Meet our Teachers

Our teachers are all Lake Michigan Writing Project Teacher-Consultants who have been identified as outstanding teachers of writing and nurturing role models for our campers.





Allendale: High School

Melissa Ausua is a Grand Rapids native. She attended GVSU for her undergrad years and completed a graduate program at WMU. She is a proud alumna of the Lake Michigan Writing Project's Summer Invitational class of 2014. Her career began with teaching 8th grade on the beautiful island of Oahu, but then brought her back home to teach English at the middle school, high school, and college levels. She is now a School Renewal Specialist at Grand Rapids Public Schools. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, reading (of course), and seeing about one movie per week.


Allendale & Grand Rapids: Middle School

Ms. Bartley is an 11th-grade English teacher, but she is excited to work with middle schoolers this summer through the writing project! She got her bachelor's degree in Language, Literature, and Writing for Secondary Education from Eastern Michigan University and her master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Aquinas College. She began her teaching career in Charleston, South Carolina, but soon returned to the great state of Michigan to continue her career. She has been teaching at East Kentwood High School for six years. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading anything she can get her hands on, and relaxing on the shores of Lake Michigan. She is passionate about equity in the educational system, young adult literature, technology in the classroom, and The Great Gatsby. Her biggest goal in life is to own a mini-pig. She looks forward to a summer full of writing and imagination.


Grand Rapids: High School

Bio coming soon!


Allendale: Elementary

An LMWP alumna of 2005, Kim has taught in almost all areas of education: juvenile detention, private high school, charter middle school, and online education (before it became popular in Covid!). Currently she is an adjunct professor in the English Department at Grand Rapids Community College. She holds a masters of education from Grand Valley State University and another masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (fiction) from Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has led a number of GVSU summer writing camps, but all of them at the middle school level, so she’s excited to work with a slightly younger audience! At home she attempts to mother three kids and one dog. When it all becomes too much, she reads, writes and runs to escape the world. 



Mrs. Burnett has 21 years of teaching experience in 3rd, 4th, 5th grades, K-5 Art, PE, and Technology. She has been a Teacher-Consultant with the Lake Michigan Writing Project since 2006 and running summer writing camps since 2007. She graduated from Michigan State University and earned a BA in English, her teaching certificate, and an MA in Teaching and Curriculum. She achieved an Endorsement in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University in 2018. In her free time, Mrs. Burnett enjoys biking, hiking, downhill skiing, yoga, and going on adventures with her husband and three children.


Grand Rapids: Elementary

Ms. Caley is so excited to write with you this summer! She is currently in her 17th year of teaching, and has taught every age from kindergarten through 12th graders. Though her teaching career has taken her overseas and from rural Indiana to urban Massachusetts, for the last eleven years, she’s been happily teaching writing courses at Byron Center High School. She holds an undergraduate degree from Huntington University and  Masters degree from GVSU, where she trained as a K-12 literacy specialist. She’s also enjoyed being involved with the Lake Michigan Writing Project since 2015. Outside of her professional life, Ms. Caley loves to write and read and bake. Her greatest delight, though, is spending time with her 4th grade daughter and two mischievous cats. 


Allendale: Elementary

Ms. Eva is a Michigan native, and an alumni of Central Michigan University, as well as Western Michigan University. She holds a B.S.E.d with an Elementary Education Emphasis, and a Language Arts Major, and a Biology Minor. She also holds an MA in Literacy Studies as well as a Reading Specialist Certificate (K-12), and is a graduate of the Kent ISD’s Teacher Leadership Academy. Most recently she attended Grand Valley State University by completing an Educational Specialist in Leadership degree and obtaining her Administrative Certification. Her passion is teaching Reading and Writing at any grade level, utilizing every subject area and multiple methods, because she feels a strong background in literacy can facilitate not only success in school but also a lifelong love of learning, by helping each student to build on their own strengths. She currently holds a position as a Montessori Lead Guide Teaching position at North Park Montessori in Grand Rapids.  



Terri Fortmeyer loves teaching all subject areas, but especially writing.  She is a 4th grade teacher at North Muskegon Elementary School and has just finished her 24th year of teaching.  In her spare time, Terri enjoys learning, reading, writing, playing piano, baking, and traveling with family and friends.  She lives in North Muskegon with her husband and their yorkie, Riley.  She has three grown children and four grandchildren who live nearby. She's excited to be teaching Laker Writing Camp again this summer. 


Write Your College Essay

Laura Kozminski teaches writing composition at Grand Rapids Community College, but previously taught high school English in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She earned her B.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University and her M.A. in Secondary Education from the University of Michigan. She is a proud alumni of the Lake Michigan Writer's Program, 2018. She loves teaching writing and enjoys writing her own poetry and short stories. 


