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Tag Archive | "Creative Technologies Academy"

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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Local charter school plans to expand

Couple gifts 10 acres to school to make dream a reality

By Judy Reed

When Dan George was 14 years old, he made the JV basketball team as a freshman in high school. He was excited about the chance to play, and told his mom he needed a new pair of shoes—like the classic Chuck Taylors by Converse. His mom told him they couldn’t afford them, but she would pray with him that God would make it possible. So they prayed about it, and George went off to school, not thinking much more about it. He was surprised when his mom picked him up at school at noon, and drove straight to the shoe store. She told him that she had received a gift certificate from someone in the mail that morning that made it possible to buy the shoes. It was a lesson in faith that George never forgot.

“If you think about it, that means someone sent that gift certificate before I even made the team,” he said. God had prepared the way.

Now, as Superintendent and School Leader at Creative Technologies Academy, a local charter school on Pine Street, George still dreams big, and holds on to the faith lessons he learned as a teenager. “In all the years I have been here at CTA, I’ve always wanted to be able to expand,” he said. “I’ve had my eye on two pieces of property. To the south is 5 or 6 acres, and 10 to the west (which belongs to Fred and Carolee Gunnell). But I didn’t know how we could afford it. Then I got convicted remembering my lesson in faith.”

George said that originally he was working with the Community Building Development Team to possibly build a recreation center to the south that both CTA and the community could use. But it turned out that the water table was too high. So Sue Wolfe suggested he speak with Fred Gunnell about buying the property to the west of CTA. “We had a meeting, and I asked him what he thought a fair price would be for the 10 acres,” explained George. “He said he would have his realtor, Leon Stout, get back with me.”

George was surprised by what Stout told him when he called him. The Gunnells wanted to donate the 10 acres to the school. George was overjoyed. “It’s gratifying that Fred and Carolee want to do this for us,” he said.

Fred Gunnell told the Post that CTA had been good neighbors for 28 years, and that he and Carolee enjoyed seeing the kids there. “We are both educators, and think they do a good job. We heard they needed space, so we gave it to them,” he explained.

Fred and Carolee both taught at Sparta, he as a high school teacher and counselor, and she as an elementary teacher. Fred also was also an administrator at Michigan Tech.

CTA has 315 students enrolled in Kindergarten through 12th grade, and sits on 7 acres. The additional 10 acres will more than double their size and help them realize the dream to have their own student activity center. “It will be more than a gym; it will have extra offices. It will give us our own place to have graduation. It will meet our needs but also do some things for the community,” said George. 

“This is an awesome thing for us and the community,” said Autumn Mattson, the K-5 principal. “It wouldn’t be a big deal for a bigger school, but for us it’s a game changer.”

George noted that even though they are a public school, as a charter they only survive on donations. So what is it going to cost to build? He was given an estimate by Duane McIntyre of about $6 million. But that doesn’t faze George.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a $15 pair of basketball shoes or a $250,000 piece of property. God has all the money in the world,” he said.

The closing date on the property has been set for March 1 at 4 p.m. in the CTA auditorium.

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16 Early Release Day (Students and Staff)

19-20 Mid-Winter Break (No School)

23 Basketball Game vs. WM Aviation 5:30/7:00 p.m.

24 Enchanted Snow Ball (Daddy Daughter Dance)


8 MS/HS Choir Concert – 7 p.m.

9 Early Release Day (Students and Staff)

19 Town Hall Meeting

19-22 Student-Led Conferences

23 Early Release Day

29 Early Release Day (Students and Staff)

30-April 6 Spring Break

* Early Release Dismissal Schedule

• K-5 Dismissal at 1:00 p.m.

• 6-12 Dismissal at 12:45 p.m.

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CTA closes due to illness


Creative Technologies Academy, on Pine Street, closed last Friday, January 26, due to illness, but it wasn’t specifically for influenza or a stomach bug.

“It was largely a precautionary measure to close school on Friday because we had seen a sharp increase in illness among staff and students last week,” said Sara Middlebrook, Student Information Data Coordinator at CTA. 

She said they diligently sanitized the entire campus over the weekend, and also sent home reminders about when to keep a child home per the recommendations of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Divisions of Communicable Disease Control and Vaccinations, in hopes of maintaining a more germ-free environment for students and staff.

More than 300 students attend the charter school.


