New Congress Leader Loves Social Justice, Fly Fishing, Children’s Funny Sayings

School: Congress School

What are your first priorities as principal?
Creating the opportunity for academic and social success for each individual student, and to make good on the promise of public education for all students.

Erek Kooyman is inspired by social-justice heroes like the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez

What are you most looking forward to as principal here?
Inspiring and being inspired by teachers, staff, students and the community.

What and where was your previous job?
Seventh- and eighth-grade bilingual math teacher at Southwest Community Campus of GRPS.

What other positions have you held?
Teacher, International School of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Central America

What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Fishing, exploring the outdoors with my family, DIY home improvement

What and/or who inspires you?
The struggle for equality and social justice. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar E. Chavez, John F. Kennedy, Oscar Romero

What college degrees did you earn?
Bachelor of social work degree from Calvin College, master’s in education from Aquinas College.

Spouse and children?
Wife Kate Kooyman, children Jacob and Sam

What makes you laugh?
Things kids say. Mostly when a kid, like one of my own children, makes an observation or questions something that has a common answer or isa common problem, but through the question the child points out a new way of thinking about it. As the saying goes: “Kids say the darnedest things.”

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I am an avid fly fisherman.


Congress Elementary School

Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ As a reporter for The Press 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. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.


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