Passion for Educating the At-Risk Fuels Alumna
Shalonda Owens ’00 graduated with a BA in English Language Arts, then in 2009 earned a Masters in Educational Leadership.
As a first generation college student coming to Grand Valley, Shalonda admits she was a little intimidated by her decision and knew that it would change her life forever. Now as she serves as Principal at the Glerum Elementary School, she is glad she made that initial leap of faith.
Shalonda explains, “Being a student at GVSU afforded me the opportunity to find and follow my passion: being a change agent in world of education. As an educator I enjoy working with all students, but at-risk students have a special place in my heart. Growing up in a single-parent home in inner-city Saginaw I understand first-hand the important role a teacher plays in shaping life of a student. It is my goal to be a consistent force in each of my students’ lives, encouraging them to not only excel academically but to also develop the inter-personal skills necessary to be successful in our ever changing world.“
As it turned out, Shalonda Owens found her passion in a field that she had not predicted. “As a freshman at Grand Valley,” Shalonda notes, “I never thought of being an educator, I always thought I would work in the medical field.”
Her voyage of discovery was a good one, even if it surprised her. “I often say,” Shalonda recalls, “‘education chose me, and I am so glad it did’. I absolutely love coming to work each day, connecting with students and families, and supporting my teachers as we explore teaching best practices to increase student achievement.”
Now that she is principal of Glerum Elementary with ten years in the West Ottawa Public Schools, the path to her success is clear. Prior to becoming the principal at Glerum, she was the assistant principal at Harbor Lights Middle School for three years. Her teaching experience was at the elementary level, teaching grades 3, 4 and 5 at Pine Creek and Great Lakes Elementary.