Grand Rapids: Middle School

Jeff Larsen teaches anything and everything at Lowell High School, where he began his teaching career nearly 30 years ago. He is on the AP Literature Exam Reading leadership team, and is an adjunct instructor at Grand Rapids Community College. A proud member of the 2003 Lake Michigan Writing Project cohort, he has degrees from Eastern Kentucky University (BA in Broadcasting), Grand Valley State University (BA in English), and Michigan State University (MA in K-12 Leadership). Outside of the classroom, Mr. Larsen loves spending time with his family, going to concerts, and reading ALL the books!


Grand Rapids: Elementary

Mrs. Lopez has been a Lake Michigan Writing Project Fellow since 2015, and she has been a Teacher Consultant since 2017. Currently, she is in her 16th year of teaching. She teaches third grade at Chandler Woods Charter Academy in Belmont, Michigan. She also taught 5th grade one year in Colorado Springs. Mrs. Lopez completed her Bachelor’s (Life Science and Elementary Education) and Master’s degree (Curriculum & Instruction) at Grand Valley University. She LOVES making learning fun and engaging for her students and her own two elementary age kids. She also treasures spending time with her husband, kids, family, and dear friends. Her hobbies include eating & cooking healthy foods, walking, running biking, camping, and traveling. She cherishes her reading and writing moments.



Grand Rapids: High School

Dustin Morley currently teaches English courses including Creative Writing at Jenison High School. He has been teaching for twelve years, including three years in the Detroit area and nine years in West Michigan. He graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2011 and became part of the Lake Michigan Writing Project (LMWP) during the summer of 2016. He was part of a group from the LMWP that presented at the National Conference for Teachers of English in St. Louis during the fall of 2017. He has also been part of the Literacy Network through the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District since 2016. A few of his favorite things besides teaching include going on adventures with his family, reading, writing, playing strategy games, being outside, baking anything with chocolate, and drinking coffee.


Allendale: Middle School

Kaley Obney currently teaches 7th and 8th grade English at Wyoming Junior High School. She attended Hope College with an English and Psychology Secondary Education degree in 2018 and went to high school at Forest Hills Eastern. She became part of the Lake Michigan Writing Project in the summer of 2021 and fell in love with it. When she's not working with student council or fellow staff members on varying projects, Kaley Obney enjoys relaxing with friends and family, playing with her cats Taco and Belle, and either binge-watching Netflix or writing poetry. 


Allendale: High School

Ann Oosterhouse currently teaches AP English Language and Composition Grandville High School. She holds degrees in Professional Writing, English Language and Literature, and also a Master's of Secondary Education from Grand Valley State University. Ann has been teaching for seventeen years and has been working with the Lake Michigan Writing Project since the summer of 2015. She loves helping young writers find their voices and also realize that the English language is more accessible than they think.



Mrs. Patrick earned her B.A. in Education with a writing emphasis from GVSU in 1995. She began her teaching career at Reeths-Puffer Public Schools in 1995 teaching third grade. Upon completion of her first Master's Degree in Reading with a K-12 Reading Endorsement in 1999 and a Reading Specialist certification, she left the classroom and became a district Reading Specialist for 7 years During this assignment, Mrs. Patrick completed her second Master's Degree in Educational Leadership in 2003. In 2008, she decided to return to the classroom and taught first grade for three years, then proceeded to teach a 1st/2nd split classroom for four years.. Mrs. Patrick attended  the Lake Michigan Writing Project Summer Institute in 2012 and became a Lake Michigan Teacher Consultant. Mrs. Patrick retired from Reeths-Puffer Schools in 2015 but has been very active in teaching reading and writing outside of the classroom. Mrs. Patrick enjoys spending time with her husband and family, taking long walks, boating, writing children's stories, and reading great books.


Write Your College Essay

Eric Tower is the English department chair at Grandville High School in Grandville, MI.  A 26-year teaching veteran, he has taught freshman composition and literature and several upper-level electives, including Mythology, Science Fiction and Fantasy Lit, Shakespeare, and a college essay writing class. He has also been a teacher consultant with the National Writing Project for 19 years. His conference presenting credits include the Michigan Reading Association, the Kent ISD Literacy Coaches Network, the Michigan College Access Network, and the West Michigan National College Fair. When not teaching and presenting, Mr. Tower can be found directing high school theatre, shopping with his wife and calling it "date night", driving his three children to their school activities, walking his dog Scout, or falling asleep on the couch when he should be doing one of those other things.



Mrs. Verduzco has a B.A in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an Elementary Teaching Certificate from the College of Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, California. She taught 5-8th Grades in California before coming to Michigan. In total, she has taught grades 3-8 for 25 years. She facilitated learning sessions for teachers for the MIELA network over 4 years.  In 2016 she was awarded a fellowship for Lake Michigan Writing Project at GVSU.  She is now certified as a Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project.  In her free time she enjoys camping, reading and spending time with her husband and high school/ college age children. She currently works as a Senior Content Specialist in Writing for Discovery Education creating writing experiences for K-5 students

Page last modified May 22, 2023