At the heart of any good company is good people. Choice is no exception. Our people come from all over the state and have a wide array of educational, professional, personal, and cultural backgrounds. We are all brought together by the shared passion of helping children.
We also focus on developing one another through meaningful relationships, challenging work, constructive feedback, sound professional training, and a true commitment to nurturing the career path of each team member.
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 2018 where her main role is to keep the company focused on the core values and pillars that have given Choice Schools a strong track record of success. Sarah oversees all functional areas within Choice Schools Associates.
Choice Schools is more than a job to Sarah; it is a family business that helps strengthen other families by providing meaningful work, a strong academic foundation, and an environment of excellence so children can pursue their dreams.
Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the School of Education and Human Development at Brenau University and is a candidate for the Senior Professional of Human Resources Certification through her membership in the Society for Human Resource. She is a member of the Family Business Alliance, Cornerstone United Methodist Church, Chi Omega Alumnae Association, and the Junior League. Sarah lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband Mike and their three children Katherine, David, and Andrew.
Adam has been a part of the Choice Schools Associates team since May 2008. Adam is a certified public accountant and serves as Chief Financial Officer. Adam oversees all financial activities including budget preparation, audit lead, grant management, reporting, and federal/state/authorizer liaison.
Prior to joining Choice Schools, Adam worked as a tax accountant and auditor for a well-respected Lansing-based CPA firm. During that time, he received vast experience in auditing school districts and tax preparation for nonprofit entities and corporations. Adam received his B.S. in Accounting from Central Michigan University. He is currently a member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
In May of 2013, Adam and his wife Tonya welcomed their first child, Bryce. Aside from “dad-duties,” Adam enjoys golfing, fishing, camping, and spending time with his friends and family. Adam may also be found taking hunting trips at the Holcomb cabin.
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 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 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 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 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.
Ben earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Accounting from Grand Valley State University. As a previous tax intern at Spartan Stores and finance intern here at Choice Schools, Ben was able to gain much experience in finance. Ben is now the Finance Account Manager and is responsible for any important financial obligations for Choice.
Ben enjoys spending his leisure time golfing outdoors, hanging out with his friends and family, and being with his wife, Maria, and their son who they welcomed in 2015.
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.
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.
Kristen joined Choice Schools Associates in May of 2017 as an accounting intern. She was then promoted to associate accountant in January of 2018 where she now provides financial support to our schools as well as for Choice. Kristen received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Grand Valley State University and is excited to continue her journey with Choice and to learn and grow in the education industry.
In her free time, Kristen enjoys camping in the summer and spending time with her friends, family, and two cats. Originally from the east side of the state, Kristen enjoys exploring all that West Michigan has to offer.
Laura Moellering has spent nearly all of her career in education working in charter schools. She started her career with Choice in May of 2017. Starting her journey as a High School English and Psychology teacher, she moved into leadership roles first as a Curriculum Director and then as a charter High School Principal. After that, Laura moved to a Central Office position where she oversaw curriculum and instruction and mentored school leaders within a diverse portfolio of charter schools.
She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at Eastern Michigan University, and it was during her master’s program in Curriculum and Instruction that Laura truly came to appreciate the opportunity that charter schools presented for students and families who desired a different educational experience. Laura finds great satisfaction in designing programs that met student’s educational and emotional needs.
She is excited to be with Choice where she is able to be part of a community that genuinely respects families and believes in every student’s ability to achieve at high levels. When she isn’t engaged in work, she can be found on Lake Michigan, ideally with one of her three daughters, or curled up with a good book or podcast.
Shatara joined the Choice Schools family in April of 2012. She comes to us from National Heritage Academies. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Jackson State University and a Masters in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. She serves as a gatekeeper within the organization by managing multiple projects that relate to the operations of the company and the school boards we serve. She values Choice Schools’ core principles and values the integrity, service, and support that we provide to the schools we manage.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and serving in various outreach activities and ministries with New Hope Baptist Church where she is a member.
Courtney joined Choice in February of 2012. She works alongside the Director of Human Resources to ensure compliance with State and Authorizer regulations. She came to us from Chicago, where she worked with an office supply company as their administrative assistant. Courtney received her degree in Organizational Communication from Western Michigan University. She enjoys working for Choice because of their core values and high-level focus on education.
Courtney excels in customer service and assisting in the needs of Choice staff.
