We welcomed Mr. Michael Thomasma to Immaculate Heart of Mary in the 2015-2016 school year. He holds three degrees from Grand Valley State University. At GVSU he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies and English, a Master’s of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership. Mr. Thomasma has been a teacher and administrator for 12 years. Michael is married to his wife, Erin, and they have three boys, Peter, Andrew, and Jack. In his free time, Mike enjoys playing with his boys, fishing, camping, and playing the bagpipes. Additionally, Mike is an on-call firefighter for the city of Walker.
Mrs. Brecken is the Administrative Assistant to the principal at Immaculate Heart of Mary School. She attended Ferris State College (yes, before it was a University) where she earned her Math Education degree, along with a minor in General Business. After college, and marrying her high-school sweetheart, she worked at Watkins, Ross – as pension underwriter. After spending much time volunteering at the Catholic Information Center in various capacities, she was offered a full-time position there. Mrs. Brecken has always loved school, even playing school as soon as she was released for summer break during her childhood. Therefore, when the Administrative Assistant position was available at I.H.M., she knew it was right where she belonged. Lori and her husband Don (who is now a professor at Ferris State University) enjoy boating, walking, cooking, and spending time spoiling their nieces and nephews.
Colleen is the Secretary and the Marketing and Recruitment Director at Immaculate Heart of Mary School. She has been a part of the school staff since 2000–first as a Preschool Teacher’s Aide, then elementary Teacher’s Aide and now in her current position. She holds a BA in Telecommunications from Michigan State University (1983); worked as a Television News Producer at WZZM-TV13 where she met her husband, Jay Lowe. Colleen’s professional career includes her role as Development Director for the American Cancer Society; Project Manager for the Greystone Group; Managing Editor for CityBeat Magazine; Advertising Sales and Marketing for City Publishing; as well as one-time local Publicist for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus!
Colleen is a cantor and choir member at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Jay and Colleen have delighted in raising two young men; Nate, a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame; and Mitch, a Senior the University of Notre Dame. Both sons are alumni of Immaculate Heart of Mary School and Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School.
Mrs. Meredith Tallman began teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary Preschool in 2008. She attended the University of Michigan where she received her degree in Education with an Endorsement in Early Childhood Education. She is currently attending Grand Valley State University for her Master’s in Early Childhood Education. Prior to teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary she taught for 6 years at Corpus Christi Catholic School in Holland, Michigan. There she taught 4th and 5th grades. Mrs. Tallman enjoys reading, being with family and friends, and anything U of M – Go Blue!!
Mrs. Margaret DeVito is a graduate of GVSU, BA in English, minor in Elementary Education. She has taught 6th grade at Coopersville Public School and 4th Grade at St. Maria Goretti in Long Beach, CA.
Margaret received her Master’s degree in Pastoral Theology (MAPT) from St. Mary of the Woods in Terre Haute, Indiana. She has served as a catechist, Director of Faith Formation, Director of Vacation Bible School, as well as many other areas of ministry over the years.
Margaret was employed with the Diocese of Grand Rapids for 17 years resourcing educators and the Catholic community as Director of Bishop Baraga Bookstore. While working for the Diocese Margaret also helped design and facilitate retreats and conferences for Pastoral Ministers.
Margaret and her husband Ben reside in Grand Rapids where they raised 3 sons, Luke, Anthony and Vincent, all who attended 12 years of Catholic schools. Margaret and Ben are proud grandparents of Patrick and Connor. Her hobbies include special time with family and reading books. She is very excited to be doing what she loves best, teaching God’s children.
Mrs. Heintz, a graduate of Central Michigan University, began teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1996. Teaching math part-time for 7th and 8th graders was her first assignment. She continued teaching math with Junior High students but added a variety of other areas, now including preschool. She has taught 7th-grade religion, a Junior High Speech Elective, 6th-grade math, 4th-grade math, social studies, religion and English. Mrs. Heintz and her husband have been members at Immaculate Heart of Mary since 1978. They have 4 children who attended Immaculate Heart of Mary and Catholic Central. Mrs. Heintz enjoys reading and walking in her spare time.
