Thornapple Kellogg School District

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TK staff, students prepare for Sept. 6 opening day

“I look forward to getting the energy and excitement back in the district that the students bring,” Superintendent Tom Enslen said. “It’s always a good feeling when the students come back.”

More than 300 staff members were welcomed back Tuesday with a motivational morning gathering, which included energetic and spirited high school band performances, an introduction of new staff, honors for years of service, and the first appearance of TK’s new Trojan mascot.

Enslen reminded everyone that it’s the staff, the community and the ability to work together with the best interest of students at heart, that makes the TK district special.

Thornapple Kellogg School Board President Dave Smith also welcomed the teachers.

“Everyone here plays an important part in developing the potential of each and every student,” Smith said. “There’s a real team effort in our schools and community working to do what’s best for students. That’s what makes TK really special.”

Messages of encouragement to the teachers and staff from families who have been in the district for generations was shown in a video created by TK graduate Tony Reed. Later, a luncheon was served to all staff.

Enslen said many great things are happening within the district, including continued implementation of the positive behavior intervention and support program. He said the program was used last year and proved effective and beneficial for students and staff.

Each school, he said, also will be working on its own school improvement goals. The high school will continue the “family” groups, bringing students from all grade levels together throughout the year for different projects, events and team building.

Enslen said he’s also happy that enrollment numbers appear healthy at this time and the district will be able to continue all programs and services without cuts.

“I’m looking forward to a fantastic year,” he said. “We have amazing staff, a supportive community and really great students,”

New staff hired include Brad Ashcraft, bus driver; Ethan Barnes, second grade teacher; Debbie Cisler, Page secretary; Tanner Dykema, middle school cleaner; Shannon Heynig, McFall cleaner; Danielle Nowinsky, third grade teacher; Kristi Palmbos, early childhood special education paraprofessional; Megan Rock, first grade teacher; Tony Stein, school resource officer; Kurt Rabley, bus mechanic; Meagan Rainey, school psychologist; Chelsey Smitter, preschool teacher; Casey Williams, speech pathologist.

Resignations made before the start of the year included Alyssa Burke, Lee Elementary teacher; Karen Stehlik and Caroline Kiel, both middle school secretaries; Melissa Miller and Jacob Boer, middle school teachers; Adina Lloyd, high school food service; Tara Kosinski, school psychologist; Michelle Aslum, speech pathologist; and Steve Cutler, bus driver.

There have been several internal shifts in job assignments as well to fill openings.

Enslen said a few positions in the district remain open, and he and other administrators are working to fill them before the start of the year.

Several staff members were honored for their years of service. Those receiving 10-year recognition were Katie Alverson, Miranda Baranek, Lindsey Baxter, Jeff Dock, Nathan Johnson, Abby Kanitz, Per Kugel, Cheryl Lydy, Leah Smith and Dawn Zondervan.

Recognized for 20 years were Bonnie Adams, Kathy Bailey, Rachel Cobb, Keith Hamming, Tammy Jackson, Stacy Knorr and Ray Rickert.

Honored for 30 years were Kurt Holzheiter, Nancy Iveson, Monte Munjoy and Mary Scheidel.