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Godfrey-Lee’s Kevin Polston selected to lead Kentwood Public Schools

Kentwood — In a unanimous vote, the Kentwood Public Schools Board of Education has selected Kevin Polston to serve as its next superintendent. 

Polston, currently superintendent for Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, will take the reins from Superintendent Michael Zoerhoff, who retires June 30 after eight years in the role. 

“I believe (Polston) has a clear vision, and his goal to change the trajectory of kids’ lives resonates with me,” said Pete Battey, board treasurer, during final discussion after second-round interviews Wednesday evening. “He is a systems thinker and a systems designer. I have confidence in his approach, which makes me confident in (his) decisions and the outcomes.” 

Noting Polston’s experience and background, the board said in a statement that the new superintendent will be “no stranger to the global community that KPS serves.” 

“His experience as the son of a Palestinian immigrant and first-generation college student is a story that mirrors many Kentwood families,” the statement continued. “Mr. Polston’s work in West Michigan reflects his passion for the power of education and the importance of strong partnerships between school systems and the communities they serve.”

The board selected Polston after final interviews with him and the other finalist, Nkenge Bergan, director of student services for Kalamazoo Public Schools.

Polston said he is “humbled and honored” to be chosen to serve as Kentwood’s next leader. 

“My personal vision of ‘changing the world through opportunities for students’ is one Kentwood has carried out through the vision of ‘Excellence and Equity in Education,’” he said. “I look forward to building positive relationships with staff, students, families and the community of Kentwood as we collaboratively continue the longstanding tradition of excellence.”

Polston has led Godfrey-Lee as its superintendent since 2017, and previously worked as a teacher, principal and curriculum specialist. Last year he served as a member of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Return to Learn Advisory Council, and in February was appointed chairperson of the governor’s statewide Student Recovery Advisory Council. 

“Our candidate pool was exceptionally strong and our internal leadership team is outstanding,” said board president Mimi Madden. “The unanimous vote to offer the position to Superintendent Polston will continue the tradition of leadership excellence that our community has come to expect.”

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Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell is a reporter and copy editor, covering Cedar Springs, Godfrey-Lee, Grandville and Lowell. She is an award-winning journalist who got her start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune. A Calvin University graduate, she later returned to her alma mater to help manage its national writing festival and edit and write for enrollment communications. Beth has also written for The Grand Rapids Press, Fox 17 and several West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. She is fascinated by the nuances of language, loves to travel and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma. Read Beth's full bio

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