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New Rockford Head Loves Students, Sports and Laughter

Name: Mike Westgate

Cannonsburg Elementary, Rockford Public Schools

What are your first priorities as principal? To build relationships with staff, students and the families of my community. Cannonsburg is a small building with a great family feel, and I’d like to continue that tradition while engaging and challenging staff and students to continuously improve.

What are you most looking forward to as principal here? I really look forward to being surrounded by young learners every day! I want to spend time with kids in the classroom, and on the playground making positive connections and modeling relationships and strong character.

What and where was your previous job? For the past five years I have been an assistant principal at the Rockford Freshman Center. Great building, great people!

What are some of your hobbies and interests? I love sports, all kinds, and watching my kids play. Family time is a premium so we try to maximize that time with fun activities. We love swimming, parks, zoos and the beach.

What and/or who inspires you? So many people, but I think I’m most inspired by our students. Elementary through high school, I am constantly in awe of the talent and accomplishments of the students around us every day. Often we are not aware of these talents and accomplishments so it’s important to find opportunities to celebrate and recognize our students.

What other positions have you held in education? My new position also includes the title and responsibilities of director of Library and Media Services for Rockford Public Schools. I also served as the assistant principal and athletic director/student activities coordinator at East Rockford Middle School. I taught at Belmont and Meadow Ridge Elementary, East Rockford Middle School and the Rockford Freshman Center. In addition, I’ve spent many great years coaching water polo and swimming not only in Rockford but in Grandville, Forest Hills, Hudsonville and Northview. I’m actually a Rockford grad and I swam and played water polo for Rockford and also swam at Grand Valley State University.

College degrees? I have my Bachelor of Science degree from Grand Valley State University and my Master in Education from Aquinas College.

Spouse and children? Married to Lorie, a second-grade teacher, and have three amazing children – Kaizer (9), Maryn (8) and Keira (8).

What makes you laugh? Oh I LOVE to laugh and have fun. Making kids and those around me laugh makes me laugh. A good sense of humor, fun and a positive attitude are so important and I want to help foster that environment at Cannonsburg.


Cannonsburg Elementary School

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers series and issues stories for all districts. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio


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