VOICES: New CCA superintendent settles in

NEW POSITION: Pam Duffy, new Crossroads Charter Academy superintendent, settles into her office. (Pioneer photo/Cortney Erndt)

NEW POSITION: Pam Duffy, new Crossroads Charter Academy superintendent, settles into her office. (Pioneer photo/Cortney Erndt)

This story is part of Voices of Our Community, which is designed to tell you something new about your neighbors. Participants are chosen at random for the interviews, in which we strive to share a portion of their lives with you, the reader.

BIG RAPIDS – Some changes can be expected at Crossroads Charter Academy this school year, as a new employee brings in fresh ideas. The district recently hired a new part-time superintendent, Pam Duffy.

After Lynn Gullekson resigned from the position in the spring, Chris White, elementary principal, and Ross Meads, middle and high school principal, served as interim superintendents until Duffy joined the CCA team.

Duffy, who commutes from Grand Rapids, said the district is what attracted her to the community.

“CCA is known not only for its academic excellence and extracurricular programs, but also for the positive and healthy relationships between staff and students,” Duffy wrote in her introduction letter to the district. “I take very seriously that you have entrusted the young people of this community to our care and expect our fine staff to give their best day in and day out.”

On Thursday, Duffy took a few minutes to chat with the Pioneer about her previous experience and new position.

PIONEER: Where are you from?

PAM DUFFY: I was born in Escanaba, in the Upper Peninsula. I went to Lake Superior State for my undergraduate degree and then I went to Aquinas to get my teaching certificate several years later. I graduated from Western in 2008 with my master’s degree in educational leadership. But I have lived in Grand Rapids most of my adult life.

PIONEER: How long have you been involved in education?

DUFFY: I’ve been education for a long time – more than 25 years. I was a preschool teacher, kindergarten teacher and a third grade teacher. The last nine years, I was an administrator for a charter school in Grand Rapids. I was both the superintendent and the principal, and it was a very, very challenging position. That’s part of why I left – I really wanted to separate those two jobs. I searched a long time for a good job fit for myself.

PIONEER: What drew you in to CCA?

DUFFY: I saw the schools’ test scores and I was very impressed with them. I also was impressed with the athletic department, knowing they had a lot of sports for kids. The schools seem to well-balance academics with sports and extracurricular activities. I thought, ‘Hey, this would be a perfect job.’

PIONEER: What would you like to change or implement at CCA?

DUFFY: One of my biggest goals is to update the board policy book. I want to make sure we’re adhering to all of the board policies. We’re also going to work on a new teacher evaluation process. It’s mandated by the government, so we’re going to pick one of the four choices of evaluation processes. We’d like to streamline it and make sure our teachers know exactly what is expected of them. That way, we can all be on the same page together.

PIONEER: When you’re not working, what do you enjoy?

DUFFY: I love to read, and my husband and I like to camp. We have a cute, little Shasta camper that’s kind of retro. It’s brand new, but they made it look like it’s from the 50s or 60s. I know quite a bit about this area because we camp at Merrill Lake campground. We also love to kayak. We have a border collie – a little puppy. She’s almost 3 years old and we love to take walks with her. We also love to grow vegetables and flowers.

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