Daisy is a middle school mentor. She is currently attending Mott Community College to earn her Associate’s degree in Arts. Her goal is to transfer to Oakland University to earn a teaching degree. Daisy can’t wait to be a third grade teacher! She has several years of experience working with children of all ages. Her work experience started when she worked at a daycare center for 2 years. She also has experience working in a library. Daisy enjoyed recommending books for students to read for fun or books needed for school work. While working at a daycare center and library she discovered she has a passion working with kids. Daisy is also a member of the Lapeer Kiwanis Club and volunteers her time to raise money for the children of her community. She has a strong desire to see children succeed in life and follow their dreams.
In her spare time she enjoys hanging out with friends and family, reading, checking out different libraries, volunteering and shopping.
Why Daisy chose MIPS:
“I wanted a change in career because I wanted to learn something new and be challenged. Being a mentor is the perfect position for me. I’ll be able to work more closely with students and gain experience for when I become a teacher. I will make sure my students succeed in their classes and personal life. I want them to be able to follow their dreams. Thank you MIPS for this opportunity."
Jared is a mentor who has a passion for building relationships with students and inspiring them to pursue their personal and academic goals. He has a talent for pulling people out of their shell and creating deep and meaningful connections.
Along with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Northwood University, Jared has experience in law enforcement and mortgage lending, both of which have ingrained in him the “art” of communication. His time volunteering with youth in the Flint area and his own experience with personal mentors has led him to MIPS, where he hopes to make a difference in many students’ lives.
and meaningful connections.
Jared enjoys working on renovation projects and camping with his family. His favorite way to spend time is to teach his young kids how to live and love well and to seek out new adventures with his wife.
Why Jared chose MIPS:
"I was so excited to join the MIPS family because of the personalized approach to education for each student. I know that everyone here is 100% invested in the academic and personal success of each student and family that we work with. Watching each member of the MIPS family go above and beyond for our students and families is inspiring."
Why Katlyn chose MIPS:
Allison is a Michigan native who earned her BS in Psychology from Grand Valley State University. During her time at Grand Valley, she taught technology classes as a parent engagement coordinator for Grand Rapids Public Schools.
Allison earned her Masters degree in Higher Education at the University of Louisville, and served as Graduate Assistant in the U of L Athletic Department, gaining experience as an Academic Adviser for student athletes. She also served as Academic Adviser to the Indiana University Division I football team.
Allison currently serves as academic success coach for Total Package Hockey/MIPS student athletes in the Detroit area.
Lead Relationship Coordinator
Douglas Butler was born and raised in Highland Park, MI. He attended and graduated from Highland Park Community High School, 76th in a class of 476 students. After graduating high school in 1985, Douglas furthered his education on scholarship at Western Michigan University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, Communication, and Sociology, as well as a Masters Degree in Human Resources Training and Development.
Douglas excelled at sports, he was All State in track and earned varsity lettering in basketball as a sophomore at Highland Park High School. He went on to play 1 year of basketball and 4 years as a track standout at WMU. Douglas’s remarkable performances in track led him to obtain a professional career in Athens, Greece.
Douglas brings an enormous amount of experience in working with young people. He was Program Director for the Detroit Behavioral Institute, where he currently serves on the Board of Directors as Treasure. He was also the Dean of students for Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences.
For the past 11 years, Douglas has been the Senior Pastor of Mayflower Church. Douglas is the youngest Pastor in the church's 90 year history.
Why Doug chose MIPS:
"I joined Michigan International Prep School because it offers today’s youth the opportunity to become accustomed to a College environment. The wide range of freedom it creates for students to utilize their time and become multi-task oriented.
The one-on-one conversations with students allows the students to operate at a pace that may feel less threatening than your traditional schools. A customized fit into the MIPS community is what sets this school apart from any other. The difference in the students brings out the creativity in the teachers and mentors.
Kimberly is an individual who strives to always be the best version of herself. She believes that it’s the little things in life that truly matter and have the power to make a big impact. Kimberly is currently enrolled as a senior at the University of Michigan for a bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management/Organizational Behavior. With this degree, she hopes to earn her way into a position that will allow her to utilize her strong communication skills and passion for working with the people. Holding over 5 years of experience working with children in an early child development center and 3 years in a managerial position have shaped Kimberly into the individual that she is today. She is an individual who is dedicated to the well-being of both children and adults alike. She has consistent motivation to support and encourage others to keep moving forward- no matter the hardships life may offer.
During her down time, Kimberly can be found either being crafty via painting or playing with her music. As well as making time to get active outdoors (kayaking, hiking etc.) and living for new life experiences that come her way.
Why Kim chose MIPS:
“I had come to a point in my life where I felt that what I was doing, in that moment, wasn’t fulfilling. I’ve always had this drive in me that wanted to do more - be kind, help others and make a difference. I love working with kids but wanted to find a position that allowed me to continue to work with them in a more influential way - and then I found MIPS. Being a mentor meant that not only could I continue to work with students of all ages, but I get to finally do “more” by working with them one-on-one and developing genuine connections which allows both myself and the student to grow and prosper together."
