New principal is excited to be a part of the Tiger community.

September 2, 2022

New principal is excited to be a part of the Tiger community.

Tiger Pride is a presentation of Shelby Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

SHELBY — Zach Christian is the new principal at Shelby High School, taking over for Mark Olmstead who was recently hired as the district’s superintendent.

A 1998 Spring Lake High School graduate, Christian quickly realized in high school that he loved speaking the Spanish language. “I really enjoyed my Spanish classes in school, so I decided to do study abroad courses in college.” His studies took him to Mexico and Spain where he gained deeper insight and knowledge of the language and culture. He graduated from Grand Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a minor in history with a secondary teaching certificate.

Christian began his career when teaching jobs were scarce and obtained his first position at a small district in Churubusco, Indiana where he taught for one year.

He then returned to the area and began working as a Spanish teacher in Montague — a position he held for 15 years. While at Montague, he took on several leadership roles including his service as the teachers’ union president. Christian also worked for the Godwin Heights school district, handling some assistant principal duties and helping in the Spanish department. 

Christian’s fluency in the Spanish language has already proven to be extremely beneficial to the Shelby district, which has a large Hispanic population. “So far, I’ve already registered seven or eight families who have limited English.

“We have a lot of new blood in the district. We have a brand-new superintendent, and Jess (Danielson) is in her second year as the middle school principal; and I’m brand-new. It’s a lot of new energy in a positive way.”

Christian said he was hired in mid-July and “hit the ground running.” 

He and his family live in Spring Lake and plan to move to the Shelby area. He and his wife Kelly have two school age daughters, Izabel and Zoe. 

“We really want to focus on community and our PBIS — Positive Behavior Intervention Systems,” said the principal of his goals with the new job. Roar Cards will be a bonus for good behavior. The Roar Cards will then be gathered and placed in a raffle drawing. Students will win items like king sized candy bars throughout the semester, and at the end of the semester, larger prizes will be awarded, such as $25 Wesco gift cards. Staff will also send one or two post cards each week to students’ homes — students who deserve that extra praise for positive behavior in their classrooms. 

The positive behavior reward system is modeled after a program used at Montague High School developed by educator Michelle Smith, he said.

“As a community, I’ve been so impressed,” said Christian of Shelby. “I went to the home football game, and there was wonderful behavior and great school spirit. I couldn’t be more impressed with the community and how much support there is and how much love there is. This is a wonderful place to work.”

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