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My Town: Kent ISD Board names new superintendent

My Town: Kent ISD Board names new superintendent

KENT COUNTY, Mich.-- The search for Kent Intermediate School District's next leader is over.

Grandville Superintendent Ron Caniff will replace Kevin Konarska, who is retiring.  Caniff was the lone finalist left after West Ottawa Superintendent Tom Martin withdrew his application for the job.  Caniff's final interview with the Kent ISD Board was held Tuesday.

“The Board is thrilled to welcome Ron Caniff as the next leader of Kent ISD,” said Kent ISD School Board President Claudia Bajema. “He brings 15 years of experience and the strong support of his peers.

“We are confident that the transition from Kevin to Ron will be very smooth, and that Ron will lead with the talent, energy, and interpersonal skills that we have enjoyed for the past nine years under Kevin’s leadership. We also wish Kevin all the best in the next phase of his life,” she added.

My Town EGR: Aquinas College professor honored for contribution to Catholic history

My Town EGR: Aquinas College professor honored for contribution to Catholic history

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Dr. John Pinheiro, professor of history and director of Catholic studies at Aquinas College, was recently awarded the Father Paul J. Foik award from the Texas Catholic Historical Society for his contributions to Catholic history.

This annual award is given to the author of the publication judged as the most important contribution to Texas Catholic history. Dr. Pinheiro’s book “Missionaries of a Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War,” released in March 2014, details the religious history of the Mexican-American war. Pinheiro traces the rise to prominence of the discourse that began in the 1820’s and culminated in the Mexican-American War. He invites the reader to use these lessons learned, and challenges them to see some of the current issues surrounding immigration in a different light, as well as help the reader to understand the power that religion can have in shaping decisions.

My Town EGR: Aquinas College awarded $25k grant from STANLEY Security

My Town EGR: Aquinas College awarded $25k grant from STANLEY Security

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– On Monday, March 30, representatives from STANLEY Security came to Aquinas College to present the institution with a customized plaque to commemorate Aquinas as the recipient of $25,000 won in the "Together for Safer Schools" grant contest.

Based on online voting, Aquinas College was awarded a $25,000 grant for its second place finish in the small college category (under 7,000 students) of the contest. The grant money will be used to enhance the college’s current emergency response plan. Priorities include an opt-out mass notification system, additional emergency speakers, card access and cameras. Items will be prioritized to maximize the impact of the grant money. 

WMU-Cooley Law School students read and donate books to Sibley Elementary School students

WMU-Cooley Law School students read and donate books to Sibley Elementary School students

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- As part of March is Reading Month, the leaders of WMU-Cooley Law School’s Children’s Law Society took time recently to read to three Sibley Elementary School kindergarten classes in Grand Rapids.

Besides reading to the children, WMU-Cooley students Demar L. Sheffey and Anthony Courtney gave each child their own book to take home, along with a notebook and pencil to practice their writing.

Sheffey recently helped revive the Children’s Law Society at WMU-Cooley because he was angry about the state of literacy in Grand Rapids public schools. He remembered when he couldn’t move to the fourth grade because his reading skills needed improvement. Like his third grade teacher who helped him, Sheffey wanted to help current school children.

“No one gave me a book at that age,” Sheffey said. “But if I take the time to show these kids that reading is fun and help provide the tools they need to learn, then hopefully they will keep up in school.”

My Town: Kent ISD superintendent candidate withdraws application

My Town: Kent ISD superintendent candidate withdraws application

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—The Kent Intermediate School District will continue screening its lone finalist for superintendent.

Monday, West Ottawa Schools Superintendent Tom Martin announced he is withdrawing his application for the job.  Martin was one of two finalists for the position with Kent ISD. 

In a statement released to WZZM 13 Monday, Martin said, “After talking with West Ottawa’s board president who urged me to stay and hearing the same support through numerous emails, notes and phone calls, I’ve decided to withdraw from the Kent ISD search. We have come so far in this district, and with the continued support of staff and community, we can and will build on that improvement for all of our students. College, career and life ready is a vision that’s becoming a reality, and I look forward to continue being a part of that success.”

My Town: NorthPointe Christian 8th grade students win statewide essay contest

My Town: NorthPointe Christian 8th grade students win statewide essay contest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Three NorthPointe Christian Middle School students have been named local winners in the 46th annual America & Me Essay Contest.

Awards were given to NorthPointe 8th graders Emily Clementz (third place), Alysabeth Richards (second place), and Abigail Lewkowski (first place), based on their essays addressing the topic “My Personal Michigan Hero.”

Emily and Alysabeth both look to their fathers as their inspirational Michigan heroes.  Emily wrote, “From before I could walk, my dad has been shaping my whole life.”  Alysabeth also recognized the impact her father has had on her: “My father has impacted me in unexplainable ways.  He has taught me to love, fight for what I believe, and be strong.” 

My Town: Kent ISD throws support behind sales tax hike proposal

My Town: Kent ISD throws support behind sales tax hike proposal

KENT COUNTY, Mich.--- The Kent Intermediate School District is throwing its support behind a sales tax hike to fix Michigan’s roads and provide additional funding for schools and local governments.

Thursday, March 19, the Kent ISD Board approved a resolution in support of Proposal 1, which will be on the May 5 ballot.  In the resolution, the Board said Michigan ranks last in the nation in transportation spending per person.  The Board also noted money being siphoned from the School Aid Fund to higher education, since the previous sales tax proposal generating funding for schools did not include colleges and universities.