Our Staff

Head shot of Rob Kimball

Rob Kimball, Ed.D.

Associate Vice President for Charter Schools

Office Address: BIK-310J
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: kimbalro@gvsu.edu

Bio:

Rob Kimball, Ed.D., is Grand Valley State University’s fourth Associate Vice President for Charter Schools.

Rob is a 2004 honors graduate of the University of Michigan. He earned a Master of Arts (M.A.) in learning sciences from Northwestern University (Chicago, IL) and holds an Ed.S. in curriculum and supervision from GVSU and an Ed.D. in education administration and leadership from Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI). Fellowship experiences include Education Pioneers (2008) and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers Leaders program (2013). He completed executive leadership programs at Harvard University in charter school operations and strategic data management.  In 2011, he was nationally recognized by Splashlife.com as one of the top 30 education innovators under 30 years old.


Headshot of Don Cooper

Don Cooper

Deputy Director for Charter Schools

Office Address: BIK-310
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: coopedon@gvsu.edu

Bio:

With more than 15 years’ experience in education policy and charter schools, Don has a passion for helping schools achieve great results for kids. As Deputy Director, his work primarily focuses ensuring effective charter board governance, leading the CSO's communications team, and on initiatives that lead to more and better choices for parents.  

Don serves on the board of directors of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (2012-Present) and the Michigan History Foundation (2015-Present). He earned an MPA from Central Michigan University and a B.A. in Economics from Hillsdale College. He has also completed executive training in charter leadership at Harvard University. 


Alyson Murphy head shot

Alyson Murphy, J.D.

Director of Governance and Compliance

Office Address: BIK-310H
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: murphaly@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Alyson is responsible for monitoring GVSU-authorized charter schools for compliance with state and federal laws and regulations and compliance with academies' respective contracts with the University Board of Trustees. Alyson is also responsible for maintaining the integrity of the electronic document management system and preparing and disseminating information related to the GVSU charter schools to the State of Michigan.

Alyson is a licensed attorney; after completing her undergraduate work at Purdue University, she went on to receive her Juris Doctor, with distinction, from The Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

 


head shot of Jayme Lesperance

Jayme Lesperance

Compliance Coordinator

Office Address: BIK-310H
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: lesperja@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Jayme is responsible for monitoring and auditing documents and staff certifications for GVSU-authorized charter school employees to comply with the Michigan Department of Education. Jayme also provides assistance, as needed, to the Director of Governance and Compliance. 

Jayme graduated from GVSU with a B.A. in Psychology-Special Education. Prior to joining the CSO, she served as a high school special education teacher.


Headshot of Maria Montoya

Maria Montoya

Manager of School and Community Partnerships- Detroit

Office Address: Detroit Center 252
Phone: (616) 331-9002
Email: montoyma@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Maria is responsible for helping GVSU charter school administrators, staff and students connect with community partners and opportunities that support and enrich learning experiences. Additionally, Maria is an enrollment engagement specialist and special education advocate committed to working with families and community stakeholders in developing processes and programs that help students overcome barriers in accessing educational programs.  

Maria is a former journalist who received her Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Florida.  


Amirah Vosburgh professional photo

Amirah Vosburgh

Manager of School and Community Partnerships - West Michigan

Office Address: BIK-310
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: vosburga@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Amirah manages and directs all programs offered to GVSU charter school teachers, administrators, and students  including the Summer Enrichment Camp, ArtPrize Education Days, and campus tours. She also leads the office in all marketing projects.

Amirah received both her Bachelor of Science in Communications and Master of Public Administration degrees from GVSU.


Erin Lecker

Erin Abel

Programs Coordinator

Office Address: BIK 310
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: abeleri@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Erin assists the Manager of Programs and Marketing with program logistics and development. She also guides planning process for professional development workshops, The Learning Network, and M.Ed. tuition reimbursement programs. Prior to joining the CSO, Erin worked in Austin, Texas as the Convention and Professional Development Coordinator for the Texas Bankers Association.


Tona Ambrose

Tona Ambrose

Project Coordinator for College Access

Office Address: BIK-310
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: ambrosto@gvsu.edu

Bio:

Tona joined the GVSU Charter Schools Office staff in June of 2007. In addition to her responsibilities as Project Coordinator for College Access, Tona is also the co-director of the GVSU College Prep Week; manages the campus visit program; and designs integration of GVSU assets to further college access and awareness.

Tona received her undergraduate degree from GVSU, as well as two master's degrees in education: Adult and Higher Education and Education Technology.


