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 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.
Meet Ms. Deedee DeFrell! Ms. Deedee’s quote to live by is “wherever you are, be all there” said by Jim Elliot. Ms. Deedee has been all here since the start of iCademy Global! For the last 5 years she has been the Kindergarten/1st grade teacher at 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.”
Meet Ms. Abby Gust! Abby joins us this year to teacher our fantastic 1st grade littles and we are thrilled to welcome her aboard!
Meet Mr. Chris Cousino! We are so excited to welcome Mr. Chris to iCademy this year as our 2nd grade teacher.
Bio coming soon!
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.”
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.”
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 the last 6 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.”
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 join the iCademy Global team this year 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.”
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 to our iCademy middle school students!
- 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”
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!”
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 the last 5 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.”
Meet Ms. Janece Ellers! Ms. Janece 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 special talent as the High School Math teacher.
- Bucket List: Go on a hot air balloon ride
- Voted Most Likely: To get married
- Can’t Live Without: Water
- Life Motto: “Don’t close the book when bad things happen in your life. Just turn the page and begin a new chapter.”
Ms. Janece’s favorite habit is “Seek first to understand, and then be understood” because accurate communication is critical!” She wants her students to know “I love what I do and hope it shows every day.”
Meet Mr. Reid Nicholson! Mr. Reid’s special talent is being a trivia whiz! We are happy to have him join the iCademy Global team this year for the first time. Thankfully he is 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!”
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!”
Meet Ms. Lindsey Mandolini! Ms. Lindsey loves Gardetto Garlic chips and sleep. We have loved having her as part of the iCademy Global team the last 5 years as the 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!”
Meet Mr. Tyler Huizenga! He can’t live without love, and we have loved having him as part of the IES family the last 6 years. Mr. Tyler shares his love with us as the iCademy Global Point Person and High School Electives teacher.
- Special Talent: He can name every tree species in Michigan
- 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!”
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 been the school social worker for both iCademy Global and Innocademy the last three years.
- 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!”
Meet Ms. Becca Beebee! She has been a part of the IES family the last two years through CTC and joins us this year officially on our staff! 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.”
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!”
Meet Ms. Heidi Wolters! Ms. Heidi is the Boss and Queen bee as she does it all for all three IES Schools. She does the registrar, pupil accounting, the front desk and countless other tasks for our schools.
- 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!”
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!”
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 four 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.”