Tara has devoted her career to helping people. She started out in the serving industry, worked her way up to management, to marketing, and finally becoming a sales specialist in the retail industry. She has a real passion for people! Tara is a customer service and sales expert with sixteen years of experience in the field, handling customer needs and delivering effective solutions to problems.
Tara received her 301 Masters certification through an MBA program. She has an unwavering commitment to customer service with the ability to build productive and long lasting relationships, resolve issues, and earn customer loyalty. Tara loves bringing energy into a room and not taking everything too seriously. According to Tara, she talks too loud sometimes and her jokes aren’t always funny…but she enjoys making people feel comfortable around her when she meets them.
Outside of the office,Tara is a dedicated wife and mother of three strong minded children that keep her running constantly. Tara describes her work as sometimes being her “escape…but when you believe in it…when you truly find that you are making a difference in kids’ lives…it doesn’t feel like work at all.”
Why Tara chose MIPS:
“Through my career I’ve realized that building relationships with people is what I was meant to do and what I’m most passionate about….which has lead me here to MIPS. Falling in love with your work creates something special about it. My “why” for being here with this amazing school isn’t something I can copy and paste from the internet….I myself am a mom of a middle schooler that has been ‘falling through the cracks’ for years.
My understanding for what virtual school offers to students just like my own child has opened my mind up to so many possibilities, when I honestly thought all of my options were exhausted. Is the virtual world the best choice for every child? No, it’s not! But is it the perfect fit for some kids that have lost all hope for school and need to feel successful again? You betcha!”
Student Engagement Specialist
Before joining Michigan International Prep School as a Student Engagement Specialist, Annette served in the medical profession for 20+ years, most recently working as a supervisor in her department. In her current role at MIPS, Annette provides critical support to current and prospective MIPS students and families.
Annette is a wife and a mother of 3 children and has one new grand-baby. In her spare time, she enjoys camping and riding her ATV with close friends and family. She is a very family-oriented person.
Why Annette chose MIPS:
“I joined the MIPS team because I was looking for a new challenge and direction in life. I knew right away that joining MIPS was the right fit for me. In my own experience, I can relate to the parent’s perspective, having a child who struggled with school and ultimately turned to virtual education. The virtual learning model provides students with a low-pressure learning environment and an extremely flexible schedule - both of which do not come with face-to-face learning. I feel that the MIPS team is a vibrant and success-oriented team. My position here allows me to help students and parents daily, and gives me a sense of accomplishment.”"
Student Engagement Specialist
Charise is a mom of two great kids and a wife of 26 years. She has worked for the last 12 years in the food industry, and before that, she was a stay at mom for 10 years. Charise's experience in the workforce and as a mom give her a great deal of empathy, a strong work ethic, and a drive to get things done efficiently. Her love for kids led her to volunteering her time and energy with her own two children for 10 years with the 4-H program. She loved to see not only her children but all the participants succeed with their animals, and in all other categories of life as well.
Why Charise chose MIPS:
"I joined the MIPS team so I can help children succeed in their futures like I witnessed in the 4-H program. Our children are our future and we have to help in every way possible. I'm so excited to be part of the Enrollment Team here at MIPS"
Director of Adult Learning
Director of Academic Counseling Services Social Studies Teacher
Mrs. Sharkey is a secondary Social Studies Teacher/Mentor at MIPS. She has wealth of experience in education, having served as a teacher in traditional and online learning environments, adult education, and district program coordination in Michigan and Minnesota. With an intense commitment to student success, she embraces creative and holistic best practices and is always ready and willing to go the extra mile to serve the needs of her students. Becky received her Bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Central Michigan University, her Master’s degree in Liberal Studies in American Culture from the University of Michigan and a Secondary Teaching Certification in grades 6-12 from the University of Minnesota.
Becky is currently working to complete her M.Ed. She lives in Fostoria with her husband and son on their working farm, sustainably raising grass-fed cattle, free-ranging chickens, flowers and vegetables. When not pulling weeds and calves, Mrs. Sharkey likes to spend time with family and friends, read, hike, refurbish old furniture, practice yoga, and travel.