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Ram Ravikumar

Data Analyst

Office Address: BIK 310F
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: ravikumr@gvsu.edu

Bio:
As the Data Analyst, Ram manages performance analyses of the GVSU Charter Schools Office portfolio. He is responsible for developing annual contract performance reviews and providing real-time performance reports for all GVSU authorized charter schools. Additionally, Ram manages data updates to Mi-School.net website and assists the Deputy Director of Charter Schools.

Ram completed a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Communications from Anna University, Chennai, India in 2008 and then graduated in 2011 with his Master of Science in Computer and Information Systems from The University of Michigan-Flint.


Wendy Miller

Wendy Miller

Director of School Support

Office Address: BIK-310D
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: millerw@gvsu.edu

Bio:
As the Director of Schools Support, Wendy supports teachers in the area of reading for GVSU charter schools. She works with the schools regarding literacy assessment, data, strategies, research, best practices, and implementation. She provides in-school support as well as professional development events. 

Before joining the CSO, Wendy spent nine years as a classroom teacher in the Hamilton and Saugatuck Public School Districts and four years as the Reading Intervention Specialist for Saugatuck Public Schools.


Jill Weber

Jill Weber

Reading Intervention Specialist

Office Address: BIK-310D
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: weberji@gvsu.edu

Bio:
As a Reading Specialist, Jill supports GVSU charter school teachers in the area of reading. She works with the schools regarding literacy assessment, data, strategies, research, best practices, and implementation. She provides in-school support as well as professional development events. 

Before joining the CSO, Jill spent 10 years teaching third grade at Walker Charter Academy.  For two years Jill was the Reading Specialist, Title I Coordinator, and Intervention Action Team Coordinator at Walker.


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Lissa Brunan

Instructional Technology Specialist

Office Address: BIK-310E
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: brunanl@gvsu.edu

Bio:

Lissa’s main role is to design, develop, and facilitate professional development focused on understanding and applying educational technology into the classroom. Lissa is a Level 1 Google Certified Educator, a Flipgrid Ambassador, and an Edpuzzle Coach.

She also provides workshops and on-site support in NWEA for GVSU-chartered schools throughout the year. Her expertise with educational technology and MAP GROWTH has made her a highly-sought presenter for professional development.

Lissa joined the GVSU Charter School Office in 2011 after six years as a middle school math teacher and three years providing professional development all over the country.


Alissa Thelen professional photo

Alissa Thelen

Instructional Leadership Specialist

Office Address: BIK-310E
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: thelenal@gvsu.edu

Bio:

Alissa joined the GVSU Charter Schools Office in 2015 and provides professional development in many areas, including guidance for implementing NWEA test data, English Language Learner instructional support, cooperative learning strategies, and leadership consulting. As the Instructional Leadership Specialist, she also works closely with school administration and teachers to focus on school improvement, teacher and student learning, as well as academic growth and assessment. Additionally, Alissa is always looking for fun ways to use technology to enhance school-wide communication and instruction. Alissa has a Masters in Educational Administration, a K-12 School Administration certificate, and a K-12 Professional Teacher certificate. She is also currently in the Educational Specialist in Leadership program at GVSU.

Before joining the CSO, Alissa was a classroom teacher and instructional coach for six years in Arizona. Upon arriving to Michigan, she worked as a Curriculum and Instructional Coach for William C. Abney Middle School. 


Headshot of Cindy Shinsky

Cindy Shinsky

Affiliate Faculty - Educational Leadership (GVSU College of Education)

Office Address: 350C Richard M. Devos Center
Phone: (616) 331-6241
Email: shinskyc@gvsu.edu

Bio:

Cindy has a passion for working with school leaders and staff to support quality programs and services for students.  She comes to us with more than 37 years of experience serving within charter and traditional school systems.  Cindy’s experiences include serving as Director of Special Education for National Heritage Academies, Assistant Superintendent at two ISDs, Director of Special Education at two local districts and as a special education teacher. Currently, Cindy serves as affiliate faculty within the GVSU College of Education, Educational Leadership program, and will use her expertise to assist the GVSU Charter Schools Office with issues related to special education.

Cindy graduated from Michigan State University with her B.A. in Elementary Education/Special Education, M.A. in Special Education and Ed.S in School Administration.


J.D. Smith professional photo

James D. Smith, Ph.D.

School Consultant

Office Address: Detroit Center 251
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: smijames@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Dr. Smith is one of three school consultants working in the Detroit area. He provides school board consultation for 10 GVSU charter schools, and specializes in financial instruction. He also is responsible for connecting the GVSU CSO with Detroit leaders in an effort to offer more programs to Detroit students.

