Welcome to Gerald R. Ford Academic Center (PK-8)

As the principal of Gerald R. Ford Academic Center, I take pride in offering all scholars a college-focused culture where they will be taught to embrace the idea that college is important. Our Ford family will prepare your scholar for this goal by helping them build habits of excellent scholarship and leadership. 

We welcome new families to visit us and take a tour to see us in action to determine if our school is the right fit for your family. 

Denishea Killingham Neal

School Apps

Gerald R. Ford Academic Center

851 Madison Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Phone: 616-819-2640
Denishea Neal
Maria Hampton
Dean of Students
Kim Ashton
Head Secretary
Bridget Cheney
Executive Director PK-12 Instructional Leadership (Southeast)

School Hours

Breakfast 8:50 a.m.
Start Time 9:10 a.m.
Dismissal 4:06 p.m.
Half Day Dismissal 12:20 p.m. 


At the Gerald R. Ford Academic Center, we believe that an effective school does so much more than cover traditional curriculum. We teach our scholars to become initiators, seekers, and builders.

Our mission  is to develop the intellectual habits of mind, character traits, and perseverance needed to achieve career and college readiness; to develop personal integrity and success; and to lead and serve the common good of our local and global communities.

Our vision at Gerald R. Ford Academic Center is to prepare all scholars to become independent learners who possess the desire, skills, and abilities needed for lifelong learning.  At our school we ensure that all of our preschool through 8th grade scholars are actively involved in productive tasks that combine and extend their skills.  Our school offers opportunities for scholars to participate in projects during Spanish class and show off their skills playing the violin in music class.  

Our mission and vision are achieved by creating goals around a safe learning environment that are centered on scholars, directed by teachers, and supported by home and community.

Consider Gerald R. Ford Academic Center for your scholar if:

  • You are seeking highly qualified and dedicated teachers who believe in your child's potential to learn and achieve.
  • You want your child to learn in a college-going culture of high expectations.
  • You want your child to learn in small classes that foster civic community leadership, develop character and integrity, and participate in service-learning projects.
  • You value the stability and consistency of a preschool to grade 8 community.
  • You want a Spanish language requirement.
  • You are willing to sign a contract and fulfill parent/guardian expectations.

We have incorporated distance learning for years and are poised to be a leader in the district as a blended model of new technologies and old practices, giving our students the best of both worlds. Our 1-to-1 student technology device approach ensures that every student has the opportunity to learn inside and outside the classroom.

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