Remenap will work with interim superintendent Dan Takens for a few weeks to make the transition as smooth as possible. He’s no stranger to the Barry County area having served as the Hastings Area Schools superintendent since April 2019. Still, he says his 90-day entry plan includes a lot of learning about the district and the community.
“Listening, listening, listening – that’s me for the first three months. I want to build relationships, speak with everyone and learn all I can about TK and the community,” he told board members during his second interview. His plan will include getting to know and having discussions with all groups within the district as well as many parent and community organizations and begin building positive relationships. He said he needs to understand the climate at TK and within the TK community and what strengths the district has in place already that must be preserved.
Positive lines of communication, open door to discussions, being transparent about decisions and being fiscally responsible for dollars spent are all areas of focus for the incoming superintendent. “It starts with building relationships and communication,” he said.
From his few meetings so far with staff, students and community members at TK, Remenap said he’s impressed. “I’ve loved everyone I’ve met so far. Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming. The passion people have for TK is impressive.”
Remenap shares that same kind of passion for education in general although he admits he didn’t always realize it was there. While attending Central Michigan University, Remenap was leaning toward a degree in business. “Many of my family members are in education. My Dad and my Uncle were both principals and I just knew I didn’t want to be in education,” he said.
During his junior year at CMU, Remenap said he finally realized business wasn’t his calling. “I knew I wanted to make a positive difference somehow and education seemed to be a natural calling. I made the switch and never looked back. I know 100 percent education is where I’m supposed to be.”
After CMU, Dan taught at Grandville High School. He moved to Spring Lake where he worked as an assistant principal and then to Allendale where he was a high school principal for 10 years. From there, he found his way to Hastings as superintendent in 2019.
The new superintendent’s last name is already familiar at TK. Dan’s brother, Kevin, is the assistant principal at TK High School. “I don’t want that to be a reason I get the job or that I don’t get the job,” said Dan during his first-round interview. “No one will hold him (Kevin) more accountable than I will and he will do the same for me.”
During his final interview Remenap told board members he believes the strength of the community coming together during the COVID crisis is one positive coming from the pandemic. He also said it has spotlighted the shortcomings of online learning for all students. “Nothing can replace a living, breathing teacher who cares about kids,” Remenap said during the interview.
He listed important values he holds as tolerance, respect, kindness, and optimism. He also said there is no room in education for cynics. “Education is hope. It is the greatest equalizer for all kids.”
Remenap admits the timing of his departure from on district to take over in another is not ideal for either district. "Coming to TK is a great opportunity for me and for my family," he said. "I recognize the feelings people might have about this move at this time, but I can't control the timing of the opportunity."
He and his wife, Lesa, have two daughters. Maddie attends CMU, and Marlee is a senior at Grandville High School. Remenap said he loves spending time with his family. He also loves to read, hunt, fish and be outdoors.
Remenap is excited to get started and can’t wait to see students back in the classrooms. “If I could tell the community one thing it is that I will care for their kids like they are my own. Every decision will be based on what’s best for our students.”