The Tri-Cities College Access Network’s mission is to develop a sustainable network that creates a career and college-going culture in the community. Its main goal is to increase the number of Tri-Cities residents with a college degree or high quality credentials. Through four action teams, the Tri-Cities College Access Network has identified age-level specific goals and identified programming to achieve these goals.
Superintendent of Spring Lake Public Schools
Dennis Furton has served Spring Lake Public Schools as its superintendent since 2008. Dennis has a Bachelorʼs degree in English from Michigan State University and a Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Houston.
Dennis taught high school English at Ball High in Galveston, Texas before becoming an assistant principal there. His career in Michigan includes stops at Onekama and Glen Lake as principal and Bath Community Schools as superintendent.
President of the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg
Joy Gaasch joined the staff of the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg as President in 2000. She is a graduate of The Institute for Organizational Management, Notre Dame and has spent 25 years in the management of not for profit organizations. She is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and is a member of the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals as well as serving on its Board of Directors in the capacity as treasurer, vice chair and chair. Along with the Chamber presidents from Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Holland, Joy serves in a managing capacity for the West Michigan Chamber Coalition and is Chair of its Leadership West Michigan program.
Joy served on Ottawa County’s Workforce Development Board for 9 years. She currently serves on the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival Board as its Treasurer, is a member of Grand Haven Rotary, Grand Haven Light House Conservancy Board Treasurer, and Grand Haven Economic Development Corporation Vice Chair. Prior to joining the Chamber in Grand Haven, Joy was President of the Cadillac Area Chamber of Commerce, 1995-2000 and from 1987 to 1992 Executive Director of the Bay County Growth Alliance, Forward Bay County and Valley Center Inc.
Trustee of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
& Vice-President of the Grand Haven Schools Foundation
Born and raised in Grand Haven, Lana attended Aquinas College and received her teaching certificate in Elementary Education. Past teaching positions were held in Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Grand Haven. In addition to serving on the Executive Board of the Tri-Cities College Access Network, she serves as a trustee/Secretary of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation and member of its grants committee. As a board member and Vice-President of the Grand Haven Schools Foundation, Lana is able to act on her foremost passion, helping to provide kindergarten readiness opportunities for Tri-Cities’ at-risk children. She is the co-chair of the Grand Haven High School Hall of Fame program and a member of Rotary of Grand Haven. Lana is married to Nelson Jacobson, Sr. and they have three sons; Nels, Michael, and Matthew.
Superintendent, Grand Haven Area Public Schools
Keith attended Central Michigan University where he graduated with both a bachelor’s in Communication and a master’s in Education. He later earned his Masters of Education in School Administration from Grand Valley State University.
He began his teaching career in 1980 with Grand Rapids Public Schools as a teacher / speech pathologist, and held this position until 1985 when he became a principal / supervisor for GRPS. In 1993, he was promoted to Facilitator for Quality Special Education for GRPS, and three years later became the Director of Special Education for the Kent Intermediate School District. In 1999, Keith joined the administrative team at Grand Haven Area Public School as Assistant Superintendent of Human Services. In 2005 Keith was named interim superintendent for the district and in 2006, was chosen as the permanent superintendent.
Since his tenure as Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent, Keith has led the district to the successful passage of a technology and energy bond in May 2009, equaling to nearly $30 million dollars in improvements – which was impressive given the extremely difficult economic environment. Additionally, he has build a strong rapport with staff, students, parents, community members and area businesses.
President of Greater Ottawa County United Way
Patrick Moran was raised in the midlands of England, graduated with a City & Guilds of London certificate in Recreation Management. He moved to Michigan in 1988 where he met his wife, Stacy within 2 weeks of landing in country. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in Recreation Administration, Patrick moved back to Grand Haven in 1995 to work with the YMCA where he spent 11 years in various positions including CEO. Patrick joined Greater Ottawa County United Way as President in 2006.
Patrick is very active in the community. He is a graduate of YMCA Senior Director Program, YMCA of the USA’s competitive Executive Development Program, and the Holland Chamber of Commerce Leadership Holland program. Patrick also serves/ served on numerous community committees, events and task forces including Chamber of Commerce, American Heart Association, North Ottawa County Council on Aging, 2-1-1, Human Services Coordinating Council of Ottawa County, Great Start Collaborative and many more. In addition, he serves as a Community Facilitator for projects such as Ottawa County Community Assessment, Holland New Tech High School, and Community Report Card Initiative to name a few. Patrick was awarded the Communicator of the Year Award, in 2010 by Macatawa Toastmasters.
In his spare time, Patrick is an avid soccer player and coach, is a published author of a coaching manual, and has served the State Soccer Association as a coaching educator since 1999. He currently resides in Grand Haven with his wife and two sons.
