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Tag Archive | "Ferris State University"

CTA celebrates 20th anniversary


L to R:  Dan George, CTA School Leader/Superintendent; Ron Rizzo, Director, Ferris State University Charter Schools Office; Lexie Coxon, former Superintendent; Dr. Richard Halik, Consultant for Board Policy, National Charter Schools Institute; and Dan Quisenberry, President of Michigan Association of Public School Academies. Courtesy photo.
This ceiling in the auditorium at CTA (which was formerly Jordan Chapel) is made up of planks from area barns. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

This ceiling in the auditorium at CTA (which was formerly Jordan Chapel) is made up of planks from area barns. Post photo by J. Reed.

When Lexie Coxon was told in May of 1998 that Ferris State University was going to issue a charter to Creative Technologies Academy to become a school for grades 7-12, she wasn’t sure how they were going to get the 120 students they needed to open. But they did it by the skin of their teeth—and opened with 122 that September.

“It was a tremendous challenge,” she said.

Coxon and others spoke about the school’s journey during CTA’s 20th anniversary celebration on Friday, May 11.

The property at 350 Pine Street, in Cedar Springs, was originally the home of Jordan College, founded by Lexie and her husband DeWayne. In 1966, they bought the property, and in 1967 they built their first building. Coxon explained how back then, they got building materials from area farmers who were tearing down their barns. A good example is in the planking in the chapel roof—it all came from area farmers.

In those early days of charter schools, Lexie and DeWayne’s son, Rob Coxon, told them to get a charter, they would need to have something unique. So they decided to go into being a computer based program. “We were one of the first schools to have computers for all students,” said Lexie.

She also noted that while most charter schools were for-profit, they wanted to remain a non-profit. And needing to have 120 students was tough—they had no money and no resources. But they made it work.

As time went on, they added in grades K-6. This year the school had 319 students K-12.

Lexie was also proud of the fact they have had 100 percent compliance with all of the paperwork that is needed. Ron Rizzo, with FSU, backed her up on that. “I don’t think there is any other academy that has had 100 percent compliance for 17 years,” he said. “It’s amazing. That means every document turned in on time.”

Rizzo said CTA was one of their original class of nine academies. “I’ve been here for 16 of those 20 years. It’s very welcoming. You truly are here for kids, doing what’s best for the trajectory of their lives. You should very proud of what you have accomplished here,” he said.

Dan Quisenberry, President of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies noted that CTA feels like family. “Charters were intended to be that—partnerships. Think of the kids’ lives you’ve impacted here. You are doing something important.” He also noted that charter schools are the “R&D” (research and development) of education. “Dan (George, current school superintendent) doesn’t view CTA as a competitor, but as a partner,” he said.

He noted that CTA teacher Kayla Campbell, who was recently named one of the top 5 charter school teachers in the state by MAPSA, represented CTA well. “We did a Facebook live announcement and I think you had every student in here. When we announced it, I thought this place was going to fall down,” he said.

Former teacher and coach Gary Bailey shared both some funny stories and some more serious thoughts. “Most coaches know that our success is measured by #s (winds and losses) after our name. But we know success is more than that.” He went on to share how a former student had sent him a video at 1:40 a.m. that morning, thanking him for being a mentor.

Kurt Mabie, a former educator who retired five  years ago from public education, said he’s been involved with CTA for 15 years. And he has been happy to work with Dan George and CTA via the Community Building Development Team. “Through collaboration, great things can happen,” he said. “Nothing happens on its own.”

One of those things is the recent donation of 10 acres to CTA by Fred and Carolee Gunnell. The property will be the future home of a new gymnasium for the school with a soccer field, and a couple of classrooms. And when it is not being used by the school, it will be open to the community, which fulfills one of the goals of the CBDT—to have a recreation center. 

George said that the planning, fundraising, and construction of that facility would be a major undertaking and their biggest project over the next five years.

