Dirk and his family at the Goose Festival

   “Like father, like son” is a quote we’re all familiar with. And the proof of its validity lies with our new superintendent, Mr. Dirk Weeldreyer. Dirk’s father,  James Weeldreyer has been superintendent at Mattawan Consolidated School for the past 30 years! Can something like that be in the genes?

        I’ve had several occasions to meet with Dirk since he officially took the reins in July. My first impression, which I’ve subsequently heard echoed by others is, “he has an easy soft-spoken manner that exudes confidence and competence.”  And at six foot six, he’s a man most of us will have to look up to.   J

      Dirk comes to us from Martin where he spent the last five years as principal of the Middle and High School. Prior to that, he was a teacher at Jenison for over 16 years While there, he also coached boys and girls basketball at the JV and Varsity levels. Over the years he spent as a teacher, he sponsored six European trips for his students.

    

  

 

   Aside from his vast front line experience in education, Dirk is well lettered. He holds an undergraduate degree from Hope College and two Masters degrees – one in Education, and a second in Educational Leadership. He is currently working on his third advanced degree, Educational Specialist, which he explains is higher than a Masters, but not quite a Doctorate.

   Dirk and his family are 20 year residents of Jenison. His wife Sarah manages a household of four children: Karsten (13), Hannah (11), Grace (5) and Jorin (4).  As anyone with children would readily understand, that’s quite a management challenge.

   Dirk believes that good listening skills are an important requirement in his job.  “I think people who are most successful are those who are good listeners. Not that you’ll always be able to solve every problem but you need to hear what they have to say and take what steps you can toward a resolution.”  

 

   Armed with the experience of barely six months on the job, I asked Dirk what his initial impressions of Fennville were. “I think Fennville is a wonderful community” he said. “I’ve been continually impressed by the commitment the people here have to their community. As for the school,” he says, “we have an excellent group of professionals here, but we’ll continue to focus on improving student achievement. Improvement is a never ending process and I’ve seen a real receptiveness by folks here to take a look at what we’re doing and find ways we could be doing it better.” 

  I asked Dirk what his goals were for Fennville Public Schools. “Short term we want to improve student achievement. In these tough economic times, the role I see for myself as superintendent is to ensure the school district is run in a fiscally responsible manner while continuing to meet our main charge which is to educate our children.”

   “My door is always open” says Dirk. “I’ve met a lot of people in the community but still have many more to meet. I look forward to any opportunities to do so.”