Our Teachers

View Staff Profiles

If you want to know what makes us different…it’s our teachers.

Our Michigan-certified teachers and supporting staff are the foundation of iCademy and the growth of your student. They are talented, passionate, patient, and specially trained to excel in all the subtleties of online teaching. iCademy teachers are drawn to virtual schools because they know all kids are different and learn in different and unique ways.

We operate on a teacher-led structure, so our teachers are leaders in their teaching and in making decisions about our school through what we call a School Responsibility (S.R.). Check out their information below!

Staff Profiles

Meet Ms. Deedee DeFrell, our kindergarten teacher at iCademy! Ms. Deedee’s quote to live by is “wherever you are, be all there,” by Jim Elliot. Ms. Deedee has been all here since the start of iCademy Global!

  • Favorite Snack: Double stuffed Oreos 
  • Can’t Live Without: Music  
  • Favorite Book: The Hunger Games 
  • Special Talent: She can stick her shoulder blades out so it looks like she has wings  

Ms. Deedee’s favorite habit is, “Sharpen the Saw” because it is important for students and adults to re-energize and take time to do things that they enjoy. She needs reminders to do this as a busy working mom. She wants her students to know “you are a good person and you are loved.”  

Email: deedee.defrell@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Abby Gust! Abby joins us this year to teacher our fantastic 1st grade littles and we are thrilled to welcome her aboard!

  • Can’t Live Without:  her son
  • Favorite Snack:  Strawberries
  • Bucket List:  See a moose in Alaska
  • Life Theme Song: Somewhere Over the Rainbow 2011 – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole – Watch HERE!

Email: abby.gust@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Chris Cousino! We are so excited to welcome Mr. Chris to iCademy this year as our 2nd grade teacher. With his students, he daily lives out his life motto, “You will never regret being kind!”

  • Something you can’t live without: Coffee and Coke Zero
  • Bucket List item: To see the Lions win the Superbowl (Hey, it’s a bucket list!)
  • Special Talents: I love to create, especially through writing and drawing.  I have written short stories, books, and even some comic books!
  • Life Theme Song: Just Another Day in Paradise by Phil Vassar
  • Favorite Grade School Book: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Mr. Chris’ favorite of the seven habits is, “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood” because you can truly make the most impact and bring positive change when you can stop, listen, and truly desire to understand.  Every person deserves to be heard and valued!

Email: chris.cousino@icademyglobal.org 

Meet Ms. Allison VanDyke! Ms. Allison loves being outdoors and snacking on dark chocolate. She’s visited over 12 countries in the last two years and taught students from all over the world. 

  • Can’t Live Without: at least 10 minutes of physical activity a day
  • Favorite Book in Grade School: Holes
  • Favorite Book with her last 3 groups of students: One and Only Ivan
  • Favorite Field Trip: Camping through upper Michigan

Ms. Allison’s favorite habit is, “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood” because listening is a powerful way to care for others. She wants her students to know, “we’re learning together.”

Email: allison.vandyke@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Rachel Heerspink! Ms. Rachel joins us this year at iCademy to teach our incredible 4th grade students. Her life motto, “Live life in the moment,” allows her to be the most effective teacher possible, each and every day!

  • Something you can’t live without: Sleep
  • Bucket List item: Travel to Switzerland
  • Special Talents: Scaring people
  • Favorite Snack: Classic Cheez It Snack Mix
  • Favorite Trip: Germany and Poland
  • Favorite Grade School Book: Among the Hidden

Ms. Rachel’s favorite habit is, “Sharpen the Saw” because everyone needs to take time for themselves and do what makes them happy. Happiness drives success!

Email: rachel.heerspink@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Bethany Redeker! Ms. Rachel is excited to embark on her iCademy journey teaching our 5th grade learners.

Bio coming soon!

Email: bethany.redeker@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Maria Merriman, who works with our elementary students and teachers as our K-5 special education teacher.

Bio coming soon!

Email: maria.merriman@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Katelyn VanDyke! She was a 5th grade spelling bee champion! She has spent the last 7 years at iCademy Global building spelling bee champions as the 2nd/3rd teacher and K5 Special Education teacher.  Beginning this school year, 2020-2021, Ms. Katelyn will be our full-time K-8 interventionist. We are so excited for her to continue her incredible work with our iCademy students in this new role!

