Grand Rapids — Riley Sunday is the new Sibley Elementary School Assistant Principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Administrators.
Other positions held in education:
- Third-grade teacher, Sibley Elementary
“My first year of teaching was normal until the pandemic hit in March,” she said. “I knew I wanted to eventually be an administrator, but I didn’t want to leave Sibley. I didn’t think this opportunity would fall into place this early in my career, but it opened up and I applied… the kids here are awesome and the staff is like a family and have been so supportive of my transition.”
- Bachelor’s degree, elementary education, Indiana University
- Currently pursuing a master’s degree, elementary leadership, Indiana University.
“I just started my master’s program this fall and it’s an online program,” she said, “That’s been good so far. It’s a lot all at once with starting a new position, so I’m easing myself into it with one class this semester.”
Family: “I was born and raised in Indiana, but my parents have a lake house in St. Joseph, so I spent most of my summers up in Michigan. I also have two older brothers; one lives in San Francisco and one is in Chicago.”
Sunday said her mom’s job as an elementary school nurse helped influence her career in education: “I’d go in with her to work and be in schools, and there was one awesome kindergarten teacher who swooped me under her wing. That was huge… (Also) my aunt is a teacher and I had some awesome teachers, which were a huge push for me.”
‘I didn’t think this opportunity would fall into place this early in my career, but it opened up and I applied… The kids here are awesome and the staff is like a family…’
Hobbies/interests/talents: “I bring my clothes to work to help motivate me to go to the gym after. My teacher/best friend and I go together, and it’s a great mind release from the day.”
Sunday also enjoys spending her summers with family and friends on the lake, and during the winter you can find her and her friends skiing up north.
What were some of your hobbies and interests as an elementary student? “I loved school. I was a part of a swim team and student council in elementary school. I lived close to my school, so I was able to ride my bike if I wanted instead of taking the bus.”
If you could go back to school, which grade would you return to, and why? “My first-grade year was a lot of fun and my teacher was awesome. Our classroom was a community and we were able to do a lot of fun activities like plays and school concerts. I also remember my brothers and my grandma coming into my class as guest readers.”
The biggest lesson you have learned from students is… “Keep an open mind but have fun. Yes, students need to learn, but building relationships with them at the beginning of the year makes the whole year better… There is always learning to do; learn on your feet and always be open to learning.”
If you walked into your new school building to theme music by a favorite artist or band, what would it be? “Anything hip-hop or pop Y2K throwbacks. The ones you know every word to and they never get old.”