Speech Language Pathologist
Why Sydney chose MIPS:
Jessica Britton is a wife and mother of four, who has spent much of her adulthood raising her children, while trying to find the perfect fit for her love and passion for helping kids. She studied American Sign Language at Mott Community College, and hopes to be able to continue a path in working with the Deaf community in the future. She volunteers in many different community groups through her local church and is involved with outreach in the children and teen ministries there.
Jessica’s passion for reaching and inspiring children to find and follow their fullest potential has led her to become a middle/high school mentor here at MIPS. She plans to continue her career here and help incoming students to grow and find their individualized path to success. Her other passions are her family and friends, writing, and all outdoor leisure activities.
Why Jessica chose MIPS:
“As my children entered public school, and were having various difficulties in learning, I found that they were all in need of more specific tools and strategies to help them to accomplish their goals. I see this great development happening here at MIPS. I’m astonished at the initiative here at MIPS and the direction they are taking in helping to develop strong, independent learners. Their mission and purpose is exactly what I feel our school system is lacking for the unique student who doesn’t fit the mold."
Alex is a high school mentor and ELL Specialist who is thrilled to work with students from all different backgrounds and strives to help students accomplish their goals. He received a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in History and later received a master’s degree from Oakland University in Linguistics, specializing in teaching English as a second language. This passion for working with international students and second language learners led Alex to teach at Northern Michigan University, Oakland University, and various community programs.
Alex currently lives in Marquette and loves exploring the Upper Peninsula. You can find him out fishing, running, hiking, skiing, and camping all year round. He also has a passion for working on cars and metal work. Feel free to ask him what he is working on currently or where the fishing has been good. He is an outgoing person that likes meeting new people and seeing what they are passionate about.
Why Alex chose MIPS:
“I chose MIPS because I have worked with them before and saw the opportunities that they give to students. I had some students in my former program that struggled immensely and were totally discouraged with their high school experience so far. MIPS made it their goal to see these students through and make sure they graduated. I loved this mindset and passion that the instructors and staff from MIPS had for my students. When the opportunity came to join the team, I knew I had to be a part of it!”
Hello! My name is Shannon, and I am a speech-language pathologist (or “SLP” to save time) from Amplio for MIPS. As a SLP, I can help students with speaking, fluency, expressive language, receptive language, foundational reading skills, reading comprehension, and social communication. I am a Central Michigan University alumnus for my bachelor’s degree, and I graduated from Grand Valley State University with my master’s degree. My education has not stopped there, though. I am continually learning from my colleagues, families, and students with whom I work. This is one of my favorite parts of my job!
I currently live near Grand Rapids with my husband, daughter, and two very energetic border collies. These furry bunkies will likely say “hi” at least once during our meetings. In my free time, you will probably find me playing the never-ending game of catch with my dogs, watching Frozen for the 5,832nd time with my daughter, playing Wingspan with my husband, or eating cookies by myself.
I am looking forward to meeting you!
Why Shannon chose MIPS:
MIPS is flexible and individualized without sacrificing excellence. I love that the school and the family can work together to find a learning environment that is best for the student. I am so proud to be a part of a team of individuals (parents and guardians included!) who genuinely cares about the well-being and academic progress of students.
Cassidy Chaisson is an accomplished singer/songwriter with extensive performance experience. She is currently continuing her vocal training at Belmont University in Nashville as a Commercial Music major. Music is a passion for Cassidy, who believes that music is truly a universal language that can inspire and change lives for the better both for the performer and audience. Cassidy has been active in her church worship team and has been a singer/songwriter in the band “Covenant Waters Worship” whose music can be heard on iTunes and Spotify.
Stephanie graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Communication, Media, and Theatre Arts and a minor in Language, Literature and Writing.
Before joining the MIPS team, Cogo was the Assistant/Program Director for KingCare (a before-and-after care center in Ann Arbor) for the past 6 years.
Stephanie is an avid reader (she has a book close by at all times). She's also an enthusiastic crafter who loves to crochet and knit. If it’s crafty/artistic she's probably either tried it, or plans to.
Stephanie has two cats, Morph and Zephy.
Why Stephanie chose MIPS:
"I heard about MIPS from my family friend Genna (a fellow mentor) as I was in the process of re-evaluating my life and career plan, and I knew just from the way she was talking about the team and the job itself that this was where I needed to be. MIPS focuses on making sure every student is treated as an individual and given all the tools and access they need in order to be successful. That's something I believe in strongly and felt drawn to as an educator and mentor."
Zachary is a 6-12 mentor at MIPS based out of the Davison Lab. He received his Bachelor's degree from Oakland University and his Master’s degree from Wayne State University in Art History. Previously an adjunct faculty member at Wayne State, Zachary's main focus has been helping students improve their writing, reading, and researching skills through workshops and supplemental instruction. His primary research focus has been exploring the Trans-Atlantic connotations between frescoes of the Italian Renaissance and their impact on the Mexican Social Realist movement of the 1930s.
Zachary resides in the Auburn Hills area with his wife and three dogs--Finn, Pickles, and Gus. His primary activities reside around fishing, camping, and hiking with family and friends.
