Our Team

The DEISS reimagines how K-12 and higher education works together for learners of all ages and interests. Our team is made up of dedicated, mission-driven professionals who work tirelessly to eliminate barriers to learner success.


Headshot of Rob Kimball

Rob Kimball, Ed.D.

Associate Vice President and Executive Associate to the President

As the head of the DEISS, Rob Kimball thrives in fostering, launching, and managing learner-centered innovations and pathways across the PK-college continuum.

Rob is a leading national voice for connecting universities and K-12 education through charter public school authorizing. Kimball joined GVSU in 2009 and previously held multiple leadership roles in GVSU’s Charter Schools Office, guiding the oversight and support that the GVSU provides to the 35,000 students annually enrolled in the K-12 charter public schools the university authorizes.

Prior to joining GVSU, Kimball served as a middle and high school teacher in Michigan traditional public schools, education researcher, web startup founder, education consultant, and a wildland firefighter. Kimball is a graduate of the University of Michigan (BA Education), Northwestern University (MA Learning Sciences), Grand Valley State University (EdS Curriculum), and Michigan State University (EdD Administration). Fellowship experiences include Education Pioneers (Chicago) and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers Leaders program. He completed executive leadership programs at Harvard University in 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.

Office Address: 300 CEC
Phone: (616) 331-6939
Email: [email protected]

Steven Hodas on stage presenting to a crowd

Steven Hodas

Executive Director, GVSU NextEd Co-Lab

Steven Hodas joined GV NextEd Co-Lab in 2021 as its first Executive Director, bringing an extensive track record of building powerful solutions for teachers and learners. An Education Week "Leaders to Learn From" Award recipient, he has designed a range of education services and policies, from national K-12 anti-bias programs to a revamped education system for the US Bureau of Prisons.

Over the course of his career, Steven has served as the Executive Director of the New York City Department of Education's Office of Innovation under Mayor Bloomberg, pioneering new approaches to large–district problem-solving and procurement. He has also spent time at NASA, where he built the U.S. government's first public website and led the NASA K-12 Internet Initiative to support experiential STEM education. In the private sector, he went on to create the first commercial online learning products for high school and college students, and the first large-scale formative assessment platform for school districts.

He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Center on Reinventing Public Education and the founder of The Paleogene Project, which re-envisions the structural, functional, and political relationships between public schools and their communities.

Office Address: 300 CEC
Phone: (616) 331-6939
Email: [email protected]

Headshot of Leah Breen

Leah Breen

Interim Assistant Vice President for Charter Schools, GVSU Charter Schools Office

As the Interim Assistant Vice President for Charter Schools, Leah is responsible for curating the growth and development of high-quality, equitable, and innovative educational options in one of the nation’s largest portfolios of charter schools. Leah also ensures that the CSO is fulfilling all the university’s legal and contractual authorizing obligations, including the appointment of members of charter school boards of directors who are representative of the school community, and overseeing board and school compliance with all applicable laws and the terms of their charter contract.

Leah initially joined the GVSU Charter Schools Office in August 2022 as the Deputy Director for School Performance, overseeing strategic initiatives for supporting teaching and learning within GVSU's charter public schools. Prior to starting with GVSU, Leah previously served as the Director of the Office of Educator Excellence in the Michigan Department of Education. In that role she led the state’s educator training, certification, assessment, recruitment, retention, evaluation, equity, and diversity work.

In addition to her senior-level experience in state government, Leah’s background also includes work in the charter community, including in authorizing, school management, and as a teacher.

Office Address: BIK 310D
Phone: (616) 331-2240
Email: [email protected]

Divisional Staff

GV NextEd Co-Lab

The GV NextEd Co-Lab team builds cutting-edge ideas into real solutions for thousands of learners.


Meet the GV NextEd Co-Lab staff

Charter Schools Office

The Charter Schools Office team provides oversight and support for GVSU's portfolio of charter public schools.


Meet the Charter Schools Office staff

Page last modified November 6, 2023