Katherine Lewis Downes - Secretary
2534 Summit Ridge NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Term Expires: December 31, 2020
Katherine was born and raised on a farm in Parnell, Michigan where she attended and graduated from St. Patrick's High School. She earned her associate's degree from Grand Rapids Community College (then Grand Rapids Junior College). She earned her B.A. from Michigan State University. Her teacher-prep work was done in English and Social Science. She did her student teaching at Grand Rapids Central High School. She earned her master's degree from Michigan State University in Education in 1971. In 1982 she finished her Specialist Degree in Educational Psychology and her master's in School Leadership in 1998.
Her career began at Lowell Area Schools and ended at Kenowa Hills High School. She spent thirty-five years at Kenowa teaching English, American History, and Psychology. During that time she served as Chair of the English Department, North Central Chair, and School Improvement Chair. In those capacities, she had opportunities to visit and learn from local school districts about their approaches to instruction and administration.
She is the mother of two grown children. Her daughter, Lorrie, and Lorrie's husband, Matt, have two daughters who are enrolled in Grand Rapids Public Schools. Her son Edward works and lives in New York City. Her husband Larry passed away in 2007.
Katherine was a founding member of the local chapter of the National Organization for Women and the chair of ERA Grand Rapids. She was an active member of the KHEA, the KCEA, the MEA, and the NEA. She remains a member of the MEA and NEA Retired. Her volunteer activities include the Salvation Army Congregational Committee Partnership Program, the Committee to End Homelessness, St Jude's Religious Education, God's Kitchen,k and her favorite volunteer work at Aberdeen and the Grand Rapids Museum School.
She is from a family of teachers. She had two aunts who were teachers who served as role models for her and her sisters. She has two sisters who have taught in public schools for their entire careers and one sister who taught preschool at Marywood. Her nephew is currently teaching in Portland Public Schools.