Our Staff

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

Ms. Katie is the Learn to be Fit teacher for all grades at Innocademy Homestead and Innocademy Allegan. This is her second year at Innocademy. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a major in Physical Education and a minor in School Health. Some of her hobbies are playing tennis, being outdoors, and spending time with her husband, Justin, and daughter, Madelyn.

Jake Hedges

Jake studied at Hope College while earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a focus in Language Arts. Although he majored in Language Arts, he developed a passion for science through teaching science camps at Hope College during the summers of 2011-2013. He loves the opportunities for hands-on learning and student exploration that this subject offers in each lesson. In his free time, he leads youth group at Moran Park Church, plays guitar and piano (or any other instrument he can get his hands on), plays sports or hikes outside, and spending quality time with his friends. A passion of his that he doesn’t get to explore much nowadays is traveling (ask him about living in England, sometime!).  He’s so incredibly excited to be working at Innocademy Allegan Campus and to have the chance to invest in your student’s life. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to him!

Rachel Palmer

In August 2014 something new was on its way. Something that would delight Rachel’s heart and fit her giftings. The next April this new thing seemed no closer than it had in August. She signed up to be a substitute teacher just to fill her time. “Kids are important”, she thought. Spending time with children seems good. It turned out that she loved subbing. Rachel loved being with kids! Very quickly she found herself wanting to be more deeply involved in the school system. In August, Innocademy Allegan Campus called looking for a short term parapro. She jumped at the offer and has been at IAC ever since. Her heart is more than delighted and she uses her gifts everyday. Her casual thought that kids are important has become a prominent motivator and is shared by all IAC staff and volunteers.

Rebecca Beebe

Rebecca (Becca) Beebe is very happy with her new position as Speech-Language Pathologist at both Innocademy campuses.  Becca graduated from  Grand Valley State University’s first class of Speech Pathologists last December. She spent the previous 15 years teaching music at Walden Green Montessori in Spring Lake.  She loves the study of language, especially as it relates to story telling and songs.  When not hanging out with the children here, she can be found at home in the woods of Robinson Township, on Lake Michigan in a sailboat, pedaling her bike, or swimming in some body of water (inside or out).  Becca has three grown sons and a wonderful, innovative husband.

Shelly Silva

Shelly is so excited that she has the opportunity to serve as the Teachers Assistant for IAC. She is a Michigan native and loves her home state, and hometown of Fennville where she has lived for the past 9 years. Shelly has been married for 11 years and has been blessed with two unique and wonderful boys who are currently students at Innocademy Allegan. Working with Children has always been a passion of hers. Many years ago she started working in a Head Start Center and she knew then she would love to work with school aged children. For the past several years she has been a stay at home Mom, as well as heading up a Sunday Morning preschool program for her church. Now, Shelly is excited to return to the classroom. Her joys in life include travel (India is the most interesting place she’s been), reading (Jane Austen is her favorite) her Faith and Family! She’s also been known to be crafty from time to time. Shelly believes each child is a gift with their own path to find through life. She counts it an honor to hold her students hands for a short time on that journey.

Marty Lappe

Everyone has a journal to tell, and Marty’s life journey always leads him back to his passion: education for the whole child. After graduating high school from a small farm community in Iowa, he took the big leap to attend college. His heart pulled him toward teaching, but at the time, there was an abundance of teachers. He decided not to pursue his passion. He moved from Iowa to Michigan for a job but still felt a void. Fast forward many years ….. Marty found himself being pulled toward teaching once again, so he went back to school, obtained his credentials, and taught for several years until life’s events moved him to the west side of the state where he opened a small business. However, the yearning to be back in the classroom kept haunting Marty, so he began his hunt. Fortunately, a positon became available at the Allegan Campus and here he is living and working in Fennville. Innocademy feels just right where he belongs and perhaps the destination for his journey’s pursuit.

Sammy Nicholson

Sammy is extremely excited to join the Innocademy Allegan Team!  This will be her third year teaching in the IES family.  She spent the past two years teaching on campus and virtually at iCademy Global.  She is a GVSU Graduate where she earned a degree in Elementary Education and Math.  Her passion is to fill the kids with the joy and excitment of learning and trying new things.  Sammy likes to spend her free time playing volleyball, swimming, being out doors, spending time with family, and reading.  She feel blessed to work with wonderful staff and awesome kids at IAC!

Tara DeMann

Tara is excited to be working in our cafeteria. She is married to Jamie DeMann and lives in the Fennville area. They have three children, one dog, one fish, one cat and two birds. She enjoys growing flowers all summer long while Jamie grows vegetables in their garden. Tara also likes to read, swim, make snowmen in the yard (one year they had an entire village of snow people!), and help with a children’s sunday school class at her church. She likes to go for long drives to new places and would like to learn more Spanish (hopefully before her kids are fluent in a second language!).

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

We have been dreaming about this school for so long.  In many ways Chad’s whole life has led up to this opportunity and he is thrilled that soon we will open the doors and start this new adventure!  Before coming to Innocademy, Chad had taught in schools in Holland and Kentwood.  In between those two teaching roles, he worked with a local organization to start a school in the rural town of Sumbawanga, Tanzania.  That opportunity changed his life and helped him discover a passion and skills as a leader.  Leaving Tanzania was hard, but it has been so rewarding to watch from a distance as his Tanzanian teachers and colleagues have continued and even grown while remaining self sustaining!  Chad’s dream for our school in Allegan County is to  create an opportunity for students to thrive and discover their own leadership skills and passion as they become global citizens.  Along with his school responsibilities at Innocademy Allegan he will be teaching some of our upper elementary students as they journey along their own path and leading the Galileo Apprentice Group.