Gerry Verwey PrincipalSend an Email
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.
MelanieRose Straub Administrative AssistantSend an Email
MelanieRose is the administrative Assistant for MySchool@Kent & Kent Innovation High. Her experience includes working for a non-profit managing a grant from United Way to prepare young adults for their GED exams. Additionally, MelanieRose previously worked as an instructor/academic coach for SuccessLink from 2012-2015. She is very happy to return to MySchool@Kent serving students and their families from all over Kent County.
Lisa Schantz CounselorSend an Email
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 FacilitatorSend an Email
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 FacilitatorSend an Email
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.
Brent Besemer Science & Senior Capstone/Experience FacilitatorSend an Email
The 2021-22 is my first year teaching at Kent Innovation High. Prior to coming to KIH, I have worked for Grand Rapids Public Schools as a youth advocate specialist, The YMCA as a nutrition educator, and then as the Youth Leadership and Enrichment Director, and spent a couple years working claims for an insurance company before returning back to the education field. I am excited to join the strong team here at KIH, and to continue the fun, sometimes difficult, and exciting experience of education here at KIH.
Phil Matthews Social Studies & Personal Finance FacilitatorSend an Email
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 ConsultantSend an Email
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 ConsultantSend an Email
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.