New Principal Digs into Toolbox to Help Students Succeed

Gwenn Dangerfield meets third-grade student Cardell Harmon at registration for the new school year

Name: Gwenn Dangerfield

School: Wyoming Public Schools West Elementary School

What will be your first priorities as principal?
My priorities as the instructional leader of West Elementary are to support teaching and learning and a safe learning environment, and to improve learning outcomes for all students.

I also feel that it is important to support an environment of an inclusive school, whereas all students, staff, parents and the community feel as if they are a part of the West Elementary family.

What are you most looking forward to as principal here?
I am most looking forward to working with the staff students and community of Wyoming Public Schools as a whole to serve as the instructional leader for West Elementary.

What and where was your previous job?
With 26 years as an educator, I worked for Kalamazoo Public Schools for 23 years, serving as an elementary teacher for five years, an elementary assistant principal for five years and an elementary principal for 13 years. I also served as an elementary principal in the Calhoun Intermediate School district for three years.

What are your hobbies and interests?
During my spare time, I like working with my church choir, reading, traveling and enjoying family. Although I am not the best at it, I also enjoy dabbling at the game of golf! I also find the sport of “shopping” to be particularly invigorating as well.

What inspires you?
Psychologist Abraham Maslow (is quoted as saying a variation of) “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything like a nail.” I am inspired by equipping myself with various “tools” to support the concept of teaching and learning. I absolutely love working in education, and I continue to be inspired by contributing to the success of all students. I am also inspired by the natural goodness of people.

Gwenn Dangerfield
Gwenn Dangerfield

What makes you laugh?
I often find the innocence, as well as the natural sense of humor of children quite funny! Children will consistently make you smile if we take the time to talk with them and listen.
I also enjoy a good comedy every now and then.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I am extremely competitive. I love challenges, and don’t accept defeat very well. I played competitive softball for 25 years!

What college degrees did you earn?

  • Bachelors of Arts (Speech Pathology/Audiology) – Western Michigan University
  • Masters of Arts (Audiology) with a minor in Education with Special Education emphasis -Western Michigan University
  • Masters of Arts – (Educational Leadership) – Western Michigan University
  • Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S) – Curriculum & Instruction – University of Michigan

What other positions you have held in education?
I have also had the wonderful opportunity to work as an part-time instructor for Western Michigan University in the department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology, teaching graduate level courses.

Spouse and children?
Husband, Johnny Dangerfield, and five children, three who are graduates from Grambling State University, one from the University of Kentucky and the youngest now entering her senior year at Western Michigan University.

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 2013. Read Erin's full bio

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