Joanne Bailey-Boorsma

Joanne Bailey-Boorsma

I am not originally from West Michigan. In fact, when I graduated from Hartland High School in 1985, staying in Michigan was not on my bucket list. I went to Michigan State University where I became enthralled in the world of journalism. I decided to major in journalism with the goal of a foreign language so I chose a minor German along with a minor in photography.

After graduation, I began a job at the local weeklies, the Advance Newspapers, where I covered the school districts of Grandville, Hudsonville, and Jenison along with the City of Grandville and Georgetown Township. Through the years at the Advance Newspapers, I would cover several other communities including Kentwood and East Grand Rapids and the school districts of Kelloggsville, Kentwood and East Grand Rapids. 

It always had been a dream of mine to cover arts and entertainment and, in 1997, I was named the editor of On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication that focused on Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. I enjoyed working with the many different art organizations in our community, showcasing incredible performances. While leading the magazine, I continued to do some freelance work.

A lifetime Girl Scout, I have been on several committees and served as a troop leader for the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore and have been a co-chair and board member for the Festival of the Arts. Currently, I am on the advisory board of the Van Singel Fine Arts Center, located at the Byron Center High School, where my daughters both graduated from. We enjoy sharing our love of Michigan so our family has hosted a number of exchange students from Denmark, Spain, Italy, and Germany. 

In 2016, I had the opportunity to join the WKTV team, where I work to educate people about the importance of local news.

I began writing for School News Network in 2020, and am excited to be a part of the School News Network because of the team’s philosophy in bringing the best in education news to the Kent County community.

I still love a good theater performance and have season tickets to Broadway Grand Rapids. I love traveling the state of Michigan and having adventures with one of my favorites being visiting all five lakes in one summer. My husband, Mike, works for the Wyoming GM Components Plant; my oldest daughter, Kara, is studying nursing at Aquinas College and my youngest, Maggie, is studying music at Grand Rapids Community College.

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma covers Kent ISD and Godwin Heights. She was born in the Detroit area but grew up in Brighton where she attended Hartland Public Schools. The salutatorian for the Class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism and minored in photography and German. She expanded her color palette to include orange and black as both her daughters graduated from Byron Center Public Schools; maroon and white for Aquinas College where her daughter studies nursing and also brought back blue and maize for Grand Rapids Community College where her youngest daughter currently is studying music. Read Joanne's full bio