The Post asked George what he is most proud of accomplishing at CTA. “I can answer that in two ways, institutionally and personally. First, we are proud to be able to give the families of the communities we serve a quality choice for the education of their children while partnering, not competing, with our neighboring traditional public schools. That produces a shared focus on doing what is best for kids. Personally, I’m proud of the staff that has become my team over the last 8+ years. Their dedication, love of kids, professionalism, and pursuit of learning is unsurpassed,” he said.

For more on CTA, visit www.ctachargers.org.

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Senior Awarded Congressional Honor


 

Autumn Watson and Secondary Principal Jennifer Colin after the program in Grand Rapids.

On Saturday, May 5, Creative Technologies Academy Senior Autumn Watson was a recipient of Justin Amash’s Congressional Medal of Merit at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. The Congressional Medal of Merit is awarded to students who demonstrate exemplary citizenship and academic excellence. CTA is proud of Autumn and her contributions to our school and the community. Autumn plans to attend Ferris State University this fall.

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Solon man dies in crash


Aaron Dault, 23, died early Sunday, when the car he was driving left the roadway and struck a tree. Facebook photo.

 

Aaron Dault takes the ball upfield for Cedar Springs Varsity Soccer in 2010. Post file photo.

A 23-year-old Solon Township man died early Sunday morning in a one-car crash on White Creek Avenue.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning on White Creek Avenue, between 18 Mile and Wiersma, when the car that Aaron Lee Dault was driving veered off the roadway and struck a tree. Police reported that he died instantly. 

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, and police are investigating whether alcohol was a factor.

Aaron Dault, 23. Facebook photo.

Aaron is the son of Dean and Kara (Wiles) Dault, of Solon Township.

Aaron graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 2013, where he played varsity soccer and track. He was currently finishing his bachelor’s degree at Ferris State University. Aaron was also involved at his church, St. John Paul II Catholic Church here in Cedar Springs. According to his obituary, “he was adored by the parishioners and everyone he met. He will be remembered for his million dollar smile, holding the door open, and saying ‘hi’ to the people as they came for Mass.”

Click here to see Aaron’s obituary.

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CTA Receives Compliance Award


Arthur Willick, presents Dan George with compliance award.

At the regular board meeting for Creative Technologies Academy on Wednesday, September 13, field representative Arthur Willick of the Charter Schools Office of Ferris State University presented Superintendent Dan George with an award for the Academy’s 16th consecutive year of 100% Compliance. “Each year, the Charter Schools Office recognizes those Academies and their Boards who achieve 100% compliance in submitting documents to Epicenter as required by federal and state law and the charter contract,” explained Willick. “This is not an easy task, since compliance can entail hundreds of required documents, but it is a very important one and we congratulate those involved in this process.”

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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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Hutchinson chosen as 2017 CHP Teacher of the Year


Mark Hutchinson,

Cedar Springs resident Mark Hutchinson, an associate professor in the Health Care System Administration program in the College of Health Professions (CHP) at Ferris State University, was recently named the 2017 CHP Teacher of the Year.

Hutchinson, who graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1990, went on to get his Bachelor of Science degree from the Health Care Management (now HCSA) program in the College and was actively involved on campus.

“I found a home at Ferris and loved my time as a student. The faculty made learning fun and interesting and that is what I strive to recreate for my students today.”

After college, Mark worked at District 10 Health Department for eight years in Community Health. He was responsible for identifying community needs and collected official statistics for the county. He also worked at Spectrum Health United Memorial Hospital prior to joining the HCSA faculty in 2012.

Gaining the title of “Teacher of the Year” is no easy feat; however, Mark attributes his successes in the classroom to one simple principal, “make it as real-world as possible. Students respond well to real-life examples and I use my own to connect theory with practice.” Although Mark is a first-generation Bulldog, the Hutchinsons anticipate a new generation heading to campus in the near future!

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March Reading Madness


Senator Peter MacGregor read to young students.

Senator Peter MacGregor read to young students.

Senator Peter MacGregor stopped by Creative Technologies Academy for a visit the morning of March 13 and read to the kindergarten, first, and second grade students. He read Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain by Dave Keane. Senator MacGregor discussed the difference between fiction and nonfiction books with the young students and encouraged them to read with their peers, siblings, and adults. He made sure to allow time to answer the many questions the students had, such as: How did you get elected? Who’s your boss? What do you like to read? What’s your favorite color?

