Grand Rapids Public Schools News and Events

Students supplement learning with ballet, clay creatures & Billie Holiday Students supplement learning with ballet, clay creatures & Billie Holiday Thursday, 12 December 2019 Students supplement learning with ballet, clay creatures & Billie Holiday Partnership...
Blessed by Brookelyn supports GRPS elementary school athletics Blessed by Brookelyn supports GRPS elementary school athletics Friday, 06 December 2019 Blessed by Brookelyn supports GRPS elementary school athletics By Phil de ...
2019 Holiday Music Events 2019 Holiday Music Events Tuesday, 26 November 2019 2019 GRPS Holiday Music Events

Jen Schottke - Vice President

3235 Dorais Dr. NEJen Schottke Board Member Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Home Phone:  616-340-3907
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Term Expires: December 31,2016

Jen Schottke was raised in Houghton in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where her father is a professor at Michigan Tech University. After moving to Grand Rapids in 2001 she attended cosmetology school and earned her cosmetology license. Jen worked for 5 years in the beauty industry as a stylist and in sales and marketing. Jen transitioned into the construction industry in 2007 where she has held positions as Director of Marketing & Business Development, Director of Membership & Marketing, and Director of Workforce Development & External Affairs. Today Jen serves over 400 construction companies and businesses as she closes the skills gap facing the industry through student outreach and development of training programs.

Jen is passionate about career-pathway development through career and technical education. . All students deserve to have an adult take a vested interest in their future. An advocate for the skilled trades, Jen works to ensure that all post-secondary education and training are equally promoted and celebrated. Education and industry have a responsibility to work together to ensure that the education students receive align with the career realities on the other side. Jen helps students find their purpose and dedicates her professional and personal time to connecting industry and education through student outreach opportunities. She plays a critical role in the success of MiCareerQuest – an annual multi-industry career exploration event held in Grand Rapids for more than 9,000 West Michigan middle and high school students.

Jen is married to Brad and is mother to Brooklyn and Jax who attend North Park Montessori. It is through her children that Jen became deeply committed to Montessori education, North Park Montessori, and Grand Rapid Public Schools. Jen is an advocate for the power of public education, the opportunities that exist in a diverse community, and the strength and innovation of the city of Grand Rapids.

Dr. José A. - Trustee

Dr. Jose Flores Board Member

Board Member
1052 Grandville Ave. SW
Grand Rapids, MI  49503
Term Expires: December 31, 2022
E-Mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. José A. Flores was born in Weslaco, Texas, to Concepcion Moreno Flores and Rosa Garcia Flores.
His family came to Michigan as migrant farm workers in 1955.  His early years were spent developing a strong work ethic and developing an appreciation for education.  During the school year he attended Grand Rapids Public Schools and vividly recalls summers he spent working on farms in neighboring towns harvesting fruits and vegetables.  His experiences working in the fields, in restaurants, and factories in and around Grand Rapids convinced him to pursue a better life through education.

José Flores grew up in the Grandville Ave. S.W. area and attended Maplewood Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Burton Jr. High, and graduated from Central High School in 1971. After graduating he enrolled in college and earned a Bachelor’s of Education Degree from Eastern Michigan University and returned to Grand Rapids to teach U.S. History, Government, and Chicano/Boricua Studies at Central High School in 1976. He firmly believes that the knowledge of America’s racial/ethnic history is the pathway to self-awareness and positive self-esteem.  He was later promoted to serve GRPS as an Assistant Principal at Union High School in 1985.  He served as Assistant Director of Compensatory Education/Director for Bilingual, Migrant, Immigrant, Refugee, and Native American Education Programs for the next 13 years.
Dr. Flores earned his Master's Degree in Education and a Bilingual Endorsement from Grand Valley State University in 1979.  He holds an earned Doctorate in Education focused on Curriculum and Instruction from Wayne State University awarded in 1996.

While serving as a Central Office Administrator, he brought six national excellence projects to Grand Rapids Public Schools, developed a model technology-supported Bilingual Education Program, began two –way computer distance learning, expanded the use of computer-based learning, and created a clinical school for professional development which enabled teachers to earn their bilingual endorsements through Wayne State University.  He served as President of the Michigan Association for Bilingual Education.  He also served the U.S. Department of Education as a Consultant/Grant Reader during this time.

