Jerry McComb & Jenny Graham
October 2017 KSSN Spotlight
October 2017 is National Principals Month, and we couldn’t think of better people to feature than two of our many amazing principals--new-to-KSSN principal, Jenny Graham, of Glenwood Elementary in the Kentwood Public Schools district, and KSSN veteran principal, Jerry McComb, of Gerald R. Ford Academic Center in the Grand Rapids Public Schools district. Last school year was Glenwood’s first as a community school, while Gerald R Ford Academic Center has been with KSSN for seven years. For our October Spotlight, we get to know both principals a little better, and get their advice for other principals on how to make community schools work in their buildings.
Jenny Graham has been with the Kentwood Public Schools district for many years, first as a teacher at Townline Elementary, and now as principal of Glenwood Elementary. As principal, her job is to ensure a safe learning environment for all students and staff, while upholding Glenwood’s educational policies and tracking progress toward teacher and student goals. She collaborates with teachers to improve performance and assist with student learning, and works with families to ensure they have the resources necessary for their children to be successful at school.
When asked what her favorite part of the job is, Jenny says it is working with students, families, and staff. She also loves goal setting, which is a practice at Glenwood that happens at all levels, including with her. She loves when goals are reached and new ones are created, and is proud to be part of a culture that continues reaching new heights and achieving high expectations.
When Jenny is not busy at Glenwood, you may find her spending quality time with her family, or curling up and reading a good book. She also likes crafting and outdoor activities.
Jerry McComb has been the Gerald R. Ford Academic Center principal for five years. Before leading the school, he worked in a variety of professions, both within and outside of education.
As principal at Ford, Jerry says he greets his children every morning with a smile and provides them with encouragement. He prioritizes being with the kids and making sure they are taken care of, and also makes sure he is supporting his teachers so that they can focus on the students.
When asked what his favorite part about being a principal is, he says, “Seeing these beautiful children blossom into flowers. The smiles! I get a chance to see our students learn the importance of giving back through lessons they’ve learned in school, and then I get to see them grow up and give back as adults!”
When Jerry is not busy at Ford, you can find him fishing, reading, or riding his Harley.
Advice for KSSN principals
When asked what advice both Jerry and Jenny would give to other principals about how best to utilize KSSN and the community school coordinator within a school, Jerry says, “Take the coordinators into the community and let them meet the community. Help them make connections with the partners.” Jenny’s advice is to have “consistent communication about needs in the school. Our KSSN team attends staff meetings, Child Study Team meetings, and PBIS meetings. They are viewed as our Glenwood family, not labeled by KSSN alone. When there is a need, I meet with Shatawn (our coordinator) and/or Hannah (our clinician), and together we create a plan to address those needs. The shared responsibilities and communication is what makes our team strong.”
We thank you, Jenny Graham and Jerry McComb, for all that you have done to support community schools, and all that you do to make your KSSN community school coordinators feel at home in your buildings. A community school is only as strong as its leader, and at Glenwood Elementary and Gerald R. Ford Academic Center, we know the community school model is strong!
To receive updates on future KSSN Spotlights, like us on Facebook.