Players from the Ferris State University Girls Basketball team take time to pose with third grade student, Aiden Dood, after reading with his class.

Players from the Ferris State University Girls Basketball team take time to pose with third grade student, Aiden Dood, after reading with his class.

Ferris State University’s women’s basketball Coach, Kendra Faustin, and Assistant Coach, Sharonda Hurd, brought a few of their players to the CTA elementary in order to spend time reading with students during March is Reading Month. The coaches and players also visited with the middle and high school students in an assembly to share powerful lessons about the importance of personal responsibility and accountability in everyday life.

CTA’s middle school students were visited by the Grace Bible College Tigers basketball team. The students watched a video, produced by MAPSA and Buddy Morehouse, about the story of Curtis Jones. Jones was widely considered the greatest basketball talent ever to come out of the city of Detroit, but his dreams died and his life spiraled downward because he couldn’t read and write. After viewing the video, team members led small group discussions with CTA students about lessons to be learned from Curtis Jones, specifically, about the importance of getting the best education possible.

Players from the Ferris State University Girls Basketball team pose with several middle school students.

Players from the Ferris State University Girls Basketball team pose with several middle school students.

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Athletes sign letters of intent


Hannah signing her letter of intent with Cedar Springs Cheer Coach, Anne Olszewski

Hannah signing her letter of intent with Cedar Springs Cheer Coach, Anne Olszewski

Congratulations to Hannah Cederquist on committing to cheer next year at Davenport University.  Hannah is pictured signing her letter of intent with Cedar Springs Cheer Coach, Anne Olszewski. (right)

Maddie signing her national letter of intent with her parents and Soccer Coach, Justin Harnden

Maddie signing her national letter of intent with her parents and Soccer Coach, Justin Harnden

Congratulations Maddie VanDusen on committing to play soccer next year at Ferris State University.  Maddie is pictured here signing her national letter of intent with her parents Jon & Kim VanDusen and Cedar Springs Soccer Coach, Justin H

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DEBORAH ANN STURGEON


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Deborah Ann Sturgeon, 56, of Grand Rapids, died Thursday, June 9, 2016. Deborah was born April 21, 1960 in Greenville, Michigan, the daughter of Daniel and Judy (Elder) Sturgeon. She graduated from Ferris State University with a Bachelor degree in Graphic Design. She owned and operated Lindy Press in Grand Rapids. She enjoyed her family and friends. Surviving are her parents, Daniel and Judy Sturgeon; brother, Daniel (Julie) Sturgeon; sisters, Diana Krueger, Danielle (Steve) Neff, Dawn (Lyndsey) Sturgeon, Darci (Jack) Reinhardt; grandmother, Virginia Fisher; several nieces and nephews. The family greeted friends Monday, June 13 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service was held Tuesday 1:00 p.m. Pastor Bruce Wilson officiating. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery, Sand Lake. Memorials may be made to Mercy Health, Lacks Cancer Center, 250 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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CLARA J. DAVIS


EPSON scanner image

Clara J. (Ritter) Davis, 81, of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, October 1, 2015 at her home. Clara was born May 31, 1934 in Battle Creek, Michigan, the daughter of Floyd and Burnice (Coss) TenEyck. She graduated from Lakeview High School and Ferris State University with a BA in accounting and law. She was a Michigan CPA and also had taught at Cedar Springs High School. Surviving are her children, Mark (Terri) Ritter, Gary (BJ) Ritter, Bruce Davis, Nancy Davis, Anthony (Linda) Davis, Donald (E.T.) Davis, Ronald Davis, Laurie Whalen; many grandchildren and great grandchildren; brother, Henry TenEyck. She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Alan Ritter and Tom Davis; daughter, Susan Davis; grandsons, Jacob and Drew; half-sister, Harriet TenEyck. The family greeted friends Sunday, October 4 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. There will be no formal service. Memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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