School Board Candidate Profile: Chris German

When Chris German was growing up in Belding, he had two goals in mind for the future. He wanted to have a family, and he wanted to be a teacher.

Today, the 42-year-old is married and has four daughters, but becoming a teacher ended up not being in the cards. After high school, he played offensive guard on the football team at Grand Valley State University until an injury sidelined him. Then, he decided to shift gears and go into the trades instead.

Despite not becoming a teacher, German’s desire to be a part of the educational system hasn’t left him. “Everything in my life has been for kids,” he explains.

And so, when he saw an opening on the Lowell Area Schools Board of Education, German thought this might be one more way he could help local students succeed. He is now one of eight candidates – two incumbents and six challengers – vying for three seats on the school board in the upcoming general election in November.

Moved to Lowell for the Schools

Although not born and raised here, German and his family have lived in Lowell for ten years.

“We moved into Lowell for the schools and the community,” he notes. His daughters attended Murray Lake Elementary School, and three are still enrolled in Lowell High School. The fourth has already graduated.

When not working as the facility manager for Impact Church, German splits time between his family’s farm and sports fields. He has spent 22 years officiating high school football games and is a varsity coach for the Lowell High School track program. If elected to the school board, German knows he’ll have to step down from the latter position, but he still has plans to serve as a volunteer.

All of his daughters have played sports at some point, and German has been an active parent in their various programs, helping as needed. The German Family Farm is home to chickens, pigs, cows and horses, and 4-H has also been a notable part of the family’s life in Lowell. Outside of his children’s activities, German says he has been a part of a men’s group at Impact Church for eight years.

Helping Students Succeed, Parents Be More Involved

Looking to the future, German would like to see more emphasis in Lowell Area Schools in providing students with the practical skills they need to succeed. That includes an emphasis on skilled trades, life skills and social skills.

“The kids are the future, and if we can’t give them a solid foundation to stand on, our world will fail,” he says.

He also hopes that the school will provide more avenues to partner with parents. “I would love to increase…and give parents more opportunity to get involved,” he says.

As the same time, German is concerned that some in the community are drawing sides rather than trying to work together. “I want to get back to where there is not so much animosity,” he adds.

Wants a Return to Civility

When asked what his biggest goal would be if elected, German doesn’t mention academics, sports or facilities. Instead, he says his biggest goal is to get the district “back on civil terms” when it comes to discussing various issues. However, he realizes that may not be something he alone can do.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic on social media pages in Lowell was “brutal,” according to German. “I was saddened by how people acted and reacted to everything,” he says.

It wasn’t even that he necessarily disagreed with the points being raised by some people. “I agreed with a lot of the stuff that was brought up and said, but I didn’t like the lack of civility,” German explains. “There are ways to listen to people and hear where they are coming from and still stand (your) ground.”

An ability to listen is one reason why he thinks voters should select him on the November ballot. “I definitely am a person who listens to both sides,” he says, adding: “In my 42 years, I’ve learned I’m not always right.”

For more information about Chris German, visit his campaign Facebook page.

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