After just two short weeks at Forest Hills Eastern, Joe Schwander, the new teacher of math, physics, and computer science and new head coach of the football team, is settling in quite well. “Every impression has been awesome,” said Schwander, with a fond smile on his face. “This place is awesome. The setting of the school is awesome, and the kids and the staff have been tremendous.”
Schwander is a West Michigan native who graduated from Rockford High School, later earning his degrees at Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University. He has 14 years of teaching under his belt, all in schools in the area. His experience consists of Calvin Christian High School, Rockford High School, and Belding High School. While Schwander has always been interested in math, he did not start out as a teacher. Out of high school, he studied civil engineering before switching to education. “I just wanted to work with kids. I appreciated the teachers and coaches that had influenced me,” he explained.
Schwander has also led a successful football career, both as a player and a coach. He played as a quarterback at Tristate University and Hope College. He then became a coach as he began teaching; he was the coach of the JV team at Calvin Christian, assistant coach of the varsity team at Rockford High School, and head coach of Belding High School before coming to Forest Hills Eastern. He led Belding to the state playoffs three times in the years he served there as head coach. If that does not make you hopeful for the season, strong performances from FHE’s football team like that of last Friday’s game against Holland Christian certainly will.
When Schwander isn’t busy teaching or coaching, he dedicates his time to his family. He enjoys spending time with his wife and five children, who range from two to eleven years of age.
Thanks to his students, players, and even those who simply chant his name in the student section, Schwander describes his first weeks at FHE as positive and unique to any other school at which he has taught and coached before. “All I can say is that since being here, every single person has been energetic and excited about their education and about athletics,” said Schwander, “which, as a coach and as a teacher, gives you life.”