Mr. Michael Thomasma has been principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary since 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.
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 and holds a BA in Telecommunications from Michigan State University (1983). Colleen’s professional career includes: her role as a Television News Producer at WZZM-TV13 where she met her husband, Jay Lowe; 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; Nathan and Mitchell. Both sons are alumni of Immaculate Heart of Mary School and Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School and the University of Notre Dame.
Mrs. Karen DeChant graduated from Aquinas College with majors in Business Administration, Education, and German. Although the majority of her work experience was in the corporate setting, she always found time to be in a school by way of tutoring, being a room parent, working in the library, and most recently as a preschool aide. Karen has twin boys, Nicholas and Harrison, who are proud graduates of Catholic Central and are currently studying at Denison University. She enjoys travel, baking, skiing, and spending time with family and friends. Her hope is to have a positive impact in the education of our children.
Mrs. Brown joined our staff in 2016 after staying home for the past 16 years raising her five amazing children alongside her husband, Paul. She attended Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Lansing and loves the coincidence that her children have attended Immaculate Heart of Mary in Grand Rapids. She is has a degree in Interpersonal Communication from Michigan State University and is a proud Spartan. She enjoys travel, crochet and the outdoors. She will never turn down time with her family and to watch MSU sports. She is glad to be a welcoming face at IHM and excited to share her faith and spread her enthusiasm for Catholic Schools.
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 then attended Grand Valley State University and received her Master’s in Early Childhood Education. Prior to teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary she taught for six years at Corpus Christi Catholic School in Holland, Michigan. There she taught 4th and 5th grades. Mrs. Tallman has two daughters attending IHM and enjoys reading, being with family and friends, and anything U of M – Go Blue!!
Ms. Karen Gawronski has attended Catholic schools all her life. She graduated from Aquinas College where she majored in mathematics and earned an Early Childhood Endorsement. While at Aquinas, she studied abroad in Ireland. Ms. Gawronski completed her Masters of Education with an emphasis in Educational Differentiation from Grand Valley State University. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Mrs. Lauren Sombati is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language Arts and Elementary Education. She recently went back to Grand Valley where she earned her Early Childhood Education Endorsement and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in the same field.
She grew up in Catholic Schools on the east side of the state before making her home in Grand Rapids with her high school sweetheart. She has spent the last 7 years at home with her 3 daughters whom all attend IHM, and she is so happy to be back in the classroom where she can put her faith into action. In her spare time, she enjoys long days by the lake with her family, reading with her girls, and crafting!
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. Cummings’ first experience with Catholic school was when her oldest daughter started at IHM preschool in 2009. It was such a welcoming and spirit-filled place she began volunteering as much as possible to get to know the IHM family. She and her husband are native to Michigan’s U.P. They enjoy visiting family there, as well as fishing, hunting, hiking, and sight-seeing. She also enjoys watching her children play sports and perform in their various extra-curricular activities. Cooking, crafts and reading are some favorite activities that she also shares with her kids. Her favorite part of getting to be a part of the preschool building is getting to know all the new IHM-ers and see them excited to graduate to the “big school”.
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. She has worked at IHM since 2010. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children and loves the beach, 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.
Debbie Sremba attended IHM and Catholic Central as a child. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Grand Valley State University. After staying home with her children, she joined the IHM staff as a kindergarten aide. She has been a member of St. John Vianney parish for 20 years. She loves reading, bookstores, knitting, and watching Lions games 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 from 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.
Ms. Rosmarin, a native of Grand Rapids, is a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She taught fourth grade for several years before moving to New York City where she taught fifth and sixth grade at a private school. After taking time off to stay home full time with her three boys, Alex, Champ and Tommy 10, Ms. Rosmarin returned to teaching as a sixth-grade teacher at an inner city charter school. She has spent the past two years as an Interventionist in second and third grade at Meadow Brook Elementary in Forest Hills. Her children attend East Grand Rapids Public Schools, and she is loving her new commute to IHM! She is so excited to be a part of the IHM family. As a parishioner of St. Stephen Parish, Ms. Rosmarin taught Faith Formation for several years, including the wonderful preparation for the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Reconciliation that she feels very blessed to be able to share with her IHM students.
