and collaboration.

  • Strategic Planning: We are moving right along and look forward to completion of the process soon. This important process is one that a school district takes on every 3-5 years. It enables the Board of Education to establish the vision (where we are going as a district), mission (why we are here doing what we are doing) and core values (how we go about doing our work). This process involved approximately 125 people in feedback groups. Those groups were established by leaders from our teachers, parents, students, community members, support staff and administrators. The Board of Education is now using all the feedback from the constituent groups and will eventually vote on approving the strategic plan that will have 4 goals: academic, environment, 21st century learning, finance. This process has been inclusive and engaging!
  • Our new math curriculum implementation is going very well and rave reviews are coming in from our teachers, students and parents. Our principals are working with our teachers on tight alignment of the new K-5 curriculum with the 6-12 curriculum. This is exciting work for all of us. We are so proud of the process we put in place over the last 2 years to have our teachers work in collaborative groups to select the curriculum.
  • We are excited to know that our work on Responsive Classroom® (RC) is now being talked about in other districts. I’ve received phone calls and emails to talk about the great benefits of RC and the possibility of other districts looking at training for their schools. We are excited to be the first district to bring this to our region! Please read the article about our outstanding teachers and principals implementing RC in the School News Network: http://www.schoolnewsnetwork.org
  • We are proud that our band students and directors are leading the way after coming in 3rd in two recent state band competitions. Our band will perform at Ford Field on Saturday. Thank you all for helping Cedar Springs lead the way…you make us proud!
  • Hat’s off to our business department staff under the leadership of Rosemary Zink, CPA, MBA and CFO! There has been a lot of work in the business department over the last year. We are elated to know that we are moving forward with transparency in reporting, collaboration and inclusion in budgeting and in systems development. Last November 1st we had to employ the services of a consultant to provide an overview of our business services after concerns were raised by a community member throughout the summer and into the fall of 2015. The great news is we were able to get a comprehensive look at our business practices in order to plan forward. Additionally, we were able to keep our business department going until we were able to hire Ms. Zink. Our business department employees are so dedicated to making sure we all have what we need to do our jobs. We are excited about what is ahead and purposely put a financial goal in the strategic plan to keep a sharp focus on all the advancements that are being made in the business department.
  • Anne Kostus and our terrific team of teachers and counselors at the high school continue to rally around Early Middle College. We are one of few districts offering this opportunity to our high school students. We are proud of being on the leading edge of this statewide initiative. This is so important for giving our students an advantage in college readiness. Hat’s off to all who are making this happen for our amazing students!
  • The OK2Say program has now been implemented at Red Hawk and with our current 7th and 8th graders at the middle school. We were honored last April when our Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and his team thought enough of Cedar Springs Public Schools to spend his day with us kicking off the OK2Say program. That dedication to our district, being a leader in the OK2Say initiative, is humbling. We attribute that to Jo Spry, our Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, as she brought the program to Michigan. We love being on the cutting edge of such important work to keep our schools safe.
  • It’s clear by looking around our campus that our maintenance and grounds crew are working hard. In fact, we have data to prove that. Mr. Ken Simon, our new Director of Operations, is tracking data on work orders and setting goals for his department. Thus far his hard-working team has reduced work orders in progress to 8%…and the goal was 10%! We thank Mr. Simon and his team for supporting all we do as a district as their work is foundational to providing a wonderful learning atmosphere for our students.
  • We are proud of the staff we’ve had with us for many years and are proud of the new staff joining us for the first time this year. Last school year we created and continue to develop an excellent Human Resources Department. Leading that is Ms. Carrie Duddles who is doing a stellar job for all staff and for the district. To that end, there are processes that have been put in place that structure hiring and provide streamlining with the technology, payroll and other departments. There is misinformation that 50 or more employees resigned from the district since January, 2016. It can be confusing as there are times when people on the resignation list are those who resign from one position, such as interventionist, who actually earned another position, such as a teacher. Therefore, their names will appear as resignations when in fact, they are still employees of the District. Furthermore, retirements such as the 11 we had last spring along with 2 leaves of absence that were granted appear in the same category as resignations/layoffs. To add to that is the fact that there are some employees who earn what is called a “schedule B” assignment/salary for coaching athletics, etc. Those positions are counted on the resignation list when someone decides they won’t be able to coach anymore. Those may be teachers or support staff employed by CSPS who are only resigning their coaching positions, not their full-time positions … or they may be people who do not work in the district but only coach a sport, etc. As you can see, there is a lot that can make a list appear to be something it is not. The lists contain all support, teaching and administrator positions. Simple lists can be misleading without understanding what all is encompassed in them, but we know as we calculate the numbers of actual resignations that we are well within a general range of what can be expected for any district. It’s always important to gather the facts and we encourage all to seek facts prior to establishing concerns. Thankfully, we are putting these important processes in place to track our hiring, seniority, benefits, payroll, etc. These structures are incredibly important to keeping the District on track in budgeting…we are proud of the work we are doing in this area!
  • It is our honor to have with us, Dr. Barbara Johnson, a National Blue Ribbon School principal, principal of a Top 10 school in the state and a Reading Now Network school. Dr. Johnson is working with our new “Leader in Training” at Beach Elementary School. We are so very fortunate to have Mrs. Miranda Latimer (one of our excellent CSPS teachers who earned a leadership position in the district) as our administrator at Beach Elementary. She is getting the benefit of learning from our outstanding principal team as well as from Dr. Barb Johnson. It is to our benefit to have someone who has been a principal recognized in the state and nation for her terrific contributions in education. Please know that the affordability in this comes from a “Leader in Training” salary that is significantly less than a principal in order to afford the mentor, as agreed upon by the Leader in Training upon accepting the position. Dr. Barb Johnson is being talked about all over Michigan…we are THRILLED to be a district benefiting from her services.
  • NEOLA policy work continues as we are nearing the end of the work to add the Administrative Guidelines to the policies that were adopted this summer. This Board of Education and administration have worked long and hard to do a complete policy overhaul to ensure we are on board with the most state-of-the-art policy that is constantly updated and inclusive of any changed or new legislation. It’s so nice to be a district on the forefront of important reform such as policy as it guides what we do as a district.
  • Our School Resource Officer program is serving our students, staff and families so well. We have seen the countless benefits of the program in such a short time and look forward to continuing to develop the program. We are fortunate to bring this program to CSPS and know that it’s making a difference in our school operations and in our student and staff well being. Thank you, Deputy McCutcheon, for all you are doing to make this innovative program a success!

