Meet the Team
Angela Dershem, Director
Angela Dershem is Director of the Ottawa Community Schools Network. She has also worked as a Parent Liaison, a special education teacher, and a Minister of Children and Families.
What Angela loves about her job: She loves collaborating with incredible professionals to working toward solutions to meet the needs of children, families and schools. She also really loves her staff and getting to support the incredible work they do in schools.
What is making Angela happy these days: She loves spending time with the people she loves and being active, especially outdoors.
Community School Coordinators
Hudsonville Public Schools
Community School Coordinator
Alli Vance has experience working at Children's Protective Services & Drug and Alcohol Prevention.
What Alli loves about her job: She loves being in the school setting and being able to help create an environment where students and their families can feel safe and ask for help when needed.
What is making Alli happy these days: Alli loves spending time with her family, reading, and camping.
Allendale Public Schools
McKinney - Vento Liaison / Asst. Community School Coordinator
Brianne (Bri) Blanksma is the Assistant Community School Coordinator and McKinney-Vento Liaison for Allendale Public Schools at Evergreen Elementary. Bri has also worked as an Assistant Preschool Teacher.
What Bri loves about her job: She loves helping others!
What is making Bri happy these days: Children, animals and reading make her happy!
Holland Public Schools
Community School Coordinator
Before joining OCSN Caity DeBoard worked at a counseling agency. Caity had several roles there including case management for counseling clients, interpreting counseling sessions, and working in the front office.
What Caity loves about her job: Every day is different. Working as a coordinator is never boring! Each day she is blown away by the support that the community has for Jefferson students and families. Caity loves that she can be a support for students in so many ways.
What is making Caity happy these days: Spending time with her daughter and husband!
Coopersville Public Schools
East Elementary and West Early Childhood Center
Community School Coordinator
Casey VanAntwerpen brings with her experience working as a counseling contractor for the state, a school counselor, and a YMCA Program Director.
What Casey loves about her job: She loves impacting her own community.
What is making Casey happy these days: Watching her three kids grow is making her happy.
Ashley brings a wealth of experience to OCSN from her previous experience as a K-8 English Learner teacher in the public school system.
What Ashley loves about her job: "It is a privilege collaborating with families, staff, and community partners to help students find success in and out of school! I am passionate about ensuring school is equitable and accessible for all learners. I love helping students grow in confidence while empowering them and their families to use their unique gifts to benefit the school community."
What is making Ashley happy these days: "I love to travel, study different languages, and spend time with my husband and our dog Chewbacca!"
Sarah joins the OCSN team with previous experience working as a Pregnancy Outreach Supervisor and supervising home-based family preservation programs.
What Sarah loves about her job: "I like being a support to students and families while connecting them to the resources they need. I like working in the school setting to help provide students and staff with resources needed to remove barriers to academic success."
What is making Sarah happy these days: "I love spending time with my family, watching my kids play sports, being outdoors and reading a good book."
Lauren joins the OCSN team with previous experience working with the largest Special Recreation Association in the Chicago area as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). Her roles included Recreation Specialist and Day Camp Coordinator, and Special Olympics Coach.
What Lauren loves about her job: "I love encouraging others to find their true passions and self-worth. Everyone has such amazing potentional and helping people realize is very rewarding! I am excited to join the OCSN team and support students, teachers, and family members within the Ottawa community."
What is making Lauren happy these days: " Water sports on Lake Michigan, enjoying the sunshine, reading good books, and spending time with friends/family."
Michelle joins the OCSN team with previous experience working with Ottawa County Community Action Agency as a program coordinator for over 22 years helping the community gain access to services during a time of need.
What Michelle loves about her job: "I love working with families and connecting them to needed resources to help make their daily lives better."
What is making Michelle happy these days: "Spending time with my family and two dogs. I love to travel, spend time outdoors and watch her daughter and nephews play sports."
Tyler joins the OCSN team with previous experience working with Foster Care Case Management and Foster Home Licensing at Bethany Christian Services, and as a House Manager at Men's Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program (Chester A Ray Center)
What Tyler loves about his job: "I love being able to help students, families, and staff feel supported, seen, and cared for. I also love working for such an awesome and supportive team!"
What is making Tyler happy these days: "I play guitar in a band with some friends of mine, and we play shows about once or twice a month. That's been a great creative outlet for me and an excellent stress-reliever!"
Grace Wiersema joins the OCSN team with previous experience working in the school systems as a School Social Work Intern, Varying Exceptionalities Teacher, and Medical Behavior Assistant.
What Grace loves about her job: “My favorite part about this job is getting to witness the community come together to surround their families and help them with whatever they may need. As well as really getting a deeper understanding of the students and being able to step in in creative ways wherever they may need me to help.”
