Referee, bobblehead collector aims to make every day the ‘best day of my life’

Meet Your Principal: Jeff Dykhouse

Jeff Dykhouse with wife, Allison, and daughters Ella and Anna

Jeff Dykhouse is the new East Grand Rapids Middle School principal. SNN gets to know him in this edition of Meet the Principal.

Other positions you have held in education: I previously spent eight years in the classroom as a middle school social studies teacher in Kalamazoo, Fennville and Portage, including a short stint as an acting assistant principal in Portage, before jumping full-time into administration as assistant principal at Byron Center High School for the last four years.

How about jobs outside education? I was a registered basketball official  with the MHSAA. This offered the unique opportunity to see students outside of the classroom setting. My wife was a registered official as well, and we were able to be officiating partners for many years on the court!

Jeff Dykhouse

Family: Wife, Allison Dykhouse, is a school social worker at Northview Public Schools. Two daughters, Ella, second grade; and Anna, kindergarten. We also have a yellow lab named Wesley and a goldfish that looks suspiciously different weekly (because we can’t keep it alive).

Hobbies/Interests/Little-known talent: My main hobbies and interests revolve around my family. You can find me outside on most days playing soccer, basketball, riding bikes around EGR, walking to the public library or hanging out with neighbors. My wife and I both love sports and have an ongoing tally of who has won more one-on-one basketball games going back to our freshman and sophomore years of college. We have both tried our hands at coaching for our daughters’ youth sports teams as well.

I collect U.S. president bobbleheads and am excited to have them in my office, as my wife would not let me put them on the mantle at home.

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school? I was always a good student in school and worked hard at my studies. Once my homework was done, though, you would find me outside playing with neighborhood friends. I also had a paper route when I was in middle school, so right after school I would ride my bike to deliver the newspaper in our neighborhood. I shared this route with my older brother, who would always get done before me because he had a moped.

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is … to be yourself and have fun. Everyone is unique, and we need to be proud of who we are.  This is one of the reasons I wanted to get back to middle school where I taught, as my heart lies with this age level. 

If you walked into your new school building to theme music by a favorite artist or band, what would the song be? “Best Day of My Life” by the American Authors. On Music Mondays while I am outside greeting students, we blast music to welcome students back to school from the weekend. This is one of the songs.

Jeff Dykhouse, second from right, at Homecoming this year with fellow EGR principals, from left: Caroline Breault-Cannon, Stephanie Thelen, Carlye Allen and Craig Weigel
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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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