As we enter into the season for recognizing all we have to be thankful for, know that our staff and Board of Education are thankful that you share your most cherished blessings with us. Thank you for partnering with us to be make a positive impact in your child’s life. We, at CSPS, take very seriously what we do as educators to support your child in developing a successful present and future life. To that end, we hold high expectations and a commitment to accountability for ourselves and for our students. We are thankful that we do this together as we know our purpose is the same…seeing your child reach his/her potential.

It is an honor and privilege to serve as your superintendent. Please contact me at any time, should I be able to support you and your child in educational success.

Warmly,

Laura VanDuyn, Ed.D.

CSPS Superintendent of Schools

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From the Board of Education


 

Dear CSPS Staff & Families:

Fall:  cooler nights, crisp air, colorful leaves, apples, cider, pumpkins, and a host of other things which hopefully signify fond memories of the season for you.   Your child has settled into a familiar routine of attending school and being involved in related activities.  Just as your child is learning new things in class every day, we as adults should also be learning something new every day.  We have staff members who are learning about Responsive Classrooms, the new math curriculum or attending college classes to further their education.  Education never ends.  Your school board members are also taking classes to increase their knowledge of their job as a member of the school board.

The Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) offers many classes for our Board members.  By taking classes and being involved in certain activities, Board members can receive credits which are applied to seven different levels of Certification/Awards.  Three of our Board members have completed Levels 2 or 3.  Board trustee Joe Marckini has completed Level  6 and is very close to completing the highest achievement of Level  7, the President’s Award of Recognition.  He has also received the Advocacy Skills Specialty Certificate and the Data Specialty Certificate from MASB.   Joe has spent thousands of hours in consistently increasing his knowledge as a school board member.  The education he has received continues to be an asset to the Cedar Springs’ School District.

Joe has served faithfully on the Board since 2007.  He has advocated on the local, state and national level on behalf of all CSPS students to get their educational needs met.  He has continued to push for  free early-childhood education and that a STREAM (Science, Technology, wRiting, Engineering, Arts, Math) education is a necessity for our students.  Joe has gone to Lansing and Washington DC several times to advise our legislators that they are not meeting the needs of the students of Cedar Springs.  We should all thank Joe Marckini for all he has done and will do for the students of Cedar Springs.   Congratulations on your achievements and passion with regards to the students of Cedar Springs Public Schools!

