The United States Green Building Council announced that the Grand Rapids Public Schools district in Michigan has been selected to host the Center for Green Schools Fellowship program. Also, sustainability professional Kristen Trovillion has been chosen as the 2014 Fellow.

"We are very excited to have Ms. Trovillion as the new fellow on our team. In many ways, her talent and this new fellowship are symbolic of the strategic direction of the district and our commitment to sustainability and talent recruitment," said Teresa Weatherall Neal, superintendent of schools. 

The fellowship program places fully funded, full-time sustainability officers in school districts across the country. The fellows work with school district leadership to provide direction, training, and resources to bring sustainable and environmentally responsible practices into schools. The Center for Green Schools at USGBC works with district leadership to find the funding to select, train, and support each fellow. The Grand Rapids fellowship is being funded through support from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, along with several other local donations.

Trovillion was selected following a rigorous application process and will be placed in the school district for a three-year term beginning on Aug. 25, 2014. She previously served as an energy specialist with the City of Indianapolis' Office of Sustainability. Prior to that, she was the director of programs for the Indiana Office of Energy Development.

"I'm looking forward to bringing the skills I've honed in Indianapolis to the Grand Rapids community and champion efforts toward a greener learning environment for the students of Grand Rapids Public Schools,” said Trovillion. “My family and I are thrilled to return to Michigan and become part of the vibrant Grand Rapids community."

The Center for Green Schools Fellowship program was established as a result of a 2008 pilot program in which USGBC placed an employee on the ground in the Hurricane Katrina-stricken Recovery School District in New Orleans. The dedicated coordinator, Anisa Baldwin Metzger, was successful in providing the support needed to rebuild the community’s devastated school infrastructure. The Recovery School District has embraced environmentally sound practices, and nearly 40 LEED®-certified or registered schools are now open or under construction.

“Grand Rapids Public Schools’ overall leadership and commitment to sustainability makes the district a great partner for the Center for Green Schools Fellowship program,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “We know that all aspects of the school environment are impacted positively when someone is hired to manage sustainability within a school system. The district’s engagement, along with the expertise and professionalism brought by Kristen, will help the district be successful in taking their sustainability efforts to the next level.”