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Districts bring in emergency coordinator

Multiple Districts — An emergency management position for Region I school districts could be the first of its kind in Michigan.

“I would not be surprised if it’s the first in the state,” Kent ISD Superintendent Ron Koehler said. “In fact, I’d imagine it probably is.”

The new Region I Emergency Response/Safety Coordinator role covers Cedar Springs, Kent City, Comstock Park, Kenowa Hills, Northview, Sparta and Rockford school districts.

The position was recently filled by retired Grand Rapids Police Sgt. John Wittkowski, whose first day was Tuesday, Sept. 5, said Cedar Springs Superintendent Scott Smith.

Wittkowski will oversee the development of consistent emergency responses in the region, leading to a more unified management plan for area school districts.

Smith, along with the other Region I superintendents, helped in the candidate review process, as did the Kent ISD security team. The hiring decision was ultimately made by Kent ISD.

Smith said this is possibly the first school emergency management position in the state to cover multiple schools and report directly to an intermediate service district. Kent ISD and all the Region I districts — aside from Rockford, which opted out of funding the position, as it has its own robust security setup — will each contribute about $22,000 toward Wittkowski’s salary.

Wittkowski will have an office at Kent ISD, and will be working in each cohort district for approximately 25 to 30 days per school year. 

Look for a full story on this new position, coming soon to SNN.

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Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley is a reporter covering Cedar Springs, Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids and Sparta school districts. An award-winning journalist, Riley spent eight years with the Ludington Daily News, reporting, copy editing, paginating and acting as editor for its weekly entertainment section. He also contributed to LDN’s sister publications, Oceana’s Herald-Journal and the White Lake Beacon. His reporting on issues in education and government has earned accolades from the Michigan Press Association and Michigan Associated Press Media Editors. Riley’s early work in journalism included a stint as an on-air news reporter for WMOM Radio, and work on the editorial staff of various student publications. Riley is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He originally hails from western Washington.


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