By Kayla Tucker – Managing Editor
The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees have voted in a new trustee, David Koetje, retired superintendent of Grand Rapids Christian Schools for over a decade, a man driven by his passions and faith.
Koetje, 65, has lived in West Michigan all his life except for five years he spent in Chicago. He began his career in education as a teacher, and climbed the ladder to administration, working in schools with populations ranging from 70 to 3,000 students.
Koetje, is married with three adult children and eight grandchildren. He enjoys sports – both water and snow – and plays a lot of them with his grandchildren.
Koetje is now the CEO for Celebration Fellowship, an organization that creates churches in Michigan’s 30 state prisons.
“I have some passion for criminal justice (and) prison reform,” Koetje said.
Having worked at many faith-based schools, Koetje said that religion plays a key role in his life.
In his new position as trustee, Koetje said he doesn’t want to come on the board with a specific agenda in mind.
“My responsibility is to the mission of the organization,” Koetje said. “The goal is… set up listening systems so that we’re responding to needs of those students that are currently there and equally or maybe even more importantly the kids that are going to be coming (to GRCC).”
Koetje, having worked with elementary age kids, high schoolers and now adult men and women serving life sentences, said that throughout his entire career in education, one “paradigm” or message has stayed consistent in his work.
“No matter who you are, you’re worthy of dignity,” Koetje said. “I will do everything I can to make you feel dignified regardless of the situation.”