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New superintendent looks forward to managing challenges of growth

The Thornapple Kellogg Board of Education has finalized a contract with its next superintendent.

Dan Remenap will begin with the district on Dec. 14, replacing former Superintendent Rob Blitchok, who announced his retirement effective Oct. 1. 

In a statement, board President Dave Smith said that Remenap’s experience and enthusiasm for the position, along with his focus on relationships and continuous improvement, will serve the district well. The board voted to hire Remenap on Nov. 17, contingent upon successful contract negotiations, and finalized the process on Nov. 30.

“The Board looks forward to working with Mr. Remenap,” he said, “to drive the work and our vision of continuous improvement in the TK Schools.”

A graduate of and former teacher at Grandville High School, an assistant principal in Spring Lake and a principal at Allendale High School, Remenap moves to Thornapple Kellogg from the superintendent’s job in the Hastings Area School System, a post he began July 1, 2019.

‘I’ve never heard anyone say a bad thing about TK.’

— Dan Remenap, newly hired superintendent

He said he leaves Hastings with nothing but good things to say about the district and the people, but when the opening at TK came around, he knew he had to explore it.

“I’ve never heard anyone say a bad thing about TK,” Remenap said, “and part of the draw was it’s a little larger district with a few more resources. Also, the fact that it’s part of the Kent ISD was certainly in the positive column when I sat down and started doing the pros and cons.”

He’s also excited about the possibilities for the district when it comes to the opportunity and the challenge of growth.

As expansion continues to move south along M-37, he said, TK will have to wrestle with what that means for its schools and the community’s small-town feel. It will have to think about what it looks like to accept the growth but “maintain the identity that is TK,” he added.

“Certainly, thinking long-term with every decision will be pretty important, as will bringing people along who are new to the community.”

Remenap said it would be important to talk to people in other growing districts like Caledonia and Allendale to learn how they have managed growth in positive ways, and he said he also would be leaning on the resources available from Kent ISD.

Since the departure of Blitchok, retired Byron Center Superintendent Dan Takens served as interim superintendent, but he did not apply for the permanent position.

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Phil de Haan
Phil de Haan
Phil de Haan covers Grand Rapids and Kelloggsville and also is a general assignment reporter and the point person for the SNN Facebook and Twitter feeds. He hails from Exeter, Ontario, but has called Grand Rapids home since 1985. He is the son of a longtime public school teacher who taught both English and machine shop! Phil took both classes at South Huron District High School, but English stuck, and at Calvin College, where he met his wife, Sue, he majored in English and minored in journalism. His background includes both freelance writing and public relations work, including teaching an advertising and PR course at the college level. In the summer of 2019, he began his own freelance writing and communications business. In his spare time, Phil plays pick-up hockey and pickleball and tries to keep tabs on his two adult children.  Read Phil's full bio

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