Daisy is a Lead Mentor at Michigan International Prep School, devoted to guiding and empowering students. As she pursues her Bachelor's Degree in business administration at Bellevue University, Daisy brings a wealth of experience in nurturing children of all ages.
Her journey began working at a daycare center, where she discovered her passion for connecting with and inspiring young minds. After her time at the daycare center, Daisy further enriched her experience by working in a library, recommending books that ignited students' joy for reading and supported their academic endeavors. Daisy's passion for fostering children's growth and success in life became a driving force.
Beyond her professional life, Daisy finds joy in the company of her children, friends, and family. She loves reading and listening to podcasts. Daisy also enjoys checking out different libraries, volunteering, and shopping.
Why Daisy chose MIPS:
“I wanted to change my career to learn something new and be challenged. Being a lead mentor is the perfect position for me. It’s the ideal platform to mentor students and staff closely and gain experience. I will ensure my students and staff succeed in their classes and personal life. I want them to be able to follow their dreams. Thank you, MIPS, for this opportunity."
Tara has devoted her career to helping people. She started out in the serving industry, worked her way up to management, to marketing, and finally becoming a sales specialist in the retail industry. She has a real passion for people! Tara is a customer service and sales expert with sixteen years of experience in the field, handling customer needs and delivering effective solutions to problems.
Tara received her 301 Masters certification through an MBA program. She has an unwavering commitment to customer service with the ability to build productive and long lasting relationships, resolve issues, and earn customer loyalty. Tara loves bringing energy into a room and not taking everything too seriously. According to Tara, she talks too loud sometimes and her jokes aren’t always funny…but she enjoys making people feel comfortable around her when she meets them.
Outside of the office,Tara is a dedicated wife and mother of three strong minded children that keep her running constantly. Tara describes her work as sometimes being her “escape…but when you believe in it…when you truly find that you are making a difference in kids’ lives…it doesn’t feel like work at all.”
Why Tara chose MIPS:
“Through my career I’ve realized that building relationships with people is what I was meant to do and what I’m most passionate about….which has lead me here to MIPS. Falling in love with your work creates something special about it. My “why” for being here with this amazing school isn’t something I can copy and paste from the internet….I myself am a mom of a middle schooler that has been ‘falling through the cracks’ for years.
My understanding for what virtual school offers to students just like my own child has opened my mind up to so many possibilities, when I honestly thought all of my options were exhausted. Is the virtual world the best choice for every child? No, it’s not! But is it the perfect fit for some kids that have lost all hope for school and need to feel successful again? You betcha!”
Enrollment & Data Entry Specialist
Before joining Michigan International Prep School as a Student Engagement Specialist, Annette served in the medical profession for 20+ years, most recently working as a supervisor in her department. In her current role at MIPS, Annette provides critical support to current and prospective MIPS students and families.
Annette is a wife and a mother of 3 children and has one new grand-baby. In her spare time, she enjoys camping and riding her ATV with close friends and family. She is a very family-oriented person.
Why Annette chose MIPS:
“I joined the MIPS team because I was looking for a new challenge and direction in life. I knew right away that joining MIPS was the right fit for me. In my own experience, I can relate to the parent’s perspective, having a child who struggled with school and ultimately turned to virtual education. The virtual learning model provides students with a low-pressure learning environment and an extremely flexible schedule - both of which do not come with face-to-face learning. I feel that the MIPS team is a vibrant and success-oriented team. My position here allows me to help students and parents daily, and gives me a sense of accomplishment.”"
Enrollment & Data Entry Specialist
Ruthanne is part of our Enrollment Team here at Michigan International Prep School and was hired to aid our families in Applications and Enrollment.
Ruthanne worked primarily in a hospital setting as a Certified Sterile Processing Technician during her career and retired from that position after 20+ years. She also was an Administrative Assistant to the Director of a business school after completing schooling.
She is a FAMILY FIRST believer and has raised four children to adulthood who now have families of their own. Good work ethic is very important to her and she is open-minded and caring. She will do her best to help any family in need.
