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CTA names replacement for retiring Superintendent



CTA elementary principal Autumn Mattson has been chosen to replace retiring Superintendent Dan George. Courtesy photo.

A familiar face will be leading the charge for Creative Technologies Academy after current Superintendent Dan George retires on June 30. 

The charter school, located at 350 Pine Street, in Cedar Springs, announced at its regular board meeting on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, that they had chosen Autumn Mattson, current Elementary Principal of the Academy, to replace George effective July 1, 2020. 

Cindy Patin, President of the Board of Directors, announced the selection of Mrs. Mattson with this statement: “For twenty-one years, Creative Technologies Academy has provided a unique learning opportunity for children within our community andsurrounding area, led by great leaders who have a genuine desire to see children succeed in all areas of their lives. We are thankful for the next phase of our history to be led by another individual as equally committed to that vision and mission, Mrs. Autumn Mattson. Her energy, enthusiasm, and passion for continual growth for her students, for her staff, and for CTA, made her the ideal candidate for the search committee and for the Board of Directors. We look forward to continuingour work of developing world changers with Mrs. Mattson as our school leader.”

Dan George has served as the Academy’s school leader for more than a decade and approved wholeheartedly of the decision of the Board of Directors. “I look forward to working with Mrs. Mattson over the next four months on this transition. Autumn Mattson has proven her value to CTA over the last four years as the Elementary Principal. She combines academic qualifications, leadership skills, vision, a growth mindset, knowledge of the community, and high energy and work ethic that will be invaluable to the Academy in her role as Superintendent/School Leader,” said George. “Most of all, she has a sincere heart for kids. I consider that her most important quality.”

Before joining CTA in 2016 as Dean of Students/athletic director, Mattson served as athletic director at Cedar Springs Public Schools for almost 10 years and was both dean of students and athletic director there for almost 3 years. She also held several other positions within the school district prior to that.

Mattson received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Lake Superior State University in 2001, her Masters in Education from Aquinas College in 2010, and her Michigan School Administrator Certificate in 2017.

She has been an Executive Mentor/Coach with the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals since 2018. Among her many leadership accomplishments, she is responsible for initiating and implementing the “WIN” (Whatever I Need) program in CTA’s elementary grades, elevating student success. Mrs. Mattson is married to husband, Scott, and they have two sons, Drew and Evan. She expressed her appreciation with this statement: “My family and I are extremely excited and grateful for this opportunity to continue to serve the CTA students, staff, families, and community as the new CTA Superintendent/School Leader. Since the minute I stepped onto the CTA campus, this has been a place that has supported, inspired, and challenged me to grow professionally and personally. I am filled with gratitude for the leadership that Mr. Dan George has provided for me and so many others during his time at CTA. He will be greatly missed by CTA students, staff, and families. We will continue to honor his legacy by always remembering what he has taught us: We are Chargers! We are World Changers!!”

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CTA signs papers on property donation


Fred Gunnell (left) and CTA Supt. Dan George (right) after the property closing on Thursday, March 1. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Fred and Carolee Gunnell, of Solon Township, are leaving a legacy of love with their donation of 10 acres to Creative Technologies Academy.

The donation was made official Thursday, March 1, at an emotional signing ceremony in the school auditorium.

The Gunnells, retired educators and longtime neighbors of the charter school, decided to donate the property to the school when they found out they wanted to expand.  

“Over the years, Carolee and I have always been involved in education,” explained Fred. They taught in Sparta, and then moved north when he took a job as an administrator at Michigan Tech. “We were gone for 25 years. The property here—80 acres—belonged to Carolee’s family. When we came back, we wondered what to do with it. We tried to give some away at one time [to another entity], but it was refused,” he said.

Over the years, the Gunnells have loved having the school as a neighbor. Fred was emotional as he spoke about it. “You feel like family,” Fred told CTA officials during the signing. “I’m glad we could do this.”

A local couple signed over 10 acres to CTA Thursday. Pictured (from L to R) is: Carolee Gunnell, Fred Gunnel, CTA Board President Cindy Patin, and Superintendent Dan George. Post photo by J. Reed.

