Kelly Amshey is the new principal of Rockford Virtual School. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Principal.
Other positions you have held in education: Assistant principal, East Rockford Middle School and Rockford Freshman Center. Science teacher, East Kentwood High School and Freshman Campus.
Education/degrees: Associate’s degree from Grand Rapids Community College; bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College; master’s degree from Grand Valley State University; Ph.D. from Western Michigan University.
Spouse/children: Spouse Jeremy is a Rockford grad (class of 1998) and works for Owen Ames Kimball Co. They have three children: Molly, in seventh grade at East Rockford Middle School; Brody, in fifth grade at Meadow Ridge Elementary; and Bryce, in second grade at Meadow Ridge.
Hobbies/interests/little-known talents: Amshey enjoys camping, exercise, coaching softball, spending time with family and reading.
What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school? “I will serve students from developmental kindergarten through grade 12, so this answer is a mixed bag. I am a small-town girl, born and raised in Kent City. From the age of 10, I grew up in a big, ‘Brady-Bunch’ kind of family, with three brothers and three sisters. In high school, I played volleyball, softball and ran cross country, but was also an avid thespian, participating in numerous plays and musicals. I have always been a talker — just ask my high school chemistry teacher.”
The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… “You often do not know and can’t tell what obstacles an individual faces. It’s best to ask questions before making judgments.”
Finish this sentence: If I could go back to school I would go to… “Grade 11, because I had a great group of friends, enjoyed school and had a driver’s license!”
Regarding starting as a new principal during the pandemic: What is the No. 1 potential positive change for schools you hope comes out of this? “I hope that we become more ‘gritty.’ This has been a strong reminder that we, as humans, can overcome adversity. We can deal with discomfort. We can compromise. In fact, these are healthy skills that our students need and adults can revisit — myself included. While I would never choose a pandemic, I will embrace the benefits to our collective character.”
If you walked into your new school building to theme music by a favorite artist or band, what would the song be? “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. “It makes me feel like we can do anything.”