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‘I’m here to serve students’ says Coast Guard alum, weather-watcher

Meet your administrator: Bill Dinkelmann

Kenowa Hills —  Bill Dinkelmann is the new assistant superintendent at Kenowa Hills Public Schools. SNN gets to know him in this edition of Meet your Administrator.

Other positions held in education:  Bill Dinkelmann previously taught high school science at West Ottawa High School in Holland, and eventually became the director of technology integration at West Ottawa Public Schools. Broadening his impact on K-12, Dinkelmann served as a science consultant and educational systems analyst for the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. He began his time in Kenowa Hills as an instructional coach at the high school, then became director of competency-based education.

Bill Dinkelmann is the new assistant superintendent at Kenowa Hills Public Schools (courtesy)

Jobs outside of education: Dinkelmann graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and served as an active duty and reserve officer before becoming an educator. “I had the chance to develop a wide variety of project and program management experience across administrative and operational sectors that included fixed and floating aids to navigation – think lighthouses and buoys, search and rescue, fisheries law enforcement, public and legislative affairs, as well as software development.”

During his 13 years spent in uniform, he traveled to all 50 states. Highlights of those years included the opportunity to fly a Coast Guard helicopter over Yankee Stadium, navigate the Cutter Sedge throughout Alaska and dock the Cutter Mackinaw in Grand Haven during the Coast Guard Festival.

Education/degrees: Dinkelmann earned a bachelor’s degree in marine science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and a master’s in education with a specialization in secondary science education from Grand Valley State University. He is currently pursuing a PhD of Philosophy in educational leadership from Western Michigan University.

‘My experiences don’t define their world. I need to slow down to understand what their dreams are and what they are going through, and more importantly, how I can help.’

— Bill Dinkelmann

Family: Wife, Lori, and two college-aged children, Kayley and Connor

Hobbies/Interests/Little-known talent: Dinkelmann refers to himself as a “weather junkie” who enjoys keeping tabs on West Michigan dynamics. He and his family also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking and exploring national parks.

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… “My experiences don’t define their world. I need to slow down to understand what their dreams are and what they are going through and more importantly, how I can help… because I’m here to serve students. I always learn more from students than they learn from me.”

From left, Connor, Lori and Bill Dinkelmann in front of the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle in Grand Haven in 2019 (courtesy)

If I could go back to school, I would go back to… “grade 11, because it all started to click for me as a junior in high school. I had my driver’s license and could get to school, sports practice and part-time jobs on my own. 

“That’s when I really started to see evidence that my hard work and commitment to academics, athletics and my own personal growth through community organizations and service was paying off… and it was just fun to be a kid without the pressure of figuring out college and life beyond high school.”

If you walked into your new school building to theme music by a favorite artist or band, what would it be? “My scenario would more likely be driving into the student parking lot with the top off the Jeep, playing anything from AC/DC – very loud.”

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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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