Our Team

  • Jeff Bush Principal

    Mr. Bush has been at Kent Innovation High since 2013, when he started as a facilitator in Civics & Economics. Before that, he was a Social Studies teacher in Yuma, Arizona, Hampton, Virginia, and Mona Shores in Muskegon, Michigan. Experience with Project-Based Learning helped shape his understanding of student-centered learning and the importance of a positive student community. 

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  • Kim Hamilton Administrative Assistant

    I am a lifetime resident of West Michigan.  Before coming to the Kent ISD 7 years ago, I worked primarily in the medical field as a primary care practice manager.  I am married with two adult daughters, and three adorable grandchildren. In my spare time I enjoy college sports (Go Blue), reading and spending time with my grandchildren.  It is a privilege to be a part of the team at KIH, and I enjoy assisting the students and staff.

  • Andrew Clausen Counselor

    Working with students as they pursue their post-secondary ambitions sums up my passion for working with high schoolers at Kent Innovation High. Being from Illinois, and having worked at high schools in both Houston, TX and West Michigan, I enjoy interacting with students from all backgrounds. KIH students are positioned to become so impactful in their communities, on college campuses, and as future employees. 

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  • Caitlyn Dittel English Language Arts Facilitator

    Eek, Alaska—3,271 miles away from Grand Rapids, Michigan—is where I began my journey in teaching. For three years, I immersed myself in a culture and environment far different from that of my West Michigan upbringing. In this rural Alaskan village of approximately 300 people, I found myself teaching English 9, 10, 11, and 12, along with an extensive list of elective courses; after school, I also coached high school girls’ basketball and co-ed high school volleyball. Life in the Great North was challenging, but, ultimately, rewarding—I learned a lot about myself, and even more about teaching young people.

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  • Rachel Haddad English Language Arts Facilitator

    Hi - My name is Rachel Haddad. I love learning and feel especially excited to see high school students achieve new ways of thinking, doing, and exploring. Currently in my 7th year of teaching, I have previously taught at an international school in Doha, Qatar and in Washington, D.C.’s public schools. I have experience in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Project based learning programs.

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  • Meredith Wallace English Language Arts Facilitator

    Meredith Wallace is joining Kent Innovation High this year as the English facilitator for the Global Studies course. This is her seventh year teaching secondary English, and she is excited about the project-based philosophy at KIH. She has taught in northern Michigan, Virginia, and St. Louis, Missouri, and brings a Masters in Education from the University of Virginia.

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  • Julia Bierema Math & Senior Capstone/Experience Facilitator

    Julia Bierema was born in the Metro Detroit area, but moved to Grand Rapids in 2000. She graduated from Kenowa Hills High in 2001. She completed her undergraduate work at Grand Valley State University where she majored in both mathematics and Spanish. Julia began teaching at Kent Innovation in 2011. 

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  • Todd Hendricks Math and Physics Facilitator

    Hello, my name is Todd Hendricks. I began teaching in 2011, and have had the pleasure of working at Kent Innovation High (KIH) since 2017. I appreciate how KIH is preparing students for their future through having them explore necessary personal and professional skills.

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  • Michal Huizenga Math Facilitator

    Michal Huizenga is in her second year of teaching at KIH. She enjoys working at KIH because she is able to create hands on projects that draw to students’ interests and bring challenge and relevance to the classroom.

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  • Rob Barrett Science & Senior Capstone/Experience Facilitator

    Rob Barrett grew up in Williamston, MI, before moving out to Grand Rapids to attend GVSU. Before teaching, he spent several years researching Arctic plants in Northern Alaska as part of an international effort to better understand how climate change affects tundra vegetation.

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  • Daniel Ozinga Science and Gone Boarding Facilitator

    I joined KIH in the fall of 2016, hired to teach chemistry.  The following year Gone Boarding was created and I was fortunate enough to be selected to lead that program.  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.  

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  • Brenda Perry Science Facilitator

    Brenda Perry has been teaching at Kent Innovation High since 2016.  Her teaching philosophy is that learning is a collaborative effort and that students need to be at the center of constructing their knowledge.  She values project-based learning at Kent Innovation High because it allows students to interact with their community, to collaborate with diverse people, and to engage in problem-solving. 

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  • 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.

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  • Dwain Reynolds Social Studies Facilitator

    I joined Kent Innovation High in the 2017/2018 school year. I teach the World History portion of the 9th grade Global Studies course. I believe that, when taught well, our young people make great changes to the world. That is why I am excited to use project-based learning in order to guide students’ understanding of the past, how it influences our future and how they can make the world better.

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  • Grace Tesfae Social Studies Facilitator

    Grace Tesfae’s teaching career began on Michigan’s east side in a public charter school in Detroit. After four years of teaching Social Studies and coaching soccer and FIRST robotics, Grace moved back to the west side where she is originally from, and where her family still resides. 

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  • Dave Meyer Teacher Consultant

    Dave is a Teacher Consultant at Kent Innovation High. He joined the KIH staff the fall of 2017 after retiring from full time teaching at East Kentwood Public Schools. Dave taught students with autism there for 12 years (6 years at elementary level and 6 years at high school level). He earned his teaching degrees at Grand Valley State University and Oakland University.

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  • 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. 

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  • Autumn Johnson Inclusion Specialist

    Autumn Johnson grew up in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University (B.S.) and is completing her Masters  (MPH) at Grand Valley State University. While at Michigan State, Autumn was a success coach for underserved college students where she mentored students on institutional navigation, building academic skills, and diversity and inclusion practices. She has a passion to see students succeed in all aspects of life and is excited to be a part of the Kent Innovation High team.

  • Meghan Aupperlee KSSN Social Worker

    Meghan Aupperlee, BSW, is the KSSN Community School Coordinator for the student programs at Kent Intermediate School District (KISD). She has served in this role since 2013 working extensively with the high school population to access mental health supports and create a positive school culture through student leadership initiatives. 

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  • Lisa Holmes KSSN Therapist

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