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New director: enthusiasm of young learners is inspiring

Meet Your Administrator: Cindy Viveen

Name: Cindy Viveen
Position: Byron Center Early Childhood Center Director

Byron Center — Cindy Viveen is the new Early Childhood Center director. 

The center, at 2300 84th St. SW, is home to the Room to Bloom daycare, tuition-based preschool classrooms and the Great Start Readiness Program. The new position puts the direction of early childhood programs under one umbrella. 

“(Viveen) will be a wonderful addition to our team,” said Superintendent Kevin Macina. “She brings a wealth of knowledge with her background not only with her early childhood education, but her expertise in early childhood special education. This makes her background diverse and able to meet the needs of so many children.”

SNN gets to know Viveen in this edition of Meet the Administrator

What are your goals as ECC director?

Preschool and daycare programs have operated as two separate programs in the same building, said Viveen, who transitioned to the job earlier this month from her second-grade teaching post at Countryside Elementary.

“My goal is to really bring staff together as one team. Both sides of the building are working with children of the same age a very critical age for learning.”

Many teachers have worked in the ECC for many years and have a wealth of expertise, Viveen said. “We have a lot of really qualified, knowledgeable people there. The goal is to really start pulling them together and working together as a team to have a common vision to better prepare those children to become school-aged students in Byron Center.”

Other positions you have held in education: 

  • Special education teacher with emotionally impaired and pre-primary impaired students in Grand Rapids Public Schools
  • General education and special education teacher, working with students with various disabilities, in Kentwood Public Schools
  • Teacher for cognitively impaired students in Kentwood Public Schools
  • Spent one year in three part-time positions in three districts: in Caledonia Public Schools as an in-home interventionist; in Kentwood as an early childhood special education teacher with 3-year-old children with autism and as a home interventionist, and in Byron Center as an early childhood special education teacher
  • Countryside Elementary School teacher (kindergarten for eight years and second grade for two)

How about jobs outside education? “All the way back to college and high school, I worked for a record distributing company… I had the ‘in’ on first tickets to concerts!”

Education:

  • Bachelor’s degree in special education for emotional impairment and adapted physical education from Western Michigan University
  • Master’s in early childhood education from Western Michigan University 
  • Certification in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University 

Fun Fact: Viveen is a graduate of Byron Center Public Schools, where she attended kindergarten through grade 12. “The ECC where I will be working now was my middle school.”

Family: Three daughters: Tori, 26, is a physician assistant in Chicago; Lexi, 24, is a certified medical assistant and is finishing a degree in healthcare management. Cassie, 21, is a senior at Hope College graduating this spring also to continue her education to become a physician assistant.

Hobbies/Interests: “I am a summer girl! I love kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing and hiking. In winter I need a nudge sometimes to get out there to do a little cross-country, hiking, sledding. My favorite sport is water skiing.”

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school? “I was definitely a water kid then, too. I loved to swim and spend time with my grandmother. I learned to bake and cook and make crafts with her.”

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… “Especially at this young age, their enthusiasm to learn and try anything. For the most part, they all have this huge smile on their face and are excited to learn and jump into whatever you have to share with them. I absolutely love that.”

If I could go back to school I would go to grade … “I would go to kindergarten. I was so excited to go there and learn. I remember the friendships I established. Many of those friendships I still have today with people I still talk to on a regular basis.”

If you walked into your new school building to theme music every day, what would the song be? “Good Job” by Alicia Keys and One Voice Children’s Choir

Cindy Viveen loves all things summer, especially waterskiing
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Erin Albanese
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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