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‘I know a lot has changed … but kids haven’t’

Meet Your Administrator: Jeffrey Wierzbicki

Jeffrey Wierzbicki is the new assistant superintendent of Byron Center Public Schools. SNN gets to know Wierzbicki in this edition of Meet Your Administrator.

Byron Center After four years as principal at West Middle School, Jeffrey Wierzbicki looks forward to his new role at the central office where he will join Superintendent Kevin Macina in district leadership. (The position was not filled when Macina became superintendent last school year.) 

“I’m really excited about supporting Byron at the district level,” said Wierzbicki, noting how much he’s loved his time at the middle school. 

Macina said Wierzbicki brings calm and rational thinking to a role that at times can be very difficult. “He has a great understanding on how to see all sides of a situation and be able to come to an agreement on what is best. He is a wonderful thinker and consistently learning in all that he is a part of. Jeff will support the district by bringing his varied experience to the role.”

Other positions in education:

  • Fifth grade teacher at William C. Abney School, in Grand Rapids
  • Fourth grade teacher in Northview Public Schools
  • Middle School Language Arts teacher at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School, in Grand Rapids
  • Belding High School varsity basketball coach and middle school English Language Arts intervention teacher
  • Godwin Heights High School instructional specialist
  • Byron Center West Middle School assistant principal
  • Byron Center West Middle School principal

How about jobs outside education?

Wierzbicki currently coaches his son and daughter in youth basketball.

“I have three kids at home and I do enjoy coaching. Whatever sport they are in, I like to help out. I enjoy sports and any way I can be around them.”

Education/degrees:

  • Bachelor’s in social studies and language arts with a certification in education from Aquinas College
  • Master’s in curriculum and instruction from Grand Valley State University
  • Educational specialist in leadership degree from GVSU
  • Pursuing doctorate in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University
Jeffery Wierzbicki with his wife, Amy, daughters, Whitney, 2, Vaida, 5 and son Miles, 7

Spouse/children:

“My wife, Amy, is the director of special education in Greenville Public Schools. We’ve both been in education all our lives.”

Son, Miles is 7; daughters, Vaida and Whitney, are 5 and 2.

Hobbies/Interests:

“My wife and I are both from Northern Michigan, so we love to go back up to Elk Rapids and Charlevoix and spend time with our families.  From spending time on the water, to teaching our kids to downhill ski, we enjoy many of those ‘up north’ activities on long weekends and during the summer months.”  

What kind of kid were you as a student (your personality, interests, hobbies, activities)?

“I always enjoyed school  elementary, middle and high school. As a middle schooler, I had very similar characteristics to what I have now. I wanted to be at school very early to get there and be prepared for whatever was going on that day. After school I was there for an hour or two or three because I wanted to be a part of some of the extra-curricular activities, whether they were sports, concerts or events going on.” 

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is…

“Especially in this past year, it is how resilient our students are at the middle school level and throughout K-12. Our students understand change and if they don’t understand change, they ask questions and seek clarification and they do a very good job with whatever the task is. Our students have done an amazing job this year, and it’s because of their resiliency and their understanding that you sometimes have to roll with the punches.”

Jeffery Wierzbicki loved basketball as a middle school student growing up in Elk Rapids. He later played at Aquinas College

Finish this sentence: If I could go back to school I would go to grade ? because…

“I’d go back to middle school because I have a love for it. Teaching it and being a principal at the middle school has been phenomenaI. I know a lot has changed in the past 20 to 30 years, but kids haven’t. Kids will always be kids.” 

What is the No. 1 potential positive change for schools you hope comes out of the pandemic?

This pandemic has shown me as an administrator that working through potential issues and conflicts and coming up with innovative ideas has been very exciting and is exciting as we move forward.

“We’ve learned a lot about the use of technology and how it can and can’t be effective. We’ve learned a lot about how we allocate our time for instruction.

“Our modes of instruction have had to change due to restrictions. It will be nice to get back to opportunities where kids can collaborate and work together, but we also know kids can do that in other ways with technology and in six feet of separation. “We’ve had to be very innovative in our ways of teaching and working. It’s been unique being forced to do these things. We will take some of the positives and use them as we move forward to support our students, staff, and community in Byron Center.”

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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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