“Being family” at Holy Family School, South Bend, is very important to newly appointed interim principal Jennifer Veldman, both personally and professionally. She and her family have been a part of the parish for as long as she can remember. Her husband attended the school, and they choose to send their children to Holy Family. So she feels it is an honor to have been selected as interim principal and to have the opportunity to serve the school she has long called home.
As a mother, parishioner and educator, she knows well the needs of families at Holy Family. As an educator and administrator, she has the background and experience to serve them. She values trust and a good rapport with the parents as vital to the life of the family, and she believes in “getting to know the students individually, where they are coming from, as well as listening to the parents as they support and guide the children.”
Born and raised on the West Side of South Bend, Veldman is proud of the diverse culture and heritage of the area. “Many people don’t realize and celebrate the culture present here,” she explained. She herself attended St. John the Baptist School and Washington High School. Her parents modeled the call to serve others, she noted, and have always been active Catholics in the parish.
After graduating from Indiana University South Bend with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a kindergarten endorsement, Veldman taught kindergarten for nine years at Kennedy Primary Academy, wanting to serve the West Side community. In 2012 she transitioned to teaching within the Catholic schools, working at Christ the King, St. John the Baptist and Holy Family schools. At Holy Family she served on the school board, oversaw yearly testing and developed curricula to meet the Indiana State College and Career Readiness standards. Continually growing and learning, Veldman most recently earned her master’s degree in education and her administrative certificate from Bethel College.
For her, answering the call to serve in Catholic education is unique. “We support and promote a positive relationship and deepen existing relationships with Christ and his teachings,” she said. “We get to bring our faith to the forefront in all areas, from academics to discipline. We can share that!” she shared excitedly.
“She has done an outstanding job at our school working on organizing our curriculum,” said Father Glenn Kohrman, pastor of Holy Family Parish. “She really seems to love Holy Family, and the transition from vice principal to principal should make our transition at Holy Family a very smooth one.”
With excitement for the upcoming school year, Veldman said she, too, hopes to continue the smooth transition from last year and build on the strengths displayed by the previous administration.
“I hope to strive for a strong sense of team, and to continue to create a positive environment which encompasses everyone involved,” she said. “In the curriculum, we will continue to collect and teach with differentiated data driven instruction to truly meet the needs of our students.”
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