Why Ruthanne chose MIPS:
"I had planned on retiring, but when I was offered the opportunity to continue working for an employer who put families first, I was thrilled. I am a people person at heart, and feel I have a sympathetic ear when it comes to family dynamics. There are too many schools that do not understand underlying reasons for student failures and the inability to thrive in a school environment. MIPS takes all of the OTHER STUFF into consideration when helping our families."
Mrs. Jaimie Barksdale is a licensed K-12 School Counselor at MIPS. She has experience working with students across the states of Michigan and New York. Mrs. Barksdale is a passionate, charismatic, and kind educator who prioritizes student success as the center of her work.
Mrs. Barksdale loves following and coaching students through their educational journey as a strong advocate and support. It is very rewarding when students graduate and look back on their academic career with pride. Mrs. Barksdale embraces Solution-Focused Brief Therapy as her core counseling strategy when meeting with students for Academic, Social/Emotional, and College/Career development. She believes every student has potential and she loves being that “Go-to” adult for students who need that an extra push, check-in, or word of encouragement.
Mrs. Barksdale received her Bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Services from the University at Buffalo, and her Master’s degree in School Counseling from Canisius College.
In her spare time, Mrs. Barksdale loves spending time with her husband, daughter, and two cats. She also enjoys traveling, candle-making, and watching a good movie.
Why Jaimie chose MIPS:
“I am so excited to be a part of the MIPS team because academics and family-life balance are important for our students, families, and staff members, and it is evident that this school focuses on a holistic approach to a child’s education. Having a healthy work-life balance (for students and staff alike) and being a high-achieving online school is what makes MIPS so unique. Everyone at MIPS is very friendly and willing to go the extra mile to make sure a student has what they need in order to be successful. I am happy that I am in the business of making students across the state of Michigan successful, no matter what their circumstance may be!”
School Guidance Counselor
Casey is a supportive friend who wants everyone to be happy. She earned
her Bachelor's degree from Grand Valley State University in Behavioral
Science with a concentration in Sociology and a minor in French. She also
earned her Master's degree from Western Michigan University in Counselor
Education: School Counseling. Casey loves to bake treats, dance to the
radio, and snuggle her pets.
Why Casey chose MIPS:
"While completing my master's program, the pandemic forced all of us to
become virtual students. I was confronted with the reality that even
through a difficult time, students could still be supported virtually and
the flexibility that situation offered was extremely valuable. I did my
practicum and internship dealing with social distancing and utilizing
virtual platforms. This allowed me to realize virtual school counseling
was my calling. I've work at other virtual charter schools and learned
many tips and tricks. MIPS being a K-12 school, offered the opportunity
to work with all ages students to provide them with the benefits of a
virtual school at every age."
Mrs. Sarah Carey is a licensed school counselor with over 8 years of
experience in education. She has worked with school-aged students across
the states of Michigan and California. She believes in a team approach
with the importance of cultivating relationships as the heart of success.
Mrs. Carey is an emphatic and caring educator with robust experience in
promoting student achievement.
She believes that all students should have access to a comprehensive
school counseling program and for her students to have the skills and
opportunities beyond high school.
Mrs. Carey received her Bachelors of Arts degree from California State
University, Long Beach where she majored in psychology. She earned her
Master's of Art degree in counseling with a specialization in School
Counseling from the University of San Diego.
Mrs. Carey enjoys traveling (especially to California where she is from),
antique shopping, reading, and most of all spending time with her
husband and two young children.
Why Sarah chose MIPS:
"I am elated to be joining MIPS and their amazing school counseling team!
MIPS is student-centered focused where students are supported at every
step in their academic journey. I appreciate the flexibility and choice
that MIPS offers as we know every student is unique, so learning should
be flexible and dynamic. I believe that all students should have access
to high-quality education that provides the skills and knowledge students
need for success, which MIPS provides!"
My name is Pamela Mitchell, Social Worker for MIPS! I am passionate about helping others in any way
possible through both work and volunteering. I have a background in social work and earned my
undergraduate degree at Eastern Michigan University and my master’s degree at Wayne State
University. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than a decade of professional experience. I
have had clinical assessment and therapeutic positions throughout southeast Michigan.