  • Bucket List:  Open an independent bookstore  
  • Can’t Live Without:  Coffee  
  • Life Motto:  Do small things with great love  
  • Voted Least Likely:  To skip class  

Ms. Katelyn’s favorite habit is, “Seek first to understand, thent to be understood” because the world could use a little more empathy. She also wants her students to know “they belong here.”

Email: katelyn.vandyke@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Becca Beebe!  Ms. Becca’s first job ever was a lifeguard, but she now works as our speech-language pathologist.  

  • Bucket List:  Swim the Straits of Mackinac  
  • Special Talent:  She can spot a Petoskey stone faster than anyone she knows  
  • Life Motto:  If you pass physics, you can do this  
  • Favorite Book:  The Hobbit  

Ms. Becca’s favorite habit is, “Put first things first” because she is motivated by the reward at the end of the tunnel. She also really wants her students to know that ” I want out learning to be effective and always fun. When you are dismissed from speech we will celebrate together.”  

Email:  rebecca.beebe@innocademy.com

Meet Ms. Michelle Commeret!  Ms. Michelle always loved school, so much so she was known for chatting her way through it. Telling and listening to others’ stories is one of her favorite things to do – good thing, too, since she gets to enjoy her days teaching language arts and geography to our iCademy 6th graders!

  • Can’t Live Without: Coffee  
  • Bucket List: Visit every continent (except maybe Antarctica 🙂 – only 4 more to go!
  • Special Talents: Singing & playing the piano
  • Life Theme Song: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Ms. Michelle’s favorite habit is, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” because she believes that when we work together to offer the best versions of ourselves, we’ll achieve beautiful results. She wants each and every one of her students to know that, “They are loved. They are valued. They are important. Because of that, they are difference-makers in their small corner of this great big world!”

Email: michelle.commeret@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Ryan Martinez!  He has been all over the world to Canada, Italy, France, Spain, England, Czech Republic, Ireland, and Switzerland.  We are excited to have him and his worldly experiences on the iCademy Global team teaching math to middle school friends.  

  • Favorite Snack:  Nutter Butters 
  • Can’t Live Without:  Great Music  
  • Bucket List:  Learn 5 languages  
  • Special Talents:  Pen spinning and swing dancing  

Mr. Ryan’s favorite habit is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” because people are often terrible listeners and that is a crucial to healthy communication. Poor communication is a common thread in life’s problems. He also wants his students to know “that mistakes are wonderful and you should not fear failure.”  

Email: ryan.martinez@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Andy Meredith!  As a grade school student, Mr. Andy was “a teacher’s dream.” Thankfully he grew up to be a dream teacher and has shared his charming personality with the IES family for many years. Currently, Mr. Andy teaches science to middle school friends at iCademy Global.  

  • Life Theme Song:  Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song  
  • Can’t Live Without:  Breathing (Thanks, Mr. Science)  
  • Bucket List:  Petting a lion in Africa  
  • Special Talents:  Fire breathing and break dancing  

Mr. Andy’s favorite habits are “Synergizing” and “Sharpening the Saw” because there is nothing better. He would also like his students to always remember, “You will never know what you don’t know.”

Email: andy.meredith@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Kaiti Thrasher!  Ms. Kaiti loves spending her iCademy days teaching language arts to our 7th & 8th grade students. She daily lives out her life motto, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

  • Something you can’t live without: Chocolate
  • Bucket List item: Learn American Sign Language
  • Life Theme Song: “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman
  • Favorite Book: Harry Potter series
  • Voted Least Likely: My husband would say least likely to cook something edible… But I was voted most likely to make a difference in high school! 

Ms. Kaiti’s favorite habit is, “Be Proactive” because it’s so important to take charge of your life, using your voice to communicate what you believe and need! Middle school is a great time to learn to be your own best advocate; we need your voice in this world!

Email: kaiti.thrasher@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Joel Siemen! Mr. Joel is thrilled to embark on his teaching career as iCademy’s 7th & 8th grade social studies teacher.

Bio coming soon!

Email: joel.siemen@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Kayla! Ms. Kayla loves working our middle school students and teachers as iCademy’s 6th through 8th grade special education teacher.

Bio coming soon!

Email: kayla.dolinski@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Jacob Ferland! Mr. Jacob loves working with numbers and has a blast building math skills with our middle school learners.

Bio coming soon!

Email: jacob.ferland@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Victoria Williams! Ms. Victoria is joining us for her first year at iCademy Global as a middle school mentor.

Bio coming soon!

Email: victoria.williams@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Sophiya Stob! Ms. Sophiya is our middle and high school Spanish and electives teacher!

Bio coming soon!

