Thornapple Kellogg School District

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TK Hires Second Resource Officer

"TK Schools is committed to providing a safe learning environment for all of our students, and with the addition of a second school resource officer we are better equipped to satisfy this obligation," Superintendent Rob Blitchok said.

Nieuwenhuis worked 24 years with the sheriff's department and for the last several years specialized as a detective in criminal sexual conducts and homicide. He has 29 total years in law enforcement starting with Otsego Police Department in Allegan County, the city of Wayland and the village of Middleville before landing at the Barry County office in 1994.

Nieuwenhuis served as a liaison officer in the schools years ago and said he is looking forward to being able to help students and families.

"This is going to give me a chance to help people more and not just focus on corrections," he said. "Maybe I can come in and help some of these kids get on the right track and stay there."

Stein, also a retired Barry County Sheriff's sergeant, started with the schools two years ago. "We're going to work together and be in the different buildings at different times," said Stein.

Stein said he believes he's had a positive impact in his role. "I try to connect with kids and find out what causes them to act out. It's just good being able to sit down with them, talk with them and build some relationships and even mentor them. I feel like it's being successful."

Nieuwenhuis said his experience in law enforcement gives him tools he needs to help students struggling with a variety of issues and be able to recommend professional services if needed.

"I hope with this job I can help make a difference in lives for kids," said Nieuwenhuis.

Nieuwenhuis is a graduate of Plainwell High School and the Kalamazoo Valley Community College where he earned his degree in criminal justice.

"The administration has been very pro-active and saw the need for us on many different levels - from truancy, security, and mentoring. They took a chance on us and we're very fortunate to have full support from everyone," Stein said. "I'm just happy to be able to help and make these connections with the students."