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Tag Archive | "Dean of Students"

Creative Technologies Academy names new 6-12 principal


Jennifer Colin, new 6-12 principal for CTA.

Creative Technologies Academy, 350 Pine Street, in Cedar Springs, completed a search and announced the appointment of Jennifer Colin as the new principal of grades 6-12 of the Ferris State University-authorized public school academy.

Ms. Colin begins her new position July 26. The opening was created with the departure of Mrs. Carrie Paddock, the principal administrator of curriculum, assessment, and instruction for all grades. Paddock left CTA on July 1 after twelve years as a teacher and administrator to pursue an administrator/instructional coaching position with Choice Schools, a charter school management company. CTA is restructuring the responsibilities of its administrative team with this transition. Dan George remains as Superintendent/School Leader. Former Dean of Students, Autumn Mattson will assume the title and responsibilities of K-5 Principal and Colin will be the 6-12 principal.

Superintendent Dan George believes Colin’s experience in leadership in one of the most successful public school academies in the state makes her well suited for this position. “We are excited to welcome Jennifer to fill the 6-12 principal position,” shared George. “We had four strong finalists for this position. Jennifer comes to us from West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science where she has served for 14 years, most recently as the interim Secondary Principal for the last year. Jennifer received the Power of One Award from WMAES in 2012 as ‘the employee who goes above and beyond her position, is an inspiration to others, reaches out to the community, and is respected by peers, students, and families.’ She brings a broad range of educational experience and knowledge to CTA.” Colin initiated and established a CTE program in cooperation with Davenport University to provide the opportunity for WMAES students to gain college credit and facilitated Advanced Placement courses to that school’s curriculum.

Colin’s credentials include a Bachelor of Psychology from Taylor University, a Master of Social Work from Grand Valley University, a Master of Education in School Counseling from Grand Valley State University, and a Master of Arts in School Principalship from Central Michigan University. She holds a K-12 School Administrator Certificate, a School Counselor License, and a Master’s Social Worker Clinical and Macro License from the State of Michigan. She has also received specialized training in the Future Leaders Institute.

Jennifer had this to say about joining the CTA family: “I believe all children have the potential to achieve success. It is our job as educators to work with students and their families in providing the opportunity and help that they need to learn, grow, and become young people who contribute in making our world a better place. Creative Technologies Academy shares this important mission. I chose CTA because they are passionately committed to investing in the lives of children by offering a whole-person approach to education which values developing the minds, character, and self-concept of its students.”

Ms. Colin is married to William Colin, and they have one son.

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Welcome Back Chargers


Elementary students gather to kick off the school year.

Elementary students gather to kick off the school year.

WOW! We have started another year at Creative Technologies Academy Elementary, we love having so many fresh, new faces in our halls along with the many returning faces! The hallways have been filled with laughter, kindness, and lots and lots of learning in these first couple weeks! One new face in the CTA elementary is Mrs. Mattson, the new Dean of Students, and CTA is very lucky to have her on board as we work on character development and what being a Charger is all about! We are so excited to experience all that she has in store for us this year!

The kids are ready and excited for this school year to begin. Zoey, a returning first grader said, “I am excited to make new friends!” These kids are ready to start receiving the knowledge the teachers at CTA are more than willing to give. “I am excited to read more books,” said Liam, another first grader. The staff and students are ready to have another GREAT year at CTA!!!

GO CHARGERS!!!

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Now Enrolling!


 

There are still spaces available for the 2016-2017 school year.

Please call us to set up your personal tour and meeting with our Dean of Students.

You may set up your appointment by calling Mrs. Atkins or Mr. Oldebekking at (616) 696-4905

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CTA selects new dean of students/athletic director


Cutline: Autumn Mattson will become the new dean of students/athletic director at Creative Technologies Academy. She is shown here with her husband, Scott, and their two sons.

Autumn Mattson will become the new dean of students/athletic director at Creative Technologies Academy. She is shown here with her husband, Scott, and their two sons.

Autumn Mattson, the former athletic director and dean of students at Cedar Springs High School, has been selected to fill that same position at Creative Technologies Academy at the end of this school year.