Erin joined the Choice Schools Associates family in 2015 as the Human Resources Compliance Specialist where she ensured all employee paperwork was completed while also making sure the company was in compliance with the State and Department of Education guidelines. In March of 2016, Erin moved into her current role as a Human Resources Generalist.
Erin comes to Choice with a major in Interdisciplinary Health Services and a minor in Management with a Human Resources focus from Western Michigan University. When she’s not assisting our Choice staff, Erin enjoys spending time with family and traveling. Erin has a true desire to provide the best possible experience, and is grateful to have the opportunity to learn from the State’s best teachers and support staff!
Sara joined the Choice family in 2017 after working 10+ years in the non-profit sector. Sara has worked with both adults and youth on career and educational exploration, attainment, and retention. She holds a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Grand Valley State University and a Master’s in Youth Development from Michigan State University. Sara is passionate about creating and ensuring safe, empowering, and intentional places for children to learn and grow academically and personally. Sara enjoys working for Choice because she aligns with the company goal of the overall well-being of the students the highest priority. Outside of the office, Sara enjoys playing volleyball, reading, and spending time with her animals. She also loves to travel anywhere with a good beach or where a good adventure could be had.
Malyn began working at Choice as a Human Resources & Payroll Specialist in March 2016. She has over 30 years of Administrative and Executive Assistant experience in different industries, which include legal and accounting services, healthcare, construction management, and most recently in hospitality management as a Human Resources Coordinator supporting employees in a territory of over 200 restaurants.
She loves to help people and values impeccable customer service. Malyn enjoys working in the education industry to support school employees and ensure the company is in compliance with the Michigan Department of Education guidelines. By supporting both the Human Resources and Payroll Department, Malyn is able to ensure all the needs of our schools are met.
Married with two young adult children (boy and girl), she and her husband love to attend music concerts and enjoy spending time outside, either at the beach or walking their golden retriever dog Wrangler. Her new-found hobby is kayaking and she hopes to spend more time going north to enjoy the lakes and rivers in Michigan!
Kristin joined the Choice Team with a background in teaching. In 2004, she was a Kindergarten Aide with West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science, and then took a teaching position at the Academy and then taught for eight years. In 2013, Kristin became Choice’s Curriculum and Instruction Specialist. Her role involves multiple facets of curriculum: Oversight of the mentoring program, author and oversight of the Character Choices program, oversight of all of the preschool programs (both tuition and Great Start Readiness Program), supports and sets up training for curriculum, and compliance oversight of the Teacher and Administrator Evaluation system.
Kristin graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and earned her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. Kristin and her husband have been married for over 14 years and have two blissfully beautiful children. Her family is very involved in their church and loves to spend time with family and friends. She enjoys taking her family to different parks, traveling, and visiting exciting places. It is always a learning moment in the Molyneux household.
Carrie Paddock graduated from Manchester University in N. Manchester, IN with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She went on to receive her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in curriculum from Indiana Wesleyan University. She taught elementary for eight years in Indiana prior to moving to Michigan. In 2005, she took an elementary position at Creative Technologies Academy, a charter school in Cedar Springs. During her time there, she obtained her K-12 Administrative Certificate in 2013 and became the Principal for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for her last five years at CTA. She is so excited for the opportunity to be part of the amazing Choice team and to be able to impact so many students through curriculum and literacy.
Carrie and her husband, Burt, have been married for 17 years and have two daughters, Hannah and Rylee. They enjoy basketball in the winter and beach time in the summer!
As the Montessori Education and Communications Specialist, Amanda works with both the Communications and Curriculum departments for Choice Schools Associates. As an undergraduate, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Wayne State University and has recently earned her Masters in School Principalship with a concentration in Charter School Leadership from Central Michigan University. Additionally, she also holds an Elementary II Credential from the American Montessori Society.
Amanda’s Choice journey began in 2009, as a classroom teacher and emerged into leadership where she took on both active and interim Principal roles for two of our academies. Currently, she is the program coordinator and trainer of our Montessori Aligned Preparation Program (MAPP) and works one-on-one with our new Montessori teachers to help them grow as Montessorians. Additionally, Amanda continues to show her love for Montessori as the face behind “Montessori Rocks” a vibrant community of parents, educators, and students that are excited to share with one another their love of all things Montessori. Prior to joining the Choice family, Amanda worked at a private Montessori school as an upper elementary teacher.
