Covering the Land of Lincoln

Teacher of the Week: Rachel DeKuiper with Rockford Schools

We surprised our next teacher of the week on what happened to be her last day in the classroom after 25 years. Luckily, she’s staying with Rockford Schools.

ROCKFORD, Mich. — We surprised our next teacher of the week on what happened to be her last day on the job after 25 years in the classroom. Luckily, she’s staying with Rockford Schools and she told us all about her recent promotion.

“I was surprised because you don’t always know if you’re having that impact when you’re in lots of different classrooms and seeing hundreds of kids rather than maybe your set of 30, and it’s just neat to be honored for those efforts as well,” said Rachel DeKuiper, who’s been working as a teacher for more than two decades and more recently as an instructional coach in multiple classrooms.

Meadow Ridge Elementary School principal, Blake Bowman, said, “She has that relationship with every classroom in the building. Usually, teachers get a chance to impact 20 or 30 lives over a course of a year but she’s all over the place. She does it with 500.”

“It’s super rewarding,” said DeKuiper, and those rewards just keep rolling in. She was just recently promoted to assistant principal of Rockford High School.

“The biggest joy of my new role, being the assistant principal at RHS, is seeing the kids that I taught in third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade and even kindergarten. I walk down the hallway and they’re still—they’ll still talk to me,” said DeKuiper.

Her connection with the students was made abundantly clear as 13 ON YOUR SIDE stopped by.

DeKuiper says, the kids, “They’re what get you up in the morning, right? Like, you get up knowing that you’re going to go to school and work with these kids, these students, that they’re there to learn and they’re excited.”

Her principal said, “She touches a lot of lives. Teachers are heroes every day and it’s so nice of ZZM to recognize that and cast a spotlight on them. So, thank you,” adding that our Teacher of the Week surprise was “a fitting way to end (DeKuiper’s) time in the classroom.”

If you have someone you’d like to nominate as our next Teacher of the Week, just text the word “teacher” to 616-559-1310.

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