Email: sophiya.stob@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Amy Barager! Ms. Amy’s first job ever was working at a candy factory. While that was a sweet job, working at iCademy Global for the past few years as the high school ELA teacher has been even sweeter! 

  • Special Talent:  Loves to fry fish  
  • Bucket List:  See the Iditarod in person  
  • Life Hashtag:  #imraisingcrazies  
  • Can’t Live Without:  Coffee  

Ms. Amy’s favorite habit is “Seek first to understand and then be understood” because this is the habit she wants to work on most which makes it a good reminder! She wants her students to know that “they are important and part of a bigger story.”

Email: amy.baragar@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Pam Carpenter! Ms. Pam has the ability to sit for hours and do math. That is a special talent! We are so glad she has joined the iCademy Global team this year for the first time to share her gifts as the high school math teacher.

  • Special Talents:  sewing and cooking…I love to do both!
  • Favorite Snack:  sweet potato chips
  • Favorite Trip: Houseboat trip with my family on Lake Powell, Utah
  • Life Motto:  “Whatever you are, be a good one.” ~Abraham Lincoln
  • Voted Least Likely:  to find pants that are too long on me

Email: pamela.carpenter@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Reid Nicholson!  Mr. Reid’s special talent is being a trivia whiz! We are happy to have him at iCademy Global sharing his plethora of knowledge with us teaching high school science! 

  • Can’t Live Without:  The Sun  
  • Favorite Snack:  Sweet Chili Heat Doritos 
  • Bucket List:  Pilot an airplane  
  • Voted Most Likely:  To jump out of a perfectly good airplane (skydive)  

Mr. Reid’s favorite habit is “Begin with the end in mind” because to be able to succeed, you need to know where you are going! He wants his students to know, “I am a total science nerd and love talking about anything that has to do with that!”  

Email: reid.nicholson@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Mandy Guppy-Koehn!  Ms. Mandy’s first job as a waitress has served her well as she now serves as iCademy Global’s high school social studies teacher!

  • Can’t Live Without: Diet Coke
  • Favorite Snack: Cheese Sticks
  • Bucket List:  Go Parasailing!
  • Life Hashtag: #lovewhatmatters
  • Life Motto: “Be  who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind.”

Ms. Mandy’s favorite habit is, “Be proactive” and she wants all of her students to know, “Grade school is a very short stage in life, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. Enjoy it, don’t talk yourself out of fun things!”

Email: mandy.guppy@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Lindsey Mandolini!  Ms. Lindsey loves Gardetto Garlic chips and sleep. We love having her as part of the iCademy Global team as a high school special education teacher.

  • Bucket List:  Run a marathon  
  • Special Talent:  Painting  
  • Voted Least Likely:  To arrive on time 
  • Type of Grade School Student:  Chatterbox   

Ms. Lindsey’s favorite habit is “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood” because tolerance and acceptance is built through understanding. She wants her students to know “they are loved!”

Email: lindsey.mandolini@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Kim Gattari! We are so excited that Ms. Kim has joined us at iCademy this year to support our students and teachers as one of our high school special education teachers!

Bio to come!

Email: kim.gattari@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Laura Verkaik! Ms. Laura makes a huge difference in the lives of students and teachers as iCademy’s school counselor.

Bio to come!

Email: laura.verkaik@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Kristina Boersma! Ms. Kristina’s first job ever was pushing the “Good Humor” ice cream cart at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but we are thankful she went into social work.  She has spent the last few years as iCademy Global’s school social worker!

  • Can’t Live Without:  Sunshine  
  • Countries Visited:  Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, South Africa, England, Italy, and France. 
  • Life Hashtag:  #Cantmakethisstuffup 
  • Favorite Book:  “To Kill a Mockingbird”  

Ms. Kristina’s favorite habit is, “Seek first to understand and then be understood” because it focuses on respect and valuing the input of others. She also wants our students to know “You are valuable.  You are important.  You make a difference.  You are LOVED!”  

Email: kristina.boersma@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Kate! Ms. Kate has joined iCademy this year as one of iCademy’s school social workers.

Bio coming soon!

Email: kate.meengs@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Lindsay Light!  Ms. Lindsay has been with IES for many years, but is excited to join the iCademy Global team for the first time as high school mentor and interventionist!

Bio to come!

Email: lindsay.vanderzwaag@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Alex Tollis! Mr. Alex’s life motto is, “Breathe, manifest, observe, repeat” and he lives that out daily at iCademy with our high school students as a high school mentor!

