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Social butterfly, schedule juggler, challenge taker on-er

Meet Your Administrator: Ashlee Buchholz

GrandvilleAshlee Buchholz is the new assistant principal at Grandville High School. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Administrators.

Other positions you have held in education: 

  • Long-term substitute, West Ottawa
  • World history, psychology, U.S. history, AP history and government teacher, Grandville High School

“I’ve pretty much been at Grandville my whole career — go Dawgs!” she said. “I just fell in love with the district and didn’t want to leave. When this new opportunity arose to move up (as assistant principal), I knew I wanted to do that. I’ve always kind of hoped to move in that direction.”

What about jobs outside education? Buchholz primarily worked in food-service jobs while growing up in Allendale, starting at age 14 when she began working in her mother’s restaurant. She later worked at an area Dairy Queen, at the Culver’s in Jenison and then spent eight years as a server and bartender at Texas Roadhouse, right down the road from GHS. 

“Even when I was teaching here for the first couple of years, I was still at Texas Roadhouse on the weekends because I just couldn’t give it up. And honestly, you can make a lot of money doing that. (Holding two jobs) was manageable until I got pregnant with my second kid.” 

Education/degrees: 

  • Bachelor’s degree, social studies and psychology; master’s degree, educational leadership, both from Grand Valley State University 
Buchholz and her husband, Curtis, have three children (courtesy)

What would you like to share about your family? Husband, Curtis; and three “very spunky and sassy children”: Carter, 10 ; Beckett, 5; and Emerson, 2. 

“We spend our days with lacrosse and football and basketball for my oldest son,” Buchholz said. “My youngest son is starting to get into sports just a little bit, and then my daughter is… she’s little; she’s just hanging out.”

Hobbies/interests/talents: “I don’t think I have many talents, if I’m being honest, but I would say juggling my kids’ schedules might be one. As far as hobbies, this past summer I started getting into running, biking and fitness in general. … I really like to read and watch shows on Netflix. My decompressing time is watching “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” — when I finish one, I go back to the other, rewatch it all and then go back.”

What kind of kid were you at the age of your students? “I would say I was very social; I was the social butterfly. I was a cheerleader all four years on varsity in high school, and I had a very large friend group. I am naturally an outgoing and energetic person, and I feel like I thrive with being with others. So in high school, I was very much the one that was at all the sporting events and dressing up and getting excited — that was me.”

Buchholz said that personality trait has helped her thrive in leadership roles at the high school level: “I’m always going to be a cheerleader at heart. Like, I love championing things and getting others excited about them. And I think that that is something that I’ve brought to my teaching and now in this role. I really get excited about the initiatives that I’m pushing.”

In high school, Buchholz, right, was a cheerleader and ‘social butterfly’ (courtesy)

The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… “I think it’s that we all need to take time to slow down, find the humor in things and not take some things too seriously. There’s been times in my classroom when I’m like, ‘we just need to get through this content before the end of the day,’  but then kids want to tell a story or bring up something funny and I realize I need to listen to them. It’s important to just take a minute. All that other stuff can wait, because forming relationships has an impact on kids — they need it, and adults need it, too.” 

If you could go back to school, which grade would you return to, and why? “I honestly think that I would go back to high school. I think I spent a lot of time wishing for the next thing, and I maybe didn’t slow down to appreciate all of the really great things that high school has to offer. I would love to go back and realize how great every moment was for me at the time, while I was there, because it goes insanely fast.” 

If you walked into your new school building to theme music that suits your personality, what would the song be, and why? “I would say something upbeat, something energetic. I’m a morning person and I like to bring positivity and start each day in a happy, upbeat tone. So I’d want something that, when you hear it, you’re gonna smile and be like, ‘all right, let’s go take on the challenge of the day.’ That is me.”

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Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell is a reporter (covering Cedar Springs, Grandville, Lowell and Rockford), editor, copy editor and social media manager. She is an award-winning journalist who got her start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune. A Calvin University graduate, she later returned to Calvin to help manage its national writing festival. Beth has also written for The Grand Rapids Press, Fox 17 and several West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. She is fascinated by the nuances of language, loves to travel and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma. Read Beth's full bio

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