Superintendent Wright Returns with Big Plans

Superintendent Samuel Wright is back at the helm of the district, challenged with increasing enrollment numbers and balancing finances. “I’m a rocket at heart,” said Wright, 64. “I spent 18 years here. When I learned the district was having some problems I wanted to come back and help.”

Wright served as superintendent from 2000 to 2010. Prior to that, he was assistant superintendent of business from 1992 to 2000. He has spent the past three years as chief financial officer for Caledonia Public Schools.

The Board of Education recently voted to hire Wright, “a known leader,” as the interim superintendent and reassign Superintendent Greg Warsen, who served the district since Wright left in 2010, to an unspecified position at Wright’s discretion. According to meeting minutes, board members stated that “goals had blurred and the path had become impassable.”

New and reintroduced programs

In moving forward, Wright is planning big changes as well as re-establishing former programs

These could include a dual-enrollment college program at Kelloggsville High School, a blended online program, reopening Discovery High School for alternative students, and reintroducing intramural sports for elementary school programs. “I believe if I develop the programs, the funding will follow,” he said.

Also, he wants to re-establish the Early Childhood Center, 977 44th St. SW, for preschool classes. The building changed to the Kelloggsville Regional Center to house an Emotionally Impaired Program this school year, but Wright said he wants the students now served in the facility returned to regular schools.

According to meeting minutes, Board President Ernest Meyer said Wright is “one who has led our district before with a strong background in dealing with the budget, along with the leadership abilities to bring our community back together so we can work towards our goals as a team.”

Wright said he is committed to serve in the post for two years, though a search for permanent replacement could start before then.

A budget deficit of $1.5 million last year led to layoffs, the closure of Discovery High School, 173 54th St. SW, and other reductions. Enrollment numbers were 40 students less than projected.

“My goal is to stabilize the financial position of the district over the next 22 months,” he said.

Creating goals

A Goals Work Session is scheduled immediately following the Board of Education meeting at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Administration Building.

Wright said he wants to develop programs attractive to students in the district and Schools of Choice students.

Wright is also working with the board to create a new three-year plan to better lay out goals for the 2,2000-student district and a timeframe for meeting them.

He said Kelloggsville has a long history as a niche district, serving a small pocket of the urban community with its own unique identity.

“I think it’s a fabulous place to be,” Wright said, “This district is over 150 years old. I didn’t want to see it disappear.”

Connect: Kelloggsville Public Schools

Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2012. Read Erin's full bio

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