Prior to joining the CSO, Dr. Smith worked for IBM for twenty-eight years. When he retired in 2001 his responsibilities as Director of Education and Government Consulting included leading a large consulting practice that provided IBM management consulting and implementation services to K-12 school districts, higher education, and city, county and state governments in fifteen Midwestern States. 


head shot of Rajeshri Gandhi Bhatia

Rajeshri Gandhi Bhatia

School Consultant

Office Address: Detroit Center 253
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: bhatiar@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Rajeshri joined the GVSU CSO as a school consultant in the fall of 2017, serving schools in Metro Detroit. Prior to joining the CSO, Rajeshri has worked in education across the country, holding a variety of leadership positions that include school principal, director of admissions and marketing, head of curriculum, dean of faculty, and dean of education. She also helped start a charter school in Chicago, IL. 

Rajeshri has received a B.S. in Education from the University of Michigan and an Ed.M. from Harvard University in School Leadership with a focus on principal certification. 


Dan Warren professional photo

Dan Warren

School Consultant

Office Address: BIK-310A
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: warrend@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Dan is the lead consultant for schools in the beginning stages of their charter contract with GVSU. He works with school boards prior to the school opening and through their first year to put them on the right path for the future.

Dan joined the CSO with nearly 40 years of experience in education. He served as a classroom teacher, building administrator and district curriculum leader.  Dan also has several years experience serving on state committees associated with school improvement, accreditation and recognition.


Bill Barker professional photo

Bill Barker

School Consultant

Office Address: BIK 310C
Phone: 616-331-2240
Email: barkerwi@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Bill joined the GVSU Charter Schools Office in 2017 and assists Dan Matthews with Crisis Prevention training.  He will also be working closely with several GVSU charter school boards as a consultant.

Before joining the CSO, Bill spent sixteen years as a classroom teacher and ten years as assistant principal and athletic director for both Lakewood High School and Middle School.  


Cheryl professional photo

Cheryl Edwards-Cannon

School Consultant

Office Address: BIK-310C
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: edwardc1@gvsu.edu

Bio:
As a school consultant, Cheryl is the main GVSU CSO representative for 11 charter schools. She also offers assistance to all GVSU charter schools in the area of student recruitment.

Prior to joining the CSO, Cheryl held leadership positions at National Heritage Academies, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and Herman Miller. She is a member of the Clark Retirement Community Foundation Board and past president of the YWCA of West Central Michigan.


head shot of Danielle North

Danielle North

School Consultant

Office Address: DET 
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: northd@gvsu.edu

Bio:
As a school consultant, Danielle is the main GVSU CSO representative for a number of GVSU-chartered schools in the Metro Detroit area. She works closely with school boards to ensure they have the information and support they need to help their schools thrive.

Born and raised in Detroit, Danielle has spent much of her career creating educational and recreational opportunities for children. She is the founder/owner of Kidz Kingdom, Detroit's first indoor playground that is also a licensed child care center. She also launched Biz Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring to young entrepreneurs. Danielle has also held a variety of leadership roles with Promise Schools, Detroit Public Schools, and the Warren Conner Development Coalition. 

 


Michael Cousins professional photo

Michael Cousins

Communications and Technology Specialist

Office Address: BIK-310
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: cousinmi@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Michael lends a hand with all projects related to marketing and communications. He manages the GVSU CSO website, newsletter and social media accounts. He also supports the Deputy Director for Charter Schools with developing office publications and printed materials. Additionally, Michael is the primary person to provide internal technology support for the CSO.

Prior to joining the CSO, Michael worked with WOOD TV8, the NBC-affiliate television station in Grand Rapids, MI., and WGVU, the local NPR affiliate. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from GVSU.


Sherri Hall

Sherri Hall

Executive Assistant

Office Address: BIK-310
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: hallsh@gvsu.edu

Bio:
Sherri provides direct assistance to the Associate Vice President for Charter Schools, as well as general support to all CSO staff members and student-assistants. Sherri joined the CSO after working as the Office Coordinator for the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

Prior to coming to GVSU, Sherri served in various administrative roles within the public school system, banking industry, and insurance field.


Head shot of Sarah Constable

Sarah Constable

Secretary

Office Address: BIK-310
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: constabs@gvsu.edu

Sarah provides administrative support to the Charter Schools Office staff. She previously worked with GVSU's Department of Visual and Media Arts as secretary, and provided temporary clerical support to the university's Department of Music and Dance 

Prior to her work at GVSU, Sarah was a member of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, where she played the oboe. She holds degrees in music performance from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Minnesota. She also completed the Graduate Teaching Certification program at GVSU. 



Page last modified August 3, 2018