University hires VP for finance


Jim English Courtesy Calvin University

A university has a new vice president for finance.

Jim English began the role in December for Calvin University following a national search.

Prior to joining Calvin, he had spent nearly two decades in assistant and associate superintendent of finance and operations roles for three different school districts across Michigan, the past eight years with Holland West Ottawa Public Schools.

“He has a track record of navigating dynamic and changing environments and has made significant contributions in strategic financial planning, budgeting, and project management in K-12 education,” Calvin University President Michael Le Roy said.

“We found his grasp of strategic finance to be quite impressive, and we also appreciate that Jim has the heart of a teacher, is committed to empowering teams, and has demonstrated an ability to tackle and solve challenging problems in a spirit of humility, transparency and grace.”

During English’s tenure at Holland West Ottawa, the school district passed $188 million in bond proposals and invested in and planned for new facilities, while improving existing infrastructure, technology and transportation.

Under his leadership, West Ottawa earned recognition for its improved financial reporting and transparency, realized better value for its health benefits and created competitive pay structures for its employees, English said.

“Both in K-12 and in higher ed, the goal is to provide high-quality programs for students and to meet their needs for working in the 21st century,” English said. “Tuition dollars are precious to parents and students, and I don’t take lightly the need to steward those dollars well.”

Before West Ottawa, English was director of finance at Holland Public Schools and assistant superintendent at Wayland Union Schools.

He has a Master of Business Administration from Grand Valley State University and a Bachelor of Education in elementary education and teaching from Hope College.

English succeeds Sally Vander Ploeg, who retired from Calvin after 20 years in the role.

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