Kent ISD — Success to any organization is having the right people in key positions, says Superintendent Ron Koehler.
It is why four Kent ISD leading administrators, Glen Finkel, Chris Glass, Sue Gardner, and Kirsten Myers, have taken over new assistant superintendent roles. Finkel was named assistant superintendent of technology services; Gardner was named assistant superintendent of career and talent development; Glass was named assistant superintendent of legislative and organizational initiatives; and Myers was named assistant superintendent of student services.
Quoting author Jim Collins’ organizational leadership guide, “Good to Great,” Koehler said “those who build great organizations make sure they have the ‘right people on the bus and the right people in the key seats before they…drive the bus.’
The Kent ISD ‘school bus’ is no exception.”
For Finkel, Myers, and Glass, who were all directors in their departments, their positions needed to reflect the contributions and leadership they provide to Kent ISD and the member districts, Koehler said. Gardner will be leading a new department, Career and Talent Development, which will open up the pipeline of technical education and work-based learning for all students across the ISD.
Glen Finkel, assistant superintendent of Technology Services
Glen Finkel, who has been with Kent ISD since 2003, previously was Kent ISD’s director of data services and prior to that was a technology consultant with Accenture.
During his tenure as director, the Information Technology and Data Services department grew significantly due to increased demand for technology and local districts’ need for technology services. The team now includes staff working at many Kent ISD facilities, serving as IT support in three local districts and four charter schools, plus providing IT engineering for three districts.
Finkel said he is looking forward to taking on a leadership role with the work of the Kent ISD’s strategic plan along with working with local districts to develop new service offerings, specifically around a wide area network, and continuing to drive improvements with the ITDS department.
Sue Gardner, assistant superintendent of Career and Talent Development
Sue Gardner came to the district in 2018 as a career technical education compliance coordinator and in 2020 was named assistant superintendent of secondary programs. This year, she has been charged with leading the new Career and Talent Development Department.
The new team will provide additional and enhanced career development opportunities along with leadership and technical assistance for local districts that are developing their own programs and ensure programs articulate to college credit and career credentials. The department also will oversee partnerships with business organizations and workforce development agencies to increase work-based learning and employment opportunities for students.
“I am looking forward to building a career-readiness system to help all students in Kent County have the best of Career and Technical Education,” Gardner said. “This will include regional CTE visioning, work-based learning for all students and career and employability skills and training for all students.”
Chris Glass, assistant superintendent of Legislative and Organizational Initiatives
Chris Glass, who has been with Kent ISD since 2013, served as the director of legislative affairs for school districts in Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa Area ISDs. This partnership will continue in Glass’s new role.
As director, Glass has worked to secure additional funding for local school districts, the Great Start Readiness Program preschool and career and technical education programs statewide.
In his new role, Glass will continue to grow the regional advocacy presence along with overseeing the Communication Department including School News Network, grants coordination and requisitions, and the Office of Research and Continuous Improvement.
“I am looking forward to working alongside our talented staff to accomplish great things,” Glass said. “Kent ISD is such an incredible organization that fills an important role in our community.”
Kirsten Myers, assistant superintendent of Student Services
Kirsten Myers, who has been the director of special education since 2019, led the centralizing of Early On services, which assists families who have young children, infants to 36 months, who have a delay in their development or are diagnosed with a disability. She also helped expand mental health support services. In her new role, the Special Education Center Programs also will report to Myers.
“I am most looking forward to uplifting and upholding the newly created Kent ISD Strategic Plan, which identifies the critical work that is needed from us as a service agency to innovatively and effectively lead learning in this county,” Myers said. “I am also excited for our Student Services team to partner with others within the organization and in our local districts to promote systems that support positive environments focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to advance growth and achievement for all students.”