Why Becky chose MIPS:
“I joined MIPS because of their commitment to an individualized educational approach that meets the needs of each and every MIPS student and family. I believe strongly that meaningful teaching and learning is not a “one-size-fits all” process. In order to prepare all learners for the promises and challenges of the twenty-first century, we need to employ holistic, creative, “out of the box” strategies. I searched for a school which embodied these beliefs and in MIPS I found it!”
Matthew Jones is an Academic Counselor with six years of experience. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor's in Psychology and from Central Michigan University with a Master's in Counseling. Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, he has always had a passion for books and reading as a way to both explore new worlds and better know the world around him.
Why Matthew chose MIPS:
Julie is in her eleventh year working in the School Counseling profession. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge and passion for learning with families, staff, and students. Her focus is on ensuring students are taking the correct flow of courses in high school that match their interests and post secondary goals along with helping students sharpen their soft skills for lifelong success. Prior to working in a school setting, Julie helped youth struggling with substance abuse issues. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Substance Abuse Education and Master’s degree in Counseling from Central Michigan University.
Julie enjoys spending time with her family and friends outside of work. Spending time outdoors is how she stays refreshed and grounded. She has two teenage sons, a husband, two cats and two dogs to keep her busy at home.
Why Julie chose MIPS:
My name is Pamela Mitchell, Social Worker for MIPS! I am passionate about helping others in any way
possible through both work and volunteering. I have a background in social work and earned my
undergraduate degree at Eastern Michigan University and my master’s degree at Wayne State
University. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than a decade of professional experience. I
have had clinical assessment and therapeutic positions throughout southeast Michigan.
I have also
served as a juvenile probation officer in both Wayne County and Livingston County. In recent years I
served as the program coordinator for a local adult homeless shelter.
My career focus has been working
with individuals and families and helping them to make positive changes to live more fully. Daily, I strive
to follow God’s lead, find the lesson and joy in all circumstances, and share that with others! A favorite
quote of mine is: “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard
work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
In my spare time, I love
anything creative including dance and music, all types of new and physical challenges, time with my sons
and family, reading and writing, and meeting new and old friends.
Why Pamela chose MIPS:
"I chose MIPS because of the innovative
approach to guiding and teaching young people! Everyone is unique with a special and personal set of
interests, talents, and skills. MIPS truly embodies that truth in education and I am excited to be a part of
that team and approach!
Special Education Compliance
Leslie Bragdon is a Special Education Case Manager for MIPS. She has worked in special education for over 30 years serving as a special education transition teacher, center-based building principal, and special education supervisor/monitor in the mid Michigan area.
Leslie completed her undergraduate and masters degree for special and general education teaching from Michigan State University. She received her special education supervisors approval from Saginaw Valley State University.
Leslie and her husband have four boys that live in Michigan. She and her husband recently moved north to Thompsonville, Michigan with their dog Otto.
Through her career in education, Leslie has embraced the responsibility of assisting in providing special education students with a free, appropriate education, providing equal opportunity for all students to develop as individuals according to their intellectual and social potential. During her work as a special education monitor, her path crossed with MIPS administrators and special education teachers. She witnessed first-hand the commitment that MIPS has in working cooperatively with parents of students who are identified as needing special education and related services.
Why Leslie chose MIPS:
“In working with MIPS when I was a monitor for CCRESA ISD, I was impressed with the MIPS administration and special education staff and their commitment to providing instruction of grade level curriculum to all student with IEPs to meet the rigorous state standards, as well the ability of the staff to individualize the academic and emotional needs of the special education student. I am so excited to be a part of the MIPS team, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with others in order to provide effective educational programs and services to children and youth with educational disabilities.”
