Author Archives: allendaleoutlook

Allendale Board of Education Names Michael Maycroft to Fill Vacant Trustee Seat

Maycroft will complete a vacated term expiring December 31, and is among six candidates seeking two school board positions on November ballot

Mike Maycroft

Michael Maycroft

The Allendale Board of Education has selected Michael Maycroft to serve as a trustee for the remainder of Jim Crawley’s term, ending December 31, 2016.  Mr. Crawley resigned because he is moving out of the school district. The board selected Mr. Maycroft following interviews with five of the seven persons who submitted a letter of interest for the vacated seat. He will be sworn in as trustee on Friday, August 26 and begin immediately serving as trustee.

“Mr. Maycroft is a respected Grand Rapids Police Captain who brings leadership and public service experience to our board,” said Christopher Breen, President. “In addition, he has served our schools in a professional capacity and as a parent volunteer. We look forward to working with him during the coming months.”

Michael Maycroft is Commander of the North Service Area for the Grand Rapids Police Department where he has served for 19 years. He is a Bomb Squad Technician, Honor Guard Commander and Grand Rapids Police Command Officers’ Association president.  He has also served as president of the Gerald R. Ford Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #97.

“I am humbled to be selected from such a quality group of candidates,” Mr. Maycroft said. “I look forward to serving the district in its continuing mission to educate, inspire, and support the students and staff of the Allendale Public Schools.”

Mr. Maycroft and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters who attend Allendale Public Schools.  He has been a resident of the district for 12 years. Mr. Maycroft also volunteers as a member of the District Crisis Team.

Mr. Maycroft is also among six candidates who are seeking one of two seats on the Allendale Board of Education in the November general election. Mr. Maycroft’s seat will be up for election and trustee Jennifer Coffey is not returning to the board.

Michael Maycroft, Jeanine Gasper, Julie Hartz, Roger Modderman, Nelson Morren, and Josh Thurkettle will all appear on the November ballot as candidates for the Allendale Board of Education. The winning candidates will each serve a six-year term on the school board.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Notice of Vacancy – Allendale Public Schools Board of Education

The Allendale Public School District is seeking applications for the current vacant position on the board of education. An individual will be appointed to fill the vacant position through December 31, 2016. To be eligible, a person must be a registered voter in the school district; at least 18 years of age; a citizen of the United States; a resident of the state of Michigan for at least 30 days; and a resident of the school district.

Interested applicants must submit a letter of interest and their qualifications to the Board Secretary no later than 4 p.m. August 18, 2016 to the District Office attn: Sheryl Pineiro, Board Secretary, 10505 Learning Lane, Allendale, MI 49401. There also is an online form for interested applicants under a spotlight on the front page of the District Website at

Following a review of the submitted applications, the school board will schedule interviews for the evening of Wednesday, August 24, 2016. For more information, call the District Office at (616) 892-5570.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment



ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP — At the August 8, 2016 Board of Education meeting, Trustee Jim Crawley announced his resignation effective immediately. Crawley has accepted a position at Alma College, and will be relocating for his new position.

Crawley’s term was expiring in December of this year, and he had already announced he would not be seeking re-election. Crawley was elected to the Allendale Board of Education 11 years ago. As Crawley quoted, “Serving on this Board, as well as Shepherd Public Schools previously, provided both educational and enriching experiences…Board members serve because they want to make a difference.  I would like to think that I have done so.”

Crawley was an active member of the Music Boosters for many years and worked tirelessly to bring a wide variety of events to the Ceglarek Fine Arts Center.  He also served on the District’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Allendale Parent & Booster Organizations’ Board.  “Jim has been a valuable member of our Board of Education for many years.  He always provided excellent insights and opinions on school matters with a continuous focus on what are best for our students”, said Superintendent Dan Jonker.

The Allendale Public School Board of Education is seeking applications to fill the vacated position. An individual appointed to fill the vacancy will serve through Dec. 31, 2016, and will be replaced Jan. 1, 2017, based upon the Nov. 8 school board election this year.

