Tamela Brown - Principal http://browntd.wordpress.com
Tamela Brown has a master’s degree in education from Grand Valley State University, and is currently enrolled in the university’s Doctoral Program for Educational Leadership Program. She also has a bachelor’s degree in bio-medical sciences from Western Michigan University. She holds teacher certification in Biology and Library Media Science. Mrs. Brown has a successful 10-year career in secondary education, most recently as a leadership coach, trained in cognitive coaching, to coach teacher-leaders in student achievement. She began her career as a library media specialist in 2002, where she launched a literacy program for 400 middle and high schools students. She also has experience as a biology teacher at the high school level. Mrs. Brown brings a strong skill set in thematic curriculum integration and instructional leadership. She is very passionate about conveying the vision of Ellington Academy to its students, families and faculty. Mrs. Brown has a track record of cultivating innovation and data-based research in school models that will prepare students in a practical way for college and beyond. She is married to Kenya Brown and has two young children Kenyae and Reign.

Zyra Castillo – Mixed Media Art/Comp Apps castilloza.wordpress.com
Ms. Castillo has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an Emphasis in Sculpture, and received K-12 certification in Art Education from Grand Valley State University. Ms. Castillo was born in Kawit, Cavite, Philippines and came to the U.S. in July of 1990. Where she lived with her family in Rudyard, a small community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Prior to graduating high school, Ms. Catillo seriously considered joining the Navy. During that time, she was also applying to colleges, and was offered a scholarship to Grand Valley State University. It was then she decided to take the opportunity and be the first to go to college in her family. Before attaining her certificate, Ms. Castillo volunteered within the Grand Rapids area, and was involved in various projects and education oriented events. She noticed how much arts involvement enriched my life, and the community. It was then she decided to get her teaching certificate so that she could be part of arts education. She is excited to be part of the Ellington team. She looks forward to working in an arts community and watching the development of our young artists.

Jena Razor – English (ELA) greaatrazorjs.wordpress.com
Jena Razor is from Benton Harbor, MI and she recently moved from Kalamazoo, MI where she lived for eight years. Jena Razor graduated from Western Michigan University in 2009 where she obtained a Bachelors of Arts in English Education. Jena Razor has been working in the school setting for the past four years, where she has served in multiple capacities. Jena Razor recently finished her first year of teaching at Ellington Academy where she taught seventh and eighth grade English Language Arts where she learned how to better perfect her teaching craft and also she built great relationships with students that pushed her to grow personally and professionally. Jena Razor loves to read and she enjoys spending time with people. Jena Razor believes that reading and writing equals peace to her and she hopes to give a piece of that peace of mind to her students. She is excited to once again to embark on this journey at GREAAT and she is looking forward to engaging and learning with all students.

Ryan Lane – Social Studies https://sites.google.com/a/greaat.com/mr-lane-s-classroom/home
Ryan Lane is the 9th Grade Social Studies Teacher and Athletic Director here at Ellington Academy; this will be his 2nd year at Ellington. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.S. in Education and double majored in History and Social Studies in May of 2012. In his free time he enjoys playing basketball, video games, and watching sports. He also enjoys visiting different historical sites across the country; he has visited Civil War battlefields (Gettysburg and Bull Run), the homes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Washington DC, and many others places of historical significance.


Arye Shannon-Carmichael – http://shannoncarmichaelam.wordpress.com/
Miss S.C. has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education from Hope College. She graduated in May 2011 with her degree which certifies her to teach K-12 dance and K-8 academics. Miss S.C. was born and raised in West Michigan and has been dancing for most of her life. She has trained in various genres such as tap, jazz, ballet, modern, lyrical, Irish step dancing, ballroom, and creative dance for children. She has also obtained her teaching certification for Zumba. In the evenings, Miss S.C. teaches dance at a studio in Zeeland. Miss S.C. comes from a family of teachers; her mother and father are both educators as well as a handful of other extended family members. Teaching and dance are her passions and she is extremely excited to be a member of the Ellington team. She is looking forward to a wonderful year of learning and creativity.


