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‘The Whole District is a Family’

Thirty-three new teachers and 22 support staff members, including food service positions, bus drivers and paraprofessionals, are getting to know district students this month.

It’s the biggest crop of new hires for many years in Wyoming Public Schools, administrators said.

New teachers replace 28 long-time district teachers who accepted a buyout incentive last spring. Teachers with 20 years or more in the district who were making $70,000 or more qualified for the buyout, which was $45,000 to retire or resign.

New teachers include recent college graduates beginning their first teaching jobs. Others are from charter schools and out-of-state districts, said Sarah Earnest, superintendent for employee relationships.

Teachers recently completed a three-day New Teacher Academy at Wyoming Junior High to work on building collaboration, connections and culture. The district’s theme this year is “Better Together,” Assistant Superintendent Craig Hoekstra said.

New Wyoming Intermediate School English-language learner teacher Marissa Bliss is among a crop of 33 new teachers in the district
New Wyoming Intermediate School English-language learner teacher Marissa Bliss is among a crop of 33 new teachers in the district

Each teacher will become part of the story and history of the district, he added. “We all have skills and talents. How do we grow from one and other?”

New Wyoming High School geometry teacher Jeffrey Kordich, a Grand Valley State University graduate, starts at Wyoming after teaching physical education for three years at Korea International School in South Korea. He also spent three years teaching math in Quito, Ecuador.

“I love the diversity I’m seeing in the students and staff, and just the excitement and positive energy that Wyoming Public Schools has for education.”

Liz Kenney, a new second grade teacher at West Elementary, comes from Benton Harbor Charter School Academy, and has also taught math intervention at North Godwin Elementary School, in Godwin Heights Public Schools. She is a GVSU graduate.

“One of the biggest things I’m most excited about is you can definitely feel the family here. They’re always talking about building relationships. They mean it. The whole district is a family and that’s very evident,,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to working with teachers and collaborating because they’ve effectively done that here.”


mLive story on buyout

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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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