Administrative Staff and Teachers at Northwest Academy
Matt Saunders: School Leader
I graduated from Spring Arbor University in 2005 with a triple minor in Elementary education, Science and Social Studies. I am currently working on my Administrative Degree through the MASSP Path to Leadership Program. I was hired in 2007 at Northwest Academy to teach 6th and 7th grade and quickly feel in love with Northwest Academy. In 2009 I was asked to assume the duties of School Leader of Northwest Academy. I look forward to helping NWA become the best school in Northern Michigan I was born in Charlevoix but moved to Petoskey with my family when I was 6 years old. I still live in Petoskey with my wonderful wife, who is the choir director at Petoskey High School and three beautiful children. My oldest daughter is a senior at MSU studying to become a teacher. In my spare time I like to work in the theater, building sets and teaching students how to work with stage lights and sound systems.
T. Dave Pugh: K-12 Music Director
Mr. T. Dave Pugh is a graduate of Central Michigan University where he earned both his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees. As a French Horn, Trumpet player and vocalist he performed with the 126th Army National Guard Band stationed in Grand Rapids Michigan currently performs with the Up North Big Band, Northern Michigan Brass Band and Pine River Jazz Band. Mr. Pugh’s teaching experience started in Lake Odessa, Michigan at Lakewood High School where he taught 6th through 12th grade bands. He led the Lakewood High School band on two European tours in 1990 of England and Scotland and 1993 of Germany and Netherlands. Mr. Pugh then taught at Byron Center High School where he taught High School Band and began a String Orchestra program. Mr. Pugh has taught at Concord Academy in Petoskey and Concord Montessori and Community School in Mancelona. He is very excited to be coming to Northwest Academy and looking forward to working with the students, parents and staff.
Cindy Romero: Student Liaison & Spanish Teacher
Cindy Romero was born and raised in Charlevoix County. She graduated from East Jordan High School and has a Bachelor's degree with a major in Spanish and a minor in art, as well as a Master's degree in Administration from Grand Valley State University. Cindy also had the opportunity to live in Mexico and attend the Universidad de las Américas, studying Spanish and Art. Cindy taught high school Spanish in Harbor Springs for two years before joining Northwest Academy as the Spanish and Art teacher. From 2004-2007, Cindy was the CAO for Northwest Academy. Currently, she does administrative work as well as teaching Spanish. During the summer, Cindy likes to sail her Catalina 25 on Lake Charlevoix when she is not working on the Race Committee for the Boyne City Yacht Club Tuesday evenings or giving private Spanish lessons.
Phoebe Gohs: PK-2 Grade Teacher
Phoebe Gohs has a Master of Arts degree in Reading and Literacy, and is a certified Reading Specialist. She currently works as the Literacy Programs Director, Curriculum Coordinator, and Kindergarten through 2nd grade Teacher at Northwest Academy. She is also an adjunct professor in the School of Education for Spring Arbor University. Her early elementary program is designed to focus on individual children. Students are active participants in their education, and are encouraged to explore ideas and concepts through guided, hands-on lessons. Our literacy program includes skills-based practice and a whole language approach to literacy development. We build on prior experience to engage students in literacy activities throughout the curriculum.
Trista Teuscher: 3/4 Grade Teacher
I am a graduate of Spring Arbor University. I earned a BA in Elementary Education with endorsements in Social Studies and Integrated Science. I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree from MSU in Educational Technology. I live in Petoskey with my 2 ½ year old son, Ryan. I grew up and went to school in West Branch, Mi. I relocated to the Petoskey/Charlevoix area about 3 years ago to be close to family and cannot see me living anywhere else. I have experience working with kids at all ages, but am excited to spend everyday with the 3rd and 4th graders here at Northwest Academy. In my spare time, I enjoy being with family, camping, going to sporting events, and exploring new places.
Vinnie Klooster: 5/6 Grade Teacher
Vinnie Klooster is the 5th and 6th grade teacher at Northwest Academy. She has lived in Charlevoix for 23 years with her husband, Bud, and has two children, Sarah and Connor. After graduating with an economics/business degree from Albion College in 1983, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher 20 years later, and received her teaching degree from Spring Arbor University. Her previous teaching experience includes 1st grade, 2nd grade, 4th grade, and 7th grade language arts. This is her fourth year teaching in a charter school and her second year at Northwest Academy. Vinnie is a strong supporter of the benefits the charter school system offers to students. Her interests and hobbies outside of school include tennis, golf, reading, and traveling.