Oscar Thomas http://australophithecusafricanus365.wordpress.com/










Forrest Page – Physical Education https://sites.google.com/a/greaat.com/mr-page/
Mr. Page was born and raised in Mason, MI. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Health Education from Grand Valley State University. At a young age he realized his passion for teaching and working with people, and decided to pursue a degree in a teaching field. At GVSU, I met my wife of four years, Bathany. We have two children, Gibson, age 2 and Cadence, 2 months old. He is an avid sports fan and huge family man. Mr. Page comes from a family of educators; his father is a teacher and his mother ran a daycare. His favorite educational quote is, “People don’t care what you know, until they know you care.”


Michiko Chattulani http://chattulanims.wordpress.com
Miss Michi grew up in Spring Lake, MI.  She graduated from Spring Lake High School and went on to graduate with her B.S. in Special Education/Psychology from Grand Valley State University.  She has a Minor in Elementary Education and is endorsed in both Cognitive Impairments and Emotional Impairments.  Outside of being an educator, some things that she is passionate about are music, travel, athletics, art, reading, the outdoors, and her two dogs.  Miss Michi likes to make her lessons fascinating for students by using real life examples.  Incorporating music in her lessons generates excitement and student engagement.  She can teach cultural lessons based upon her travels.  She can get students involved outdoors for science lessons and hands-on exploring.  Miss Michi’s love for teaching is through being able to share her experiences of music, the outdoors, culture, and more with her students during their academics.  Her energy and dedication to learning is contagious to her classroom.


Mai’Yulah Partee – English (ELA) mspartee.wordpress.com (7th)
misspartee.wordpress.com (8th)
Mai’ Yulah Partee is an alumni of Western Michigan University. She has obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education. Ms. Partee has previously taught for two years, as a Read 180 Instructor, and a Middle School English Teacher in greater Grand Rapids, before being led to Ellington Academy; where she feels she has great purpose. Mai’Yulah is a lifelong learner and expert teacher! She loves to read self help books, and encourage her young children: Ricardio (9), Yhalena (8), Damaris (5), and Markeith(1) to read for joy and for knowledge!!!

Ms. Partee is well known in Grand Rapids as an Musical Artist. She loves writing songs and performing with her sisters in a local group called, Lady Partee. Mai’Yulah Partee also enjoys acting as well as dance. She was the leading role twice, in “The Wiz” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Ms. Partee practiced tap, ballet, and jazz for a decade, and has more recently taught Dance at the Middle School level. Partee is also very physically active and has enjoyed sports such as: Basketball, Cheerleading, and Track. Ms. Partee looks forward to working with some of our very own talented Ellington artists! Mai’Yulah Partee is honored and greatful to be a part of this villiage called,” Ellington Academy”, where it really does take us all, to raise a child.


Samantha Hepner http://misshepner.blogspot.com/
Miss Hepner received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, with an emphasis in Social Studies, from Grand Valley State University in 2012. Before coming to West Michigan in 2008 Miss Hepner resided in the Metro Detroit Area. She is passionate about teaching and learning and is excited to share her enthusiasm with all of her students. Miss Hepner enjoys exploring technology and finding different ways to bring it into the classroom. She also loves providing opportunities for showcasing creativity in the classroom. Miss Hepner is very excited for the year to come and to be a member of the wonderful staff at Ellington Academy.


Brad Smith https://sites.google.com/a/greaat.com/smithmathgreaat/home
Mr. Smith has a Bachelor of Sciences degree from CMU, where he attended college and played football. After teaching for 7 years in northern Michigan, he earned his MBA degree from MSU and worked in business for 25 years. Mr. Smith returned to teaching 5 years ago and brings a unique knowledge of the business world into his teaching practice. Mr. Smith and his wife have been married 32 years and have raised 4 children. The youngest just began her freshman year at MSU and is studying to be a special education teacher. Mr. Smith’s activities include mountain biking, running and building/remodeling. His favorite sports to watch are college football, college basketball and the Detroit Tigers.

