Greg Rutten was hired back in July as the new principal at Andrews Elementary in Three Rivers. (COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON)
By Robert Tomlinson
THREE RIVERS — With a new school year comes new faces, and one local elementary school in Three Rivers will be getting a notable new face guiding the school beginning this year.
Greg Rutten was hired in as the new principal at Andrews Elementary School back on Thursday, July 27, when his employment was approved by the Three Rivers Community Schools Board of Education. He takes over the role from Ben McIntyre, who resigned after eight years at the school back on July 6 to take a position at Hollywood Elementary in the Lakeshore Public Schools district.
Rutten, a native of Edwardsburg, Mich. who currently lives in the Schoolcraft area, comes to the district with plenty of experience. Most recently, he was principal at Woodside Elementary in the West Ottawa Public Schools district, a position he’s held since 2016. Prior to that, he was principal at two other schools in West Ottawa from 2014-2016, a K-12 outreach specialist at Michigan State University from 2013-2014, an administrator at Wayland Union Schools from 2002-2013, and was a fourth and fifth grade teacher in Springport and Gull Lake from 1997-2000.
He holds a bachelors degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University, which he received in 1997, as well as a master’s degree from WMU.
Rutten said he looks forward to being principal and getting to know both the kids and their families in the school community.
“I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity to get in here, learn more about Three Rivers, and learn, more importantly, about Andrews Elementary and the families we serve,” Rutten said.
Rutten has some familiarity with Three Rivers, having officiated middle school and high school basketball games in the area back when he was in college, but said the district’s reputation is what drew him to wanting to come over from West Ottawa.
“Three Rivers has a solid reputation for supporting kids and providing quality instruction and learning, and it just seems like a community, to me, from what I’ve experienced in talking with people throughout the years, that just focuses on finding the best way to help and finding out the best way to support kids,” Rutten said. “That emphasis is around community here in Three Rivers.”
Getting ready for the new school year thus far, Rutten admitted, has been busy, but he said the big goal for his first year is to continue what’s already been working at the school.
“For Andrews, which from what I’ve learned and through my research is a solid building, my goals are to build what has gone really well and continue to push there. If there’s areas we need to focus on, my goal would be to help target those areas and work as a team to see what we need to do to improve in those areas,” Rutten said. “For now, it’s still kind of a finding time for me to learn more about the building.”
TRCS Superintendent Nikki Nash said in a July interview she’s excited to have Rutten in the district.
“He meets a lot of the initiatives Three Rivers Community Schools has with his background and training,” Nash said. “It’s really exciting, just because he brings another perspective from other districts that we can always look at internally with some of the initiatives we have and practices we have. It’s really nice to have those outside eyes to bring some new perspectives in.”
Overall, Rutten said he hopes that Andrews students will enjoy going to school, and that the new school year goes well.
“In every place I’ve gone, the kids are what it’s all about, and supporting students and getting a chance to interact with them, giving a lot of high fives and saying hello, working to create an environment where kids want to come every day, come learn, have fun, enjoy and see their friends,” Rutten said. “I’m a parent too, my wife’s a teacher, we value the educational opportunities for children too. Leading with that in mind, I’m going to want what’s best for every child, I’m going to want for the students in our building what I want from our kids at home.”
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or email@example.com.