Mandy has been with Choice Schools Associates since 2009, starting as a Title I coordinator. Today, she oversees the School Improvement team, assisting with State and Federal Programs. A graduate of Ohio University with an undergraduate degree in Organizational Communication, Mandy offers support to the various schools of Choice in regards to Title I, Title II, 31A, school improvement documentation, homeless populations, and compliance with state and federal requirements. Mandy also received her teaching certificate and master’s degree from Wayne State University. After a brief career in Organizational Development, Mandy spent many years as a secondary English and speech educator. In her spare time, she creates memories with her husband, Paul, of twelve years, and their two sons, Max and Leo. Mandy’s vision and mission for Choice are to assist schools in building programs and systems that make great schools produce life-long learners.
Growing up in West Michigan, Michelle attended Davenport University and studied Fashion Merchandising and Business. After earning her degree, she worked in retail until she decided to pursue a future in the accounting field. Michelle has worked with a Certified Public Accountant for 30 years and has been employed with Choice for the last three years. Currently responsible for all Central Office accounting, including Accounts Payable/Receivable, and payroll, Michelle also does the bookkeeping and payroll for the Second Home Child Development Center.
Michelle is married to a golf pro and together they have a daughter who currently resides in sunny southern California. She enjoys traveling and golfing in the summer!
Caryn joined the Choice Schools family in March of 2017. She comes to us from the non-profit sector. She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Kuyper College. She previously worked as a teacher and administrative assistant in an early childhood center where her love for helping children grow and develop flourished. She enjoys working for Choice because of their strong core values and vision to see each and every child succeed.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, family and two dogs. She loves DIY projects, traveling, and exploring her city.
Ashtyn joined the Choice Schools family in May of 2019. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Grand Valley State University. Ashtyn serves as a support for all departments within Choice Schools. She is excited to learn and grow within the Choice community.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, training for triathlons and being in the outdoors.
Ally began her career at Choice Schools in January of 2013. Coming from a diverse communications and marketing background, Ally has worked with professionals, children, and even animals. She earned her Bachelor of Applied Arts in Integrated Public Relations from Central Michigan University and her minor in American Sign Language. Ally intends to use her sign language in her current communications role someday.
Ally has a great passion for people and enjoys making connections with those involved with Choice Schools and its academies, which makes her an asset to the marketing team. In her free time, Ally enjoys spending time with her husband and their families, vacationing at the lake, or cooking in the kitchen.
Christina joined the Choice Schools marketing team in March 2018. Christina earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Central Michigan University. While she was enrolled as a student there she worked on campus as a graphic designer. She is excited to bring her skills and knowledge to Choice where she will carry out all company and school design projects.
Nicole joined the Choice Schools family in January 2018. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management with a minor in Biology from Grand Valley State University. Prior to coming to Choice, she worked at Annis Water Institute as a technical assistant. Nicole is excited to work in the education industry and have a supportive role assisting in all departments as she learns and grows with such an amazing company.
Playing volleyball competitively for 10 years, Nicole hopes to coach in the future and pass on her love of volleyball to children. In her spare time, she loves to be outdoors at the beach, attending concerts. or spending time with her family and friends.
Dr. Faucette created Choice Schools Associates, LLC in 1998 after 10 years as a Principal, 14 years as a public school superintendent, and two years as an educational consultant.
Sid Faucette received his bachelor’s degree from High Point University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership and Policy Study from the University of Virginia. His list of publications includes the Everyday Etiquette program created specifically for implementation in elementary classrooms, journal articles in such professional publications as American Educational Research Association, Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and ERS Spectrum. His doctoral dissertation titled School Board Chairmen and Superintendents’ Perceptions toward Merit Pay in Virginia was also published and has received noteworthy attention from scholars and professionals in the field of Education.
Stan Rathbun came to Choice Schools Associates in July 2009 from Mt. Pleasant, MI after serving for five years as Executive Director of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation. Previous to his role with the Community Foundation he had served the Mt. Pleasant community for eleven years in the role of Executive Director for United Way of Isabella County. Working with executive level boards and collaborating with community organizations through the United Way and Foundation grant making systems afforded him experience in bringing people together to address community needs. Included in this experience was working with public schools to develop school foundations and creating permanently endowed funds to benefit their educational programs.
