November 19 Home Communicator – It is with deep sorrow that we say goodbye to our beloved leader, mentor, and friend, Dan Pott. As one staff member put it, “Dan was the best of the best. We will miss him like crazy.” Dan loved his God, his family, and his school community with his whole being. He lived out our school theme of Being the Change so well. He was the hands and feet of Jesus to those around him and made a difference in the lives of so many people.
Dan was a gifted leader. It came so naturally to him; he made it look easy. He knew how to motivate a group of people to work toward a common goal and he led our school with honesty and integrity. His wisdom and experience were often sought out by staff members. He was so good at knowing what to say. He could solve just about any problem you threw his way, except he wouldn’t just tell you how to solve it—he’d ask you questions until you figured it out for yourself. After all, “the person doing the work is the one who’s learning”. Dan was a big picture thinker and was tirelessly looking ahead to the future of Hudsonville Christian. He prayed every day for guidance and was insistent on following the Lord’s leading.
Dan was a servant. He emphasized having an open-door policy and people often took him up on that offer. He always made you feel as if he had all the time in the world to listen and chat, even though he had piles of his own work to do. He was the kind of administrator who personally handed out paychecks every other Friday and thanked you for your work. He visited each classroom during parent-teacher conferences to hand out pop and water to staff. Dan could tell if you were having a bad day just by looking at your face. He would take the time to ask how you were doing or send an encouraging email or note. He cared deeply about the joys and concerns of our staff and students. Because of his example, he created a community of openness and trust; a place where people care more about each other than themselves.
Dan cultivated leaders. He had an incredible ability to see a person’s God-given gifts. Over the years, he put in the time and effort to help develop those gifts so they could be used for the good of the school. We have an amazing staff of people who have been gifted and called to lead in so many ways. In this time of sadness and loss, it is so comforting to know that our school will carry on because Dan empowered so many of us to lead.
Dan loved the kids at Hudsonville Christian. He was a strong proponent for educating “all God’s children” at HCS. He loved getting into classrooms and seeing what the students were learning about. On difficult and busy days, stepping into a classroom helped him focus on his purpose as an administrator—the kids. In the six years I’ve spent learning from Dan, I’ve heard this question the most: “What’s best for kids?” Dan made this question central to our school culture and we intend to continue this way of thinking in every decision we make.
Dan was a man of faith. Even as we grieve over saying our earthly goodbyes to Dan, he is saying hello to his heavenly Father. Because of our faith, we can rest in that knowledge and know that this isn’t goodbye forever.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Tricia Kiepert, Elementary Principal