Rockford Education Foundation
P.O. Box 777
Rockford, MI  49341
Jill Silverman, Executive Director


The Rockford Public Schools Hall of Fame celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of Rockford Alumni and Rockford residents in categories of Cultural/Performing Arts, Academic/Career Accomplishments, Service to the Rockford Public Schools/Community, and Honorary Achievement.

Classroom visits, an Induction Dinner and a visit to the Hall of Fame Commemorative Monument will make this a memorable community event.

Contact us at 616.863.6317 for more information.

Tribute to Excellence DinnerOctober 25, 2014

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

1000 East Beltline Ave. NE

Grand Rapids, MI  49525

6:30 pm - cocktails

7:00 pm - dinner

Reserve your tickets here

2014 Inductees Announced

RPS Hall of Fame Announces Inductees for Class of 2014

The RPS Hall of Fame is excited to announce its Class of 2014. The Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Rockford Public Schools (RPS) and Rockford Education Foundation (REF), recognizes those who have demonstrated exceptional achievements in their chosen field or who have made significant contributions to RPS or the Rockford community. The inductees are as follows:

Cultural/Performing Arts

April Soderstrom; RHS, 2002 April was voted “Most Promising Design Graduate” upon her completion of her Bachelor Degree in Design from Central Michigan University. She has not disappointed, moving to Boston to begin a successful design career specializing in hospitality design. She launched her line of jewelry “April Soderstrom Jewelry” in 2011 and has been highly successful. April has had her designs featured in many national magazines, national beauty pageants and on national TV shows.

Dana Mambourg Zimbric; RHS, 1996 Dana received her Bachelor of Music in Clarinet Performance at the University of Wisconsin and her Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is presently the Artistic Director and conductor of The California Chamber Orchestra in Temecula, CA. She continues her professional training and has guest conducted in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, Ann Arbor, Norwalk, CT., Santa Cruz, CA., and Puerto Rico.

Academic/Career Accomplishment

Zachory K. Berta-Thompson; RHS, 2003Upon earning his A.B. in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton and a PhD in Astronomy from Harvard, Zachory has become the Torres Fellow for Explanatory Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is continuing his thesis research of super-Earth and sup-Neptune planets in the hopes of gaining knowledge of their composition and evolution.

Michael Zevalkink; RHS, 1967 After receiving his BSE and MSE in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Mike began a 33-year career with Ford Motor Company. He started as a design engineer and culminated his career as the Executive Director of Ford’s Performance Group. Mike excelled at Ford Motor Company, an international giant in the car industry.

Service to Rockford Public Schools/Community

Derek VanDam; RHS, 2001Derek was working at a TV studio in Flint after graduating from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, when he went on a mission trip through his church to Africa. After serving with the Compassionate Life Foundation, he was presented with an opportunity to work as the Chief Meteorologist at a start up station in South Africa, eNews Channel Africa (eNCA). Derek realized he had an opportunity to use his success as a high profile TV personality towards the betterment of others. He continued his work with CLF, which focuses on vulnerable children and widows who have been affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 

Honorary Achievement-Contribution to Rockford Public Schools

Sue BakitaSue’s 50-year career at Rockford Public Schools is filled with accolade and accomplishment. Her dedication to students and our community is exemplified in her years of service on numerous committees, where she implemented innovation and growth at Rockford Public Schools.

Sue BodennerAs a visionary who leads by example and involves students along the way, Sue is making the world a better place starting right here in Rockford. She has a passion for people of all ages, the underprivileged, literacy, community and patriotism. She combines all of her passions and implements programs that marry the young and the old. As a Rotarian, one of the programs she implemented is Reading Rocks, an award-winning festival that celebrates reading.

Jamie HosfordJamie’s motto of “We can always improve!” has made a lasting impact on the Rockford Public Schools. Jamie parlayed his outstanding collegiate athletic career into a successful career in education by using the same principles to inspire employees and students to work hard and do their best. During his tenure at RPS he led the transition from junior high to Middle School and was instrumental in Rockford Middle School being awarded as a National Exemplary School.

Fred ReuschFred stepped away from a successful business career at Exxon’s Math/Computer/Systems Department to follow his passion to teach Math. Rockford High School students have benefited from his passion since 1999. His creative and compassionate style of teaching has resulted in huge successes for his students.

These 10 deserving individuals will be celebrated on the weekend of Oct. 24 and 25.
On Friday, they will be speaking to students in schools throughout the district and will be recognized at the Rams Football game. On Saturday, they will be honored at a dinner held at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.  All proceeds from the event will benefit the REF, which funds educational grants to the Rockford community.

    Inductees 2014

        Sue Bakita
        Zachory K. Berta-Thompson
        Sue Bodenner
        Jamie Hosford
        Dana Mambourg Zimbric
        Fred Reusch
        April Soderstrom
        Derek VanDam
        Michael Zevalkink

   Inductees 2012

        Robert S. Boyer 
        Victor Krause

        Jacquelyn Melin
        Carol Muth        
        Matthew Turk, Ph. D. 
        Cameron Blake Warne
        Ginger Zee (Zuidgeest

   Inductees 2010

           Carole Baker
        Scott Baldridge
        Linda Blackmore 
        Clarence Blakeslee
        Neil C. Blakeslee
        Erik S. Douglas, Ph. D. 
        J. Brett Grill
        Linda M. Johnston, Ph. D. 
        Michael D. Lepech, Ph. D.
        Michael S. Shibler, Ph. D.  

         For nomination forms 
                  click here 
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