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Superintendent stepping down

Decision is ‘100 percent’ family-focused

Godfrey-Lee — Superintendent Mike Burde is stepping down from his role to focus more on his family. 

“This was a difficult decision for our family,” he said. “However, we are at a point in which our own two daughters are our priority and need much more time and support from their dad.”

In a letter to the Godfrey-Lee community, he explained how over the past 20 years in his education career, his wife has supported him in chasing his dreams and now the time has come for him to do the same for her. 

“After much prayer and discussion, I will be stepping down as your superintendent so that I can be a more involved husband and parent,” he wrote. “Obviously, this decision comes much sooner than we had hoped and planned for and, candidly, it has been the single most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make.”

Burde, who began serving the district as superintendent in Nov. 2021, previously served as the deputy superintendent for Kenowa Hills Public Schools for nearly 10 years.

During his short time in Godfrey-Lee, he oversaw the rebuild and renovation of Lee High School, after the successful passage of a $17.9 million bond in Nov. 2020, and the recent approval of a Spanish-English dual immersion program slated to kick off this fall. 

Burde’s last day is February 10. 

Godfrey-Lee Board of Education President Erik Mockerman said the district will bring back Dirk Weeldryer to serve as interim superintendent until a plan is made for the future. Weeldryer served in a similar capacity for the district in 2021.

“Our Godfrey-Lee School Board wants to express our thanks and appreciation to Superintendent Burde for his service in our learning community,” Mockerman wrote in a letter to the Godfrey-Lee community. “While we are sad his tenure in our learning community is coming to an end, we are united in support of Dr. Burde in making this challenging, family-first decision.” 

Mockerman said the board is confident in their capacity to attract another candidate to lead the district. 

Burde said serving the students and staff has been an absolute joy and the pinnacle of his career. Additionally, he addressed any speculation of his motives for leaving the district in his letter.

“I want to be extremely clear that there is no ‘rest of the story’” he wrote. “This decision is 100% about our family.”

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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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