Our Staff

Lindsay VanderZwaag

Meet Ms. Lindsay! She is currently working with students who qualify for Special Education supports and services. This is Ms. Linday’s 5th year of working with IES schools. When Ms. Lindsay was in elementary school, she was always the teacher’s helper.

Life motto: “Be the change you wish to see in the World” -Mahatma Gandi

Favorite snack: French fries

Countries she’s visited: USA, Uraguay, and Spain

Bucket list item: Backpack in Europe and volunteer at an orphanage for kids with special needs.

Ms. Lindsay’s favorite 7 Habit is seek first to understand then be understood because this is a life skill needed for every relationship you will ever have with anyone! She also wants students to know, “You are unique, special and an integral part of the classroom, school community, and community at large. You have the potential to change the world!”

Jessica Kempema

Meet Ms. Jessica! This is Ms. Jessica’s first year as part of the IAC family. As a grade school student she was quiet and kind to everyone, we are thankful that she is teaching our kindergarteners to be quiet and kind to everyone.

Life Hashtag ~ #humble&kind

Can’t Live Without ~ Her Faith & Chocolate

Life Motto ~ “Find the beauty in every day!”

Special Talent ~ Knitting

Ms. Jessica’s favorite habit is synergize because it is so important to learn to work together! She would like her students to know “they should always be a trying lion and never give up. You can do anything you put you mind to!”

Rachel Warren

Meet Ms. Rachel! We are so glad that she has joined our IAC team this year as our 1st/2nd grade teacher. Ms. Rachel’s first job ever was on the paper route with her sister. One of her dreams is to one day hike the West Highland Way.

 Favorite snack: Dill cracker nuts

Countries she’s visited: Brazil, Isreal, Canada, Dominican Republic

Special talent: Doodling

Favorite book: The Color Magic

Ms. Rachel’s favorite 7 Habit is Sharpen the Saw because self care is so important! She also wants all students to know that they are capable to succeed and are valued by all at school.

Hillary Schmidt

Ms. Hillary has sang her way into all our hearts last year as she joined our IES Family. She brings music to all our lives by instructing general music at both Zeeland and Allegan campuses as well as oldest friend’s (grades 5-8) choir at Innocademy Zeeland’s campus. Ms. Hillary’s music wins our heart, but toasted coconut ice cream from Kilwins is the way to her heart.

Bucket List ~ Eating her way through a trip to Italy and France

Special Talent ~ Classically trained opera singer

First Job ever ~ Cash register clerk at a dry cleaner

Ms. Hillary loves the seven habits so much it was hard for her to choose just one. Habit 3 Put first things, first” is one of her favorites because she finds it really helpful to make sure she takes things one step at a time and identifies what needs to be done to accomplish a great goal. She also really loves Habit 5 Seek first to understand, then to be understood because if humanity could practice this habit, our world would be a brighter and more loving place for all. Finally, Ms. Hillary wants her students to know that ”they are all music makers no matter what skills and abilities they bring into the classroom.”

Sara Vereeke

Meet Ms. Sara! 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!”

Katie Wilson

Meet Ms. Katie! Running the Disney Marathon is on Ms. Katie’s Bucket List and tennis is one of her special talents. Thankfully she has been sharing her athletic abilities with our students the last three years as our Learn to Be Fit (L2BF) teacher.

Favorite Snack: Brownies

Life Motto: Be a Fruit Loop in a world of Cheerios!

Can’t Live Without: Family

Favorite Book Series: Harry Potter

Jake Hedges

Meet Mr. Jake! He has traveled all over the world to over 20 different countries. We are excited that his world traveler has been with us the last 2 years teaching 3rd/4th grade.

Life Hashtag: #NotAshamed

Favorite Snack: Kashi “Dark Karma” Cereal with Almond Milk

Special Talent: He can carve a seat out of a log using a machete in two minutes

Voted Most Likely: To be found at the lacrosse field with a burrito from Baja Grill in hand

Mr. Jake’s favorite habit is “Seek first to understand then to be understood ” because he wants to love others well. He also wants his students to know “That circumstance doesn’t define you identity.”

Rachel Palmer

Meet Ms. Rachel! She juggles two responsibilities by being a teacher and enrollment assistant. Two great positions for her to work her skills while living by the hashtag #progressoverperfection.

Favorite Snack ~ Beanitos Pinto Bean Chips

Favorite Book ~ Underland chronicles

Life Motto ~ It’s not about what I do; it’s about who I am. I don’t have to fix my life; I just have to fix my eyes on Jesus.