Ms. Adams is a Middle and High School Mentor at MIPS. She works from the Ortonville Learning Lab. She attended Central Michigan University and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies in 2017. Elizabeth joined the MIPS family in November of 2018 and is excited about the growth she’s experienced since entering the education field. Ms. Adams is known for her warm, enthusiastic, and passionate care for students.
Elizabeth (Liz) enjoys reading, painting, and cooking in her spare time. She has an energetic Boxer-Terrier mix at home who loves to bury herself in blankets. She’s a Broadway musical enthusiast and would love to see Hamilton performed live someday. Liz likes to spend most of her time with friends and family.
Why Liz chose MIPS:
“Joining the MIPS family has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I get to spend my day interacting with students from all over the state, who bring so many new and unique perspectives with them. I like that MIPS not only cares about providing a quality education, but also providing everything a student and their family would need in order to be successful. Instead of students having to try to live their lives around school, MIPS provides the flexibility needed in order to fit schooling into their lives and have the two blend perfectly.”
Krista is a School Psychologist, and she joined the MIPS family in the spring of 2020. Krista was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI, and she ran cross country and track competitively throughout high school and college. She attended Central Michigan University where her interest in working with individuals with disabilities began. She worked in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis after graduating from CMU and while attending graduate school at Grand Valley State University. Krista is a licensed School Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has worked as a School Psychologist in the Mid-Michigan and Grand Rapids areas along with a handful of virtual positions with school districts across the state of Michigan.
Krista enjoys spending time and going on adventures with family and friends. She is the mother of two energetic young boys.
Why Krista chose MIPS:
"I joined MIPS because I saw a unique opportunity to work with a diverse group of students, family, and staff members. I value my role as a problem-solving team member. Working with MIPS has presented me with the wonderful experience of collaborating with others who are focused on the individual needs of each family and on consistent student growth. MIPS provides a strong system of support for its students."
Student Care Specialist
Karen was born in Birmingham, AL and raised in Detroit, MI. During high school, Karen excelled in track & field sports. She was All-City and State for 4 years and MVP for 3 years. It was all worth the sacrifice being awarded a full track scholarship to Central State University (Ohio). After college, she worked for the first Target Dept. Store (customer relations) in the City of Detroit, while working for the City of Detroit’s Payroll Dept. for 20 yrs. She’s lived one of her dreams of owning and operating a Child Care center for 5 years as well.
Karen is a wife of 30 years, a mother of three daughters and three granddaughters. Karen enjoys a good laugh, outdoor roller skating, biking, meditating, community volunteering, and re-designing hats and bags as an entrepreneurial outlet.
Why Karen chose MIPS:
"I chose MIPS, like MIPS chose me! MIPS is a great fit for me because of the emphasis on teamwork, and a mindset that's committed to seeing everyone in the MIPS program succeed. Children are impressionable and I believe in leaving an honest and heartfelt impression on every child and person I meet. My title is Student Care Specialist, and caring for students is what I'm all about!"
Director of Technology
As the Director of Technology at Michigan International Prep School, Faisal is responsible for managing the installation of technology systems and tools, including both software and hardware. He monitors software access and permissions for both students and staff, and oversees the cybersecurity of school devices and networks. Most importantly, Faisal and his team are committed to providing the highest level of technical service to our learning community.
Faisal graduated in 2015 from Lawrence Technological University with a Master's degree in Computer Sciences. He also obtained His Master's in Business Administration in 2019 from Columbia Southern University.
Faisal is passionate about helping students to accell academically by providing them with the highest level of technical equipment and service. Before coming to MIPS, Faisal worked for Nemak, an automotive supplier company. He managed 5 locations in 5 states besides Michigan.
Why Faisal chose MIPS:
"MIPS has an excellent reputation for the quality of its teaching and the excellent behavior of its pupils. I'm thrilled to be a part of such a committed team and to add my own skills and experience to further strengthen the high-quality experience that this school offers to its students.
I'm grateful to feel that I can help to make a difference in the lives of MIPS students, and to contribute to a supportive and nurturing environment that allows every child to achieve greatness, regardless of the challenges they may face.