Gretchen Flynn is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through college. She is a graduate of the University of the Dayton (Go Flyers!) and has 15 years of teaching experience in Catholic schools. Gretchen has two boys in the Grand Rapids Catholic School system, a middle schooler at St. Stephen and a high schooler at Catholic Central. Gretchen enjoys spending time with her family and friends and is happy to be a part of the IHM community.
Mrs. Karen Pettinger has previously taught 1st, 4th and 5th grades. She earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her M.A. in Education from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She also has her certificate in Gifted Education.
Mrs. Pettinger was born and raised in South Louisiana. She is the youngest of seven children, six being girls! She was born in New Orleans but moved to Lafayette, the heart of “Cajuns”, when she was seven. After college, she moved to North Carolina to work as a Youth Program Director for the YMCA, where she met her husband, a native of Fargo. In 1994, they moved to Minnesota where they lived for 20 years. Three years ago, they moved to Grand Rapids. She has two sons, and she enjoys reading, swimming and traveling. Her household would not be complete without her cat, Stardust.
Her mantra is Give me a fish, I eat for a day; teach me to fish, I eat for a lifetime.
Mrs. Soda received a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Education from Western Michigan University. She has 14 years of experience in grade levels preschool through seventh grade. Carey loves spending time with her family, camping, gardening, reading, and watching her kids play sports. She has a strong faith and is excited to join our community.
Miss Abby Fatum is a graduate of IHM and Catholic Central and has been a member of our parish her whole life. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a double major in Education and Mathematics and a double minor in Spanish and Elementary Certification. During her time at GVSU, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Bilbao, Spain for a semester which began her love for traveling. Her other interests include swimming, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Mrs. Kathy Menno graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Biology degree and a passion to teach. She pursued a Master’s of Secondary Education and gained two years of teaching experience through the Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers (PACT) program in Providence, RI. Next, she taught biology, chemistry, and integrated science at an all-boys Jesuit high school in Cincinnati, OH for six years. After returning to her hometown of Grand Rapids, MI, she enjoyed staying home to raise her three young children before heading back to the science classroom at IHM in 2018.
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.
Mr. Wasinski is a lifetime parishioner at IHM and an Aquinas College graduate, where he earned majors in Elementary Education and Learning Disabilities. He most recently taught special education math at Caledonia High School. Gus loves playing ultimate frisbee, running, camping, working with his hands and exploring his faith.
Mrs. Kuzma has been working at Kent District Library in youth programming working with children from infants/toddlers up through teens for the past six years. Wendy graduated from college with a degree in elementary education and has taught both preschool and third grade. She loves working with children of all ages and feels so blessed to be joining the staff at IHM as your school librarian!
Wendy has been happily married to her husband, Steve, for almost 30 years. They have four beautiful daughters, Shelby, Faith, and twins, Abigail and Natalie. In addition to being an avid reader, in her free time, Wendy enjoys traveling, singing on the praise team at her church, and doing crafts. She and her daughters recently discovered the joy of quilting and have made eight quilts since December.
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, is ORFF certified, and has received training in ETM (Education Through Music) at California State University (Bakersfield). 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.
Deborah Groenleer loves to teach music and is very excited for her first year at IHM!
She received her degrees from Albion College (Science and Music) and Trinity College in Vermont (High School Biology) and has an Elementary Endorsement from Aquinas College. Deborah lives with her husband, Marc, and her dog, Gershwin. Her daughter and son attended St. Jude Catholic School (All Saints Academy) from preschool through 8thGrade, and both graduated from college this past Spring (Albion and Michigan Tech).
Liturgical Music is a wonderful opportunity for praise and prayer, and Deborah is grateful for being able to work with students to make a meaningful experience!
Ms. Kelly DeVries teaches computer class and provides tech support for IHM. She transitioned to her role as technology coordinator in 2014 and is a Google Certified Educator with a Bachelor of Science degree and a minor in Elementary Education from GVSU. In addition to teaching, Ms. DeVries loves gardening, watching baseball, reading and keeping up with her two-year-old son.
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.