  • Something I can’t live without: Spotify. I have it playing 90% of the day.
  • Bucket List Item: Be featured at Sundance Film Festival
  • Special Talents: I can tie a shoe faster than anyone!
  • Favorite Trip: Italy to see my Grandfather’s hometown
  • Life Theme Song: Smile – Jay Z
  • Favorite Snack: Fresh veggies. Veganism is cool.
  • Favorite Book: The Alchemist
  • Voted Least Likely: To remember to charge his phone

Email: alex.tollis@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Sean Wells! Mr. Sean joins the iCademy high school team as a teacher assistant.

Bio to come!

Email: sean.wells@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Robin Morehouse! Ms. Robin joins iCademy this year as our first-ever Community Passport Coordinator. She works with students, teachers, and community partners to provide incredible, unique learning opportunities!

Bio to come!

Email: robin.morehouse@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Tyler Huizenga! He can’t live without love, and we have loved having him as part of the IES family for the past few years. Mr. Tyler shares his love with us as iCademy Global Point’s School Lead and high school electives teacher.

  • Life Motto:  Be Humble 
  • Bucket List:  Scuba dive with Bear Grylls in Indonesia  
  • Favorite Snack:  Meat sticks  

Mr. Tyler’s favorite habit is “Synergize”. He also wants his students to know, “Go Blue!”   

Email: tyler.huizenga@icademyglobal.org

Meet Ms. Leisa Lobbezoo! She believes her special talent is her super loud whistle, but after being part of the IES family for the last decade, we know she is a woman of many talents!  Ms. Leisa wears many hats at iCademy Global as she works to help all of our new families through the enrollment process as well as working in communications and marketing.  

  • Type of Grade School Student:  Teacher’s pet… for real…. they gave her an award  
  • Voted Most Likely:  To become an actress  
  • Life Hashtag:  #hangontightandenjoytheride 
  • Bucket List:  Visit Europe, walk on a glacier, watch the Detroit Tigers play in most of the MLP ballparks 

Ms. Leisa’s favorite habit is “Be Proactive” because you can’t beat the feeling of being prepared and ready for whatever life is going to throw at you.  She would like her students to know “how glad I am that they are here, learning with us!”  

Email: leisa.lobbezoo@innocademy.com

Meet Ms. Heidi! Ms. Heidi has been with IES schools for almost 10 years, starting as a parent volunteer and is now our pupil accounting and registrar for all three IES Schools. You may also see her smiling face at the front desk on Fridays.

  • First job:  Grocery store cashier  
  • Favorite snack:  Doritos  
  • Can’t Live without:  Her husband & kids  
  • Quote to live by:  “Life is all about the choices you make”  

Ms. Heidi wants all the students to know that “You are capable of great things in your life. Make good choices, move on from your mistakes and you will be capable of anything you set your sights on!”

Email: heidi.wolters@innocademy.com

Meet Ms. Sara Vereeke! In grade school, Ms. Sara was a social butterfly, but also a rule follower. She continues to be a social butterfly while also following the rules as she takes care of all our Human Resource needs!  

  • Can’t Live Without:  Lipstick  
  • Special Talent:  Plays the piano  
  • Favorite snack:  Chocolate, lots of chocolate 
  • Favorite book:  The Secret Garden  

Ms. Sara’s favorite habit is “Seek first to understand, then to be Understood.” She believes it is great to focus on understanding others’ point of view before expressing one’s own point of view.  Ms. Sara would like all the students to know…”You are capable of great things in your life. Make good choices, move on from your mistakes and you will be capable of anything you set your sights on!”

Email: sara.vereeke@icademyglobal.org

Meet Mr. Dave Zimmer! Mr. Dave has traveled all over the world to Russia, Greece, Spain, Italy, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France, Denmark, Norway and Turkey, but thankfully ended up in Michigan to be in charge of IES Finances. Mr. Dave’s life motto is to be humble and kind and he has kindly been a part of our IES family the last few years.  

  • Favorite Snack:  Popcorn  
  • Can’t live without:  Coffee in the morning  
  • Bucket List:  To be a street performer  
  • Special Talent:  Plays the organ  

Mr. Dave’s favorite habit is to begin with the end in mind. He also wants the students to know “Be yourself and you can be anything.”

Email: dave.zimmer@iesschools.org

Meet Mr. Bob Soulliere! Mr. Bob is the executive director for Innovative Education Services (IES).

Bio coming soon!

Email: bob.soulliere@iesschools.org