Why Zac chose MIPS:
"I chose to come to MIPS because of the staff we have and how we put our student's first. The MIPS staff works tirelessly to ensure we are doing the most for our students, while they receive a quality education. Because of this, each student has a team in their corner-- helping them achieve academic success!"
Indigo is a recent graduate from Saginaw Valley State University. She earned her Bachelors in General Studies with triple minors in Music, Musical Theatre, and Black Studies. During her time at the university she served many roles, some of them being a Program Coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, a Senior Orientation Leader, and President of the Organization of Black Unity. Her favorite part of her position(s) is empowering students to achieve their highest potential, however that may look to them.
Indigo's passions include community service, the arts, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) best practices. She has served on numerous committees and boards, her most recent appointment being the Saginaw Arts & Enrichment Commission. She has also had the opportunity to present and facilitate many conversations regarding DEI and creating better environments for marginalized communities. Indigo was recently crowned Miss Saginaw County 2021-22 of the Miss America Organization. She will be representing Saginaw in the Miss Michigan competition next June, and is eager to highlight the multiple opportunities Saginaw has to offer.
Why Indigo chose MIPS:
"MIPS was an opportunity of growth for me. I love helping people find the best for them, no matter the situation. Now I get to do that through an education system. It's the best of both worlds!"
Pathways Coordinator/ Mentor Teacher/BEBS team
Guitarist Lee Dyament established himself in the vibrant Detroit music scene as a studio guitarist for records, commercials, radio and television. His eclectic experience includes backing up international entertainers, touring with Motown revues, Rock ballrooms and dance clubs, jazz festivals, and solo guitar/orchestral concert appearances.
Mr. Dyament’s solo performances draw from the influences of pop, jazz, world, and classical music. Premiers include the Rosewood Suite by Terry Herald, with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra, and Impromptu by film composer Joseph LoDuca (Xena Warrior Princess, Hercules) with the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings. Mr. Dyament’s recording of Leyenda by Isaac Albeniz was included in a compilation CD for the World Music textbook Music &Culture Appreciation for the 21st Century Human by Michael Naylor, PhD.
A versatile artist, Mr. Dyament is also an active arranger. His Pops for Classics series was one of the first books of arrangements of pop and jazz standards published for the classic guitar (“The arrangements are great!” Earl Klugh). He has presented workshops on a variety of Guitar instructional topics for universities, guitar festivals, and national organizations such as the Guitar Foundation of America and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Lee Dyament has been the primary Guitar adjudicator for the American Guild of Music’s Great Lakes Regional Guitar Competition.
As an educator, he approaches both classroom and private instruction with the goal of sharing his wealth of musical and guitar experience with students, imparting best performance practices, and teaching them how to learn and develop their individual talents. His students over the years have gone on to win Grammies and competitions, record hit songs, perform in concert venues, and become teachers themselves for colleges and universities. Mr. Dyament initiated the guitar programs at Macomb, Marygrove, Oakland, and Schoolcraft College, and the University of Detroit. He retired as Divisional Director of Guitar at Wayne State University.
Ms. Kerry Fleet is a creative and caring art teacher. She has more than nine years of experience teaching students of all ages, from kindergarten through 12th grade. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Art Education and a concentration in ceramics. In 2009, Ms. Fleet had the opportunity to travel to South Africa to teach art at The Ubuntu School in Pietermaritzburg. While there, she was able to share and grow her passion for the arts and learning. Ms. Fleet also worked as a graphic designer at the Indiana Geological Survey, where she developed an interest in digital art.
Ms. Fleet became an art teacher so she could inspire young people and broaden their appreciation of art in an encouraging manner. Her hope is to share the love of art that has been her passion since she was young. Ms. Fleet’s teaching style focuses on process and the art-making experience, as a higher priority than the finished result. She provides supportive guidance to each student she works with, so that they may develop creatively in their own unique way. She hopes to inspire children to appreciate and welcome their creativity and imagination through making art.
In her free time, Ms. Fleet loves to spend time with family, hike, and travel. She’s been to Ireland, South Africa, Mozambique, Peru, Alaska, Hawaii, and loves to practice her photography and art journaling while traveling. Creating cross-curricular projects with art and nature is something Ms. Fleet is very passionate about. While not teaching, Ms. Fleet also loves to draw, paint, and embroider. Her artwork has been displayed at art galleries and art festivals. She is eager to help further develop each MIPS student’s passion for the arts.
English & Language Arts Teacher
Carianne Gray has been an English teacher for the past 15 years, having taught in Arizona and Michigan. She comes from a family of teachers and grew up making visits to her mom’s elementary classrooms and her dad’s high school guidance counseling office. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English/Secondary Education and a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages/Education.
When she’s not grading essays and novel projects, she enjoys spending time with her two boys (both in elementary school). They love camping, playing outdoors, playing soccer and baseball, and chasing their goldendoodle puppy. Carianne also enjoys reading, playing her guitar, and traveling the world whenever she gets the chance – especially to Zambia where she spends three weeks each summer, hiking to villages and delivering clean water solutions and medical care.