Interested applicants must submit a letter of interest and their qualifications to the Board Secretary no later than 4 p.m. August 18, 2016 to the District Office at: Sheryl Pineiro, Board Secretary, 10505 Learning Lane, Allendale, MI 49401. There also is an online form for interested applicants under a spotlight on the front page of the District Website at

Following a review of the submitted applications, the school board will schedule interviews for the evening of Wednesday, August 24, 2016. For more information, call the District Office at (616) 892-5570.


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

APS Launches New Strategic Plan

District Offices June 2016 (2)With guidance from stakeholders throughout the Allendale Public School District, a new Strategic Plan was approved by the Board of Education on June 13, 2016.

The 2016-2021 document serves as a “road map” for future planning, decision making, resource allocation, and staff development. The planning process got underway in September, 2015.  Superintendent Dr. Dan Jonker commended the dedication of parents, community members, staff, facilitators, and others involved, noting he is “pleased with the community and process by which the Strategic Plan came together.”

With a mission to “educate, inspire, and support all students,” the Strategic Plan sets forth a vision for Allendale Public Schools to be “recognized as a premier center of educational excellence for all students, staff, and community.”  These important intentions are set to grow from five well-grounded focus areas with objectives that include:

  • Academics and Programs: Improve proficiencies, enhance college and career readiness, and increase all-around opportunities for involvement and learning
  • Learning Environment and Culture: Promote district safety, enhance 21st century skills, focus on anti-bullying and mental health initiatives, and improve diversity awareness
  • Personnel and Leadership: Assess personnel resources, including skills and interests, and utilize internal experts for professional development
  • Communication and Community Engagement: Centralize a system to improve communication, engage in district rebranding, and develop a monthly event and highlight calendar
  • Operations: Determine capital needs, maintain and develop facilities, and advance a bond proposal to address district growth

Decisive implementation:  Putting the Plan into action

Implementation of the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan is already underway.  Leaders, benchmarks, and first-year objectives are defined and tracked quarterly on a new district scorecard developed to support forward movement of the plan. Upcoming, the scorecard will be posted online to provide community access to progress notes and milestones.

An educational journey from kindergarten to the world

Readiness is a key component of the new Plan.  Commenting on differences between this, and earlier Strategic Plans, Dr. Jonker states, “We are addressing the needs of all students in a more differentiated manner than in past Plans.  Previously, we moved forward with student achievement and district objectives. In this Plan, we are also looking to move students toward individual readiness.

Individual readiness encompasses both social-emotional well-being and academic readiness.  Part of the Strategic Plan envisions students graduating not only from high school—but moving with ease into an ever-changing, increasingly competitive world.  Through partnership with parents, community, business, and other stakeholders, the school district aims to support APS students as they take their place as global citizens. Moving out of the Recession, the Allendale Public School District is poised and prepared to deliver on the important goals set forth by the new Strategic Plan to educate, inspire and support all of our students.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Allendale Helps Ottawa County Rank Tops for Growth in Michigan

Despite a recession that reshaped Michigan, Ottawa County continues to grow—and Allendale Township is driving part of that success.

In March of this year, the U.S. Census Bureau released population data that offers a picture of growth and decline in Michigan.   Despite losing ground to a battered economy, Michigan managed a net growth of more than 6,000 residents between 2014 and 2015. Comparing towns in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Newaygo counties, Allendale Township had the highest population growth in the area between 2014 and 2015, adding more than 1200 residents for a 5.8 percent increase in one year.Allendale water tower and flag

In Michigan, percentage growth in Allendale Township and Algoma Township were second only to Macomb Township near Detroit.

