July 15, 2022
KALAMAZOO, Mich.—KayDee (Terakedis) Perry (BS, Secondary Math Education ’03, MA, Adapted Physical Education ’12) was recently named Associate Provost for Student Development at Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan. The Associate Provost for Student Development provides leadership and oversite in the development, coordination, and monitoring of retention and student success strategies across all campus constituencies. Perry will engage in outreach and collaboration across the campus to set a strategic direction specific to the development, execution, and assessment of action aimed at increasing student retention, persistence, and graduation rates. The associate provost provides director leadership for matters related to student affairs. The position reports to the Provost and works collaboratively across campus with administration, faculty, and staff in academic affairs, student engagement, athletics, and admissions to accomplish college-wide student success goals.
“I’m excited to be a part of the student development team so that we can meet our students where they are at, provide the necessary support along the way, and be there to celebrate their graduation! The opportunity to work collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders to do what’s best for our students drives me. I have been telling people that this role feeds my relentless pursuit to help students “Be More and Do Good,” shared Perry.
She began her career as a secondary math teacher and worked with several different districts. Inspired by her experience co-teaching with a special education teacher, she returned to WMU for a Master’s degree in Adaptive Physical Education. Her and her co-teacher found students were struggling to stay engaged during long math blocks. They wanted to get the kids more active in their learning and having minored in physical education while earning her bachelor of science degree at Western, she had the idea to integrate physical activity into the math course. “I wanted to make sure all my students would feel they belonged in such a class, so the Master’s degree in adapted physical education was a way for me to become more mindful of developing an inclusive classroom,” explained Perry.
After teaching secondary math for over 7 years, Perry was moved to lower elementary, physical education. With the dramatic shift in teaching between these experiences, she realized her passion for forming deeper relationships with students. In 2012, Perry began her journey as an assistant professor in health and human performance at Olivet College.
During her time at Olivet College, Perry has also spent time as President of the Faculty Senate, Director of Academic Mentoring and Advising, Chair of the Health and Human Performance Department, and as the Special Assistant to the Provost, Retention and Success. Perry also coordinates volunteer efforts for the Eaton County Special Olympics Field Day, something she was drawn to do after learning about the Special Olympics organization while getting her Master’s degree at Western.
In 2021, Perry received a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership – Higher Education from Grand Canyon University.
For those studying to be a teacher today, Perry has this advice to offer: “Teaching is a job that you’ll never be perfect at – there will always be more to learn and ways you could do it better. Give yourself grace and build a support system, personally and professionally. Be reflective and always strive to become the best version of yourself.” She also encourages all student to engage in a variety of opportunities while on campus.