Dr. Flores returned to the classroom teaching a variety of classes for the next eight years.  He taught U.S. History, Government, Pre-Law, Sociology and other classes at Central High School, Ottawa Hills, Southwest Community Campus, and Burton Middle School after leaving administration.  Having completed 30 years of service he retired from GRPS in July of 2014.

Dr. Flores is also credited as cofounding the Hispanic Center for Western Michigan, the Hispanic Festival, The Community Voice/La Voz Magazine, and La Familia Grocery/Convenience Store.  His community activism helped bring needed interpreters to the emergency services units in police/fire/medical care units of Grand Rapids, and he was a chief advocate for providing court interpreters for persons unable to fully understand English. 

As a community advocate he led efforts to improve U.S. Decennial Census counts, engage youth in summer employment opportunities, and worked on committees to reduce drop-out rates among minority youth.  While volunteering at the Hispanic Center he founded several youth employment programs including 70,001 Ltd. Summer Youth Employment Project, Project CEMI Mural Art Project, Community Home Paint/Repair Projects, Academics Homework House, and a Youth Leadership Project in conjunction with the National Council of La Raza. 

Dr. Flores believes that our school leaders must ensure transparency in policy and practice.  Our actions must guarantee school safety and advance an academic culture with highly qualified/certified and effective staff working at every level of GRPS.  Community confidence in our schools will grow when we are consistent in our actions!

Rev. John Matias - Secetary of the BoardJohn Matias 2013

141 Auburn St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: 616-438-4795
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Term Expires: December 31, 2022

Rev. John Matias was born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, the 15th of 16 children born to first generation Puerto Rican parents. His first language was Spanish and his parents had an elementary school education but taught their children a strong work ethic and the value of education. He attended Chicago public schools, graduating from Roberto Clemente High School in Humboldt Park. He studied at Northeastern Illinois University, earned an Associate’s Degree from Kennedy-King College, and completed the yearlong Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE) program before going on to earn a BA equivalent from Calvin College, an MA in Ministry from Calvin Theological Seminary and an MA in Community Counseling from Western Michigan University.

Rev. Matias was ordained as a minister by Spirit and Truth Fellowship in Chicago, Illinois in 1984 and in 1992 was ordained as a licensed minister of the Christian Reformed Church of North America.

Shaped by his early experiences, Rev. Matias became passionate about removing barriers to educational success, social justice, and grassroots leadership development in the urban context. He worked for over 10 years in community development in Chicago through social work, church planting and pastoring as well as assisting with the development of Humboldt Community Christian School. He went on to serve as a pastor in El Paso, Texas for over 5 years during which time he helped form Vision El Paso, an active ecumenical coalition of nearly 100 pastors. In 1997 John moved to Grand Rapids to take the position of Assistant Director for Multicultural Admissions and Community Relations at Calvin College where he served for 5 years. This role included a comprehensive strategy for both college preparedness and recruitment of minority students nationally as well as addressing cultural competency among faculty and staff of the college.   In addition, Rev. Matias served on Calvin’s Comprehensive Plan Committee. Through his experiences traveling and addressing education nationally, Rev. Matias became acutely aware of the gaps in education in urban settings across the country, gaps he personally experienced growing up. This spurred his completion of a second Master’s Degree in Community Counseling and subsequent work in the public school setting in Grand Rapids as a bilingual at-risk and guidance counselor at Union High School, and a home based family therapist for Arbor Circle.   He continues to work for Arbor Circle as a Kent Schools Services Network (KSSN) Coordinator at Burton Elementary and Middle School where his role is to develop community partnerships to remove barriers to educational success and address mental health needs.

In addition to Rev. Matias’ professional roles in education, he has participated in a wide variety of collaborative community efforts to address education, social justice, and community development. These include the Delta Strategy of West Michigan (Empowering Latino Community Initiative), GRPS High School Redesign Team, Believe to Become Community Initiative, Latino Resiliency Project, and active participation in the Latino Community Coalition for the past 7 years. He has also served as a board member of the Synodical Youth Committee of the Christian Reformed Church, vice-president of the board of Youth Unlimited, secretary of the board of The Potters House Christian School, and currently as a member of the board of Network 180. John also served as Spiritual Life Director for Youth Unlimited’s project site in Mexico for 6 years, and was one of the two founding pastors of City Hope Ministries in Grand Rapids where he served as assistant pastor for 5 years, and continues to speak for a variety of urban youth programs. He currently attends Take Hold Church in the Heartside community.

