David Britten

May 2017 KSSN Spotlight

For the month of May, we are shining a bright spotlight on a special friend to KSSN, David Britten, superintendent of Godfrey-Lee Public Schools. Superintendent Britten will be retiring in June, leaving behind a legacy that spans 45 years, including many years of teaching and serving as a principal, and an impressive 22-year career in the U.S. Army.

Superintendent Britten serves as Chief Executive Officer for Godfrey-Lee’s 1,970 students, kindergarten to 12th grade. He is also the principal agent for the Board of Education, managing all facets of district operations and serving as the liaison between the community and the district. He leads the staff and students in achieving the mission of the district, and advocates for equity and resources from the state legislature.

When asked what he is most proud of, the superintendent says it is the many ways the district team has changed their approach to learning in a 21st Century technology-rich environment. “American schools require not only ‘thinking outside the box’ but completely redesigning the box itself. I’ve greatly enjoyed being part of a team that has evolved and is now trying new learning spaces, instructional designs, play-based learning, and exhibition-style assessment. It hasn’t been easy, we still have a ways to go, but it has been very exciting to have been part of this groundbreaking movement towards creating a learning environment that recognizes that all students have strengths that we can help them build upon to succeed.”

As you can imagine, the superintendent does not plan to sit still while embarking on retirement. He plans to travel by train around the country, catching up with extended family. He also looks forward to supporting his wife, Penny, in her photography and equestrian pursuits, and enjoying time with his son, David II, and his wife, Lisa. And don’t think Superintendent Britten will disappear from the education realm altogether; he will remain involved in the Godfrey-Lee Education Foundation that he organized seven years ago, and will do some officiating in cross country and track. He will also be engaging in one of his other passions: researching and writing about local history. In 2004, he published a book on the history of the National Guard in West Michigan, and he has been collecting photos and other research for a second book about the Godfrey-Lee district and its surrounding community, in the hopes of having it published in the fall of 2018. 

Godfrey-Lee Public Schools has been with KSSN for 10.5 years, and according to Superintendent Britten, “We have worked together to develop a caring and supportive environment in ways that have far exceeded my expectations from the beginning. This seamless partnership has become ubiquitous in our school programs and the lives of our kids and parents. From feeding hungry members of our community to helping hurting kids, KSSN is a part of our fabric and school success.”  

A community school has many moving parts, and if strong leadership isn’t in place, it can be difficult to get all the parts to come together to fulfill the vision and foster student success. David Britten is a visionary leader who has helped Godfrey-Lee and KSSN develop into a shining example of the power of community and schools coming together. We thank you, Superintendent Britten, for your many years of service, and we wish you the best of luck with your future pursuits.

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