Phil de Haan

Phil de Haan

My dad and mom were both Dutch immigrants. Both journeyed to Canada with their families in the 1950s in search of a better life, including for the next generation. Though my dad was 18 when he emigrated, and spoke little to no English, he decided to become an English major in college and later taught both English and machine shop at South Huron District High School in my hometown of Exeter, Ontario.

Consequently, it was impossible to make a grammatical error of speech around him and not have it corrected. And books were a central figure in our house growing up. As a result, I became a decent writer in high school and decided to also be an English major at Calvin, along with a journalism minor.

Over the years I have always done some work as a freelance writer, along with a lifelong focus on public relations as my primary career. In 2010, I went back to school part time (one class per semester), and over the next four years I completed a master’s degree in communications at Grand Valley State University, a degree that allowed me to do some undergraduate teaching at the college level in the advertising and public relations fields.

In the summer of 2019, I began my own freelance writing and communications business and soon after also began writing for School News Network. As a college professor, I always had a strong sense that the next generation was pretty amazing and that our world would be in good hands with them. It’s been great at SNN to see that the same is true for this next generation of K-12 students.

In my spare time, I play pick-up hockey with a great group of guys (and some women) and pickleball in a local ladder league, also with a great group of guys (and some women). I also try, with my wife, Sue, to keep tabs on our two adult children.

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Phil de Haan covers East Grand Rapids and Kelloggsville and is the lead reporter for Grand Rapids. He hails from Exeter, Ontario (but has called Grand Rapids home since 1985) and is the son of a longtime public school teacher who taught both English and machine shop. Phil took both classes at South Huron District High School, but English stuck, and at Calvin College, where he met his wife, Sue, he majored in English and minored in journalism. His background includes both journalism and public relations, including teaching an advertising and PR course at the college level for almost a decade. In the summer of 2019, he began his own writing and communications business, de Haan Communications. In his spare time, Phil plays pick-up hockey and pickleball and tries to keep tabs on his two adult children. Read Phil's full bio