Digital Integration Specialist
Peter is a Digital Integration Specialist at MIPS, which means he
works to tie different computer systems together to help make
things work better for everyone else, and improve the experience for
students. He also works with the computer science and information
technology curriculum at MIPS, serving as an instructor in some
A graduate of Saginaw Valley State
University's computer science program, Peter lives in Midland,
Why Peter chose MIPS:
"I believe it's important that students and their families have access to
a variety of educational options to suit their needs. I'm proud to be
working with the wonderful people at MIPS to provide our students with
one of those options."
Marketing & Communications Director
Ben Hoppe serves as Marketing Communications Director for MIPS, and oversees all branding, content creation, and school-wide communications.
Mr. Hoppe holds an MBA from Purdue Global University, as well as a Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI. He also studied performance and songwriting at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville, TN.
In his free time, Ben enjoys songwriting, music production, art, soccer, and reading.
Why Ben chose MIPS:
“I believe the future of education lies in unique, custom-fit training. I personally was much more interested in creative, artistic pursuits, so I can relate to students whose interests don’t particularly align with traditional academia. At MIPS, we resist the tendency to make education a uniform, ultra-standardized experience. No two kids are the same, and we don’t feel that it makes sense to treat them as if they are. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that runs on integrity, excellence, and a genuine care for the success of students as unique, talented individuals. It’s a privilege to serve with these people!”
Cara recently graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Family Studies. Originally, she had entered college as an Elementary Education major. Having previously worked at a preschool, Cara spent three years in various capacities (substitute teacher, office aid, etc.) at Sacred Heart Academy. She also volunteered as a tutor at three different elementary schools and worked as a counselor at Point O’ Pines in upstate New York. All of this had contributed to her desire to become a teacher.
She enjoyed her classes as an Elementary major, but something wasn’t right. She wanted to do more for students at a more holistic level, and the teacher’s role was simply too restrictive. Halfway through her junior year, her frustrations came to a head; she marched into her counselor’s office and switched her major.
After some experimentation, her journey eventually led her to MIPS. As a mentor, she has the flexibility to provide students with a unique level of support and care.
In her spare time, Cara loves spending time with her dogs and with anyone else’s dogs. She enjoys being outside, camping, cooking, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Why Cara chose MIPS:
"Last summer I had my internship with the Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County. I loved this position, but hearing such difficult stories day in and day out was not something that I could do long term. All of this is what lead me to MIPS. When I changed my major, I had a hard time with a system that passed kids along with no extra help or relief for teachers. I told everyone that I still wanted to work in a school and be connected to students, but I did not want the title of teacher. That is why I am so happy to be a part of this team. This is exactly what I wanted to do! I get to be that voice and supporter for students who need someone to be there. I get to help students who have had trouble with school and help to direct them."
Mentor / Marketing Specialist
Eric is a mentor here at MIPS who wants to engage with and support students in ways that foster successful academic and personal growth. He loves working with students and seeing them do their best wherever they are!
Eric has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Writing from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Following his degree, he spent three years as a Youth Pastor in Grand Haven, Michigan—a beautiful town right on Lake Michigan. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree online at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.
Eric and his wife, Mary, moved to the east side of Michigan in the fall of 2020, where he discovered MIPS and began as a mentor! Eric is also an avid reader and writer, a photographer and videographer, and would call himself a film buff. He loves going on adventures with his wife as well! He is primarily known as “the bald guy with the big beard.”
Why Eric chose MIPS:
“I am incredibly excited to be a part of what MIPS is doing for the education of so many students.The exceptional vision and goals for the academic and relational success of its students clearly put the students first. At MIPS there is an amazing opportunity to have one-on-one interactions and relationships between the students and their teachers/mentors. Additionally, the faculty and staff all share a deep passion for the wellbeing and success of the students. Here, staff and students alike are able to be authentic and personalize their learning environment in a way that truly helps us all grow.”
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