Special Talent ~ Great whistler

Ms. Rachel’s favorite habit is seek first to understand then be understood because it is a powerful way to communicate love and respect to people of all ages. She also would like the students to know “you can do hard things.”

Rebecca Beebe

Meet Ms. Becca! 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.”

Shelly Silva

Meet Ms. Shelly! Ms. Shelly is beginning her 3rd year with us as a teacher assistant. Ms. Shelly has “visit every continent” on her bucket list! She is almost there since she has visited Canada, Mexico, India, and Germany.

Favorite Snack ~ Coffee

Can’t Live Without ~ Hope

Life Motto ~ Love changes everything

Favorite Book ~ Pride and Prejudice

Ms. Shelly’s favorite habit is Be Proactive because it is the habit she is working to improve for herself. She would like her students to know “be yourself because you are pretty awesome!”

Marty Lappe

Meet Mr. Marty! Mr. Marty has been a part of the IAC team for 3 years and fills the integral role of Point Person as the leader for the school! We couldn’t all do what we do without him! One thing that Mr. Marty couldn’t live without are his animals.

Life theme song: You’ve Got a Friend

Pirate name: Captain Too Much (too much to do and too little time)

Bucket list item: Visit Alaska

Favorite book: Star Girl

Mr. Marty’s favorite 7 Habit is think win-win because it is important to consider everyone’s different perspectives. Mr. Marty wants all students to know, “There is so much out there and time moves too quickly. Live each moment to the fullest!”

Sammy Nicholson

Meet Ms. Sammy! Ms. Sammy teaches our 7th/8th grade students. This is her 5th year working with IES schools and her third year teaching at IAC. Ms. Sammy’s first job was baking pretzels at Nautical Knots!

Life Motto: Be a voice, not an echo

Pirate name: Plunderin’ Hook Hand

Favorite snack: Chocolate

Bucket list item: Running with the bulls in Spain

Ms. Sammy’s favorite 7 Habit is synergizing because life is better when you are living life with others. Her message to students is, “Be silly, be kind. Be honest, be present. Be yourself!”

Tara DeMann

Meet Ms. Tara! Ms. Tara works as a teacher assistant at IAC. Ms. Tara’s special talent is skydiving and we are thankful she has dove into working with our students the last three years.

First Job ~ Babysitting/ice cream shop worker in a campground

Favorite Snacks ~ Zucchini, Squash, and chocolate (not necessarily that order)

Favorite Book Series ~ Mitford Series

Type of Grade School Student ~ Shy, polite, obedient, and cried very easily

Ms. Tara would like her students to know “it is not only okay, but good to take chances.”

Emily Kimber

Emily always knew that she would be a teacher or somehow involved in the education world, though she didn’t always know what it would look like specifically. She went into her freshman year at Hope College as a Special Education: Learning Disabilities major though she didn’t know much about it and quickly found the major suited her well and followed it through to graduation. With this course of study, Emily was placed at Innocademy for classroom experience. She quickly fell in love with the way Innocademy structured their school – the Just Right groupings, teacher led, and the emphasis on the world around us. She was fortunate enough to complete her student teaching at Innocademy and this solidified her love for the school. After graduating from  Hope College, she was given the opportunity to move to Guatemala. There, Emily taught English in a local public school and math and English to a family caring for adults with special needs. There, her love for the Spanish language and Latino culture only grew. After living there a year, it was time for her to come home and she was blessed to join the Innocademy team and teach daily Spanish classes to first – eighth grade groups. And now, she am so excited to continue her journey with Innocademy and bring the Innocademy choice to Allegan County!

Chad Zuber

Meet Mr. Chad! Mr. Chad loves tomatoes and trips to the lake and mountains. He has been all over the world visiting over 10 countries! Thankfully he has shared his worldly knowledge the last five years with IES students. Currently teaching Innogineering at both Innocademy Zeeland and Allegan campuses.

 First Job Ever ~ Meijer bagger (only time he has ever had to wear a tie to work)

Bucket list ~ Learn an instrument (beyond a few cords of a ukulele)

Life Motto ~ “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can” – Arthur Ashe

Mr. Chad tends to get lost a lot… so his favorite habit is Begin with the End-in-Mind because that’s how you know where you are going. He also wants all his students to know “Your teachers will help you accomplish anything that you are willing to work for.”