Janice Holst

Janice Holst

Every educator knows there’s a story in every classroom. That is something I never forgot when my career changed from teaching to writing, so I consider it a distinct privilege to join School News Network. Discovering the many important things that happen every day in every school and sharing them with the public is truly an honor. Introducing you to the teachers, who find innovative ways to reach students; staff members, who make the districts run smoothly; and students, who enrich the district with their uniqueness, will be my pleasure.

I am excited to be sharing the stories from northern Kent County and to be covering the Cedar Springs, Kent City and Sparta districts. These districts face the same challenges of rising expenses, changing curriculum standards and government regulations as others, and they serve constituents with vast differences in lifestyle. As I get to know each district, I hope to illustrate accurately the problems they face and their individual ways of solving them. But more importantly, I hope to be able to highlight for you many of the extraordinary things that happen in the classrooms, the hallways and the boardrooms, and how those impact their communities.

I received my teaching credentials at Calvin College, and taught both middle school and high school, as well as spending a few years in alternative education. I continued my formal education at the University of Illinois, where I studied communications. While I was raising my four children, I was either teaching or substituting in classrooms, as well as working at various business start-ups, including a campground and a miniature golf/ice-cream store.

Around the turn of the century, the “frustrated writer” found in every English teacher came out, and I began working for Advance Newspapers, which was eventually purchased by MLive. I have covered local governments and schools in a variety of beats, including Sparta, Kent City, Kentwood, East Grand Rapids, Ada and Cascade.

Personally, I love to travel – am obsessed with long-distance passenger trains; read – mostly historical fiction, but I think my all-time favorite is “A Prayer for Owen Meany”; camp – but the older I get, the harder the ground gets; and garden – though the only thing that thrives for me are cacti. I spend much of my time with my family, especially the grandchildren.

School News Network was borne out of frustration due to less and less coverage of the schools by local press.  Lucky for me, SNN found a way to combine my two loves: education issues and happenings merged with storytelling.

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Janice Holst is a reporter covering Kent City and Sparta. She has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and enjoys spending some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio