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St. Patrick School Welcomes Sydney VanDyken to the 2nd Grade Classroom

There will be a new face behind the teacher’s desk in the 2nd grade classroom this fall. Sydney VanDyken is joining the St. Patrick School staff and replacing Connie Leckenby, who is moving to an assistant principal position.


“I am excited to work in a Catholic school,” Sydney says. She grew up on the east side of the state and now lives in West Michigan with her husband Matt.

A 2018 graduate of Hope College, Sydney earned her undergraduate degree in kinesiology and worked in that field for three years before discovering it wasn’t the right fit for her.


“I decided to follow a passion, which is working with kids,” she explains. Sydney enrolled in a state-approved program to earn her teaching certificate and is excited to begin her new career.


While St. Patrick School will be her first full-time position, Sydney has spent plenty of time in the classroom and says her favorite part of teaching is watching students go from “point A to point B” as they learn new material. “I love working with students and helping them understand,” she says.


During her job search, Sydney reached out to a number of Catholic schools in the area and was impressed by the strong sense of community she found here. “It just felt different at St. Pat’s,” she explains. “I’m really excited to be a part of this community.”


As for what she has planned for the fall, Sydney says, “I am looking forward to creating an environment filled with faith, creativity and learning.”

Sydney will begin shadowing current teacher Connie Leckenby in May so that she is familiar with the school and students prior to the start of the 2022-2023 school year.


Meanwhile, Connie may be leaving the classroom, but she is not leaving St. Patrick School. She will move into a newly created assistant principal position. After years of tremendous growth, it has become apparent that a second administrator is needed to help with school-wide oversight and duties. As the senior teacher on staff, Connie was an obvious choice to fill that role.


Please join us in welcoming Sydney VanDyken to the St. Patrick Community and congratulating Connie Leckenby on her new position!




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