Other census facts include:

  • Ottawa ranks eighth for population among Michigan counties.
  • For growth in Michigan, Ottawa County ranks first, followed by Kent, Grand Traverse, and Livingston Counties.
  • Ranked 122 among large cities in the United States, Grand Rapids has a population of 195,097.
  • In the eastern part of the state, Wayne County posted a population loss of slightly under 11,000, the largest numeric decline of people in a county between 2013 and 2014 in the United States.
  • Growing at a rate of over 4.5 percent, the population of Ottawa County increased from 263,801 to 276,292 between 2010 and 2014.

Quoted in the Holland Sentinel, Ottawa County Administrator Al Vanderberg, notes, “It is great to pick up speed as we pull away from the Great Recession and hopefully back to the major economic growth that we enjoyed prior to that devastating event.  Innovative Ottawa County employers have increased job opportunities in large numbers in recent times and of course our outstanding schools, unmatched natural resources, and low crime rate makes Ottawa County a top choice location for folks to gravitate to.

Continued growth is anticipated for Allendale and its schools.  Enrollment at Allendale Public Schools has grown steadily from 2,176 students in 2006-2007, to more than 2,600 students in the 2015-2016 academic year.  In the 2014-2015 school year, more than 50 percent of the graduating class enrolled in college or four-year university.

Located between the lakeshore and the Grand Rapids metropolitan area, Allendale has something for everyone, including outstanding educational and vocational opportunities through Allendale Public Schools.

Categories: Allendale Music Education | Leave a comment

Allendale Staff Retirees Look Forward to Next Season of Life

Mrs Borst June 6 2016

After decades of dedicated service to the Allendale Public School District, several staff members are retiring this year. With plans to volunteer, go off-schedule, or spend time with family, the future looks busy for staff retiring this year, including:

  • With a lifetime of experience in Allendale, Elementary Teacher Annette Borst is retiring after 28 years of service to APS. Prior to APS, Ms. Borst taught in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and in Texas, in the Houston, Independent School District. Annette fondly remembers her first interaction with APS as a kindergarten student in Mrs. Carpenter’s class.  Moving through her school years at Allendale, then leaving and returning to Michigan, Annette offered her students and colleagues a seasoned perspective along with professional service and teaching skills. Highly engaged with her students and the district, Annette names “reading an actual book and sharing it with my class,” as a favorite memory—one that helped instill a love of literature in the children who passed through her classroom. Reflecting on her career and a word or two she might leave for others who follow, Annette suggests “carve out more time for family.”  Adding to that, Annette notes, “My faith is a big part of my life, I am proud of it.  I feel blessed to have served the children in this community…to have served.” Annette looks forward to being “off-schedule” for the first time in 35 years.  With ideas in mind for volunteer and possibly mission work, it seems clear service to her community will remain a big part of Annette’s life.


  • Since 1978, Kathy Murphy has served as an Instructional Aide. Working in elementary, middle school, and earlyMrs Murphy June 6 2016 childhood environments, Ms. Murphy loves her job working with children. Originally from Evart, Kathy moved to Coopersville, and then Allendale, starting with APS at the original campus building on Lake Michigan Drive. Kathy says she has seen a lot of changes over her 38 year tenure with APS, “some good, some not-so-good.”  A real plus, Kathy notes, is her observation that “children in Allendale are very kind to each other, loving, I am going to miss it.” As the Allendale Class of 2016 makes its initial career choices, Kathy remembers hers.  “I tried several times to get work as a secretary, it never happened.  This did.” Confident in her faith, and happy for how her career worked out, Kathy notes, “I was supposed to do this.” In the next season of life, Kathy plans to travel with her husband, spend time with her mother and 14 grandchildren, and garden.  Though she will miss her job, she has no question that it is the right thing to retire now.


