Bonnema Joins Administration Team

Katie Bonnema enters first year as BV West Assistant Principal

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Bonnema Joins Administration Team

Katie Bonnema Poses with her husband and two children. Bonnema spends time with her family and goes to her boys' sports games.

Katie Bonnema Poses with her husband and two children. Bonnema spends time with her family and goes to her boys' sports games.

courtesy of Katie Bonnema

Katie Bonnema Poses with her husband and two children. Bonnema spends time with her family and goes to her boys' sports games.

courtesy of Katie Bonnema

courtesy of Katie Bonnema

Katie Bonnema Poses with her husband and two children. Bonnema spends time with her family and goes to her boys' sports games.

Rachel Pickett, Editor-in-Chief

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The administration team is the core of a school. They facilitate conversation between staff, parents and students; work on the ground level to solve both minor and major problems; and make big picture decisions that affect the day-to-day workings of the building. 

In May, it was announced that BV West Assistant Principal Derek Adams would be accepting an Assistant Principal job at Blue Valley Middle. Replacing him would be former BV Northwest administrator Katie Bonnema. 

“When we found out [Bonnema] was interested in coming to West, it was a no-brainer,” said BV West Principal Dr. Brett Potts. “She brings a wonderful skill-set to our school and will no doubt help us get better.”

Bonnema, who took over the position of Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, has deep ties to the Blue Valley community. 

“The summer before my eighth grade year, we moved to Overland Park,” Bonnema said. “I attended Oxford Middle School and then went to BV Northwest and played basketball and soccer.” 

Following her high school years, Bonnema decided to pursue a degree based on her passion for history. 

“I went to Central College which is in Pella, Iowa and played soccer there,” Bonnema said. “Social studies was my favorite subject, so I kind of knew I wanted to teach. History was my favorite so I started out as a history major for secondary education.” 

However, during her college education, Bonnema found that something was missing from her career path. 

“When I was in high school, I peer tutored multiple times and just absolutely loved it,” Bonnema said. “I got a year or so into college and realized I really missed working with people with disabilities, so I got involved in some community things and was allowed to add a special education emphasis to my degree at the secondary level that they didn’t have as a formal program at that time.” 

Following her graduation from Central College, Bonnema decided to pursue a career in the community in which she loved growing up in. 

“I graduated and interviewed for some jobs down here, I knew I wanted to come back down to the Kansas City area,” Bonnema said. “I knew I had had the blessing of having a really awesome high school experience in Blue Valley and thought where else would I try to get a job? I interviewed and was hired here at BV West. I was in our learning center department.” 

Although she loved teaching, Bonnema wanted the ability to change her career path down the road. Her passion for administration began with a common desire. 

“Primarily I was just looking at how to make more money,” Bonnema said. “Teachers get paid by their experience and the number of continuing graduate hours that they have and so I knew that I wanted to keep going to school. I looked into counseling and someone recommended administration, and at that time I had no ambition whatsoever but I knew it would be another avenue down the road.”

Although administration was never her dream career path, Bonnema eventually became fascinated with the ins and outs of the unique job. 

“I became really interested in the nuances of administration,” Bonnema said. “I think there is a lot of subtle tie-ins between a special education teacher and administrator. You work with kids in a smaller scale, you are pretty involved with parents, you are helping problem solve situations and I was really growing to the point where that was the piece of things that I really loved more than anything else.” 

Following five years of teaching at BV West, Bonnema helped open up BV Southwest and served as the Department Chair of Special Education. Following teaching there for a year, an opportunity came up for her to be the administrative intern at BV Northwest, bringing her full circle to her alma mater. 

After a year of being the administrative intern, Bonnema became BV Northwest’s Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction. She held that position for five years but saw an opportunity when there was an opening at BV West. 

“BV Northwest is wonderful and I obviously have a history there and the people are great, but I think there was opportunity to grow,” Bonnema said. “I think there is a lot of good that can come from change.” 

Along with having previous teaching experience in BV West’s building, Bonnema also found familiarity with the people she would be working with. 

“I had worked a little bit with Dr. Potts just at the district-level things, same with Mr. Brutto and I knew Ms. Roach from when I worked here,” Bonnema said. “I knew that as far as an administrative team, they were a group of people that I could learn from and would enjoy working with, so it felt like the stars aligned.” 

The transition for Bonnema has been a smooth one. Since she is only changing schools and not job titles, much of her work has stayed the same. 

When Bonnema is not helping run the day to day operations of BV West, she is spending time with her family. 

“My husband works in the banking industry and we have two boys,” Bonnema said. “Caleb is a six-year-old first grader at Blue River Elementary and Connor is an almost four-year-old who is in preschool.” 

Bonnema’s experience and passion prove that she will be a valuable addition to BV West’s administration team. 

“I have no agenda to change anything at BV West,” Bonnema said. “I want to learn. Mr. Adams was wonderful at his job so I don’t feel like there’s anything I need to come in and do, I just need to come in and maintain and learn and then be able to offer a fresh perspective when asked.” 

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