Today we celebrate Mrs. Monecia Vasbinder, principal and Mr. Jared Meldrum, vice principal at Three Oaks Public School Academy. Their phenomenal leadership has made Three Oaks a dynamite place for kids and staff to thrive. The leadership they provide allows children to achieve excellence in their academic endeavors and prepares them for active citizenship in their communities.
Mrs. Vasbiner attended Aquinas College and Methodist University in North Carolina for her bachelor’s degree and Aquinas College for her master’s degree. She has been in education for 25 years with 12 of those being at Three Oaks. She loves to spend time with her family, traveling, at the lake and fixing up old houses.
Mr. Meldrum attended Michigan University and Dominican University in Chicago for his educational degree. He has been in education for 12 years and at Three Oaks for seven. He loves to cook and spend time with his wife and two kids.
Both Mrs. Vasbiner and Mr. Meldrum care deeply about the students at Three Oaks. We are grateful for their commitment that provides safety and security for all kids at Three Oaks.
Mrs. Carinna Freeman, Three Oaks Public School Academy sixth-grade teacher, has a big heart. She is willing to go to great lengths to make sure her students get all the necessary opportunities to thrive in school and in their community.
On September 23 through 25, the sixth-grade class of Three Oaks went to Camp Newaygo for a two-night, three-day team building trip. During the trip they were able to participate in many activities that they have never experienced. Being out of the city and in an outdoor area allowed them to participate in things such as kayaking, canoeing, archery and other adventures.
Students learned that success does not happen by themselves, it takes a village. During one of the activities, students had to help each other up a ladder. The lesson learned during this activity was that they had to lean on each other to reach success.
“The whole three days were full of “wow” moments,” Freeman commented. “The best was when the class had to compete against one another. Little did we know that what we thought was a competition really was a team-building activity. It helped us all remember that we need each other to succeed. It was a powerful moment when everyone realized that the activity was really about being a team and leaning on each other. It wasn’t about us individually, but as a whole.”
There were also bigger takeaways from some of the students that may help alter their path this year.
For example one of the sixth-grade students said that being with classmates and teachers in a safe and beautiful setting away from all the craziness of life helped her out of “depression.”
Other teachers who came along to chaperone observed that the sixth-grade class is special and their teamwork is amazing. Ms. Freeman has done an exceptional job to create a safe, warm learning environment where students can thrive.
“Students are forming bonds with classmates, leaning on each other for help, and being proactive leaders in and around school and home,” Monecia Vasbinder said, principal at Three Oaks Public School, commented. “We are lucky to have Mrs. Freeman leading the way in the sixth-grade classroom. We are excited to see how these students grow and progress in their education.”
Our featured teacher of the week is Tara Triezenberg! Tara is entering her third year as our literacy coach. Her love for reading is contagious and she loves to share her passion with students at Three Oaks.
Tara is entering her third year as our literacy coach. Her love for reading is contagious and she loves to share her passion with students at Three Oaks.
She obtained her undergrad degree from Grand Valley State University with an emphasis in elementary language arts. She has also completed coursework towards a master’s in teaching reading.
Tara has been in education for 12 years and has been with Three Oaks for the past three. Prior to this, she was a third and fourth-grade teacher in Grand Rapids for seven years.
This year, Tara is looking forward to watching students find joy in reading. She is excited by the progress students make when choosing their own book and then actually being able to read it with confidence. She has found that a smile and a kind posture lets kids know that she is here for them and that she expects them to do great things.
When she has a bad day, she remembers the joy and excitement on a child’s face when they realize they are reading a book on their own! It’s what makes her motivated and continue the work she is doing.
Tara is married to her wonderful husband and has three beautiful children. When she is not caring for her family you can find her reading, crocheting, writing or going for a walk in nature.
50 backpacks donated to our students
State Senator Jon Bumstead and Ruth Gaudard from AT&T Pioneers came on Thursday, August 22 to donate 50 backpacks, with supplies, for our students at Three Oaks.
Senator Jon Bumstead serves in the 34th district as Three Oaks representative in the State of Michigan Senate. He is eager to engage in our community and we are thankful for his commitment!
AT&T Pioneers is the world’s largest industry-related volunteer organization. All members of the AT&T Pioneers are currently employed by or retired from AT&T. They volunteer and donate throughout the country to many different organizations.
We love to partner with our community and are thankful for many students who will receive new backpacks this fall!
Jane Hennrick is a kindergarten teacher at Three Oaks Public School Academy. She knows that each student is different and brings something unique and special to the classroom. She loves being able to teach and make an impact on students.
We asked Jane some questions about her journey to teaching and what she likes the most about it. Keep reading to hear all about it.
Why did you become a teacher and who inspired you?
I became a teacher because of the influence teachers had on me at a very young age. In kindergarten and first grade, I was very shy. I had low reading scores and always feared that my teacher would call on me to read and I would be made fun of. After having some wonderful teachers who helped me with reading, I became more confident in myself.
Because of this, I knew that I could also have that impact on other student’s learning and could have the ability to watch them grow. I was so grateful that someone took the time out to get to know me and my learning style, that I was inspired to be able to do this for others as well.
Who was a teacher who made a profound impact on your life?
My second-grade teacher, Mrs. Bass was a very influential teacher that enhanced my love for science. She had a classroom of animals that consisted of birds, rabbits, mice, hamsters, lizards, snakes, turtles and fish. She made learning fun with many different hands-on experiences.
What are you looking forward to the most this upcoming year?
For the upcoming year, I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know my new students!
In my class, I try to make learning fun for my kids. I try to give them many different experiences that will add to their knowledge. For example: to learn about life cycles, we researched and studied chickens, then we brought in an incubator and hatched chicken eggs. The kids were involved in the cleaning, feeding and handling of the baby chicks until they were old enough to join the other chickens on the farm.
How would students describe you?
My students would describe me as being fun and someone who deeply cares about them.
How would your colleagues describe you?
My fellow colleagues would describe me as happy, dedicated and organized.
Where did you go to college and what is your previous teaching experience?
I attended Ferris State after my high school graduation and was enrolled in their pre-teaching program. After completion of my associate’s degree, I married my high school sweetheart and transferred to Grand Valley State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s, then later received my Early Childhood Education (ZA) endorsement and Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.
I previously taught preschool at Shelby Public Schools for four years and a multi-aged kindergarten-through-second-grade classroom at Lakeshore Public Academy for eight years before joining the staff at Three Oaks.
What do you do when you are not working at Three Oaks?
Outside of the classroom, I enjoy reading, camping and skiing with my family. Since my husband and I are empty-nesters, we also enjoy going on the sand dunes and trail riding.
Dana Johnson is entering her 19th year as a teacher and her 11th year at Three Oaks. She is one of the third-grade teachers. She loves that she is a teacher and that she can make an influence on kid’s lives daily.
Her inspiration for becoming an educator was connected to those teachers and administrators who made an impact on her life.
Her assistant principal in high school who helped guide students, showed fairness and strived for justice inspired Dana to bring these things to her own classroom.
Her chemistry teacher in high school also brought learning to life through guided inquiry and problem-solving. She was inspired by her unconventional techniques.
“I strive to bring the same passion for innovative ways to learn to my classroom that past teachers and administrators did for me,” Dana Johnson said.
She calls Three Oaks Public School Academy her forever home and family. Her impact on students’ lives has had an ever-lasting impact on them.