ECC director excited to take on new role

July 26, 2023

ECC director excited to take on new role

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

Pirate News is a presentation of Hart Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press. 

HART — Andrea Degen’s enthusiasm for her new position as the early childhood director and director of state and federal grants for Hart Public Schools is clearly evident by her beaming smile.

Degen moved into the position, July 1, after serving as the principal for Hart’s Spitler Elementary School for four years. Brandon Bruce is the new Spitler principal.

The Mona Shores High School Class of 1998 graduate completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Michigan State University. “I studied elementary ed and always assumed I was going to be an elementary teacher.”

She taught at Muskegon Public Schools for 10 years, mostly instructing first grade, but also teaching fifth grade and middle school.

“I moved to a small town and kind of fell in love with the town of Montague when I applied in Hart.” She started out teaching kindergarten at Spitler for three years and then first grade for one year before the elementary principal position became available. 

The director of early childhood and state and federal grants is a new administrative role at Hart. Degen’s primary role will be leading the Head Start and Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) staff at Diman-Wolf. She is thrilled that she still gets to work with the administrative team at Hart. Her additional duties include working with the new school improvement platform — MICIP (Michigan Integrated Continuous Improvement Process), Title I and other state and federal grants. With the new and unique position, Degen will see the progression from pre-K all the way up to 12th grade. “I will also get to work with the Title I staff at Spitler from time to time” — an aspect of the job that is also important to her. 

Pre-K students — 3 and 4 year olds — attend the ECC. “All of the students will be shorter than I am now,” said the educator who stands just under 5 feet tall. At Spitler, she had some elementary students who were taller than her.

Diman-Wolf includes two classrooms of Head Start through the Muskegon Intermediate School District and three classrooms of GSRP through the West Shore Educational Service District. “I want to bring them together and work collaboratively.” There are typically 16 students per classroom for a total of 80 students.

“We’re hoping to add a GSRP classroom. The staff has really been working hard to clean out one of the extra rooms. Hopefully with increasing enrollment, we can add a section of GSRP.” That could increase enrollment to 96 students at the ECC. Daycare may also be added at Diman-Wolf in the future.

“I am excited to work with this new and hardworking staff,” said Degen. “My passion is working with kids, so I am grateful that it is still a crucial part of my role. I hope I make a positive impact at Diman-Wolf.”

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