Why Carianne chose MIPS:
“I LOVE the opportunity to connect with students one-on-one in order to help individualize how students learn. I enjoy getting to know about each of my students in this way.
MIPS is unlike any other virtual school – students can truly work at their own pace and take courses according to an individualized schedule. They can reach out to their personal mentors and teachers any time for instruction and guidance. I love being able to explain concepts and help students further their learning and performance in a very personal and individual way. In this way, MIPS feels like the best of personalized education with the care and attention of one-on-one tutoring and mentoring.”
Candace earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at Rochester College. She has worked in the helping profession for over 10 years and has had the opportunity to form many great relationships with families and the community through that experience. Candace has experience in Child Welfare, Criminal Justice, food pantries, and as an ABA Therapist (Applied Behavioral Analysis). For the past 3 years, she has been able to combine her love for education with her love for helping others by working in an online educational setting. Candace is super excited to be housed in the Detroit lab where she plans to connect with many students from the downtown area.
Outside of MIPS, Candace is the proud mother of a 10 year-old daughter. They love spending quality time together going on bike rides, camping trips, and doing fun painting projects. They have a 1-year-old Shih Tzu named Brownie who has some really awesome soccer skills. Candace loves expressing her creative side whether it be through painting, photography, or dance. She has been teaching hip hop dance classes in the Metro Detroit area for the past 20 years and finds joy in this form of self-expression.
Why Candace chose MIPS:
"For me, MIPS is a great opportunity to build relationships with students across Michigan. Through virtual learning, I am able to connect with a great group of students who all have such unique stories. I have always had a passion for making connections with people and helping whenever I am able. I love feeling like I am a part of something bigger and MIPS allows me to do that daily through the connections I make. It brings me pride to know that I can assist students with their needs, whether they be big or small."
HS Math Teacher/Curriculum Development
Nicole is a secondary Math Teacher and Curriculum Developer at MIPS. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education from The University of Michigan-Flint with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Psychology. She earned her Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College.
After teaching for 12 years, she became a stay-at-home mom for her two boys. When her sons began attending school, she worked as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher. As a paraprofessional, Mrs. Haynes was in charge of organizing, developing and facilitating math interventions. She was responsible for personalizing instruction for students and saw remarkable growth in each student over just a few short months. Being a substitute teacher and a parapro developed her ability to be flexible, patient and to relate to students quickly.
Nicole lives in Davison with her husband, their two sons, a red lab, and an old lady cat. In her free time, Nicole enjoys reading, baking, and spending time around a bonfire.
Why Nicole chose MIPS:
“I chose to join the MIPS team because of their vision to serve students first and their mission to create an individualized educational pathway for each student. Students are like snowflakes - no two are exactly alike. I love that MIPS embraces these differences and encourages individual growth.
Special Education Teacher
Alisha is a K-12 Special Education teacher who mainly works with our elementary aged students here at Michigan International Prep School. She has worked with children for many years, serving as a nanny, camp counselor, assistant preschool teacher, substitute teacher, and lead preschool teacher. Alisha holds a Bachelors Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education and Special Education.
Alisha resides in the Ann Arbor area with her husband, their two young sons, and their dog and cat. In her free time, Alisha enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, and traveling
Why Alisha chose MIPS:
"As an educator, I truly believe that there is not a “one size fits all” approach to education. I joined MIPS because they strongly believe that individualized learning is one of the keys to providing students with success in their education and beyond. MIPS has allowed me to provide personalized education to my students and develop one-on-one relationships that I don’t feel I would have been able to form in a traditional learning environment. Being a part of the MIPS family has also given me the opportunity to work with other like-minded educators who all have the same priority- our students!"
Middle School English & Language Arts Mentor Teacher
Ms. Klebba is a Middle School ELA teacher here at MIPS. She graduated from Oakland University with her Bachelor’s in Education and Language Arts in early 2018. Ms. Klebba is always trying to find new and innovative ways to keep her students engaged and make learning as fun and interesting as possible. She believes strongly in meeting each student where they are and that teaching with their interests at the forefront will lead to greater strides in student learning. Ms. Klebba knows that every student may not have the same love for reading and writing as she does, but she aspires to make everyone love it a little bit more.
When Ms. Klebba is not teaching or grading, she loves to travel and listen to her favorite music. She is a firm believer that seeing new things and experiencing life outside of your comfort zone leads to the greatest learning there is. Reading and writing are also passions of Ms. Klebba. She loves reading mystery novels and writing creatively and about her travel/life experiences.
Why Hanna chose MIPS:
"I just started at MIPS in the 2020/2021 school year and I am excited to begin this journey! MIPS educators have a passion for truly educating students and it shows each day. MIPS is structured in such a way that teachers can differentiate learning pathways for individual students. This allows students to shine in ways traditional schools cannot.
I love that here at MIPS, teachers can create impactful relationships with their students through 1:1 learning. This learning format allows teachers to get to know their students well and to create educational experiences that are meaningful to each student. One of the primary things to remember in education is that each student and their families have previous experiences that differ. My job as an educator is to meet the students and their families where they are and to build trusting relationships that will carry them through their educational career. MIPS makes my job easy by offering a platform for teaching and learning that allows just that."
