Meet Nery Garcia
Catch a good school
East K-7 is not on Lake Michigan or Lake Macatawa, but Principal Nery Garcia casts it as a school of fish -- fervent fish. Garcia and staff acknowledge positive behaviors by handing students slips of paper with a drawing of an affable, enthusiastic fish. Slips can be entered in a drawing for small prizes ranging from popsicles to pencils.
The big reward, Garcia says, is the fun and caring school climate that fervent fish help create.
Fish is a management philosophy popularized by the fish-throwing market on Pike Street in Seattle, and embraced by East’s staff.
Garcia also assembles East students into “families” comprised of pairs of students from each grade for monthly activities led by the oldest students. Students continue in their same families year to year.
“Families set the expectation that we’re going to take care of each other,” Garcia said. “And the kids love knowing students in other grades.”
Fervent fish and families contribute stability to those East students whose families are in transition. East’s attendance area includes the Holland Rescue Mission.
From Cuba to Holland
Garcia came with her parents to West Michigan at age 14 as a political refugee from Cuba. She knew no English but enjoyed learning and became a teacher.
She taught English As a Second Language and fifth grade at Washington Elementary School for 15 years before becoming a principal 16 years ago. She has served as principal at Washington, Van Raalte and East.
Garcia’s husband, Ed, teaches Spanish at Holland High School. Son Eddie is band director at Grandville High School and daughter-in-law, Christy, is site manager at Holland’s West K-7. Mrs. Garcia’s son, Chris, is a salesman. She has one granddaughter, Abigail.
Principal Garcia welcomes calls or emails from parents. She can be reached by calling 494-2425 or clicking here to email her.