Kenyatta Hughes named principal of Beacon Elementary

By: Brendan Losinski, | Advertiser Times | Published May 31, 2017

HARPER WOODS — The Harper Woods School District recently named Kenyatta Hughes, a long-serving teacher at Beacon Elementary School, as the next principal of the school.

Hughes was appointed unanimously by the Harper Woods Board of Education at a meeting May 16. 

She will be taking over July 1 for Janet Gottsleben, who has worked in the district for 38 years and has served as an administrator since 2008. Like Gottsleben, Hughes has a strong connection with the Harper Woods district.

 Kenyatta Hughes, far right, a long-serving teacher at Beacon Elementary School, will be the next principal of the school.

Kenyatta Hughes, far right, a long-serving teacher at Beacon Elementary School, will be the next principal of the school.

“I am very honored to be appointed to this position,” said Hughes. “I have been committed to Harper Woods since 2004, when I was hired out of college into the district. I’m very passionate about education, and I look forward to partnering with the district and working with my parents and students to provide our kids with a rigorous, engaging and high-quality education experience.”

Hughes originally was hired as a first-grade teacher and has since taught kindergarten, fifth grade and eighth-grade math. She most recently has been teaching the third grade. 

“Ms. Hughes has been an exceptional teacher in the district for well over 10 years,” said Harper Woods Superintendent Todd Biederwolf in an email. “Over that time, she has emerged as a clear teacher leader at Beacon. She is known for her data-driven instructional leadership on both the classroom and individual student level. She also is well-known for developing a classroom culture of high expectations both academically and behaviorally.”

Biederwolf stated that he believes Hughes matches the attitude and culture that the district tries to encourage, and that she possesses the skills and experience to bring those attributes to bear on the school’s students.

“During the interview process, Kenyatta showed herself to be passionate about students, committed to high achievement and fully capable of extending the positive school climate already in place at Beacon,” explained Biederwolf. “We believe she will become an exemplary principal and are excited to see her begin to transition into that role during the last few weeks of this school year.”

Biederwolf also cited as attributes Hughes’ participation in professional development projects and her drive to improve her administrative skills.

Hughes said she wants to promote strong relationships between staff, parents and students to continue to improve upon the progress that has been made recently in Harper Woods Schools.

“I think one of my greatest strengths is my ability to connect with children. What I am pushing for in my first year is community and collaboration,” said Hughes. “As a parent of two girls, ages 9 and 3, I recognize the importance of a strong home-school connection. Parents are their children’s first teacher, and by working together we can ensure children’s social, emotional and academic needs are met.”