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Buck Creek Hunter, Master Ear Wiggler, Life-long Wolf

Meet Your Principal: Josh Baumbach


School: West Elementary

Other positions you have held in education (title, school, district, state):

  • Sixth-and-seventh-grade social studies teacher at Jackson Park Junior High School
  • 9th and 10th-grade social studies teacher at Wyoming Park and Rogers High schools
  • Assistant principal at Wyoming Junior High
  • Assistant principal at Wyoming High School
  • Head varsity football coach at Wyoming Park High School

How about jobs outside education? My dad owned a roofing and siding business and I was the “cutter boy.” I would cut the siding and he would hang it. I also cut grass for my brother’s landscape company, worked part-time for a plumber, delivered products for Kent Rubber Supply, loaded trucks for East Jordan Iron Works, maintained grounds for South Kent Recreation Association and worked in a plastic molding factory.

Spouse/children: I married my high-school sweetheart, Melissa DeJarnatt. We went to West Elementary School together but we didn’t know each other then because she was two grades ahead of me. We have a daughter, Madisyn, 11; and a son, Kolten, 8.

Hobbies/Interests/Little-known talent: I love to hunt deer, rabbit and raccoon with my dad and brothers. I’ve coached football for the past 14 years. I enjoy reading books. My twin brother and I participate in Spartan Races. I can wiggle both ears or just one, and I can do a poor impersonation of Donald Duck.

West Elementary Principal Josh Baumbach was once a student there

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school?
I was an active kid. I played outside all the time with my siblings (five brothers and a sister). We would catch salamanders, hunt for frogs and turtles in Buck Creek, build tree forts behind our house, ride snowmobiles, swim and play sports. We spent a lot of time at Buck Creek, and every time we left the house our parents would say, “Don’t come back wet!” Without fail, one of us would fall in the creek and we’d wait for hours before coming home so our clothes would dry.

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… to forgive and forget and to laugh every day.

Finish this sentence: If I could go back to school I would go to grade… fifth grade, as a student in Ms. Donovan’s class. She challenged me to be a better student and person each and every day.

If you walked into your new school building to theme music every day, what would the song be?
“Happy,” by Pharrell Williams

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. 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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