Choice Schools Associates’ 22/23 Choice Leader of Excellence of the Year – Nate VanDuinen

Choice Schools is pleased to announce the 22/23 Choice Leader of Excellence of the Year, Mr. Nate VanDuinen. Nate is the elementary principal at West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science in Grand Rapids, MI, a premier charter school in the area.

Every year, Choice Schools awards the Choice Leader of Excellence of the Year to one school leader in our network based on nominations from school staff and other school leaders in the Choice Schools organization. This year, the school leadership team selected Nate! 

Nate has transitioned from assistant school leader to school leader well over the past two years. He is building a team of staff to support the various needs of the elementary better and provide more prevention services instead of reactionary ones. He has had to face the challenge of a transition in staff and, in doing so, established a strong, young team. In addition, Nate has established himself and a vision for what the campus needs and can become through the work of strategic planning. 

One leader said, “Nathan has become a leader in instructional coaching, marketing of his programs, and an advocate that all students can succeed. His leadership style and communication with stakeholders are greatly valued. As a colleague, Nathan would be a tremendous representative for School Leaders of The Year at Choice Schools Associates.”

Nate has supported teachers, staff and students academically, emotionally, and physically. WMAES has navigated a plethora of different opportunities and obstacles this year, and Nathan’s consistent leadership has helped WMAES stay the course and finish strong. 

Another leader shared that he has “Supported academic excellence throughout the year, leading to a 5% growth in Reading Conditional Growth Percentile and growth in our Math Conditional Growth Percentile.” (NWEA Data on math is not available at this point but is trending to a growth).

Nathan’s continual positive leadership within the Choice Schools Community and West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science has been just what our teams have needed this year. 

We are so excited to be a part of the growth mindset he brings to everything he does. Congratulations, Nate!