I have also
served as a juvenile probation officer in both Wayne County and Livingston County. In recent years I
served as the program coordinator for a local adult homeless shelter.
My career focus has been working
with individuals and families and helping them to make positive changes to live more fully. Daily, I strive
to follow God’s lead, find the lesson and joy in all circumstances, and share that with others! A favorite
quote of mine is: “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard
work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
In my spare time, I love
anything creative including dance and music, all types of new and physical challenges, time with my sons
and family, reading and writing, and meeting new and old friends.
Why Pamela chose MIPS:
"I chose MIPS because of the innovative
approach to guiding and teaching young people! Everyone is unique with a special and personal set of
interests, talents, and skills. MIPS truly embodies that truth in education and I am excited to be a part of
that team and approach!
Ms. Adams is a Middle and High School Mentor at MIPS. She attended Central Michigan University and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies in 2017. Elizabeth joined the MIPS family in November of 2018 and is excited about the growth she’s experienced since entering the education field. Ms. Adams is known for her warm, enthusiastic, and passionate care for students.
Elizabeth (Liz) enjoys reading, painting, and cooking in her spare time. She has an energetic Boxer-Terrier mix at home who loves to bury herself in blankets. She’s a Broadway musical enthusiast and would love to see Hamilton performed live someday. Liz likes to spend most of her time with friends and family.
Why Liz chose MIPS:
“Joining the MIPS family has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I like that MIPS not only cares about providing a quality education, but also providing everything a student and their family would need in order to be successful. Instead of students having to try to live their lives around school, MIPS provides the flexibility needed in order to fit schooling into their lives and have the two blend perfectly.”
Krista is a School Psychologist, and she joined the MIPS family in the spring of 2020. Krista was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI, and she ran cross country and track competitively throughout high school and college. She attended Central Michigan University where her interest in working with individuals with disabilities began. She worked in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis after graduating from CMU and while attending graduate school at Grand Valley State University. Krista is a licensed School Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has worked as a School Psychologist in the Mid-Michigan and Grand Rapids areas along with a handful of virtual positions with school districts across the state of Michigan.
Krista enjoys spending time and going on adventures with family and friends. She is the mother of two energetic young boys.
Why Krista chose MIPS:
"I joined MIPS because I saw a unique opportunity to work with a diverse group of students, family, and staff members. I value my role as a problem-solving team member. Working with MIPS has presented me with the wonderful experience of collaborating with others who are focused on the individual needs of each family and on consistent student growth. MIPS provides a strong system of support for its students."
School Social Worker
Annie is beginning her first year at MIPS this year as a School Social Worker. Annie has been working in schools for the past four years and is passionate about helping others in any way possible. She received her Bachelor’s of Social Work from Eastern Michigan University, and her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Michigan. She has a background of working with youth in areas such as after school programs, the Adolescent Diversion Program of Ann Arbor, and in traditional and non traditional school settings.
Annie worked with both adults and children in her time at LACASA (domestic violence shelter and counseling center) as a special service worker for four years before specializing in school social work. Annie’s favorite part of her job is making meaningful connections with her students and their families.
In her spare time, Annie likes to spend time with her husband and her two young children. Her family recently adopted a puppy who has kept them all busy this summer! Annie and her family love to take adventures together and spend lots of time outdoors.
Why Annie chose MIPS:
“I am so excited to be joining MIPS this year! I have loved meeting everyone so far, and have appreciated seeing their dedicated and supportive attitude towards their work and students. I chose MIPS because I love the flexibility it gives students and their families. I love the many different resources that MIPS provides to students and how the program helps provide families with real life skills that they can utilize while in the program and after. I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful team!”
Social Emotional Interventionist
Tony is part of the MIPS family of Academic and Social-Emotional Support Services. He is our Social Emotional Interventionist assisting students and families to navigate and develop self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. Tony is a graduate of Spring Arbor University with a Bachelor of Arts in Family Life Education. He comes to us with a background in law enforcement, juvenile justice, abused and neglected youth, mental health, and education.