I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I received my BA in History from the University of Michigan and my MA
in History from Eastern Michigan University. I was a teacher for 32 years and the Social Studies
Department Chair for 20 years at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. In the last four years, myself and the
English department chair developed a mentor course for struggling incoming 9th grade students to get a
strong start at the high school. This experience prepared me well to join the MIPS team as a mentor.
I continue to live in Ann Arbor with my husband and dog Kirby. I have two adult sons, one who is finishing
his senior year in college at the University of Toledo and another who works for the Detroit Lions. I enjoy
sports of all kinds as a participant and spectator! Primarily, I enjoy tennis, golf, biking and swimming. As
a spectator, we go to a lot of football, basketball and baseball games (Go Blue!). And, for all the State fans
among us, I do cheer for MSU when not playing Michigan!
Gregory Lawson was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan. He attended Saginaw Arthur Hill High School, and eventually graduated from Harmony Community School in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2007. Greg would go on to win a basketball scholarship to Cleveland State University.
Greg is a high school and youth basketball coach. Greg is also a basketball skill development coach who works with professional, college, high school, and grade school athletes.
Why Gregory chose MIPS:
"I chose to join the MIPS team because I felt that I could make a positive impact on the lives of students mentoring and sharing knowledge that I have learned over the years, from both positive and negative lessons drawn from previous mentoring experience."
Teneisha McDonald, a born-and-raised Detroit native, received her Bachelor's in Biology from Spelman College. Midway through her collegiate career, she joined the United States Army Reserves as a Preventive Medicine Specialist serving with the 322nd Medical Company. While she considers herself an enthusiast for all things related to health and science, Teneisha's greatest passion resides in the performing arts. She has over 20 years of dance experience, her professional career beginning at just 17 years old. She now teaches and performs nationwide with Detroit’s own Nanou Djiapo African Drum and Dance. A few other hats she wears in the community (time permitting!,) include competitive cheer coach/consult and yoga instructor. She continues to dedicate her spare time investing into the performing arts community with the conviction that this work is not only entertaining, but informative, transformative, and healing.
Why Teneisha chose MIPS:
"I chose MIPS because I believe it is a space that provides me the opportunity to encourage and support the youth in Michigan as they learn to master self-discipline, self-sufficiency, and self-love. My mantra will always be “each one, reach one, teach one.”
Clayton is a mentor who is dedicated to helping students achieve success while enjoying the learning experience. His goal is to present a positive and exciting environment for education to help cultivate a place where goals and dreams can thrive. "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." -Harriet Tubman.
Clayton has a creative mindset with many different outlets, including game design, creative writing, storytelling, acting, and outdoor events. Clayton has three wonderful kids and a beautiful wife of 13 years. He loves the outdoors and the inspiration nature can provide. Clayton is a people person and loves interpersonal engagement on any level.
Why Clayton chose MIPS:
“When I heard about MIPS, I knew it was something I had to be a part of. To have the opportunity to help bring positivity and motivation to the lives of others was a dream come true. To be a part of uplifting the next generation to greater heights is an honor and a privilege for me. I spent a few good years as a mentor in a different role in the past, and since then it has always been my dream to pursue that further in my career and life. I feel blessed to be able to do what I do.”
Ms. Madison Meeron graduated from Hope College in Holland, MI with a Bachelor of the Arts in Theatre and a minor in Communication. She has worked in the theatre industry as an actor, director, teacher, artist, sound designer, and playwright. Ms. Meeron has performed in numerous theatrical productions and is currently working as a professional actor with Hope Summer Repertory Theatre Company. She believes that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have as individuals so she can't wait to begin creating new stories to tell with her students!
Ms. Meeron discovered her love for the arts at the ripe age of 3 when she and her grandmother would act out The Wizard of Oz beginning to end! She was always Dorothy and her grandmother miraculously portrayed every other character. Since then she has been passionate about creating art. She seeks to bring joy to others the same way her grandma brought her joy through performance.
My name is Gabriela Micheloni and I am proud to call Michigan International Prep School (MIPS) my new home. I have been teaching Spanish since 2013. I am a 2007 graduate of Adlai Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights, MI. I was born in Brazil and moved to the U.S. at the age of 14, and have lived in Michigan since 2003.
In 2013 I obtained a B.A. Spanish Literatures and Cultures graduate from Central Michigan University. In 2015, I continued with my studies and obtained an M.A. in Spanish Literatures and Cultures graduate from Central Michigan University. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I wasn’t sure of what age group, so in 2019, I completed the Post-Baccalaureate K-12 Teacher Certification program offered through Central Michigan University. Before teaching K-12 Spanish I started my career teaching Spanish at the college level.
When I am not teaching I like to spend time with my family. I love to cook, decorate the house and go fishing. I also manage my own Airbnb rental property for fun. I really enjoy hosting others at my house and making sure that they have a relaxing, wonderful space to make memories with their family.
Mrs. Murphy is easy-going, soft-spoken, and always thrilled to help. She also likes to vroom around on a Harley and has a pet rottweiler named Gus. We’ve never met Gus, but we assume he’s really great at math.
