Dan Beckeman

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Position: Principal

School: Reeths-Puffer High School

School District: Reeths-Puffer Schools

City, State: Muskegon, Michigan

About the Nominee: Dan Beckeman is one of the best leaders one could ever have the privilege of working alongside. He is a leader who is able to ignite the spark of passion in everyone he touches through his unflagging enthusiasm and support. This story begins at a planning meeting for a student who attends a self-contained program for those with cognitive impairments. During this meeting, the student was asked if he had any special interests. He replied, “I like to Disc Golf.” This was enough to get the ball rolling, or should we say, get the Frisbee spinning? As soon as this comment was brought to Mr. Beckeman’s attention, he made it his mission to plan, fund and build a Disc Golf course right on the campus of Reeths-Puffer High School. He was able to obtain funding through a combination of a high school group called Rocket Enterprises, the Muskegon Area Community Foundation and private donors. Students and community members joined Mr. Beckeman on a cold day in April to pull weeds, dig holes and cement baskets into the ground to build the ‘Rocket 3’ Disc Golf Course. When this particular student saw the disc golf course for the first time, his smile lit up his entire face. The disc golf course quickly became a point of pride within the entire school community. In May, during Reeths-Puffer's graduation ceremony, both the valedictorian and the salutatorian spoke about the course in their speeches. They were so proud that their school came together to make a dream come true.

A quote by John Maxwell is a perfect way to describe Mr. Beckeman: "People don't follow people by accident, they follow individuals whose leadership they respect."

Mr. Beckeman is a leader who shows passion in everything he does. He is able to ignite the spark of passion in others with his steadfast modeling and guidance.

He works and lives by his values. As a result, he has created a community of inclusion, a community of ‘doers,’ and a community that strives to make great things happen.

According to Mr. Beckeman, “Leading is serving, nothing more, nothing else, nothing less. Choose to lead by serving now, not tomorrow.”

He is the epitome of a 'servant leader," a leader who has touched and changed countless lives throughout his service at Reeths-Puffer and a leader whose impact will be felt for many generations to come.