Tony enjoys spending his free time with his wife Wendy and five children ranging in age from adolescent to young adults. You can find the Tiggart household engaged in their church and community, various children’s sporting activities and hobbies along with entertaining three cats and two dogs.
Why Tony chose MIPS:
"I chose MIPS because every student deserves an opportunity to be successful. As a former high school dropout and at-risk student it took a team of supportive individuals being available to assist me. That team of individuals held me accountable to become a successful and productive citizen. The MIPS team is a family of supportive and caring professionals seeking to engage and grow lifelong learners beyond academics. I am a firm believer that the power of one person being available can make a difference and impact the world. Best practices encourage equipping students with strong social-emotional skills ensuring that they are able to cope with everyday challenges and benefit academically, professionally, and socially and this is how I measure success."
Director of Human Services
As the Director of Human Services, Charlie oversees the department here at MIPS making sure our staff has everything they need to flourish and achieve greatness for both themselves and the students they serve. Making MIPS a leading workplace in the state of Michigan is a passion of his.
Charlie also maintains close relationships with various charter school and school choice organizations and advocates for the vital need for online learning options and parental choice in education with legislators in Lansing often.
Charlie also works directly on the attainment and usage of all state and federal grants. (31a, 31o, 35a(5), Title I, II, IV, FCC ECF, ESSER I, II, III, as well as several other Covid era funding opportunities)
In previous roles here at MIPS, Charlie spearheaded the attainment of NCAA and AdvancED/Cognia accreditations along with being deeply involved in many facets of school compliance to both the state and federal departments of education.
Charlie has an extensive educational background, having served in various advising, teacher, and administrative roles. Charlie served as the Principal at NexTech High School of Lansing from 2012-2018 where he led the school from its inception and for six school years thereafter.
Charlie's favorite day of the year is graduation – there are few things as rewarding as seeing the look of accomplishment on a student’s face as they’re handed a diploma.
Charlie resides in Howell with his wife Kallie, and their children, Maverick, Callahan, and Poppie. In his free time, Charlie passionately follows Big Ten athletics.
Indiana University - Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, 2008
Purdue University - Master of Science in Educational Leadership, 2011
Central Michigan University - Master of Arts in Educational Technology, 2016
Why Charlie chose MIPS:
“I joined Michigan International Prep School because I am a big believer in school choice and that a highly engaging and effective school program can make all the difference in a young person’s life. Your zip code should not determine your education and MIPS lives and breathes that everyday by serving students and families all across our wonderful state! The flexibility and freedom of a program such as this provide students such wonderful avenues to use their time to pursue a musical or athletic interest, work, volunteer, intern, or even start their own business! When students are given autonomy and ownership of their learning and time, amazing things happen.”
Jared is a mentor who has a passion for building relationships with students and inspiring them to pursue their personal and academic goals. He has a talent for pulling people out of their shell and creating deep and meaningful connections.
Along with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Northwood University, Jared has experience in law enforcement and mortgage lending, both of which have ingrained in him the “art” of communication. His time volunteering with youth in the Flint area and his own experience with personal mentors has led him to MIPS, where he hopes to make a difference in many students’ lives.
and meaningful connections.
Jared enjoys working on renovation projects and camping with his family. His favorite way to spend time is to teach his young kids how to live and love well and to seek out new adventures with his wife.
Why Jared chose MIPS:
"I was so excited to join the MIPS family because of the personalized approach to education for each student. I know that everyone here is 100% invested in the academic and personal success of each student and family that we work with. Watching each member of the MIPS family go above and beyond for our students and families is inspiring."
Human Services Coordinator
Kimberly is an individual who strives to always be the best version of herself. She believes that it’s the little things in life that truly matter and have the power to make a big impact. Kimberly is currently enrolled as a senior at the University of Michigan for a bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management/Organizational Behavior. With this degree, she hopes to earn her way into a position that will allow her to utilize her strong communication skills and passion for working with the people. Holding over 5 years of experience working with children in an early child development center and 3 years in a managerial position have shaped Kimberly into the individual that she is today. She is an individual who is dedicated to the well-being of both children and adults alike. She has consistent motivation to support and encourage others to keep moving forward- no matter the hardships life may offer.