  • Serving APS for 28 years, Kitchen Team Leader Denise Vruggink is also leaving APS this year. Originally from Denise VrugginkAllendale, Ms. Vruggink began her career with APS at the original campus building on Lake Michigan Drive. Starting as a Substitute in Food Services, Denise worked her way up.  As she retires, she leaves a position where she oversaw food services in the middle school—supervising food service staff, and ensuring more than 330 children per day had lunch, and oftentimes, breakfast too. Reflecting on what she looked forward to at APS, Denise notes, “What keeps me going is the people you work with.  We have fun at our jobs, and the rewards you get from the kids, to see them, and get to know them.  Through my years, I picked up students that needed a little extra TLC, say a few extra words, and as time goes on, they are your friend.“ In years when budget constraints were not as tight, Denise remembers the benefits of attending conferences, networking, and hearing how other school districts handled issues. As parting advice, Denise says, “have fun at your job, be flexible, and roll with the punches. Every day is a different day.” With seven grandchildren to keep her busy, Denise is happy to retire, but unsure how she will feel when school starts in the fall.  She has plans to camp, read, walk, and take it one day at a time.  Denise relates that she promised one granddaughter that when she graduated from eighth grade and moved on from the middle school—that Denise would move on too.  On her last day of work at APS, Denise held a large bouquet of beautiful red roses that her granddaughter—now moving into ninth grade—brought her that morning.  Now, they are both moving on from middle school.


  • Elementary Principal Jill Wilson has dedicated 32 years of service to APS. Originally from Jenison, Ms. Wilson began Jill Wilsonwith the district as an Elementary Teacher in Special Education.  After that, she transitioned through positions including first grade Teacher, lower elementary Assistant Principal and then Principal, Literacy Coordinator, and Reading Recovery Teacher.  For several years, Jill has been the Elementary Principal at Springview and Evergreen elementary schools. Singling out a favorite memory is tough for Jill.  As she notes, “Every single day that I have been here has been refreshingly different.  If you have the privilege to work with children, they will keep it fresh.” Commenting on the support she received throughout her years at APS, Jill says, “We have a wonderful school district, so much to be proud of.”  Jill adds that she has a wish that “those who legislate need to be in the schools talking to the amazing educators who are impacting our students.” As she leaves one road for another, Jill reminds us, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Moving forward, Jill plans to reduce intensity and open up time to make more choices.  Hoping to give back more to a family that has been supportive throughout her career, Jill is looking forward to travel—and being the best grandma that she can. In closing, Jill says, “I want to thank the Allendale community for your support and encouragement.  It is hard to think of leaving, but I am confident that amazing celebrations will happen in the years ahead.  Thank you for blessing my life in so many ways!”


  • Employed by the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD), physical therapist Linda Stone, who worked primarily in the elementary setting, is retiring after more than 20 years serving APS children and families.


Thank you and best wishes to all those retiring this year from Allendale Public Schools.


Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Heads Up, Helmet On—It is Biking Season!

As we head into summer, it is a great time to remember bicycle safety tips to keep you, and your friends, safe during the summer biking season. This spring, a bicyclist was struck by a truck in the parking lot of Allendale High School.  Luckily, there were no serious injuries.  The incident offers an opportunity to understand steps motorists and cyclists can take to avoid a crash.

Summer bike tips bike rackA couple of good tips for drivers include:

  • Watch: As low-profile vehicles, bicycles are hard to see.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorists often turn in front of cyclists, and fail to detect them in a landscape that may be occupied by trucks, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.
  • Don’t drive distracted: Recent statistics show roadway fatalities increased significantly in 2015—distracted driving could be one reason.  Keep your eyes—and your attention—on the road.  You could avoid a fatal mishap.
  • Be seen: Be sure to use turn signals and ensure your brake lights work.  Slow down and give bicyclists plenty of room on the road when you pass.

