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Former Chuck E. Cheese mouse brings the magic of relationships to school

Meet Your Administrator: Eddie Johns

Cedar SpringsEddie Johns is the new assistant principal for Cedar Springs High School. SNN gets to know him in this edition of Meet Your Administrators.

Other positions you have held in education: Johns began his career in Houghton Lake Community schools, first as a behavior/academic interventionist and then teaching biology and chemistry. For the past 8 1/2 years he taught biology and chemistry at CSHS, and last spring he also served as interim assistant principal. 

What about jobs outside education? Johns’ past part-time jobs include work in a lumber yard and as a camp counselor. But it was his very first high school job that provided a unique perspective on how his skills could eventually be put to good use in education.

That job? Birthday host at Chuck E. Cheese.

He explains: “I would get (families) their tokens and birthday cake and sing the ‘Birthday Star’ song for them, and on occasion I would be Chuck E. Cheese (in the mouse costume) – I was super skinny, so I was probably not the best-looking Chuck E. But there were a lot of good takeaways there. Their slogan was, ‘Without magic, we’re just another pizza place.’ And that’s a little cheesy, but it was like saying, without relationships we’re kind of just a building where people meet. So, you can say that about (school) too: without our content and our passion and our relationships, this is just a building. Those things – that’s the kind of magic that our staff and students can bring so that together we all become this better entity.” 

Education/degrees: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry with a teaching emphasis, Grand Valley State University
  • Master’s degree in school principalship, Central Michigan University
  • Master’s degree in educational business management with a human resources emphasis, American College of Education
The Johns family (courtesy)

What would you like to share about your family? Johns and his wife, Kayla, have four children: Alex, 8, Zac, 6, Luke, 3, and infant MacKenzie. 

“We were honestly banking on being a family of four boys – we didn’t find out before any of them were born, but my wife has all of this ‘boy mom’ stuff and we were living that life. But we got a curveball with our daughter, and it’s great.” 

Hobbies/interests: Johns’ biggest hobby is cycling, but he’s also a sports fan in general and has coached both golf and basketball. Other than that, “We spend a lot of family time together – we go camping in the summer and hang out with my siblings, who all live in the area. We actually have quite a few teachers in the family, who are working at a few other districts.” 

What kind of kid were you at the age of students at your new school? “I have always kind of been the ‘goody two-shoes’ and nerdy and dorky – I still am nerdy and dorky. Academically, I was a pretty good student. I was also involved in both band and sports, so in terms of the cliques, I could go between them pretty well. I thought that was kind of unique. … I think that’s always been a strength of mine – identifying with different groups of people while just being myself.” 

Assistant Principal Eddie Johns kept his school IDs from Comstock Park High School, where he was in band and sports (courtesy)

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned from Cedar Springs students? “Our resiliency. And I want to open that to this community, too, not just our students. We’ve been through a lot the past few years with COVID and with different things going on in the community, and it seems like people always step up to do what needs to be done – and that does not happen everywhere. That’s been encouraging to see. It feels like there’s an element of hope here, with people coming together to get important things done.”

If you could go back to school, which grade would you return to? “The first year of everything new in my life has felt really exciting, even though I feel like a lot of people talk badly about ‘the freshman year’ of things. I liked freshman year of high school, and I got to college and liked that freshman year, and then I got to my first year of teaching and that was really fun, too. I don’t know if it’s the change in scenery or the freshness, but there’s something about those first years that I’ve always liked.” 

If you walked into your new school building to music that suits your personality, what would the song be? “There are two that I’d pick. ‘Beautiful Day,’ by U2, encapsulates how I approach a lot of life. In the same vein, Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ – that one doesn’t have the same hype element to it, but to come into school thinking it’s going to be a good day, it’s a beautiful day, is a good thing.”

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Beth Heinen Bell
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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