As the Math Instructor at MIPS, Mrs. Murphy’s enthusiasm for numbers is contagious. She’s passionate about her subject and about instilling that enthusiasm in her students.
Mrs. Murphy has a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics, a Master’s degree in Educational Studies, and a Secondary Teaching Certificate for grades 6th-12th from Oakland University. She resides in Oxford with her husband, Michael. They love traveling and experiencing new places during their leisure time.
Why Ashley chose MIPS:
“In school, I was an exceptional math student and always had a passion for numbers. I have teaching experience in the traditional public classrooms of Oakland, Genesee, Macomb, and Wayne counties. While I loved the in-person interactions I got with students, I wanted more for my students.
I joined MIPS because I wanted to personalize learning by providing valuable, student-focused, academic support. At MIPS, I teach students all around the state of Michigan and I now have the tools and time needed to help kids.
I believe in the MIPS way because I feel supported and comfortable where I work. MIPS is flexible so I can work from anywhere, even though I have an office I travel to five days a week. Our four Drop-In Learning Labs give me autonomy to meet with students from across the state, and provide a change of scenery when necessary.”
Director of Student Support
Mrs. Murray brings 18 years of teaching experience to MIPS, having taught a variety of elective courses in Florida and Texas. As an educator, she has a track record of building award-winning arts programs, but her passion is connecting with students. Based on her experience teaching students with various social-emotional and physical needs, she loves meeting students in their need and helping them grow. She is a natural at building relationships and helping students find their passions.
Mrs. Murray obtained a BA in Acting and Directing from Texas Tech University, with a minor in English and an MA from the University of Houston in Theatre Education. During her schooling, she studied abroad at the Richmond International University in London, and has completed summer course work at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (London), The Actor’s Studio (Chicago) and the SITI Company of New York City. She is in the process of completing a degree in School Counseling and has interest in the field of social services.
Mrs. Murray resides in the Great Lakes Bay Region with her husband, two boys and their goldendoodle. In her free time, Mrs. Murray enjoys exploring Michigan, hammocking, bicycling and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Why Amanda chose MIPS:
"I chose to work at MIPS because of its relevant and individualized approach to education and for the opportunity to connect one-on-one with students. I love that MIPS puts an emphasis on the social-emotional growth of students. So often in education, a holistic approach is lacking, and MIPS provides the opportunity to dive deep with our students to understand their various needs.”
Ms. Megan Nuss has been teaching music for thirteen years at various levels and in various parts of the country for both public and non-profit entities. Among these roles, she has served as a children’s choir clinician, director for a non-profit children’s choir, presented music education research at the national level, and directed multiple musicals. She attended Doane University in Crete, Nebraska where she discovered her passion for sharing and teaching music with young people. During her undergrad, Ms. Nuss sang in the top auditioned choir for 4 years, the jazz choir, and played in the symphonic wind ensemble. A few years later, she received her MA in Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Her drive and passion is to nurture the musician in all students, and genuinely care and value each individual child.
Ms. Nuss was raised in small-town America, where she found her love for all things music. She grew up performing and singing in children’s choir, church choir, auditioned choir, show choir, band, community choir, and community theater. Ms. Nuss is excited to be moving back to her midwest roots with her fiancé, dog, and kitten. She absolutely loves reading, embracing her inner nerd, cooking, all things outdoors, and is a dog enthusiast.
English & Language Arts Teacher/Mentor
James is a middle and high school mentor who wants the students he works with to understand that their individuality is the driving force behind what is going to help them reach their full potential, on both a personal and academic level.. For the last six years, he worked for Wyandotte Public Schools in their Special Education department as an associate teacher and paraprofessional and then as a substitute teacher in their general education program. James would describe himself as a "professional helper." He takes great pride in going above and beyond when helping someone. He is currently working towards a bachelors in human services through online schooling so he understands what his students need in order to be successful. After he completes his bachelor's degree, he plans to return to school and work towards earning his master's degree and teacher certification.
Being a father of five, James does not have a lot of spare time, but when he does, he enjoys cooking, taking walks with his family, reading and watching recipe video's with his daughters.
Why James chose MIPS:
"I chose to join MIPS because I believe that education is an individual journey that needs to be tailored to every student on a personal level. Working in a special education setting for as many years as I did, I was able to experience firsthand just how far students can go when their education is uniquely tailored to them as an individual. It made me realize just how quickly students can reach their full potential if every detail about themselves is taken into account when developing their educational plans and goals. I always said that if this philosophy works in a special education setting, it most certainly can work in a general education setting and was always discouraged when I realized that the extremely large sizes and lack of other resources made it nearly impossible to implement in a traditional school setting. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered MIPS. After learning all about the mission at MIPS, I knew that working here would be a great fit for me!"
Genna recently graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Psychology. Ms. Peterson began her college career at CMU with the intention of earning a medical degree, but changed course to Psychology, discovering a passion for helping people. Genna worked 3 years in a Special Education classroom, which is where she became interested in the education field. When Ms. Peterson felt she was no longer making a difference through her work, she applied at MIPS because she felt it had great potential for working with and helping students more directly.
