Sarah Wildey Staff Member

Sarah K. Wildey

Sarah joined Choice Schools Associates in 2001 as the Director of Human Resources and transitioned to the executive leadership team as Vice President in 2013. Sarah stepped into the role of CEO in 2017 where her main role is to keep the company focused on the culture and values that have given Choice Schools a strong track record of success. Sarah oversees all function areas within Choice Schools Associates.

Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the School of Education and Human Development at Brenau University and is currently completing her Master’s degree from the Broad School of Business at Michigan State University.

Beth Spaman

Beth joined Choice Schools Associates in 2008 and prior to working in human resources, she worked at West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science as the Bookkeeper. She has eight years of human resources experience including recruiting, training, performance management, career development, employee relations, safety, and compliance knowledge. Beth received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development from Central Michigan University and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Human Resources Administration.

Aside from her duties with Choice Schools, Beth loves meeting and learning about new people and staying healthy and active. She cherishes her time with her husband, two wonderful children, and the family’s husky dog, Chevy.

Chris Ruiter

Chris Ruiter serves as the Chief Academic Officer for Choice. He comes to us from Byron Center Public Schools where he was the Principal at Marshall Elementary. Prior to that, Chris served as a special education teacher for 14 years in Wyoming Public Schools (MI) and in Union City Community Schools. Chris received his Bachelor’s in Special Education from Calvin College, his Masters in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University, and went on to earn his Special Education Administrators Endorsement in 2012 from Grand Valley State University.

Chris lives in West Michigan with his wife Beth, and their four children; Addison, Holden, Weston, and Judson. A few of his favorite things are spending time with his wife and children, serving at their church, relaxing at the family cottage up north, hobby farming and reading.

When asked about his role, Chris said, “Coming to Choice was a great opportunity to serve students in need. In this position, I want to have an impact on the students who might otherwise get overlooked or left behind. Those students need to have every opportunity to receive the instruction that meets their needs. Being able to work with staff and school leaders to collaborate will help us to create an environment where kids can get everything they need,” Chris concluded.

Sara Mooney Staff Member

Sara Mooney

Sara Mooney joined Choice Schools Associates in July 2018 as the chief development and communications officer. In this role, she oversees central office communications, marketing, development and strategic planning. Sara comes to us from Davenport University where she was the assistant director of alumni communications and development. Prior to Davenport, she was at Van Andel Institute, where, as an intern in 2008, she established the grassroots fundraising program ‘Purple Community,’ which empowers individuals to raise awareness and money for cancer and Parkinson’s disease research.

Sara earned her master’s degree in business administration and her bachelor’s degree in business administration in international business and sports management from Davenport University. She is in the process of completing her second master’s degree in education with an emphasis in adult learning and higher education at Grand Valley State University. She was a recipient of the 2014 Davenport University Outstanding Young Alumni award. In her free time, Sara enjoys spending time with her husband, family, friends, and her dog Woody.

Ron Wiens Staff Member

Ron Wiens

Ron joined the Choice Schools Associates team in April 2006, after being a manager, and a clinician, in the field of social work for over 30 years. As Choice’s Chief Strategic Operations Officer, Ron’s role includes overseeing grants and grant compliance, School Nutrition Program grants and compliance, Academy Compliance and Accountability, Early Childhood Programs and licensing, parent involvement and training, and multiple student services.

Ron’s career has included being active in numerous community service organizations including Rotary International, where he has served as Club President and Assistant District Governor. He was also President of a public school academy board. In addition to his volunteer service, Ron served as a Peer Reviewer and Team Leader for the Council on Accreditation, helping to improve the quality of human service organizations across the United States. He earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Arts in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. Ron is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers and has jointly published health services textbook chapters and journal articles. Besides being involved in Rotary for community service, Ron is also a Deacon at his church and is a Track and Field Official for the University of Michigan.

Ron has been married to his wife Kathy for over 30 years, and together they have three adult daughters who are college graduates and professionals in the areas of dental hygiene, speech and language pathology, and retail brand management. Ron’s goal for the students he services is to assist them in achieving excellence in their academics character. As for the Academies serviced, Ron’s goal is that they reach excellence in everything they do.

Sarah VanderBaan

Sarah VanderBaan started with Choice as the Special Education Supervisor and is now the Director of Specially Designed Instruction and Student Services. Previously, Sarah was at National Heritage Academies as a middle school Resource Room Teacher and West Michigan Special Education Content Leader. Her teaching experience included early childhood through high school general education and special education. Sarah received her bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College in Learning Disabilities and Early Childhood Education. Sarah also received her Master’s degree in Learning Disabilities from Grand Valley State University. Currently, Sarah is receiving her Educational Leadership-Special Education Administrator degree endorsement from Grand Valley State University. Sarah lived in Hong Kong for three years and taught at The American School there. She has traveled all over Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Free time for Sarah includes traveling, yoga, and spending time with her family relaxing in Northern Michigan. West Michigan is where Sarah calls home. Volunteering is important to Sarah as she serves on the Executive Board of Family Hope Foundation.

Sarah is excited to work at Choice and collaborate with general education and special education staff to meet the needs of all students.

Jennifer Shiels Staff Member

Jennifer Shiels

Department: Finance
Jennifer Shiels joined the finance team at Choice Schools Associates in June 2019. In this role she
supports the budget process, assists with grant management & compliance, handles the financial
reporting function and facilitates external audits for the charter schools.

Jennifer graduated from Central Michigan University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and
minors in finance and legal studies. From there she pursued a career as a public accounting professional
with Deloitte, obtaining her Certified Public Accountant license in 2010 and gaining experience
performing single audits on charter schools across the Midwest. Since leaving public accounting in 2012
Jennifer has ventured into several industries bringing budgeting and financial reporting experience from
wealth management, not-for-profits, hospitality and wholesale food distribution companies.

In her free time, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids camping, hiking and
biking. She also values maintaining a healthy lifestyle and seeks to incorporate healthy eating along with
being active. Jennifer resides with her family in West Michigan.

Jacob Allen

Joining the Choice Finance team in 2013, Jacob lends his expertise as a Finance Analyst. He works closely with the finance department, implements the SDS software, and assists our new Choice employees with any payroll needs. Jacob also assists finance and payroll with special projects, and is committed to perfecting audits for Choice Schools and its Academies.

Jacob graduated from Central Michigan University, receiving his B.S. in Business Administration and Economic Theory. A former U.S. Marine, he enjoys spending his time outdoors kayaking, hunting, and gardening. He also spends time on the weekends working on his family’s tree farm in Lake Isabella.