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Listening, believing in students

Meet Your Administrator: Johana Rodriguez-Quist

Godfrey LeeJohana Rodriguez-Quist is the new Godfrey Elementary School principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Administrators.

Other positions held in education: Before assuming the role of an administrator, Rodriguez-Quist taught Spanish at Rockford Christian Elementary, Blessed of the Virgin Mary Elementary and Grand Rapids Christian Middle School. For four years, she served as the community school coordinator for Kent School Services Network at Burton Elementary. Her passion for learning and language inspired her to serve outside the classroom as the Family Literacy Program director for Literacy Center of West Michigan for three years.

Jobs outside education: “My first career was in international business, where I supported Spanish-speaking distributors. I was a (real estate agent) for a year and my children and I have been featured in print and video commercials. West Michigan needed model-families with dark hair and skin that could appeal to the growing Hispanic market.”

Education: Rodriguez-Quist received her bachelor’s degree in business and communications from Calvin College and her master’s degree in education from Aquinas College. She also earned an educational leadership certificate from the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.

Johana Rodriguez-Quist and her family, from left, Maia, 23, Aidan, 18, husband Jonathan and Madison, 19 (courtesy)

Family: Rodriguez-Quist and her husband, Jonathan, have three children who are all currently in college. Her oldest, Maia, is currently attending Grand Valley State University, Madison is at the University of Michigan and her youngest, Aidan, is at Michigan Technological University. 

What kind of kid were you when you were in elementary school? “I was working hard to learn the language (English) and I was determined to get more certificates for good work than my older brothers.” 

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… “they are listening and they want to be believed in.”

If you could go back to school, which grade would you go back to?  “I would go back to 8th grade so I could talk myself out of a really bad pixie haircut.”

If you walked into your new school building to theme music by a favorite artist or band, what would it be? “Dua Lipa, ‘Levitating.’ It always puts me in a GREAT mood.”

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter, covering Caledonia, Kenowa Hills, Godfrey-Lee, Grand Rapids and is a roving reporter for GRCC, Wyoming, Kentwood and Byron Center. 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.  Following a stint as a copywriter for a Grand Rapids area PR firm, she transitioned from communications to freelance writing and reporting for SNN. Read Alexis' full bio

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