Mrs. Alyse Claunch is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a Bachelors of Science in Education with endorsements in Child Development, Reading in Elementary Grades and Integrated Science. Alyse has worked as a Para-Professional for two years. She has taught religious education at St. John Vianney Parish. As a graduate of Catholic Central, she believes Catholic education is the foundation of a strong academic career and personal development. She enjoys spending time with her family, running, reading and crafts.
Mrs. Sova attended Western Michigan University and received her degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Creative Arts in 1998. She also has her Early Childhood endorsement. She earned her masters in Literacy Studies (otherwise known as Reading), again from Western Michigan University, in 2008. She started teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary in the fall of 1999. She taught 2nd grade for four years and part-time 4th grade for one year before beginning to teach Kindergarten. She enjoys reading, running, scrapbooking, and spending time with her family.
Mrs. Dawn Stockholm is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Science and Elementary Education. She recently went back to Grand Valley and earned an endorsement in Early Childhood. She began teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1992 when she started the preschool program. In the fall of 2005 she began teaching first grade – which she loves! Her hobbies are reading, gardening and spending time with her family!
Mrs. Patti Peltier attended Western Michigan University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree with an English major and an Elementary Education minor. She currently has 28 Graduate Credits in Reading from WMU and has attended numerous classes and workshops including Handwriting Without Tears, Zoo-Phonics, and Capturing Kids’ Hearts.
Mrs. Peltier started teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in 1990 and absolutely loves everything about IHM! She thinks she has the best job in the world! Mrs. Peltier enjoys children’s literature, reading, bookstores, MSU sports, coffee, and most of all, her family!
Mrs. Karli Simon has taught at Immaculate Heart of Mary since 2014 after returning to Michigan following three years in the Golden State of California. She is a fully credentialed teacher through Central Michigan University with specialties in Mathematics and Reading. With over 10 years of experience in Catholic education, she is excited to be a part of our faith community. Mrs. Simon enjoys running outdoors, fishing, reading, and spending time with her family. She also enjoys participating in the community of the Church by singing in the choir and teaching Religious Education classes.
Mrs. Host began teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary in 2006. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame with a B.A. in Elementary Education and a minor in Communicative Disorders. She received her Masters Degree in the Art of Teaching with a Language Arts Endorsement from Aquinas College in 2012.
Ms. Annette Crimmins has been teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School since 2005 where she has taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. She lives in Holland, Michigan and has three sons, Charlie, Adam, and Brian, and one daughter, Meghan.
Ms. Crimmins graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2004 with a B.A., majoring in English with a Language Arts emphasis, and a minor in Elementary Education. She received a K-8 provisional teaching certificate in 2004, and a professional teaching certificate in 2009 from the state of Michigan. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society, the International Reading Association, is certified in Michigan Literacy Progress Profile (MLPP), and is certified in CPR with the American Red Cross. She is currently working toward a Masters in the Art of Teaching at Aquinas College.
Ms. Crimmins taught religious education at Our Lady of the Lake parish in Holland for 10 years. Her interests include spending time with family and friends, golf, reading, baking, and walking along the shore of Lake Michigan.
Mrs. Polakovich has been teaching at I.H.M. since 2006. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences and Elementary Education. She received her Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College, Detroit. Mrs. Polakovich taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades in Howell, MI before returning to the Grand Rapids area with her husband. Her husband is a graduate of IHM and Catholic Central High School, and she has two sons, one at Catholic Central and one attending IHM.
Erin Durkee, 6th Grade
Miss Durkee’s started teaching at IHM in 2015, and she has taught in the Diocese of Grand Rapids since 2013. Miss Durkee graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Education concentrating in middle school science and social studies. In 2014, she received her Master’s in Education from Franciscan with a concentration in technology. Miss Durkee was born and raised in Caledonia, Michigan. She enjoys playing soccer, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Last but certainly not least, Miss Durkee has a passion for the Catholic faith and loves to pray the rosary and go to adoration.
Sarah Vulpetti was born and raised in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota. She was very active growing up, participating in soccer, softball, track, basketball (until she wised up and switched to hockey), rugby, band, choir, and theatre. She was also very active within her Church, helping out with various fundraisers, teaching Sunday School, and volunteering. The Catholic faith was a huge part of her upbringing, and She attended Catholic schools from kindergarten all the way up to college. In fact, the first time she didn’t have to wear a uniform was college! Mrs. Vulpetti feels that her education in Catholic settings really helped foster a strong foundation for her faith to grow on, and she listens for God’s word in all she does, especially when it came to the decision to move to Michigan. Her husband is from Grand Rapids, and they had been praying over the decision for a year and both felt that God was calling her here. Sarah is very happy to be a part of our community and has already witnessed ways God is working in her new life.