What is making Grace happy these days: “I am happiest when I am spending time with my family and going on hikes with my dogs.”
Hamilton Community Schools
Community School Coordinator
269-751-5413 x4009 F: 269-751-7554
Jenna Walbeck has experience working as a Clinical specialist at Neurocore Brain Performance Center delivering biofeedback and neurofeedback treatment, and as a therapist at the Children’s Advocacy Center.
What Jenna loves about her job: Jenna likes being able to think creatively and work collaboratively with various individuals and organizations to offer support to the students, families and staff of Hamilton.
What is making Jenna happy these days: She is happy when she is spending time with her family.
Kari Wiersema has also worked as a Mckinney-Vento Liaison (Evergreen Elementary- 3 years); Catholic Charities (Pregnancy Counselor - 1 year); Lakeshore Pregnancy Center - Allendale Director (9 years).
What Kari loves about her job: Kari loves that she gets to support her students, families and staff by finding ways to hopefully make their lives a little bit easier. And she LOVES that she gets to see kids everyday.
What is making Kari happy these days: Kari feel so blessed because she loves both her family and her work family and she is so incredible happy and excited to see the school filled with kids again!
Zeeland Public Schools
Roosevelt Elementary and Venture Academy
Community School Coordinator
(616) 748-4777 ext. 2538 F: (616) 748-3054
Lana Kamer was formerly a Child and Adolescent Therapist at Arbor Circle, and a General Therapist and Foster Care/Older Child Adoption Therapist at Bethany Christian Services.
What Lana loves about her job: She loves being in school with kids, working with teachers, and helping children and families with whatever they need.
What's making Lana happy these days: She loves cooking shows and playing the piano!
Sara Lothschutz comes to OCSN after 15 years at various agencies as a Foster Care Case Manager, Adoption Case Manager, Post Adoption Resource Coordinator and Foster Home Licensing and Adoption Supervisor.
What Sara loves about her job: As an OCSN Coordinator she gets opportunities to create valuable relationships. She enjoys being a support to students and families, helping families connect to resources so their at-home worries don't transfer as much to their child coming to school. She likes supporting teachers in various ways and teaming with her amazing community resources to stand alongside families and provide opportunities for Coopersville children to grow and learn.
When not at school, Sara loves spending time her husband and four kids.
Mallory's work experience has focused on family engagement and community outreach. She has had the privilege of meeting incredibly resilient individuals as a case manager in a substance use disorder program, youth counselor for unaccompanied minors, parent coach, community outreach coordinator, outpatient therapist and recruitment specialist for a child welfare program.
What Mallory loves about her job: "There is nothing quite like being able to experience human connectedness while doing community based work. I love that about my job!"
What is making Mallory happy these days: "There are many things that bring a smile to my face; listening to any song by the Bee Gees is one of those things! Also, listening to any original song written and performed by my five-year-old son is also a bright spot to my day."
Sarah comes to OCSN with experience working as a teacher at Hamilton Middle School.
What Sarah loves about her job: "I love working with students and getting to know them and their interests and being able to support their passions."
What is making Sarah happy these days: "I love our dog Howie. He is a rescue and we love spoiling/ loving him and talking him on walks and adventures."
Brenda joins the OCSN team with previous experience working for 12 years in Hudsonville Public Schools. Her jobs included administrative assistant subbing and special education paraprofessional positions. She has also had experience working with family preservation services, such as Safe Families in both Ottawa and Kent Counties.
What Brenda loves about her job: "I love building meaningful relationships with both staff and students. Watching students grow in confidence and independence makes what I do everyday extremely rewarding!"
What is making Brenda happy these days: "I enjoy family dinners, a good cup of coffee, and exploring new places."
Addison joins the OCSN team with previous experience working in child welfare as a foster care case manager for over 2 years and then as a foster care licensing specialist for roughly a year before accepting this position through the OCSN.
What Addison loves about her job: "What I love about working in foster care is having the opportunity to nurture relationships with my clients and foster families. I am beyond excited to begin my new role as a Community School Coordinator and develop relationships with families, students, and staff in the Hudsonville community!"
What is making Addison happy these days: "Sunshine, country music, iced coffee, and my golden retriever."
Emma joins the OCSN team with previous experience working as an intern at Hamilton Elementary school, interim for Hamilton Middle School, Wellness and Activity Coordinator for East Grand Rapids
What Emma loves about her job: "I love the students! My favorite part about this job is getting to touch on every aspect of the students lives through their teachers, their parents/caregivers, and their community."
What is making Emma happy these days: "Her three month old kitten, Tickle and picnics on the beach"