In 1998 VanAntwerp joined the Department of English at Grand Valley State University, where she is an associate professor of English education and has been the chair of the department since 2006. She began her teaching career in the Lowell Area Schools where she had a 29-year career.
VanAntwerp served on the executive committee of MCTE as a regional coordinator, and as co-editor of the Language Arts Journal of Michigan, annual conference chair, vice-president, president, and past president. From 2005 through 2008, she served on the executive board of the Conference on English Education of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Throughout her career, VanAntwerp has served on many committees with the Michigan Department of Education, including the taskforces that created the Michigan Curriculum Framework, English Language Arts MEAP tests, the 2000 standards for endorsement for secondary English teachers, and the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification for English. She is currently chair of the revision committee for the endorsement standards for secondary English teachers.
VanAntwerp's work has focused on quality English education for K-12 students and on the mentoring of future and new teachers of English. MCTE sponsors this award to encourage quality teaching and involvement in the profession, and also to acknowledge educators like VanAntwerp who are making a difference in education in Michigan and the nation.