Samantha DeVries http://devriessk.wordpress.com/
Mrs. Samantha DeVries is a graduate of Western Michigan University where she majored in Secondary Education with a major in English and a minor in history. Her teaching certification is grades 6-12 in English and history. She is married and lives in the neighborhood with her husband and son Asher (2 years old). Mrs. DeVries is a world traveler and has been to Europe several times. She even studied at University of Cambridge in England where she took courses on British literature and toured the home of Shakespeare. Her hobbies include reading, writing, quilting, sewing, and gardening. Mrs. DeVries has been teaching for seven years. She taught English, history and drama at Loy Norrix H.S. (Kalamazoo, MI), Portage Central M.S. (Portage, MI), Chester H.S. (Chester, S.C.) and Wellspring Prep. H.S. (Grand Rapids, MI). She is currently teaching 7th and 8th grade Theatre and looks forward to a dramatic and exciting school year.

Aaron McBride https://sites.google.com/a/greaat.com/greaat-technology
Mr. McBride has a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Grades Math and Business from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He grew up in a small town of 5,000 people in Ogallala, Nebraska. The last three years were spent in Omaha, Nebraska where he taught 8th grade math. At Norris Middle School in Omaha, he also coached boys soccer, girls volleyball, math competition team and worked with the after school program. He is now teaching Technology at Ellington as well as being a math aide for 7th and 8th graders also while coaching the Freshman volleyball team. He is ready for his first year in Michigan and at Ellington and couldn’t as for a better beginning to Michigan….but will still root for Nebraska Cornhuskers. GO BIG RED!

Angela Rhoades http://greaatbio.weebly.com
Mrs. Rhoades is originally from California, where she obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biology and worked in several different medical research laboratories before moving to Michigan and deciding to pursue a career in education. She was selected as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow for the 2012-2013 school year and earned her endorsements in Biology and Chemistry through Grand Valley State University. She loves animals, especially dogs, and volunteers at John Ball Zoo. She loves music and plays guitar. In her spare time she enjoys reading and watching movies, as well as hiking, camping, and exploring nature.

Carey Pyke (pykecn@greaat.com) https://sites.google.com/a/greaat.com/ms-pyke/
Ms. Pyke was born and raised in Jenison, MI.  She graduated from Jenison High School in 2003.   She enjoys hanging out with friends by the lake as often as possible.  After high school, she attended Grand Valley State University.  In 2009,  she graduated with a math major, economics minor, with a focus in secondary education.  Since graduating, Ms. Pyke taught at Bessemer City High School for two years and Kalamazoo Central High School for a year.  Now she is teaching at Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology.  Recently, Ms. Pyke has started going to Western Michigan University to get her master’s in Educational Technology.

Jennifer Stone http://jenniferstone2.weebly.com/
Ms. Stone is a native of Grand Rapids who has a diverse background teaching Spanish, English, and English as a Second Language throughout her professional tenure. Her instructional experiences include 8 years working in Detroit Public Schools and serving 1700 hours with AmeriCorps aiding Spanish-speaking parents in learning English at Burton Elementary School. Ms. Stone implements a plethora of objective-based, student-led classroom activities catering to multiple intelligences and interactive learning experiences to achieve Michigan World Language Standards and Benchmarks. She is glad to be onboard and excited about the future of the World Language Department at Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology!

Katherine Biedrycki-Johnson, 6th grade teacher http://johnsonkmblog.wordpress.com/ Mrs. Johnson has eight years of teaching experience in elementary and middle schools in Washington, DC and Brooklyn, NY but is excited to be back in her hometown! She received her Bachelor of Arts in Finance from Michigan State University in 2003 and Master’s of Arts in Elementary Education from American University in 2007. She is passionate about cultivating critical thinking skills, infusing technology into all subjects, and grounding learning in real world scenarios. She is thrilled to bring science alive to all sixth graders through experiments and investigations. She is looking forward to being a part of the amazing Ellington community!

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