Sincerely, Patricia Eary, 

CSPS Board of Education President

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Cedar Springs Board of Education candidates


 

By Judy Reed

It has been one of the most volatile campaigns for the Cedar Springs Board of Education in recent years. Four people are running for two six-year seats. Originally there were five candidates, but Rita Reimbold dropped out. The other four are:

Joe Marckini

Joe Marckini

Joseph Marckini: Joe Marckini has served on the Board of Education for the last nine years, and is looking for six more. He grew up in the Walker area, and Joe and his family moved to Algoma Township in 1996. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters, Emily and Maria. He said that he and his wife desire to serve the community and especially any organization which helps educate and support kids. He has been employed by the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) Local #7 for over 30 years as a sheet metal construction worker.

Joe said he is running for another term to ensure that every student receives fair and equal opportunities. “If re-elected, I will continue advocating for all students’ right to a S.T.R.E.A.M. education (Science, Technology, Recess, Engineering, Arts & Math). I will continue making KIDS FIRST decisions, supporting more intervention for at-risk students and more life-skills and trade skills training opportunities.” He said he would also continue to be a voice for education at the federal, state and local levels. He also wants to continue the changes he has seen under Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn. “I have been a part of bringing the current Superintendent to Cedar Springs. Under her leadership we have made many tough but important changes. So many positive things have happened over the last few years and I would like to be a part of the continued improvements.”

Besides serving on the Board of Education, Joe has also served on the Cedar Springs Executive Board PTO, Kent Intermediate School Board Association, National School Board Association (NSBA) Federal Relation Network, Friends of Kent County Schools, NEOLA policy committee, Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation, Cedar Springs Public Schools negotiation committee, and is the representative of Cedar Springs Public Schools Board of Education to the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB).

Joe said that his main strength is the ability to make hard but necessary decisions. “I am a fierce advocate for kids. I am not on the board to make friends or get a pat on the back. I am here to make sure Cedar Springs Public Schools follows all rules and policies and is fair in its decision making regarding students and staff. I want to be sure that the parents in our district know that their child is not only getting an excellent education but will also be treated fairly and equitably and have not only the support of their teachers but also the staff, Superintendent and school board. As a member of the board I am often regarded as the policy-enforcer, I make sure we are operating within the law and within the guidelines we have set up for ourselves.”

Joe sees funding as the major challenge facing the district. “Funding and resources has an impact on everything we do and attempt to do. Security, smaller classroom sizes, busing, professional development, infrastructure improvements, they all rely on funding. That’s why being an advocate at all levels of government is so important. We have to keep working for our kids to ensure they get what they need and deserve as citizens of this great democracy.”

Ted Sabinas

Ted Sabinas

Ted Sabinas: Ted Sabinas and his wife Dianne have lived in Cedar Springs for 39 years.  He was a teacher in the district for 34 years and served as a Cedar Springs High School coach of cross country, track, and several other sports for 37 years. Their two daughters, Mrs. Kahler and Mrs K (Kacprzyk) graduated from Cedar Springs and are currently teaching in our district. Their grandchildren also attend school here. “I have been committed to Cedar Springs for 39 years and feel strongly about the opportunity to run for the school board to help impact and make a positive difference in our school district,” said Ted.

Ted said he his primary reason for running for office is to “bring a background of teaching, coaching and educational leadership, along with my passion for our district, and to help guide and participate in the decisions being made as they impact our school district, community, staff and most importantly our students,” he explained.

Sabinas said the main strength he would bring to the office lies in his years of teaching and coaching experience, and his collaborative training. “[My] teaching and coaching experience, along with my commitment to our district, can help me guide and participate in the decisions being made as they impact our school district. With my collaborative training I have the ability to see what needs to be accomplished and how to get to the correct outcome together.

“While serving as the Cedar Springs Association President and Head of Negotiations for 17 years, I was trained and practiced collaborative negotiations with past superintendents and Boards of Education with very successful outcomes,” he noted. “I have a proven track record of demonstrating collaboration, active listening, and driving results over the years.” He said that he and the teams he worked with created a culture in which all problems can be discussed openly and solved with support from all involved using the collaborative method.

Sabinas said that our district faces many challenges. “Challenges such as the district revenues and expenses; being responsible to the community that elected the board; and creating a district wide positive image, are just a few of the many challenges that a board member faces,” he said. “We must address these challenges with research, hope, and caution, and determine if the board decisions are the correct direction to follow for our students in Cedar Springs. As a board member I will always place students as the main priority but also keep the community and staff informed and seek input from students, community and the staff.”