Creative Technologies Academy, a Ferris State University-authorized public school academy located on Pine Street in Cedar Springs, made the announcement Monday, May 9, after a five-week search.

Mattson will assume her new position in June. She succeeds the school’s current and outgoing dean of students/athletic director, David Oldebekking, who will remain in the position until the end of the school year to ensure a seamless transition.

CTA School Leader/Superintendent, Dan George believes Mattson is the right person for this position.

“Autumn knows the Cedar Springs community well and has a passion for helping kids. We are excited to have her fill the position of Dean of Students at CTA,” he stated. “My goal for CTA since I came here over six years ago was for us to be a valued, and viewed as, a partner, not a competitor, with the other exceptional school districts that surround us in doing what is best for kids. I believe Autumn will help us in that endeavor,” George continued.

Mattson served as athletic director at Cedar Springs for almost 10 years and was both dean of students and athletic director for almost 3 years. She also held several other positions within the school district prior to that. She resigned in February 2016.

Mattson holds her Masters of Education and Leadership and Elementary Teaching Certification from Aquinas College and her Bachelor of Arts from Lake Superior State University. Mattson has received many honors, including the 2014 Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrator Association Regional Athletic Director of the Year, and the 2014 West Michigan Officials Association Athletic Director of the Year recognitions.

“I am so honored to have this opportunity to work with the staff, families and students of CTA,” shared Mattson. “From the minute I stepped on the campus I knew this was the place for me. The love and care this staff shows towards their students is inspiring. I am looking forward to getting to know the entire CTA family and working with our community to help each student dream big, reach their goals and experience success.”

Mattson is married to Scott Mattson, and they have two children.

Oldebekking, who was appointed in 2012 after spending six years teaching at CTA, led the school during a period of growth and also oversaw student athletic programs.

“My time at CTA has been great. I started as a teacher and the relationships with the students, staff and families are irreplaceable,” said David Oldebekking, current dean of students. “There are so many great people that make up this school family and I am going to miss them all.”

“Dave Oldebekking has exceptionally served CTA for 10 years,” shared Dan George, School Leader/Superintendent. “I am sad to see him leave education because he has been an outstanding teacher, administrator, coach, mentor, and role model for kids and staff. I am also excited for him and his family for the opportunity that awaits him in his new position.”

When Oldebekking’s new opportunity arose, he hoped that CTA would find someone who loved the school and wanted to see it flourish and believes that Mattson fits the bill. “I am confident that she will do great things and I cannot wait to see what she does,” he commented.

 

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A DISTRICT DIVIDED


 

N-Sunshine-logoResidents, teachers want answers from school board; others supportive of changes

By Judy Reed

“Why have four administrators left since Dr. Laura VanDuyn was hired as Superintendent two years ago? Why has the culture at Cedar Springs Public Schools changed?” Those are the questions that many residents and school employees are asking the Cedar Springs Board of Education, while many other residents and school employees say they are supportive of the changes.

The Board of Education heard both kinds of comments from a cross-section of residents and employees at Monday night’s standing-room only board meeting. Overflowing attendance has become the norm recently, as people on both sides of the issue yearn to have their voice heard.

The administrators in question have all resigned: assistant superintendent of teaching and instruction Steve Seward in fall of 2014; Cedar Trails principal Jennifer Harper, early 2015; associate superintendent of finance David Cairy, fall 2015; and most recently, athletic director Autumn Mattson, in February, 2016. Her assistant AD Tyler Wolfe resigned in December.

Of those that resigned, Harper was given a salary per her separation agreement, and was not allowed to talk about why she left. That led some people to speculate she was forced out. The Post talked to Dr. VanDuyn about it at the time, and told us it was an ongoing personnel matter. “We can’t reveal the nature because it is a personnel matter. But I think it’s important to say that it’s not a matter that has to do with criminal conduct or the safety of students.”

Van Duyn said Harper was put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. “We have clearly followed our district’s legal counsel in the matter,” she said.

At Monday evening’s meeting, teacher Sarah Holtrop spoke in support of the superintendent. “I’ve served under five different superintendents and five different principals,” she said. “I don’t feel it’s fair to blame Dr. VanDuyn for the resignations of four administrators. They could have chosen to accept her as superintendent. Personally I have found Dr. VanDuyn to be compassionate and caring.”

