Katie Bonnema Joins Staff as New Principal

Career educator returns to BV West as instructional leader


Ethan Yuwono, Madyson Starkey, Guest Writers

Within the past month, there have been a number of exciting changes happening a BV West. Students are coming back to school, a new wave of freshmen are arriving. Older students are returning while others have left. And along with the new changes, an important addition has arisen: Mrs. Katie Bonnema has started her tenure as principal.

“I left. I came back. I was an assistant principal for a couple of years and I left,” Bonnema said.

The new administrator shared her new plans, history, and ideas for leading the school.

“I didn’t ever think that would be something I would want to do,” Bonnema said.

She started her career working as a classroom teacher and eventually started a school leadership program. Starting the program really led her to fall in love with what principals do, even when she never initially saw herself doing what she does now.

“It’s been an honor being a principal here and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and the challenges and opportunities that come with it.”

Having been an Assistant Principal at BV Northwest for five years, Bonnema found the opportunity to join the BV West administrative team when former Assistant Principal Derek Adams moved on to be the Assistant Principal for BV Middle.

“BV Northwest is wonderful and I obviously have history there and the people there are great, but I think there was opportunity to grow. I think there is a lot of good that can come with change.”
With the changes that were going on around the school and COVID being a large factor in the way the school has been currently operating, the unique circumstance surrounding Bonnema’s position as the principal of BVW gives importance as to what she plans on doing during the school year.

“I love helping teachers do what they do best…helping teachers create really awesome experiences for students,” Bonnema said.

The administrator stated she loves “removing obstacles” to help create an amazing environment for both students and staff.

Bonnema vowed to strive to do her best to help students and staff reach their highest potential.
When questioned about changes she was planning, she was direct in her response.

“No, I don’t have anything set in stone,” Bonnema said. “That’s overall, not my leadership style and I think in particular, coming in with the last year and a half has been what it’s been with COVID and knowing the hard work that staff has put into the student experience. My goal was to come in this year and to meet them where they were and to make it just as normal, positive, and productive as possible.”

With the importance of the student’s normality being top on her priority list, Bonnema expressed the importance of looking at things from the perspective of the students. With COVID being such a significant interruption, having things being “normal” in the sense of the pre-COVID era is a goal.

“Personally, I’ve much preferred in-person learning over virtual learning because I can meet my friends and actually talk with them face to face. I felt like learning and my study habits had always been a bit off during quarantine. I feel like it’s a lot easier to pay attention when there’s a teacher talking directly in front of me as opposed to across a screen.”

With COVID still in full swing, Bonnema stressed the importance of keeping students safe and healthy while also maintaining a careful balance in order to keep the student’s social life intact.

“I know that I’m not alone. I have the principal title, but this really is family and so it’s a collective commitment by our whole staff to commit to not just the cornerstones, but the graduate skills that we want our students to have,” Bonnema said.

Some might feel comfortable knowing that Bonnema has two kids of her own and grew up with a strong urge to teach.

Bonnema said, “I think I have always loved kids, I used to line up baby dolls and pretend I was teaching.”

Welcome to BV West, Mrs. Bonnema