Consider these points on bicycle safety:

  • Protect your head: Your neighborhood street is no softer than the highway.  Be sure to wear a properly fitted helmet even to bike to a friend’s house.
  • Don’t ride distracted: Just like driving, distracted biking is dangerous.  Listening to music drowns out road sounds.  Checking your cell phone is no safer on a bike, than it is in a car.
  • Be seen: Wear bright clothing, use reflective gear and tape on your bike.  Most fatal biking accidents occur between 4:00 PM and midnight.  Be sure you have good lighting on your bike if headed out at twilight, or after dark.  Use hand signals.
  • Assume you are not seen: Never assume a motorist sees you.  When passing parked cars, keep enough distance to avoid a suddenly opened door.  When crossing a street, or making a turn, be sure oncoming traffic sees you—before you proceed.

AHS Director of Operations and Transportation Gary Torno adds that bicyclists should be aware that drivers of cars, trucks, and buses all have blind spots where bicyclists cannot be seen.  Mr. Torno also notes, “Helmets are very important piece of equipment in case an accident occurs it will at least provide some head protection from the hard surfaces [bicyclists] may encounter.

Across the country, and in Michigan, biking is a popular way to get where you are going.  Always be a Roll model and remember to share the road—whether you are a motorist, or a bicyclist.  Have a great, safe, summer!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Allendale Robotics Team Meets with Governor Snyder

Robotics team with Governor Snyder

(L-R) Back row:  Ethan Potinsky, Pierce Marshall, Ethan Dowd, Governor Snyder, Morgan Luurtsema, Kalib Edwards, Sam Austin, Kyle Edwards (L-R) Front row: Elyse Muma , Grace McMonagle

Capping off another successful year, members of the Allendale Robotics program had the opportunity to meet with Governor Snyder on May 11, 2016.

The invitation-only event took place at the community FIRST practice field donated by JR Automation at Innocademy in Zeeland.  Included were seven local FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams and three FIRST Tech Challenge (FRC) teams.  Allendale Robotics members had a chance to meet personally with Governor Snyder—who drove the AHS award-winning 2016 robot.

Chad Potinsky at Worlds April 2016 cropped

Chad Potinsky, AHS Robotics Coach at St. Louis World Championship

FIRST stands for For Inspiration of Science and Technology, and was formed in 1989 by entrepreneur Dean Kamen, best known for his invention of the Segway.  FIRST is a non-profit organization that creates robotics-based programming for young people to promote science and technology, along with personal self-confidence and life skills.

Held in St. Louis this year, the FIRST World Championship took place in April with more than 20,000 student participants from around the world—including Allendale, Michigan.

With extensive experience mentoring the Holland robotics team C.H.A.O.S. (which stands for Creativity, Hustle, Achievement, Opportunity, Success), community member, parent, and engineer Chad Potinsky, developed the AHS program to include all four groups of the FIRST initiative, including:

  • FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC): Grades 9 – 12
  • FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC): Grades 7 – 12
  • FIRST Lego League (FLL): Grades 4 – 8
  • FIRST Lego League Jr. (Jr. FLL): Grades K – 3

Two of the most important values students acquire through the FIRST program are “gracious professionalism” and “coopertition.”  Gracious professionalism emphasizes the value of good work and respect for others, while coopertition encourages FIRST participants to “display unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.

The AHS program welcomes members from surrounding areas, including Allendale, Coopersville, Jenison, and the Home Schooling community.

Supported by Governor Snyder and the state, some FIRST initiatives are trialed in Michigan.  Notes Coach Potinsky, “In Michigan we have seen a tremendous growth in all programs of FIRST.  Programs are run differently and set an example for the rest of the country.  In 2009, FIRST in Michigan (FiM) organized and introduced the District model.  This allowed teams to participate in more events closer to home for less funds than the traditional Regional Model.  Since then, the District model has expanded in the U.S.”

Commenting on the expansion of Michigan FIRST teams, Mr. Potinsky adds, “The grants that the Governor and the state have made available triggered large growth.”  Coach Potinsky said he hopes FIRST will soon add sustainability to its agenda, given the high cost of nurturing and running FIRST teams after start-up.

