GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Forest Hills Public Schools (FHPS) says its leader of 17 years is retiring this summer.
Daniel Behm has served as a superintendent for 22 years and has more than 30 years of service in the Michigan public schools system.
That makes him the longest-serving superintendent in West Michigan, FHPS said in its announcement.
Behm had already planned to retire in 2021, but the global pandemic put a wrench in those plans.
Now, after the dust has settled for most, he wants to spend more time with his family in retirement.
“Serving alongside the incredible teachers and staff members of this school district for the past 17 years has been the highlight of my career,” said FHPS Superintendent Daniel Behm. “I am grateful for the incredible support of our community and the selfless dedication of everyone who works daily for the success of kids.”
His superintendent peers unanimously elected him as the president of the Kent County Superintendents’ Association this past fall, the first year of the organization’s existence.
Dr. Kristen Fauson, president of the FHPS board of education said, “We are grateful for Mr. Behm’s dedicated service to our students, staff members, and community. His North Star is to always do what is best for students and this has been his guide throughout thousands of decisions—some easy and some complex—over his 17 years in Forest Hills. He has poured his heart and soul into our school district and we are forever thankful for his leadership. As always, he has our full support and we wish him well in his retirement.”
Behm thanked the staff and community members who, under his tenure, helped pass three bond elections, launched a K-12 Mandarin Chinese immersion program, installed numerous project- and problem-based learning experiences, increased the graduation rate to the highest level in the district’s history, increased the percentage of high school students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses, and navigated a global pandemic with the highest amount of in-person learning among Michigan’s largest school districts.
The board of education is now working to secure his replacement.
"I am grateful to you for your support, generosity, ingenuity, and partnership. What makes Forest Hills Public Schools a great place for kids is the heart that the adults in our community have for our youth –the next generation. I cannot thank you enough for supporting bond elections, volunteering in countless ways, leading booster groups and PTOs, coaching kids, finding an outfit at the last minute for “wacky clothes day” when you are tired, reworking your schedule on a half-day so our teachers can become even stronger at what they do, and giving financial and emotional support to the many initiatives and events of the district. You and our teachers and staff give selflessly so that our kids can be kids and we can turn our schools into sanctuaries for learning, trying, falling short, trying again, and succeeding,"
You can read his retirement note here:
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