During her down time, Kimberly can be found either being crafty via painting or playing with her music. As well as making time to get active outdoors (kayaking, hiking etc.) and living for new life experiences that come her way.
Why Kim chose MIPS:
“I had come to a point in my life where I felt that what I was doing, in that moment, wasn’t fulfilling. I’ve always had this drive in me that wanted to do more - be kind, help others and make a difference. I love working with kids but wanted to find a position that allowed me to continue to work with them in a more influential way - and then I found MIPS. Being a mentor meant that not only could I continue to work with students of all ages, but I get to finally do “more” by working with them one-on-one and developing genuine connections which allows both myself and the student to grow and prosper together."
Director of Operations
Pam has worked in both K-12 and higher education settings, and she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role here (including pupil accounting, AR/AP, enrollment management, research, and marketing). Prior to joining the MIPS team, Pam helped design and implement a state-wide initiative in Arkansas to provide quality education options to students and educators during the pandemic. This challenged her because of the need for schools to have online options as well as provide a quality education to students who had no access to internet in rural areas of the state. Because of this experience, Pam advocates for education options that are flexible to meet students where they are, acknowledging that each student’s experience and needs are different.
Pam served as the Online Learning Facilitator for Genesee ISD for several years. As part of this role, she worked with a web designer to create an enrollment portal that is still used by schools across the State of Michigan to offer online courses to their students. During this time, she was also Vice President of MIPS' Board of Education for two years. While she loved working with educators across the state to serve students, Pam is especially excited to return to MIPS and be part of this organization on a day-to-day basis.
Pam is married to Roy, and they have 3 married sons and one granddaughter. She loves spending time with family, traveling, and reading. She also enjoys playing euchre and board games like Terra Mystica.
Why Pam chose MIPS:
"I chose to join the MIPS team because I believe in the mission of this organization. “Putting students first” is not just a phrase. Here at MIPS, we embrace that as the heart and soul of our school, and it drives all decision making and actions. I’m proud to serve the families who put their trust in us to help them provide the best possible education for their children."
Why Connie chose MIPS:
Custodial / Security Services
Why Louis chose MIPS:
Originally from Davison, Jerod is a recent Michigan Tech graduate with experience in System Administration and Cybersecurity. He has previously worked on a project called H.A.C.K, a cybersecurity training course for middle school students. Jerod was also involved in the creation of MTU Esports, the first Varsity Esports Program in Michigan.
Why Jerod chose MIPS:
"I chose MIPS because I want to give back to my community and support online learning. I excelled in online classes during college and I know if I had the opportunity to attend MIPS in High School, I would have loved it. I also grew up in Davison, so I'm glad I get to support those attending in my hometown."
Technology Support Specialist
Rich is the Technology Support Specialist at MIPS and loves helping people succeed, grow, and understand. He has spent the majority of his career in the technology industry, gaining experiences in areas such as networking and customer service. While IT is his primary job function by day, Rich also enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family.
Why Richard chose MIPS:
"I chose MIPS because I want to help others. I love seeing the
satisfaction in someone's face when you can help them understand a
concept that they may have not understood before. MIPS is not
just another job where you punch your time and do your tasks, I
feel that you are helping the future generation prepare for
success. You are the gate holders of the future and how it will
unfold, helping the students achieve a better and brighter
tomorrow. I chose MIPS because I want to be a part of that."
Pill earned his PhD in Computational Chemistry in Texas Tech University
and his Masters in Computer Science majoring in Information System
Management from Northwestern University. He enjoys traveling, creating
fun memories with his family, and playing with his dog.
Why Pillhun chose MIPS:
"I have a passion for education and was excited to work with an
organization that I could contribute to that empowers the younger
generation in a positive way. Knowing that I am providing support and
facilitating the growth of our students is greatly meaningful and
Director of Family Engagement, Marketing, & Legislative Advocacy
Amy Dunlap is the Director of Family Engagement, Marketing, & Legislative Advocacy. She comes to Michigan International Prep School with a wealth of experience in event planning, marketing organizations in a positive light, and fighting for equity in education at both the state and federal levels.
