Principal Kristen Hekkema has taken over the reins of Vista Charter Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan — and we couldn’t be more thrilled. After helping to improve student proficiency during some difficult challenges at Willow Charter Academy in Lafayette, Louisiana, Principal Hekkema has demonstrated that hard work, compassion and a proven commitment to quality student achievement can make a school succeed.
Principal Hekkema chose the field of education because she wanted to impact the lives of children in a practical and important way. She received her bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and went on to receive two masters’ — one in teaching from Western Michigan University and another from The Principal Institute.
She believes the moral focus of Integrity is crucial to developing a healthy student and prepare them for life. She is motivated by observing students develop emotionally and behaviorally and loves that “lightbulb” moment of watching a child learn. “Kids motivate me every day! I love to observe a child when they understand something new — the lightbulb goes on and I can see the fulfillment or inner excitement in their eyes.” She also loves coaching and guiding teachers to help them “own student growth and proficiency.”
A little more about Principal Hekkema:
• The best advice she ever received was from her dad, “they can’t say ‘yes’ if you never ask!”
• She loves frozen yogurt with peanut butter cups
• Her favorite classic book is Where the Red Fern Grows
• She’s crazy about chips and salsa