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Focused on building the Godwin family culture

Meet Your Administrator: Chad Conklin

Godwin HeightsChad Conklin is a familiar face around Godwin Heights, having served the district in a number of capacities. This summer, he was named the principal of secondary education, where he leads both the middle and high school in an effort to create a more seamless program.  

Previous positions in the district: Elementary teacher, high school athletic director, high school principal, boys varsity basketball coach

What jobs have you had outside education? “I work with rec sports, organizing and managing adult basketball, softball and volleyball leagues.”  

Education/degrees: Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and an education specialist degree from Central Michigan University; and master’s degrees in education technology and educational leadership, both from Grand Valley State University.

Family: Wife, Dana, and three children: Mason, a ninth-grader; Carson, a seventh-grader; and Sienna, a fourth-grader.

Hobbies: “Woodworking is that one outlet that lets me de-stress from the demands of my job. You have to really focus on it, and the other things just get pushed aside. Through it, I have been able to make a bed for all my children and a coffee-bar table.”

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is: “Perseverance. The students at Godwin Heights have taught me to persevere through all challenges life can throw at you.”

Tell us something that you are looking forward to this year. “As I met with the staff of both the middle and high schools, I told them that there were three things that I wanted to focus on as we build the second program: Making learning a priority for all of our students, making sure all of our students, staff and parents feel strong support for administration, (and) continuing to build the Godwin family culture where students and staff want to come to Godwin public schools on a daily basis.”

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at this new school? “I was very active and loved to participate in sports and hang out with my friends.”

If I could go back to school I would go to… seventh grade, “to have the opportunity to play sports through middle school and high school. Being a part of a sporting team allowed me to meet new friends in a competitive environment. I would also appreciate the opportunity to have a second chance at improving my academics starting at middle school through the 10th grade, and take learning more seriously.” 

What is the No. 1 potential positive change for schools you hope comes out of this? “The ability for the Godwin Heights staff to meet the needs of our students through so many different learning environments. Our teachers really worked so hard to support our students where they were at, and to ensure learning for every student. Through this process, our teachers were able to find so many teaching strategies to support the needs of our students and this will help them better support the needs of future students.”

From left, high school Assistant Principal Michael Porco meets with Chad Conklin, principal of secondary education
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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma covers Kent ISD and Godwin Heights. She was born in the Detroit area but grew up in Brighton where she attended Hartland Public Schools. The salutatorian for the Class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism and minored in photography and German. She expanded her color palette to include orange and black as both her daughters graduated from Byron Center Public Schools; maroon and white for Aquinas College where her daughter studies nursing and also brought back blue and maize for Grand Rapids Community College where her youngest daughter currently is studying music. Read Joanne's full bio


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