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Cook’n up the dance moves

Meet Your Administrator: Aaron Berlin

Aaron Berlin is the new dean at Wyoming Junior High. SNN gets to know him in this edition of Meet Your Administrators.

Other positions you have held in education:

  • Economics teacher at Wyoming High School
  • JV golf coach at Wyoming High School
  • Assistant varsity football coach at Wyoming High School
  • Principal at Godwin Heights Middle School
  • Assistant Principal at Godwin Heights High School
  • Dean at Grandville High School

How about jobs outside education? Berlin ran kitchens as head chef for years in Springfield, Illinois; and Ann Arbor, Kentwood and Grandville in Michigan. “Mountain Jacks was the last restaurant I ran,” he said.

Education/degrees: Berlin has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Cornerstone University and a master’s degree in secondary education from Western Michigan University.

Spouse/children: Wife Linda is a Grandville High School English teacher; daughter Sierra, 19, is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin.

Hobbies/interests: “I tell the kids I’ve got super-cool dance moves. I don’t know if they believe me! I try to walk every day. I try to hit some golf balls when I can. I focus on family and faith. My wife tells me I need to read more books.”

What kind of kid were you as a student? “I was maybe the last of the three-sport athletes — football, basketball and track.

“I love learning, but I didn’t like school. I love the idea of learning new things, but I always struggled with the structure of school — taking good notes, being organized. I didn’t take those skills as seriously as I should have, but I loved participating in the learning side of things. I get some nods from kids who feel the same way.”

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… “They are all coming to school every day. It’s a challenge for many of them.”

Berlin said he hears from many students who are taking on a lot of extra responsibility at home, like cooking, laundry, or caregiving. “The perseverance the kids have to get into this learning space is pretty impressive.”

If you could go back to school, which grade would you return to? “I would go to ninth grade,” he said, explaining that his older self would give his freshman self some words of wisdom. “My ninth-grade self, I’d give a little kick in the backside.”

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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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