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New School Chief Known to Sink Basket, Golf Balls

Meet your Principal: Kevin Simmons

School: Kelloggsville High School

What and where was your previous job? Principal of Northrop High School in Fort Wayne Community Schools, in Indiana

Degrees: Bachelor’s degree in health/physical education from University of Arkansas at Monticello, master’s degree in educational leadership from Western Michigan University

Other positions you have held in education: Principal of Northwestern High School with Baltimore City Public Schools; assistant principal at Benton Harbor High School; principal of Campus Schools of Arts and Literature in Grand Rapids Public Schools

Besides getting to know the staff and families, what are you most looking forward to as principal here? I am looking forward to moving into the state-of-the-art high school. This would be the renovations that are being completed this year at our high school (A bond issue passed last February is funding the $27 million renovation).

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school? I was considered a student-athlete. I played basketball and baseball throughout my high school years. Our basketball team was known for winning state tournaments against rather large schools. The high school challenges and experiences allowed me the opportunity play college basketball.

I was the quiet leader who was able to communicate with all high school students, which allowed me to become student council president my senioryear. I haven’t played basketball or softball for some time now, so now I play golf for exercise and fun.

Spouse/children: My wife, Carolyn, whom I met my first year of teaching and coaching in Georgia some 27 years ago, is a high school English teacher at Lake Michigan Catholic High School. She also teaches speech and technical writing evening classes at Lake Michigan College.

We have three beautiful children. Our oldest is TJ; he’s 24 and graduated college after playing four years of soccer. Our daughter Hailey, who is 21, was in college for three years and placed fourth in the nation for persuasive speech competition her second year in college. She works in Orlando for one of the most prestigious hotels in the Universal Studios area. Our youngest daughter, Chloe, 14, is just entering high school and participates in sideline and competitive cheer and a host of other activities.

What inspires you, both in your educational role and in your own life? I grew up in a small southern town in northeast Mississippi. My mom taught high school special education classes for 42 years. My dad worked eight hours a day in a meat packing company five, sometimes six days a week. They raised seven boys and one daughter and always created educational opportunities and extracurricular experiences for us. With all that I have experienced through life, I believe that I have been given the opportunity to lead to make a bigger impact on those we have been granted such responsibility.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? That I’m older than I look. Also, that in college I had a 40+ inch vertical (jump) and was dunking a basketball with my height of only 5’7″.

Tell us about a non-professional book you recommend: “What The World Eats” by Faith D’Aluisio

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She 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, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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