Shelly Brya: Science Teacher
Shelly is very excited about starting her 7th year teaching here and welcomes you and your child to the Northwest Academy family! Shelly has been a resident of Northern Michigan for 17 years and currently lives in Charlevoix with her husband, Denny, their daughter, Lily and their son Hayden. Her love of science took her from a 10+ year career in Public Health back to Ferris State University to complete her teaching certificate. Her teaching major is Biology and her minor is General Science. She is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Instructional Technology from Saginaw Valley State University. Northwest Academy is proud to offer the following courses based on the most current high school content expectations mandated by the Michigan Department of Education: Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Health Science, Physical Science, Earth Science, Anatomy & Physiology, and Michigan Environmental Science.
Christina Eanes: History/Social Studies Teacher
I recently joined the team at Northwest Academy and am looking forward to an exciting year of teaching and learning with our students! I grew up in Traverse City, but my father was in the military which allowed us to live in the Philippines, Taiwan, and several states. This experience helped broaden my perspective on diversity and sparked my love for the Social Studies. I have wanted to teach since I was in elementary school and after 12 years as a hair stylist, I returned to college and received a dual major in History and Social Studies for secondary education from Central Michigan University. I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Political Science. I love teaching teenagers and have two teenage children of my own. My family enjoys the outdoors, especially camping, music festivals, and being on the water.
Desiree Kaiser: Language Arts/Drama Teacher
Inspiration can be found anywhere. It can be found in the gently rolling waves of Lake Michigan, in the lengthening shadows of an Autumn sunset, or even in the black spaces between the lines of text in a book. One of life's greatest joys for me is finding inspiration and discovering how it motivates me or others. In my classroom, I like to let my students find their inspiration and, in the process, find their voice. I graduated from Grand Valley State University with a major in English, a minor in history and a complete love of the trials and tribulations of teaching teenagers. I've always had a strong affinity for English and have naturally gravitated towards related hobbies such as reading, writing, and drama. Having been involved with a number of plays, I also like to use elements of drama in the classroom. I was born and raised in northern Michigan and couldn't imagine living anywhere else.
Beau Kroondyk : Math Teacher
Beau Kroondyk is starting his first year at NWA as the secondary mathematics teacher. He is originally from Boyne and graduated from Boyne City High School in 2008. He recently received his BA in Secondary Education with a focus in Mathematics and Chemistry. When he is not teaching he enjoys playing sports, hanging out with his friends and family and watching movies.
Mary Jane Grunch: Elementary Resource Teacher
Mary Jane Grunch is starting her second year as NWA's Elementary resource, academic support, and elementary electives teacher. She is originally from Charlvoix and a 1993 graduate of Charlevoix High School. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and special education with a minor in reading from Aquinas College and a master's degree in educational technology from Michigan State University. Outside of teaching her interests include being outdoors, reading, horseback riding, volleyball, bowling, golf, gardening, and snowshoeing. Mary Jane enjoys working at Northwest Academy with all of the students, families, and staff.
Kathy Lycka: Secondary Resource Teacher
Kathy Lycka is a graduate of Spring Arbor University where she majored in Elementary Education and Special Education with a minor in Social Studies. She is working on her Masters degree at Grand Valley State University. She will provide academic support to students in 7th through 12th grades. Originally from the Lansing, MI area she and her family moved to Petoskey in 2001. Mrs. Lycka has a passion for teaching and learning. Her hobbies include organic gardening, baking, singing and technology.
Barb Godwin-Chulick: Elementary Title I Teacher Aide
Jeannine Sladick - Title 1 Tutor
Megan Herriman: Health Care Aide
Hi, my name is Megan Herriman and I am the Health Care Aide in the elementary class, and also the school librarian. I am a 2002 graduate of East Jordan High School. I started working at Northwest Academy in September 2010. I am married to Luke Herriman and have two handsome sons Joshua 12, and Tyler 8. One of my favorite things about working here is getting to know all the students, parents, and other staff members, and the feeling of going home each night knowing I helped at least one student learn something.
Cindy Themm: School Secretary
My name is Cindy Themm (pronounced Theme). I am the administrative assistant here at Northwest Academy. I started out as a parent volunteer in the office in 2003 and worked myself into a full-time position. I am married to Thomas Themm who along with his brother operate our dairy farm. Our 2 children, Alyssa and Evan, both graduated from Northwest Academy (valedictorian and salutorian). email@example.com
Leslie Herriman: Office Manager
Leslie has been the office manager at Northwest Academy since 2005. Prior to that, she was a parent volunteer at the school. Leslie has 2 grown sons, 1 granddaughter and 2 grandsons.