This Former Lifeguard Likes Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels (and Is a Twin!)

Meet Your Assistant Principal: Caroline Ernst

Caroline Ernst with her husband, Jake; daughter, Charlotte, 6; and son, Jimmy, 3

School: Grandville High School

What and where was your previous job? This is my 15th year working for Grandville Public Schools. My first 13 years I taught English at  GHS, but I spent last year at the middle school teaching English. And now I am back at the high school!

Degrees: Bachelor of Arts from and Masters of Education Administration from Grand Valley State University, and beginning (as in barely) my doctorate work.

Other positions you have held in education: From 2010 to 2014, I was the English Department chair at GHS. And since 2007, I have been a teacher consultant with the Lake Michigan Writing Project (part of the National Writing Project) sponsored by Grand Valley State University.

How about jobs outside education? Right after I turned 15, I started working in a restaurant by my house bussing tables. From that point until I starting working at Grandville, I had always worked in food service. I’ve pretty much done everything – bussing tables, working in the kitchen, hostessing, waiting tables and bartending. Once I got my teaching job, the restaurant work stopped. My other jobs in high school and college included lifeguarding, teaching swim lessons and retail. Right now my only other job is being a mom.

First priorities as assistant principal:

  • Since I’ve taught in Grandville, I know many of the students already, but I would like to get to know as many as possible.
  • I am the administrator in charge of Special Education students, so I need to learn the ins and outs of Sp. Ed. laws and regulations.
  • I want to support the awesome staff that we have so we can continue to grow our awesomeness.

What are you most looking forward to as assistant principal here? I look forward to continuing to be part of team that supports students, supports each other and supports the Grandville community.

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school? I don’t think anyone would be surprised that I have always loved school. I really liked my high school. I have always loved reading. And in high school my favorite classes were English (surprise!) and French. But this might surprise people: I was a very shy student. I didn’t talk much in class and wasn’t very outgoing. My favorite (favorite!) activity was swimming. It was something I did all year for fun and competition. I was a lifeguard at my high school pool and local beach. I also taught swim lessons. I pretty much spent four years living in the water.

Spouse/children: Husband, Jake; daughter, Charlotte, 6; and son, Jimmy, 3

Hobbies/Interests: Reading, writing, learning (no joke). I love putting together outfits for myself and others. I think that when you feel good about the way you look, it helps you feel confident about other parts of your life. I always keep an eye on fashion trends.

What inspires you, both in your educational role and in your own life? What inspires me most are the people around me. I like to surround myself with people who encourage me to be the best person-wife-mother-teacher-administrator I can be. I feel lucky to work in a place where I have that.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I have a twin brother.

Tell us about a non-professional book you recommend and why: I would recommend “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. My book club read this recently. My favorite genre is sci-fi/fantasy and this is a dystopian novel for adults. In this future society a strain of the flu has wiped out most of the population. The journey of the main character is unexpected and the writing is wonderful. I loved it.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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