Josephine Savillo has been teaching at IHM since 1995. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language and Literature/Elementary Education. She completed her Master of Arts Degree in Reading Education from Western Michigan University. Ms. Savillo is a member of Pi Lambda Theta, an education honor society, and MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users and Learners). Ms. Savillo is deeply dedicated to her Catholic faith and a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.
Mrs. Perry is a graduate of Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University. She has her bachelors of Science in Education from CMU with a masters in Social Studies. From GVSU she earned her Masters in Education with a History emphasis. Mrs. Perry has been teaching since 1999 and has been a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary staff since 2005.
Mrs. Melissa Henkel has been teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary School as its Academic Support teacher since 2010. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University with concentrations in early childhood, elementary education, science and integrated creative arts. Mrs. Henkel began her teaching career at Holy Trinity School, where she taught preschool and later third grade for 9 years, respectively. After receiving her endorsement in learning disabilities from Aquinas College, Mrs. Henkel taught at Sparta Area Schools as a resource room teacher. The youngest of 4 children, Mrs. Henkel is a life-long parishioner of St. Jude parish. Mrs. Henkel has been married to her husband, Rick, since 1994 and they have two daughters, Emma and Sophie. In her spare time, Mrs. Henkel enjoys reading, spending time with her extended family and just being a mom.
With a BS in Business Administration and a Masters in Teaching, Amy earned her Missouri Library Specialist certification in 2006. After 8 years of teaching and librarian-ing in a public St. Louis area middle school, this life-long Missourian moved to Traverse City in 2010. She served as Traverse City Public School Elementary Librarian and St. Francis High School librarian before moving to Grand Rapids in 2013. She and her husband, Brian, have one son, Cooper, who attends IHM.
Mrs. Vander Tuin is our Music and Band Teacher. Marceille is a graduate of the music program at GRCC and the music education program at WMU. She is certified to teach instrumental, vocal, and general music curriculum for Kindergarten through grade twelve, ORFF certified, and has received training in ETM (Education Through Music) at California State University (Berkeley). As a trained vocalist, Marceille studied voice with internationally-known performer, David Little, and learned vocal jazz from award-winning vocal jazz instructor Duane Davis. As an alto saxophonist, she studied with award-winning music teacher and jazz enthusiast, Raymond Gill. Not only does Marceille enjoy performing in musical productions, she gets great joy from teaching private clarinet and saxophone lessons. Outside of the music field, Marceille enjoys spending time vacationing with her family, husband Dan and grown up sons, Zachariah and Abraham. Some past trips that are favorites; Washington D.C., Civil War Battle Grounds, New York City, Chicago, Cedar Point, and the Bahamas.
Mrs. Kelly DeVries teaches computer class and provides tech support for IHM. She transitioned to her role as technology director in 2014 and is privileged to get to teach every student in the school each year. She is a Google Certified Educator with a Bachelor of Science degree and a minor in Elementary Education from GVSU. In addition to teaching, Mrs. DeVries loves gardening, watching baseball, reading and spending time with her family.
Mrs. Debbie Dymowski attended Michigan State University and received her degree in Elementary Education with minors in English and Spanish. She also has her Masters from Aquinas College, with an endorsement in ESL (English as a Second Language). She is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil and speaks Portuguese and Spanish fluently. In her free time, Debbie enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and reading.
Mrs. Davis began directing the IHM child care program after school in 2008 and has helped it to grow into the full-time program currently offered. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University in Irvine, CA. Before receiving her B.A. she was an accounting clerk and a secretary. Since graduating she has taught preschool, preschool and child care, pre-kindergarten, preschool music, Mommy and Me art classes, homeschooling, and in child care at IHM. In preschool settings, she has been a Teacher’s Aide, Team Teacher, Lead Teacher, Curriculum Director, Assistant Director, Co-director, Family Child Care Provider, and a Director. Mrs. Davis enjoys walking (especially on the beach), bike riding, yoga, reading, crafts, and spending time with her husband and two children.