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Farmhand, Auto Worker, Advocate for All

Meet your Principal: Jeff Simon

School: Central Middle

Other positions you have held in education: Middle school math teacher, Gypsum Creek Middle School, Gypsum, Colorado; math coach/instructional coach, New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School, New Berlin, Wisconsin

How about jobs outside education? Farmhand (I milked cows!), General Motors assembly line, State of Michigan and Central Michigan University Print Services

Spouse/children: My better half is truly my wife, Jessica. We have three beautiful children under 4: Oliver, Hatcher, and Cecelia. And of course, I can’t forget our lovely dog, Charlie.

Hobbies/Interests/Little-known talent: My hobbies include almost anything outdoors, including hiking, biking, skiing, running, boating, swimming, etc. As for talents, I can juggle, and I can kind of play the piano. Does that count?

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school? If you ask my younger self, he would probably mention that he was the model student and perfect angel. However, if you ask my teachers, they may provide a slightly different answer. … In other words, though I was successfulwith academics and athletics, I tended to be a challenge for teachers in the classroom.

I have always loved learning, and I have always loved sports. This included my time in middle school and beyond.

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… ALL means ALL. When we say we are going to educate and grow all students, we truly mean all students. There are too many students out there who just need someone to show interest, or just need a little bit of extra support, to make a positive difference in their lives.

If I could go back to school I would go to grade ? … Albeit an admittedly lame answer, I wouldn’t go back to school. I am having too much fun in the current stage of my life. Working in a school, and being able to come home to play with my kids is something I cherish. Also, I had a lot of fun at all stages of school. I can remember incidents and teachers from each grade level (through college) that have left such a positive mark on me, making it quite difficult to choose one grade over another.

If you walked into your new school building to theme music every day, what would the song be? Whatever the current pop songs are. They are just a guilty pleasure of mine.

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Morgan Jarema
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 or email Morgan.

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