Genna loves to cook and bake, read books, and play with her 2 kitties, Leo and Enzo.
Why Genna chose MIPS:
"I love working with students and feeling like I can make a difference in their lives. Education can be difficult when you feel like you are doing it all alone, I wanted to be there for students and let them know that they have a whole team of people that are here cheering them on!"
MS Social Studies Teacher
Emily graduated from Oakland University with a degree in History Education in 2019. She has been a middle school social studies educator since July of 2019, where she taught in both a traditional school setting and via a virtual platform. Technology has always been an integral part of her life and she loves innovating new ways to connect with and engage her scholars with this powerful tool. She loves learning about resources to best suit her scholars and reach them on their level. Individuality and creativity are her language and she strives to educate and assist her scholars with their unique needs while utilizing high leverage teaching practices.
In her free time, Emily loves to play video games, read books, draw, sew, and play disc golf. She also loves to travel with her husband and their fur babies. Traveling helps her learn about other people and cultures. These experiences are shared in her classroom to supplement learning about history and geography. As a lifelong learner, she hopes to inspire her scholars to continue to learn throughout their own lives."
Why Emily chose MIPS:
"I realize that education is not 'one size fits all' and when I met with the teachers and admin at MIPS, it was apparent that they are striving to make education individualized to the learner. Students are truly the main focus of this school. Education is about the students of today and their future goals; there is a great deal at stake. MIPS understands and prioritizes the needs of students, which is the way education should be."
HS Social Studies Teacher
Mr. Pilgreen is a high school Social Studies teacher at MIPS. He has worked in both virtual and in-person classrooms, and written curriculum for his former district. He started his career at his alma mater, Garner High School in North Carolina, and has spent the last 5 years teaching at a charter school in Austin, Texas.
His passion for history is evident in his teaching style (with a focus on primary source analysis and project-based learning), but the best days in his class are when he can engage his greatest strength: storytelling.
David earned his B.S. in History Education from East Carolina University, and is a diehard Pirates football fan.
He loves exploring the country in his 25 foot travel trailer with his wife, Kendall, and rescue goldendoodle, Mosey. He also enjoys watching and playing sports of any kind, smoking brisket in his Weber Smokey Mountain, and frequenting any historical monuments, museums and National Parks.
Why David chose MIPS:
"I chose MIPS because we are in a time where education can take shape in many forms and in many locations. I am enthused by the prospect of learning from co-workers and students about what works best for the digital classroom and how to bring the things I did well in traditional classroom to a virtual platform. School does not have to look like a Monday-through-Friday work week. It is exciting to be a part of an organization that realizes that school should be personalized to the wants and needs of each student, and does so while promising to provide a world-class education along the way.
Phil Quinlan is passionately in pursuit of learning about new ‘things.’ He is intentional about visiting unique places, meeting humble people, and reading about innovative and courageous thinkers. He views the world through a lens that asks, “What can I learn from this experience?” as he embraces Steven Covey's "sharpening of the saw" mentality toward constant and never-ending improvement in all phases of his life. The art of servant leadership intrigues Phil; he studies it, observes it, applies it, and strives to apply it in his role as mentor. Phil has served in numerous leadership positions within his profession and throughout his community. He continually seeks to develop leadership skills in himself and shares those insights with those around him.
As Phil is embarking upon his 34th year in education, he has always treated each of those years as though it is his first. He seeks humility by truly desiring to understand others (Empathy) before looking to be understood (Be a Voice) throughout his community. Phil has taught, coached and mentored in all levels of education; elementary, middle and high school. Three years ago, Phil led the development and building of a virtual learning program at his former district. This experience gave him invaluable experience and insight into the challenges and benefits of a virtual learning environment. His sports coaching experience includes coaching varsity baseball, basketball (boys & girls), and soccer. He led his varsity boys basketball team to state finals championships. He has a plethora of experiences working with youth of all ages.
Why Phil chose MIPS:
“Right away I was drawn to the leadership team and the staff of MIPS...it seemed to be an ‘outlier’ culture in which the staff truly serves their learning community. MIPS sets themselves apart from mainstream education for the sake of their students. It is evident that the vision and mission of MIPS is to provide a high-quality learning experience. More importantly, it SERVES families in a way that stands above any institution I’ve encountered.
MIPS' individualized approach to learning taps into all components of the human condition; it combines the arts with traditional pathways of learning in a way that makes me inspired to be part of the team. MIPS students have the opportunity to thrive and grow personally and academically within an environment that fosters support beyond a normal school setting.
Sharona is currently attending Bellevue University to earn her Bachelor's degree in business. She received her Associate's degree in general studies from Mott Community College. Her goal is to graduate from Bellevue with a better understanding of the business world. She has experience working with people of all ages due to her eight year career as a Library Assistant.
During her Library career, Sharona was able to discover her passion to help others through books and programming. She believes books are not only good for learning, they are also great for an escape. She ran the teen programming events and was able to connect with kids and teens on an artistic and social level.
In her spare time, Sharona loves to be outdoors, read, hang out with her friends, her family, and her dogs.
Why Sharona chose MIPS:
"I chose MIPS because I have a passion to help. I believe when you help someone better themselves, you become a better person in the process. I have worked with kids and teens in group settings, but with MIPS I am looking forward to making personal connections through one-on-one relationships. To be part of a team that is supportive and welcoming is what I love and appreciate the most."
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!”
Special Education Teacher
Mr. Theisen serves as a special education mentor at MIPS. Previously, he has taught for 14 years in brick and mortar schools. He spent the first ten years as a mathematics teacher for grades 6-12th and the last four years as a special education teacher. He holds a Masters Degree from Wayne State in Secondary Mathematics and a Masters Degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in Special Education.
Matt has a ten year old daughter, Ava. Together they enjoy living with many pets, including: Henry the rabbit, three parakeets, and axolotl salamander. Matt loves to plant flowers and follow local sports teams, especially the Pistons and Lions.
Why Matt chose MIPS:
“I chose to teach at Michigan International Prep School because it is an online school that offers diverse, flexible, and customized education solutions for all students. Additionally, MIPS allows students who have special needs to flourish and feel supported to do their very best.”
Middle School Teacher Mentor
Brenda is a Middle School Mentor Teacher here at MIPS and is based out of the Howell Lab. In addition to mentoring and tutoring her own students, Brenda helps any student that comes into the lab. She goes above and beyond to make herself available to her students. Brenda is known as being a reliable, kind, and patient advocate for her students. Middle School math tutoring is her favorite way to help students.
Van Eck grew up in west Michigan but moved to the Howell area in 2005. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids with a focus in math and science. She’s taught in a brick and mortar schools and also homeschooled her own two children for eight years, which she enjoyed immensely.
In her free hours, Brenda enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, camping, reading, and organizing.
Why Brenda chose MIPS:
“After my own homeschooling years were finished, I came across MIPS and I loved the idea of being able to offer other students a personalized education like the one I’d given my own children. Every student at MIPS has the opportunity to have a very individualized education that they can tailor to work best for them.
I enjoy having one-on-one conversations with my students and getting to know what works best for them. When I am tutoring, I can approach a lesson one way for one student and a different way for another, based on what that particular student needs. Having a class of one is every teacher’s dream! I love to see students learn and to be a part of getting them to that “aha” moment.”
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.”
Adam VanWert is a 6th-12th grade mentor. Adam has extensive knowledge in the customer service industry, technology, and counseling services. Adam loves learning about other people's passions and what drives them so he can help them achieve their goals and dreams. He and his wife, Jolie, have four children and all of them currently attend MIPS or will attend soon. Adam enjoys going to the movies, playing video games with his children, and photography.
Why Adam chose MIPS:
I chose MIPS because I love the passion and drive I see from the other mentors who want to pour into students. MIPS has set a standard of culture you don't see in many places, and that is a culture of integrity and drive. The staff at MIPS are driven to succeed and share that success with those around them. They really talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to owning your sphere of influence."
Jolie was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming and grew up traveling in the Air Force, where her father served. When he retired, she completed her school years in Bay City, MI. She married her high school sweetheart and has four children. She homeschooled them up until she found the MIPS program a few years ago. Jolie took advantage of the “down time” of COVID to go back to school and earn her Bachelors in Elementary Education at Western Governors University. She has taught dance classes, music classes, and was a paraprofessional for a short time.
In her free time Jolie carts her children around to their various activities, including competitive dance, Brazilian Jiu Jitzu, MMA, soccer, play practices, and swimming lessons. She is an avid reader and enjoys a research project or a good beach day. Jolie loves to sing, and enjoys planning parties for her family and friends.
Why Jolie chose MIPS:
"As a parent, I searched for an online program that had the best of every world for my own children. I wanted the personal touch that catered to my children’s interests and personalities, while still focusing on a high-level of academic rigor. Finding MIPS checked off all my boxes for my children. Connecting with mentors and teachers encouraged me to pursue higher education for myself. Now I am getting to be part of the other side of the coin as a mentor, and I am so excited to be able to enable others to become future world-changers through the MIPS program!"
Kiwanna is a middle and high school mentor who wants to help students every step of the way in accomplishing their educational goals and achieving the greatest academic success. As an enthusiast of history and politics, she is a few credits away from completing her degree in Political Science. Before entering the education field, Kiwanna worked in administration for local and state government, and campaigned for some local politicians. Those experiences helped to change her focus towards helping children, as she believes they are the core of the community she wishes to influence.
Kiwanna and her high school sweetheart recently purchased a “fixer upper” in Detroit, which they’ve worked tirelessly to renovate and make into a “home sweet home” for their son. Aside from volunteering in her community, she likes to watch DIY videos, draw, and attend family events.
Why Kiwanna chose MIPS:
"I struggled as a student during my childhood, and it was only through the encouragement and motivation of educators that I was able to achieve success. Joining MIPS is my opportunity to give back what has been given to me. After being welcomed into MIPS, I quickly learned that I joined a team that has no limit as to how far they’re willing to go in ensuring the success of a single student. It’s reminiscent of my own experience, and makes me grateful to be apart of such a dedicated team!"
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