Excelsior LIVE - District News
3 Administrators Join KPS
Seven Other Administrators Move into New Jobs
Three new administrators have joined Kalamazoo Public Schools, and another seven administrators have moved to new positions within the district. Below, meet the new administrators and see who has changed roles in the district.
Principal, Lincoln International Studies School
Howard said she decided to go into education because of her experience as a substitute teacher.
“When I began my career as a substitute teacher, I immediately became passionate about helping students to be successful.”
That experience prompted her to go back to school to further her education and to obtain special certifications. It also gave her the drive to try to help build capacity among teachers.
“One of my favorite encounters with a student was helping that child to read. This particular student was not able to read and lacked confidence,” she said. “As I incorporated various strategies and worked closely with the parents, the student began to read. One day as I was walking to my car, one of the parents jumped out the car and ran up to me and gave me a hug thanking me for helping their child to read.”
Howard earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Wayne State University, and master’s degrees in education in special education, secondary education and education administration from Grand Canyon University. She has been in education for 12 years, and her experiences include working as a substitute teacher, special education teacher, literacy coach, technology and infrastructure grant coach, and adjunct instructor with Marygrove College.
As she starts her first year at Lincoln, some of her goals include promoting a positive school culture and climate, increasing student achievement and test scores, improving attendance, and decreasing behavior referrals.
Coordinator of Early Childhood Education
(Top right photo)
Spaner knew she was going to be a teacher from an early age.
“I decided to be a teacher when I was in seventh grade and nothing could change my mind,” she said. “Teaching preschool was one of my greatest experiences. I learned so much about the importance of building relationships with children and families. I kept in touch with several of my former students and even watched some of them shake President Obama's hand when he delivered the 2010 commencement address at Kalamazoo Central High School.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree in child development from Central Michigan University, she taught for Head Start. But, as much as she loved being in the classroom, she said she saw a need for change and had a desire to support teachers. She moved from teacher to education coordinator, supporting 11 classrooms. She earned her master’s degree in early childhood education from Western Michigan University, and she became director of Head Start in Kalamazoo County in 2012. She joined the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency in 2013 and left her job there as early child specialist in July.
“One of my goals for this new school year is to get to know the amazing staff who teach in our PEEP classrooms and provide instructional support and leadership to all our classrooms, children, and families,” Spaner said. “I am humbled and honored to be a member of the powerhouse that is Kalamazoo Public Schools.”
Coordinator for Bilingual Education, ESL, and World Languages
(Top left photo)
Languages have always been a big part of Ramona Fletcher’s life.
“I remember sitting with my father at the kitchen table, while he was speaking and teaching me Croatian and Slovak, along with my grandmother teaching me poems and songs in French. I knew then that being a language teacher would be the natural career for me to pursue,” Fletcher said.
“What I have enjoyed the most about being an educator are the students and families I have met and come to know along the way,” she said. “Each student I meet, every family I work with, helps me gain a new perspective and appreciation for cultural, linguistic and personal diversity.”
She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, with majors in French and Spanish, and a master’s degree in counseling and student personnel services administration.
She began her education career at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She also lived in Puerto Rico for 10 years, where she taught at a bilingual school and then joined the Department of Defense Schools. For the majority of her educational career she was a school counselor and guidance director with Osceola County Schools in Central Florida, working with students pre-K through 12. She eventually became a Spanish teacher at Parchment High School, her alma mater.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I loved school and was amazed at the knowledge, kindness and patience of my teachers. I loved reading and was always excited to help others read as well.
Her goals for the new year include being of service to KPS families and to explore new ways to increase academic achievement.
“I will also, along with our amazing world language staff, be looking for ways to inspire even more students to explore the fascinating world of other languages, to include French, Spanish, Latin and new this year, Chinese.”
Administrators who have taken new positions within the district:
Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning
Director of Special Education (Interim)
Director of Student Services (Interim)
Administrator of Student Services
Coordinator of Special Education
Kalamazoo Central Athletic Director
Kalamazoo Central Assistant Principal