Teacher Lisa Schmidt also offered support, noting that change is difficult, and that Dr. VanDuyn is well-liked by many staff members in the district.

Resident Sam Gebhardt also offered his support to the superintendent and the board. “I graduated from here, raised my family here. I like the direction we are going right now. You hear a lot of negative comments, but a lot of people like it, too,” he said.

Former teacher and coach Ted Sabinas, who taught for 34 years and coached for 37, asked the board to look into why so many teachers and administrators are fearful for their jobs if they speak up or question how the district is being run.

Longtime teacher Mary Graf—a 39-year veteran—gave an impassioned speech to the board about her concerns with the changing culture in the district. She said she had heard remarks that the problems they are facing are because people are resistant to change, but she strongly disagreed. Graf noted that she had seen a lot of change over the years and hadn’t always agreed with it, but one thing remained constant, until now. “But through all of these challenges and difficult times, honesty and respect remained between the teachers, the school board, and the superintendent. Never did I experience the finger pointing, dishonesty, and disrespect that is currently permeating our school district. How does this type of culture help our students?” she asked. (Read her entire letter on here).

Teacher Josh Cooper spoke on behalf of the teachers at the High School, and showed support for their administrators, Principals Ron Behrenwald and Anne Kostus, and said they were deeply saddened at the loss of former Dean of Students and Athletic Director Autumn Mattson. He also talked about all the good things happening at the high school.

Resident Lee Mora asked the board when they were going to address Mattson’s appeal to the board for an exit interview. She had asked initially for an exit interview with the board of education, and since that is routinely done with human resources, was told by HR she could have an exit interview with them, but not with the board. She declined and appealed to the board. As of Wednesday, Mattson said she had not received a response from the board.

Mora asked the board why they wouldn’t want to gather all information possible from an administrator who had served there 14 years. Board president Patricia Eary told Mora that their legal counsel had said exit interviews were not to be done by the board, because they have only one employee—the superintendent.  (Read Mora’s letter on here).

Board trustee Michelle Bayink asked if they could possibly discuss some of these issues at the next board workshop, but Eary said she thought the agenda for that workshop was already set. Resident Sue Wolfe told the board she hoped they would discuss some of these concerns.

The Post contacted Board president Patricia Eary this week, and asked her whether the board was planning to address these concerns, whether at the next workshop, or through some other means, such as round table discussion with the board, superintendent, representatives of buildings, and the community. We also asked whether they would be responding to Mattson’s appeal; whether they wanted to know why these people left; and what did they think was the best way to restore unity in the district?

“The board employs one person and that is the superintendent,” said Eary. “The only exit interview the board would conduct would be with our one employee. In regard to the exit interviews for all staff members except for the superintendent, there is no right granted to anyone to have an exit interview in this state. Our school district does offer exit interviews and they are conducted by the Human Resource Department. The offer was made to Mrs. Mattson to have an exit interview with the HR Department.”

Eary offered a general response for the other questions.

“The 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, whether the position be superintendent, teacher, administrator, support staff or coach.

“The Board is listening to the community and is responsive to their concerns and will continue to be in communication with the community in the days and weeks ahead.

“We believe our leadership team shares our commitment to our students and staff. Together we are confident the children and families are going to receive a great education at our district.

“The Board of Education would like to express our deep appreciation for the outstanding and dedicated staff. The teachers, administrators and support staff work very hard to provide a high quality education for our students. They do so during a time when education and expectations to meet high standards is continually changing. We are proud of our staff members.

“Finally, we would like to thank the many volunteers, parents and community members who continue to partner with us to serve the many students of Cedar Springs. We appreciate all who shared with us their concerns, suggestions and affirmations over the last several months.”

See several letters to the editor about this issue here.

Tell us—how do you feel about this? How do you think unity should be restored? Send your letters to the editor to us at news@cedarspringspost.com, and follow the guidelines (including word limit) on our Voices and Views page.

NEXT WEEK: Long range financial outlook—could district be headed into the red?

 

 

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