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Takens to retire after 11 years of leading growing district


After 11 years at the helm of one of the state’s top-performing districts, Superintendent Dan Takens has announced he is retiring effective Dec. 31 of this year.

Takens’ tenure in Byron Center is part of 31 years in public education, including in Kentwood Public Schools. He began in Byron Center in 2004 as the first principal of Countryside Elementary and has led the district as superintendent since September 2008.

“As I reflect on my years of service, by far the greatest joy has been partnering with our staff and our wonderful families in developing well-rounded children and helping them reach their academic, athletic and artistic abilities,” Takens said in a press release.

Under Takens’ leadership, the district has experienced many achievements in academics, arts and athletics, including all three elementary schools being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as National Blue Ribbon schools.

“Dan has put his heart and soul into making Byron Center one of the top districts in the state,” said Marty Phelan, president of the Byron Center Schools Board of Education. “His servant leadership and devotion to others has helped our district achieve unprecedented success.”

Takens has also led the district through growing enrollment and facilitating a $68.5 million bond passed by voters in 2017, including a $40 million high school expansion to make room for 1,600 more students in the approximately 4,150 student district.

“Moving forward, the Board of Education’s top priority is to find a superintendent who can capitalize on the momentum Dan has created helping our students, staff and community excel,” Phelan said.

The district school board is reviewing its succession plans to determine next steps in the search for a new superintendent, according to information from the district. The board will seek input from the staff and the community, and provide updates as information becomes available.

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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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