Amey Dryer joined the Choice family in May of 2019. She previously worked as a Montessori teacher, Montessori school leader, and then Curriculum Consultant for charter schools throughout the state of Michigan. Amey has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University and a Master’s in Education with a Montessori Emphasis from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is excited now to join the Strategic Operations Team at Choice and support all of our wonderful office staff in the many processes and procedures they have in place.
Amey and her husband Todd live in Brighton, MI with their two energetic boys Cole and Noah and their mischievous dog, Ruby. The boys keep them both very busy with baseball, ninja warrior, swimming, and gymnastics.
Kurt has lived a life of serving kids in charter schools. He started his career teaching in 2001 at a charter school in Big Rapids. After serving as a middle school and high school math teacher and a K-8 principal and executive director, he has come to Choice with an enthusiasm to lead our classical schools. He is the newest member of our area superintendents team and started in July of 2019. He received his bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University and his masters from Jones International University.
In Kurt’s spare time, he loves spending time with his wife Kathy and 2 sons (both of whom are attending WMAES).
Nicole Tuinstra started with Choice Schools as the Elementary Special Education teacher at West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science and is now the Special Education and Curriculum Coordinator at Choice Schools Associates. Nicole received her bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University in Group Social Studies and Elementary Education and also received her Master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities and Cognitive Impairments. Nicole also has approval to be a Teacher Consultant.
Nicole likes to bowl in her spare time with her family. She also has participated in the Shadblow Theater summer concert for the past 2 years. Nicole also likes to spend time with her husband and 2 daughters as well as her extended family.
Nicole is excited to make the transition to Choice Schools Central Office. “I am excited to work with the Curriculum and Instruction team and the Special Education team. My new role will allow me to work with both general education and special education teachers, which will benefit all of our students.”
Patrick joined Choice Schools Associates in October of 2019 as the Human Resources Coordinator. He came to us from an auto manufacturing company, where he worked as an HRIS Analyst. Patrick received his Bachelor’s in Human Resources Management from Davenport University.
He loves to help others and takes value in ensuring the company is in compliance with the Michigan Department of Education guidelines. Patrick also enjoys helping with employee relations, benefits, and customer service. He is grateful to work in the education industry and is excited to continue learning and growing in a remarkable company.
Outside of the office, Patrick enjoys playing many team sports with friends, Hanging with his wife, twin daughters, and his Goldendoodle Blue.
IN CASE YOU'RE WONDERING.
Frequently Asked Questions
Charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative in offers and instructional style while being held accountable for advancing student achievement at an often higher level than their traditional public school peers. Charter schools extend the privilege of choice to all families and are open to all students, regardless of income, gender, race, or religion. Charter schools are governed by a local Board of Directors and are required to meet and often exceed the standards of its Authorizer and the State Board of Education. Today, nearly 3 million students attend more than 6,700 charter schools in the United States. With over 100,000 students attending the 232 charter schools in Michigan, 5,000 of those students attend one of our Choice Schools.
Charter school management companies, often referred to as education service providers (ESP), are organizations that contract with new or existing public, charter, or private schools to carry out the Board of Director’s vision. While each management company structures their offerings differently, Choice is a full-service management company.
We are different because, unlike some other management companies, we work for the Board of Directors and at the pleasure of the Board. Our goal is to build trust and good faith with our Boards so that we work with them, always remembering we work for them. We are also different from other management companies because children and employees come first in our decision making. They are our internal primary customers. Our mission is the guiding force of our work.
What Others Are Saying
"When we hired Choice it was like a lightbulb when on. They are extremely supportive of our vision and allow us to be who we want to be while providing the foundational support for our students, staff and school community success. We would not be where we are today without
- Susie Schlehuber, Founder and School Leader at Lake Superior Academy
"Choice Schools has created and implemented a vision for every child to learn and grow based on his/her needs. They have instilled this mission in their educators, who strive every day to provide the tools for students to reach their full, unique, and empowered potential and purpose.”
– Lisa Gillon, Principal at Livingston Classical Academy
"I have worked with Choice Schools Associates for the last 13 years. The service and support that Choice provides its leaders and schools is top notch. They have figured out a successful formula to support the schools in each facet of operation - human resources, finance, operations, and curriculum and instruction. Their support allows me to focus on the daily operation of my school.”
– Terry Larkin, principal at New Branches Charter School Academy