Meet the Candidates: Maggie Terryn
- I’ve lived in Grand Rapids since I graduated from Calvin College with a degree in education twenty years ago. In that time I’ve served as a middle school teacher, an instructional coach, a school administrator, and currently a college professor working with education students. I’ve always been familiar with the caliber of the educational experience in Forest Hills, therefore, it was a priority for my husband and I to be a part of the district as our children became school age. We have a sixth-grader at Goodwillie and an excited-to-start-school kindergartener at Knapp Forest. I’ve enjoyed being involved in the district as a room parent, an Odyssey of the Mind coach, a university supervisor for student teachers in the district, and most importantly as a proud parent. I am looking forward to being a member of the board to be able to continue the work of strengthening the bond between our schools and community. I believe that boards play an integral part in building strong schools, supporting teachers, answering the question, “Is this what is best for our kids?”, and giving community members the opportunity to experience important and inspiring milestones in education.
- I’ve worked in education for over twenty years as a middle school teacher, school administrator, and currently as a college professor working with education students. I love every facet of education and consider it an honor to come alongside students, educators, and their families in the educational process. I am confident that my career in education will benefit the board by offering the perspective of not only a district parent and community member but also one that is keenly aware of what students and teachers need in order to be successful. I am cognizant of the unique challenges that schools face on a daily basis as I’ve been involved in working to solve many of them in my own career and can objectively identify solutions that benefit our students first and foremost, as well as other stakeholders at hand. Whether it be budgeting, intervention services, teacher training & support, parent involvement, building a strong culture, adoption of policies and district procedures, or working to create a stronger bond between school and home, I have been able to experience and be a part of the decision making and management of decisions like these that impact the lifeblood of a school and its community.
- Adapting to rapidly changing circumstances while ensuring the filter by which all decisions are made is “what is best for students” should be at the top of the list for our district. We know this is true in the face of COVID-19, but even before and looking beyond, school leaders need to be able to anticipate how they will handle a multitude of challenges that come quickly and need swift resolution. Whether it’s changing budgets, overpopulated buildings, technology advancements, or new protocols that need to be implemented, districts need to have a structure in place to identify and execute their action plan so that they don’t hinder educational opportunities for students. We have seen the importance of sound decision making when it comes to the ability of a district to move quickly from in-person learning to online and hybrid options, implementation of effective safety measures, and prudent methods of getting students back into schools. These challenges will most likely not dissipate as fast as we’d like them to so schools need to adopt long-term safeguards to handle these types of crises in an efficient manner while ensuring students still have access to the best possible educational experience.
- I have always enjoyed working collaboratively with a team of people to come to a resolution on a common problem or challenge. As a teacher, school administrator, and life-long educator I have always sought to identify the common ground from which any group of people starts from in order to best solve a conflict or challenge; that is what I will seek to do as a board member as well. When it comes to the specificities of education I believe that having someone like myself who has an intimate knowledge of how schools work and what students and teachers need is a crucial voice in the conversation. When paired with other members of the board who might bring a different perspective to the table I know that solutions and plans of action can take on a well rounded and fleshed out approach. I want to be a part of that well-rounded group of decision-makers, steering the district in the direction that will best serve our community.
- My vision for the district is simple, I want to continue to be proud of telling people that my kids attend a Forest Hills Public school. I want to strengthen our reputation of equipping teachers in a way that they are able to challenge each child to achieve and grow academically and personally. I want our district to continue to offer world-class educational opportunities to our students that foster a life long love of learning in them. A strong board made up of individuals that constantly ask themselves the question when making decisions, “how is this best for the students that we serve,” can accomplish that. I look forward to the opportunity to ask that question of myself, fellow board members, community members, and teachers throughout my tenure on the board.