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Open Enrollment Period

Creative Technologies Academy

350 Pine Street | Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Open Enrollment Period

For the 2018-19 School Year

January 15, 2018 – February 15, 2018

You may register students forgrades K-5 by

 calling Mrs. Mattson and grades 6-8 by calling 

Mrs. Colin at (616) 696-4905.

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CTA Junior Invited to join State Honors Choir 

Junior Tobius Potter beams with excitement at his selection to perform with the State honors choir.

Creative Technologies Academy Junior Tobius Potter recently participated in the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) Regional honors choir. 

During the day long event on Dec. 2, Potter also auditioned for State honors choir and was selected to participate with the state ensemble. He will perform with other singers from around the state at the Michigan Music Conference at the end of January and will then have the opportunity to audition for All-State choir. Potter was selected to perform as a Tenor 1. 

 “It is a huge honor and a difficult process to make it this far with MSVMA,” shared CTA Choir teacher Jeremy Holtrop. “I am very proud of Tobius, his efforts and commitment.” Potter is the first CTA student to make it to the state level honors choir. 

The High School Honors Choir program offers Regional Honors Choirs, State Honors Choirs and an All-State Honors Choir. In each region, a choir is selected with a maximum of 170 singers. 

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CTA presents Twain’s Tales 

CTA Drama Club students rehearse for the upcoming performance.

Creative Technologies Academy High School performers will pay tribute to the famous American storyteller, Mark Twain, in their performance of Twain’s Tales, a play written by David Taylor London. Directed by CTA’s drama teacher Jeremy Holtrop, Twain’s Tales includes five short stories penned by the well-known author including “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” “Science vs. Luck,” “The Joke That Made Ed’s Fortune,” “The Belated Russian Passport,” “Is He Living or Is He Dead?” and an excerpt from “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” 

“Since its inception last year, the CTA drama department has been building to a bigger production like Twain’s Tales, shared Holtrop. “We started with improv shows, then last year we moved to our first full-length play with a comedy/farce called Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit, and this year the students have risen to the challenge of a full-length play based on classic works of literature. It is amazing to see how much the students have grown!” 

The performance will last an hour and half and features eight performers in grades 9-12. 

Performances will be held on Friday, Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 9, in the Creative Technologies Academy Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. Presale tickets may be purchased in the administration office at 350 Pine Street, Cedar Springs for $3.00. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5.00. 


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Brad Waid Conducts Professional Development for Teaching Staff


Creative Technologies Academy had the opportunity to work with Brad Waid regarding game-changing Apps, augmented reality and emerging technology. Brad Waid is an International speaker, influencer and educator with over 15 years of classroom and industry experience. He is an industry leader in Educational Technology, 21st Century Learning, Culture and Innovation, Augmented Reality & Emerging Technologies. He is a consultant to industry, education and government. Brad is called on by the industry to assist in marketing and telling the story of a product or a company, he assists school districts and educational conferences in applying technology into education, and he works with government agencies to improve education for all students. Brad’s knowledge of educational technology, his ability to assist industry and government and his passion to inspire educational change, make him a highly sought after speaker and influencer who makes an impact wherever he goes.

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Successful Walk-A-Thon benefits elementary students

Third grade students Deegan VanHarten and Colren Bailey jump double at the jump rope station.

The Creative Technologies Academy Parent Association held their annual walk-a-thon on October 6. It was a huge success! They raised almost $3,800. This fundraiser was held to benefit the elementary grades to provide field trips and other classroom needs. The walk was held on the school grounds and the classes took turns with their reading buddies participating in the walk-a-thon activities. They all really enjoyed it, and had a lot of fun! The PA did it a little different than in the past years and opted to have activity stations. The students raced on scooters,

Fourth grader Natalie Haan races around the basketball court during one of the stations.

swiveled hula hoops, jumped rope, and danced to music. The teachers also enjoyed engaging with their students and watching them enjoy themselves. A huge thank you to our sponsors – Walmart and Meijer for gift cards to buy our snacks and water and Burger King for donating free hamburgers or a free ice cream cone vouchers. Our top class who raised the most money was the 3rd graders who will receive a pizza party and $200 towards books for their classroom. The 5th grade class also earned a pizza party. Thank you to all who helped plan, volunteered on-site and donated to make the walk a huge success!

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Our Mission

Creative Technologies Academy is a K-12 community of learners committed to changing our world by developing students in character, scholarship, and leadership.

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