Central Montcalm changes school configurations

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 6:06 pm on Monday, September 26, 2011

STANTON — Central Montcalm Public School students found several changes when they returned to classes this fall.
Two of the four buildings have new principals and one school building has been renamed.
Stanton Elementary School was repurposed and grades were reconfigured so all kindergarteners and first graders attend Sheridan Elementary School. That building is now called Central Montcalm Elementary School. The former Stanton Elementary School now houses the adult education and alternative education programs and leases a few rooms to the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District and a community preschool.
The second-grade students join third, fourth and fifth grades at the Upper Elementary School.
“It seemed appropriate to have one unifying name,” said Superintendent Jake Helms. “We have the Upper Elementary and could have called it the Lower Elementary, but opted to go with just Central Montcalm Elementary.”
Dave McLoughin is the new principal of Central Montcalm Elementary, replacing John Shick. He had served as principal at the former Stanton and Sheridan elementary buildings until retiring at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
McLoughin previously was the high school assistant principal and athletic director.
Tony Petersen is the new principal of Central Montcalm High School. That position had been held by John Kearney, who took the helm of Central Montcalm’s adult and community education. Kearney is replacing Kathy Betts, who resigned last spring.
Kearney also will serve as the high school athletic director.
Petersen, who attended Central Montcalm from kindergarten to fifth grade, began his teaching career in 2001 at with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. In 2008, he became principal of Wavecrest Academy, a charter school in Holland.
“This is a little different, mainly because of the number of students,” Petersen said. “Wavecrest was smaller at around 150 to 170 students, whereas so far this year we have registered 565 at the high school.”
Enrollment was 30 to 40 students higher than expected over the summer, he said.
“We’ve had some students come in through schools of choice. Others move in to the district and others who were homeschooled decide to try public schools,” Petersen said. “We were working on finding where to put everybody, but it is a good problem to have.”

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