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Former UPS loader-driver, woodworker wants students to feel heard

Meet your administrator: William Martin

CaledoniaWilliam Martin is the new principal at Caledonia High School. SNN gets to know him in this edition of Meet the Administrators. 

Other positions in education: During his 19 years in education, Martin has worked 12 in administration. Before coming to Caledonia, he was the Riverside Middle School principal in Grand Rapids for five years, and the principal at Springfield Middle School in Battle Creek five years before that. “High school is my passion,” he said. “I enjoy having more in-depth conversations with students.”    

Jobs outside education: During college, Martin worked for UPS, loading and unloading boxes and delivering late night/early morning shipments from Kalamazoo to Lansing. “It was a lot of fun, and you meet a lot of different people on the job.”

William Martin is the new principal at Caledonia High School (courtesy)

Education: Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies with a minor in psychology from Olivet College, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Grand Valley State University. 

Family: Martin and his wife have lived in Grand Rapids since 2008 and have four kids: Natalie, 14, Brian, 13, Jack, 11, and Madeline, 8. Martin and Jack attended the Michigan State University Homecoming football game against Western Kentucky on Oct. 2, thanks to two free tickets he received through MSU as a high school administrator.   

Hobbies/Interests: “I love to work on our house, especially woodworking. I  recently redid the mantel on our fireplace.” Martin also enjoys running as an outlet for stress relief, reading and taking vacations with his family. 

What kind of kid were you when you were in high school? Martin was an athlete when he attended Comstock High School in Kalamazoo and played football, basketball and ran track. When he wasn’t playing sports, Martin was hunting and fishing with his dad and grandpa.  

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… “Always listen and hear the students out. There are always two sides of the story, even when you think you know what’s going on. Getting to know the students is very beneficial, and making them feel heard shows that you care and builds trust between students and teachers.” 

Thoughts on being an administrator during the pandemic: “Education is not a one-size-fits-all model, and has been so cookie cutter for so many years. I’ve learned to be flexible and meet students and teachers where they need to be. I feel like we’re starting to open more avenues and doors into true 21st century learning.” 

If you walked into your new school building to theme music by a favorite artist or band, what would it be?  “Either a Jay-Z or Chris Stapleton song. I enjoy all kinds of music and have a pretty eclectic playlist.”

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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