School Superintendent and School Leader Dan George was also emotional as he read a statement to the Gunnells about what their generosity means to the school. “I believe the impact of your gift of 10 acres to Creative Technologies Academy is immeasurable at this point in time,” he said. “I had many friends in teaching and administration in traditional public schools when I took this job eight years ago, and have sought to continue and multiply those relationships. We provide choices, legitimate, rigorous, accountable choices for families. One of my goals early on was to have our Academy viewed as partners, not competitors, with the surrounding communities and schools in doing what is best for kids.

“Your gift and generosity extends far beyond property and finances, and the potential site for our Student Activities Center. I believe your gift to CTA recognizes and legitimizes our role as partners in the community. It says to us, and others, that you believe in us. How do you put a value on that? We are so grateful for that gift of trust and we are honored that you recognize and share our love for kids and our partnership with community. On behalf of the students and staff of Creative Technologies Academy, please accept our sincere thanks from the bottom of our hearts.”

George said he has always had a dream for the school to have their own gymnasium. This property, just to the west of the school, will give them space to build it, and include some extra classrooms in the complex. They would also like to add a soccer field. George said that when they are not using the Student Activities Center, it would be available for the community to use as well.

Next steps will be to come up with the exact plans for the property, and raise money for the project. 

Other parties involved in the closing Thursday included realtor Leon Stout, and Jodi Ellis, of Sun Title.

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Kids can cook


N-Kids-can-cook1Cindy Patin of Cedar Springs, Natural Health Advisor, held three sessions of “Kids Can Cook” at the Cedar Springs Middle School on June 24 for the Cedar Springs Library summer reading program. It was a great place to hold a library program for ages 8-13. There were five stoves in the encore room where it was held. Cindy wanted a real hands on experience for the students. Students formed groups of two  or three and had a blast making homemade blueberry pancakes and basic white sauce for macaroni and cheese.

Cindy had the students gather around her and a cooking station, where she talked to them about cleanliness, cooking safety, healthy ingredients and how to measure. She brought her own wheat mill and shared what real wheat berries look like. She then put the berries in her wheat mill and ground them into whole wheat flour to make into hearty pancakes.

Every student left the class happy and full, and with recipes of their own to turn the class into action at home. Several asked if the library had more cooking classes lined up. The library is considering how to meet this interest in future programming.

For a copy of Cindy’s “go to” home recipes, visit the Library’s website: cedarspringslibrary.org.  Cindy also recommended a website for great family recipes, school lunch ideas and information at www.100daysofrealfood.com. The Cedar Springs Library has a copy of the book available for checkout. Happy eating!

Kids Can Cook

Cedar Springs Public Library – June 2016

N-Kids-can-cookBasic Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

3 Tablespoons sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½  cups milk, more if needed

2 Tablespoons butter (melted) or oil, plus ½ tsp. for griddle

1. Heat griddle.  Wisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.  Add eggs, buttermilk and butter.  Wisk to combine, but don’t overmix.  Should have small lumps.

2. Test griddle with a few drops of water – it will bounce and spatter, when griddle is ready.  Oil griddle.

3. Pour ½ cup of batter onto griddle.  When pancakes have bubbles on top, and are slightly dry around edges (about 2 ½ minutes), flip over.  Cook bottom for about a minute.

 

Basic White Sauce

2 Tablespoons Butter

2 Tablespoons white flour

1 cup milk

**1 cup of shredded cheese

1. Melt butter in a pan, on low-medium.

2. Add flour and stir to combine.

3. Slowly add milk, while stirring, until it is thickened

4. Add cheese, slowly, while on low, or use sauce as a base for soups, etc.

**For macaroni and cheese, add 1 cup of cheddar cheese; for alfredo sauce, add 1 cup of parmesan cheese, stirring to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Combine with pasta.

For more great family recipes, school lunch ideas and information, visit:  100 Days of Real Food at www.100daysofrealfood.com

Presenter:  Cindy Patin, Natural Health Advisor (616) 696-6121 

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