Heidi Reed

Heidi Reed

Heidi Reed: Heidi Reed is a wife, mother and businesswoman who lives in the city of Cedar Springs. She has been married for 33 years to Steve Reed, a teacher.    Together they have three boys, Trey, Thomas and Trevor. Trey Reed, graduated from CSHS and recently Cornerstone University. Thomas and Trevor are 10th graders at CSHS. Heidi is Vice President/Associate Real Estate Broker for Red Oak Management Co., Inc. For 27 years she has been responsible for property management issues, finance and compliance for 1,300 families at 48 locations in Michigan.

Heidi said she is running for school board because she has a sense of duty to this community and is community centered. “I will keep kids first in decisions, by asking the question, who benefits? I will be financially focused and look for the highest and best use of the taxpayer dollars. I enjoy policy and finance work. I have no other agenda for seeking this position other than the desire to do what I can to help Cedar Springs Public Schools achieve and improve. Being in affordable housing, I see everyday, the nexus of how important education is to our society.”

Heidi has been active on school and business committees. She serves on the Cedar Springs Public Schools Sinking Fund Committee 2010 to present; the Cedar Springs Public Schools: Strategic Planning Committee 2015-2016; and the Cedar Springs Public Schools District Improvement Team, to name a few.

Heidi said the main strength she will bring to the board is leadership. “I will bring:

  • Constant Leadership-knowledge of our students, educators and facilities.  I have been attending board meetings for a year in preparation for this position.
  • Balanced Leadership-understanding of the issues and opportunities we face as a district.
  • Engaged Leadership-the passion to lead forward.”

Heidi said there are multiple challenges facing the district, but the first is meeting all students’ needs with limited funding. “We are facing budgetary and operational issues now in our district that impact not just the students and their futures, but the economic and social health of Cedar Springs. I have the experience, judgment and desire to step up to these issues and listen, learn and lead. My corporate experience of blending multiple government programs together for success will be an asset to the school board.”

Mistie Bowser

Mistie Bowser

Mistie Bowser:  Mistie Bowser has been living in Courtland Township for 16 years. She said she has loved living here with her four children—Emily Umphrey, a 2013 CSHS graduate; Cameron Umphrey, a 2016 CSHS graduate; Myla Umphrey a junior at CSHS; and Elizabeth Bowser, a fourth-grader at Cedar View.
“I’m a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association, where I travel and share my story, which helps bring more lung cancer awareness to help fight this disease,” she explained. “We are a very academic, arts and athletic family. I’ve been very involved with our football, hockey, soccer, cross country, track, theatre, advanced and resource learning programs.”

Mistie is a very involved mom and community member who takes great pride in where she chose to raise her children. “I’m running for the Cedar Springs School Board because I want to have a direct hand in the decisions being made that will directly affect our students education and extra curricular activities,” she explained. “I will research the options to ensure that I will be making the best decisions for our Cedar Springs students, which my youngest is only in 4th grade so I have many years to stay vested. Our students deserve the best and most competitive education and I want to ensure that happens by putting students first with our staff and community right behind them, making a successful collaborative triangle.  I want to serve my commuity of Cedar Springs by working hard for you on our Cedar Springs School Board.”

Mistie has served on several boards and committees, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for nine years as member, treasurer, vice president and president; American Lung Association Regional Leadership Council as Chairwoman; the Mothers Of Preschoolers(MOPS) steering committee board; coached AYSO soccer; senior all night part committee, and more.

Mistie said the main strength she would bring to the board would be “my strong communication skills, understanding the importance and experience of being fiscally responsible, along with ensuring that I am and others are held accountable for all the decisions being made. I bring the perspective of a parent of a student and athlete in our district. Before voting on an item I will ensure that I have all the information from all sides so I can make a well-informed decision, and vote for what’s best for our students. I bring many years of leading non-profit organization boards with successful collaborative and respectful communication skills. I believe in everyone being fiscally responsible and accountable for all decisions being made. I will bring open communication along with always putting our students, staff and community front and center.”

“The major challenge in our district right now is the over 50 staff members that have left since January 2016, the fiscal decisions that have been made that are still not answered by our administration, and the communication and the morale of our staff and our community. Our district is hurting along with our community over some decisions that have been made over the past 2 years. I agree; I don’t like a lot of the decisions made either. My plan to address these problems is to communicate more, hold people accountable for their decisions, bring collaboration back, and use our finances responsibly by ensuring that money is only spent if it will directly affect our students. My biggest goal is to listen and communicate with our students, staff and community.”

Look for city and township candidates in next week’s Post!

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