Rev. Matias and his wife, Sarah, have been married for 25 years and have 4 children, Sophia, Gabriella, Isabella, and Johnny. They have lived in Grand Rapids for 16 years and began their children’s education at The Potter’s House Christian School but transitioned into the public school system because of their commitment to community involvement and the variety of opportunities in the public schools. Their children have attended Grand Rapids Montessori, Zoo School, Union High School and City High/Middle School, participated in sports at Creston, Union, and Central and Sophia completed 4 years of JROTC.   Sophia and Gabriella are graduates of City High and Isabella and Johnny currently attend City High.

Rev. Matias currently serves as a member of the Board of Education’s Finance Committee.



Tony Baker, Ph.D - Trustee

Tony Baker-web

110 Benjamin Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Home Phone: 340-1939
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Term 1:  July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009 (elected to fill remaining term of Jim Rinck)
Term 2:  July 1, 2009 - December 31, 2014
Term 3: Jan 1, 2019 - December 31, 2022

B.A. Anderson University, 1985, Sociology, Religion
M.A. University of Illinois at Chicago, 1989, Sociology
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago, 1995, Sociology

Professor of Sociology and Founding Director, Center for Latino Studies, Ferris State University

Dr. Baker was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio. He attended college at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. During college, he participated in a summer internship in Chicago in 1984, working with teens from the west side in the Cabrini-Green and Humbolt Park neighborhoods. This experience influenced his decision to work toward understanding and improving urban communities.

After college, he attended the University of Illinois at Chicago to expand this interest with graduate studies in Sociology. While in Chicago, Tony worked with the Urban Life Center where he studied Chicago neighborhoods and facilitated urban studies programs for college students. After completing his Ph.D., he accepted a position at Ferris State University to teach sociology and community studies. He has been successful at engaging students and faculty beyond the classroom by connecting the University with broader community needs. This has resulted in partnerships with the local Intermediate School District on improving Early Childhood Education access, and with the local Department of Human Services preparing children who are in foster care to live independently after "aging out," as well as research collaborations with the Baldwin/Idlewild community and student learning in Chicago.

Tony has two children Maya, who attends City Middle and Samuel, who attends Grand Rapids Montessori. Both children attended Grand Rapids Montessori since their years in pre-K. Tony began his service in GRPS as an active volunteer at the school. This involvement reflects his ongoing commitment to the city and recognition of the unique resources that GRPS offers.

Tony says, "The most meaningful experiences I have had are volunteering on occasions at my children's school. Traveling to the zoo or the pumpkin patch with my children and their classmates has given me the chance to be a part of "their village." It is fascinating how these small interactions with the children go so far, for them and especially for me." He says he is fascinated by watching their learning experiences and is very impressed with their growth in Grand Rapids Public Schools. Being on the board as they grow up allows him an invaluable insight into the challenges of doing education well. They and their teachers offer tremendous insight into the efforts that need to be made for all children.

Since he began service on the board, Tony has also actively encouraged community/school partnerships, including encouraging his employer, Ferris State University, to invest in increasing community support for creating a college going culture. He firmly believes that the work of educating children in the district, is the responsibility of the entire community.

Tony is currently working as the Founding Director of the Center for Latino Studies at Ferris State University. This involves creating relationships with urban and Latino community organizations throughout Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

Raynard Ross - Treasurerraynardross

1822 S. Norwalk Dr., S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Term: July 1, 2011 – December 31, 2016

Raynard Ross comes to board of Grand Rapids Public Schools with a history rich in youth and community development.  He has previous professional experience as a police officer, juvenile justice worker, high school teacher, and college instructor.   His current professional responsibility is as Director of Upward Bound at Grand Rapids Community College.  In this role he leads a team of dedicated educational professionals in working to improve post-secondary enrollment rates within the city of Grand Rapids.

Educationally, he earned his Bachelor of Arts from Western Michigan University and his Master of Arts from Clark-Atlanta University.

Personally, Raynard is a married father of two boys.  He enjoys travel, golf, and spending time with friends and family.

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