Commenting on the AHS program, Mr. Potinsky states, “For Allendale, having all four programs has been a great stepping stone opportunity for the kids.  We are now seeing real results of that.  The biggest challenge for us is funds, mentoring, and coaching resources. “

FIRST is more than robotics—it is collaborative teamwork, community outreach, fundraising, design, presentation, wiring, building, and driving.  As Mr. Kamen has pointed out, “It is the only sport where everyone can turn pro.”

If your child is interested in FIRST—or if you are interested in helping out—contact Coach Chad Potinsky  today.





Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Options Students Have Big Plans for the Future

Seniors at New Options High School have big plans after graduation on Thursday, June 2, 2016 in the Ceglarek Fine Arts Center. In its current location for more than 20 years, New Options High School transitions next year into the Allendale High School building.  Providing individually responsive instruction and support, New Options High School plans to maintain the holistic student-centered culture that has proven powerful—and successful—to its student body

New Options May 20 2016 Seniors (L-R) New Options High School graduating seniors Aaron Aument, Tiffany, Taron Page, and Lizzy
(not pictured: Joanna)

This year, New Options is graduating 17 seniors and awarding 29 General Education Diplomas (GEDs).  We had the opportunity to speak with five New Options seniors to ask about future plans:

  • Graduating senior Aaron Aument said he has known for years that he wanted to develop a professional wrestling company. Combining his interest in wrestling with entrepreneurship, Mr. Aument is forming a start-up with several associates and plans to locate his business in Traverse City.  While Aaron felt high school was a good experience, he developed his business plans on his own, and is looking forward to northern Michigan.
  • Lizzy is a New Options senior with a clear path in mind after graduation. She will attend Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) for two years, and then transfer to Grand Valley State University (GVSU).  Drawing on her background and interests, Lizzy is entering the field of Social Work to specialize in children’s issues, or to work with military personnel diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • With a longtime interest in being a chef, Taron Page will be attending Baker College and Muskegon Community College (MCC) to advance his knowledge of culinary arts. Interested in cooking since age 11, Mr. Page was reintroduced to food and nutrition with a class at the high school.  An artist at heart, Taron plans to open or partner in a restaurant in Holland, Michigan after graduation, with an emphasis on baking and pastry products.
  • New Options senior Joanna is planning to complete general education courses through GRCC, and then transfer to the University of Michigan to study Forensic Pathology. Always interested in science, Joanna recently became intrigued by forensics after taking a chemistry class this year that sparked her curiosity.
  • Tiffany, also a graduating senior, has been aware she wanted to work with animals in some capacity since early childhood. Tiffany developed her interest through Animal Science and Veterinary Science courses she took at her former school, Petosky High School. Tiffany plans to attend MCC for general education requirements and then transfer to the Veterinary Technology Program at Michigan State University (MSU).

With transition plans well underway, Ms. Tamika Henry, Principal of New Options High School is looking forward to new opportunities for program students.

Being embedded in the high school offers sports and extracurricular activities, as well as the ability to nurture the unique learning environment at New Options that helps students succeed.  Notes Ms. Henry, the program “takes the can’t students and provides an opportunity to become who they truly are.”

Congratulations seniors!

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Allendale Graduate Selected as Top Michigan Student By Detroit News


Science: Sam Austin

High school: Allendale High School

GPA: 4.296 weighted / 4.000 unweighted

Parents/guardians: Cynthia Wallentine and David Austin

College you plan to attend: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Major: Aerospace engineering

Career plans: Aerospace engineer

Most influential teacher: Mrs. Rebecca Karnes


Acceptance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Founder, Allendale Rocketry Club­ Club created summer of 2015 to expose middle school students to the history, physics, and physical construction of model rockets and spaceflight

National Merit Scholar

I designed and built an inertial stabilization system (vertical stabilization) for model rockets last summer.

AXA Community Achievement Award Winner AP Scholar with Honor

President, National Honor Society Captain, Varsity Cross Country All­ Conference First Team, Cross Country Robot Drive Team, FIRST Robotics

Click here to read article.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: