Our Team

  • Gerry Verwey Principal

    Gerry serves as the Principal for Kent Innovation High and completed his post-secondary education at Grand Valley State University and Wright State University.  He also serves as the Principal forMyschool@Kent and is the program supervisor for Kent ISD’s new teacher mentorship program called the New Teacher Community.  Gerry was a secondary science teacher for 16 years. He has been nominated for the Michigan Teacher of the Year, Michigan Science Teacher of the Year, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science. In his “spare” time, he is also the head cross country and track coach at Grace Christian University in Grand Rapids.

  • Lisa Schantz Counselor

    Lisa Schantz is a school counselor for MySchool@Kent and Kent Innovation High. Lisa spent 27 years at Grand Rapids Public Schools where she started her career as a teacher for students with emotional impairments.  After 17 years of teaching, she spent 10 years as a school counselor.  Lisa then spent 2 years as a Teacher Consultant for KISD at KEC Beltline High School.

  • Kevin Spaans English Language Arts Facilitator

    Mr. Spaans serves as the English facilitator at Kent Innovation High. He is a Forest Hills Central and GVSU graduate and has taught English for several years, including Honors, AP, and SAT/ACT Test Prep. Mr. Spaans also tutors these subjects and has worked with hundreds of local students over the years. His passions include music, martial arts (which he also teaches), video games, and basketball. 

  • Dan Ozinga Math Facilitator

    2021-22 is my fourth year teaching at Kent Innovation High.  Prior to coming to KIH, I worked in the professional education setting at Spectrum Health in the Patient Access Education Department.  When an opportunity at KIH opened up, I knew it was the perfect fit for my personality and teaching style.  I recognize the value of bringing the projects from the community into the classroom.  

  • Phil Matthews Social Studies & Personal Finance Facilitator

    Hi! I am the Civics/Economics facilitator at KIH, working mostly with the 11th grade students. I received my bachelor’s degree at Grand Valley State University in Secondary Education, Social Studies, and Psychology. I absolutely love making connections with other people and I find value in quality, positive interactions.

  • Karen Larsen Teacher Consultant

    Mrs. Larsen joined the KIH team in 2018 as a Teacher Consultant with many years of high school experience teaching in the Resource Room setting at East Kentwood High School and Kelloggsville High School.  She earned her BA from Calvin College and MA+30 from GVSU. While on a sabbatical Mrs. Larsen completed research and development with James Cassily, the inventor of the Interactive Metronome which is a computer based program that improves timing, focus, and concentration.  In her free time, she loves traveling and spending time with her family and friends.

  • Laine Monks Teacher Consultant

    Laine loves teenagers and facilitating learning! KIH is a great fit for her and she loves her job! She has a background in teaching special education and being a teacher consultant; the majority of her career in Kentwood Public Schools. She has been a Strategic Learning Specialist, mentor, department head, administrator and has designed curriculum. 

Project Based Learning

Project-based learning is the way students master their material in every class at Innovation High. Students work through multiple projects during the year and develop key workplace skills, like problem-solving and critical thinking.

Students working in group with shared screen
Engage Students Students work through multiple projects during the year and develop key workplace skills, like problem-solving and critical thinking.
Student working one on one with facilitator
Personalize Learning Students research, ask and answer questions and then demonstrate what they've learned in presentations to business and community members.
Students working on a group project
Student Collaboration Students work together in teams to create real projects and solve real problems