By Tom Noreen
From theatre major to superintendent, Superintendent of Cedar Springs Public Schools Ron McDermed, has dedicated his life to the education of our children. As a threatre major at Western Michigan University, Ron visited local schools during improv performances with fellow thespians. His experience working with students inspired him to change majors and pursue a degree in education. A decision he has not regretted in his 40 years of teaching and administration.
“I would absolutely do it again, no question,” he remarked.
Upon graduation from WMU, McDermed taught at Portland for twelve years and then applied to be the principal at Fowler where he was for three years. He has been with the Cedar Springs Public Schools district since 1989, serving as an elementary principal from 1989-1997, and then as associate superintendent over curriculum and instruction from 1997 until 2009, and Superintendent from 2009 to 2014.
McDermed said he had no intentions of competing for superintendent when Andy Booth retired, as he had no aspirations for the position in any school. However, then School Board President Carolee Cole convinced him that he should put his name in the hat and try.
McDermed said his biggest challenges were working with the State to understand local issues, especially economic ones during the past five years.
As to accomplishments, Ron said, “We have come together as a school system of continuous learning and collaboration. We have professional learning communities with coaches to help. As a result, the school has developed a culture allowing it to be a better school district.”
McDermed went on to say, “I have been blessed with a wonderful staff and administrative team.”
His most memorable events are graduations as students, staff, and families celebrate the culmination of 13 years of growth and learning.
He has been a great asset to the school and the community. Through his leadership, the budget is balanced, improvements are being made to the infrastructure, and the school’s relationship with the community and local organizations is great.
McDermed has been active in Rotary and is the current club president.
He has no definite plans for the future other than to spend more time with his family and dust off some neglected hobbies, one of which is painting.
McDermed’s wife, Irene, taught in Lowell for many years. Their daughter, Alina, is a medical doctor working for Spectrum Health in Fremont. Their son, Michael, lives in California, where he works in music production and photography.
“We have loved Cedar, being a part of it,” said McDermed. “It is a great town with great people.”