Amy is first and foremost an educator who realized that the one size fits all approach to education is not acceptable. She was ready to leave education until she found her perfect fit. During her career she has taught in many different settings including inner-city, rural, charters, traditional public, and fully online schools. After teaching for several years she moved into an instructional coach role. During this time, she also coordinated events for the organizations that she worked for, worked closely with their marketing teams, and spent lots of time at the State and National Capitol fighting for equity in education. She has been a resource for many districts looking to improve their school image as well as helped to establish online learning for traditional schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022, Amy was named the 2022 Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year. She made history with this award being the first virtual educator to ever receive it. Amy believes building relationships is the fundamental necessity to success in any part of your life and strives to ensure all families in the school have a personal connection to those they work with.
Amy is also the Outreach Director with P.A.C.E. (Parent Advocates for Choice in Education), an organization who helps parents find the perfect fit for their child(ren)’s education. She is also active with the National Coalition for Public School Options organization, as the Michigan Chapter President, who promotes virtual learning and choice for all. Amy prides herself on giving a voice to all children to ensure they have the best education possible to ensure the next generation is prepared to lead.
Amy has a Bachelors Degree from Western Michigan University in Elementary Education. She has a Masters Degree from American Public University in Educational Leadership.
When she is not working, Amy enjoys spending time helping with her son’s school and sports activities, being on their family farm, and taking pictures. Amy is married to her husband, Brad, and they have a son, Snyder.
Why Amy chose MIPS:
"I believe that all students (and educators) should be afforded the opportunity to find their perfect fit in education. Michigan International Prep School’s innovation sets us apart from other full-time virtual programs. I am excited to promote the innovation and well-being of all students while providing lots of great opportunities for social interaction and advocacy."
Communications & Branding Coordinator
Ben Hoppe serves as Communications & Branding Coordinator for MIPS, overseeing school-wide communications and branded content development.
Mr. Hoppe holds an MBA from Purdue Global University, as well as a Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI. He also studied performance and songwriting at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville, TN.
In his free time, Ben enjoys songwriting, music production, art, soccer, and reading.
Why Benjamin chose MIPS:
“I believe the future of education lies in unique, custom-fit training. I personally was much more interested in creative, artistic pursuits, so I can relate to students whose interests don’t particularly align with traditional academia. At MIPS, we resist the tendency to make education a uniform, ultra-standardized experience. No two kids are the same, and we don’t feel that it makes sense to treat them as if they are. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that runs on integrity, excellence, and a genuine care for the success of students as unique, talented individuals. It’s a privilege to serve with these people!”
Community Engagement Coordinator
Cara graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Family Studies. Originally, she had entered college as an Elementary Education major. Having previously worked at a preschool, Cara spent three years in various capacities (substitute teacher, office aid, etc.) at Sacred Heart Academy. She also volunteered as a tutor at three different elementary schools and worked as a counselor at Point O’ Pines in upstate New York. All of this had contributed to her desire to become a teacher.
She enjoyed her classes as an Elementary major, but something wasn’t right. She wanted to do more for students at a more holistic level, and the teacher’s role was simply too restrictive. Halfway through her junior year, her frustrations came to a head; she marched into her counselor’s office and switched her major.
After some experimentation, her journey eventually led her to MIPS. As Community Engagement Coordinator, Cara works to cultivate an engaged community within the student body, and within the broader community.
In her spare time, Cara loves spending time with her dogs and with anyone else’s dogs. She enjoys being outside, camping, cooking, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Why Cara chose MIPS:
"Before I joined MIPS, I did an internship with the Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County. I loved this position, but hearing such difficult stories day in and day out was not something that I could do long term. All of this is what lead me to MIPS. When I changed my major, I had a hard time with a system that passed kids along with no extra help or relief for teachers. I told everyone that I still wanted to work in a school and be connected to students, but I did not want the title of teacher. That is why I am so happy to be a part of this team. This is exactly what I wanted to do! I get to be that voice and supporter for students who need someone to be there. I get to help students who have had trouble with school and help to direct them."
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