Jeanne Hess

Vice Mayor

First elected in 2019. Current term ends in November 2027 (term as Vice Mayor will end in 2025).


Commissioner Jeanne Hess retired in August 2019 after 35 years as professor and chair of the Physical Education Department, and Volleyball Coach at Kalamazoo College. During her career, she spent time as assistant basketball coach, assistant softball coach and associate chaplain. Commissioner Hess was also involved in VISIONS, ERACCE, and Green Dot training at the college.

Jeanne earned her B.S. from the University of Michigan, where she was a member of the Wolverine volleyball team for four years. She went on to earn her M.A. in Exercise Science at Western Michigan University; a prelude to her teaching and coaching career at Kalamazoo College. WMU inducted her into the Alumni Honor Academy for Health, Physical Education and Recreation in April 2010. In 2014, Kalamazoo College awarded her the prestigious Lux Esto Award of Excellence, which honors an employee who has served Kalamazoo College for 26 or more years for a superlative record of stewardship and innovation. She also received the Frances Diebold Award for outstanding service to the community in June of 2000.

She sports five MIAA championships, six NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, and has been named regional coach of the year twice in 1990 and 1991. She has led her team on four international touring, competition, and service trips to China, Costa Rica, Trinidad, and South Africa.

Hess published her first book, Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games in 2012, and MaxAbility: Who Are You and What Are You Here For will be published in 2019. In addition to her work as an author, Jeanne serves as an officiant for celebrating life transitions. She serves her faith community of St. Thomas More Student Parish, and volunteers with the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Ministry with Community, Diaper Bank of Kalamazoo, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and Kalamazoo Communities in Schools.

Hess and her husband, Jim, reside in Kalamazoo, where Jim is a residential realtor with Jaqua Realtors. They have two sons, Andrew and Kevan, who graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School. Andrew played baseball at the University of Michigan, and Kevan played baseball at Western Michigan University. Both were drafted by the Detroit Tigers, where each played in the minor leagues for 3 years. Following his athletic career, Kevan chose to make his home in Kalamazoo, where he is a realtor at Jaqua Realtors. Jim and Jeanne are now proud grandparents of three.