GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) — You might say that education is in Cindy Rivera’s blood as both of her parents were educators too.

Mrs. Rivera recently took the helm as interim principal at Dickinson Academy after serving as both a teacher and assistant principal for Grand Rapids Public Schools.

The greeting she gets from her scholars each day usually includes a hug.

“That hug that I receive from most of my students every morning, oh, you don’t have any idea how much that means for me. It’s like, my everything.”

Dickinson Academy is a diverse school with scholars from all over the world. Mrs. Rivera says her goal is to ensure each scholar feels welcome.

“It’s important for me to make them feel like they can do whatever they want and language is not a limitation,” Mrs. Rivera said. “They can come to the school and the teachers are going to be there for them…I am here for them.”

Mrs. Rivera taught school in Puerto Rico for 21 years before moving to West Michigan to accept a teaching position with GRPS.