Development Director for Career and Technical Education within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD)
Jason Pasatta is the Development Director for Career and Technical Education within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD), which serves 55,000 public and non-public school students over an area that covers 742 square miles within the Ottawa Area of West Michigan. Within this position, he has developed and is championing the FuturePREP Program, an initiative that connects education, business, and the community to provide relevant learning options for both educators and students.
Prior to joining the OAISD in 2010, Jason Pasatta worked for the Chicago Public Schools as the Technology Magnet Administrator. While there he developed and implemented a Technology Magnet Program within 19 schools from across the city, many of which were located in Chicago’s highest-need neighborhoods.
Jason graduated with Bachelors degrees in Psychology, Art History, and Elementary Education from the University of Michigan and a Masters Degree in Educational Technology from Harvard University. He is currently ABD in a Doctoral Degree Program in Educational Administration and Leadership from Loyola University, Chicago. He lives in Holland with his wife Kelley, his 9-year old twin girls Mae and Madeline, and his feisty 4-year old Elsa. He graduated from Leadership Holland in 2012 and currently serves on the Board of Education for the Holland Public Schools and the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. While not working, he enjoys running, creating art work (drawing and painting), and simply hanging out with his family.
Trustee of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation
Monica Verplank, community member & educator, is passionate about TCAN’s work with local schools to increase real world experiences in classroom learning. She graduated from Spring Lake High School, the University of Arizona with a BA in Education, and from Northern Arizona University with a MA in Multicultural Education. After teaching in Arizona for six years, Monica returned to Michigan. She has served Allendale Public Schools as an elementary principal and Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Grand Haven Area Public Schools as Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services.
As a full-time mom of two young boys she continues her work in education as a strategic planning consultant for districts across the state. Monica volunteers for Hospice and has served on numerous local boards including the North Bank Communities Fund, the Spring Lake Schools Foundation, the OAISD Education Fund, Kandu Inc. and is a Trustee for the GHACF.
Manager of the Village of Spring Lake
Christine Burns' career as a public servant began in 1991, shortly after her college graduation. Since that time, Ms. Burns has served in various capacities for four local units of government, honing her skill set along the way. She first began her career in the City of Clare, spending 14 years serving the residents of her home town. After a brief stop in southeast Michigan, Chris made her way to west Michigan, where she found the conservative politics and friendly people to be a wonderful fit. Chris has called Spring Lake home since July 2012.
Chris’ strengths are her problem-solving and collaboration skills, as well as her ability to solve financial challenges in communities with limited resources. She serves as co-chair of the Michigan Municipal Executives Ethics Committee, setting high standards for not only herself but those who serve alongside her.As part of her commitment to public service, Chris also serves on numerous boards and committees in NW Ottawa County that improve the quality of life for residents of the region.
Ms. Burns holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a major in management from Central Michigan University.She also holds a Master of Science in Administration with a concentration in Public Administration from CMU. Fire up Chips!! When she finds spare time, Chris enjoys traveling and remodeling projects as well as spending time with her husband Bill and her kids, Brad and Bre.
City Manager of Grand Haven
Pat accepted the position as City Manager for the City of Grand Haven in the fall of 2003. Prior to moving to Grand Haven, he served as the City Manager in West Branch, Michigan since 1990. Prior to that he served in the Cities of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and Farmington Hills, Michigan. Pat is an Accredited City Manager through the International City Management Association (ICMA). He serves on the Ottawa County Central Dispatch Authority (Chair), Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy (Secretary), Rotary Club of Grand Haven (Secretary), Harbor Transit Multi Modal Transportation Authority (Secretary), Grand Haven Spring Lake Sewer Authority (Vice Chair) and several other non-profit committees and boards.
Mr. McGinnis is originally from Birmingham, Michigan and received his Bachelor’s (’85) and Master’s (’87) Degrees in Public Administration from Michigan State University. He has served in an adjunct capacity for Baker College.
The McGinnis family now calls Grand Haven home. Pat’s wife Tina is a reading specialist at Mary A White Elementary School and he has two children in college (Molly and Mitch) and one at Grand Haven High School (Mary). In his spare time Pat loves to attend governmental and non-profit meetings to learn more about his community. He also bikes, runs, reads and camps.
SUPERINTENDENT, OTTAWA AREA INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT
Pete joined the Ottawa Area ISD July 2015 after serving 11 years with Greenville Public Schools, eight of which were as superintendent. Previously, he served at Tri-County Area Schools as a principal and then assistant superintendent working in instructional leadership, special education coordination, and as manager of state and federal programming.
He began his teaching career as a middle school science teacher in Kalamazoo. His background in public education consists of six years in student services at Grand Valley State University and several years as an adjunct faculty member at GVSU. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology for secondary education from Western Michigan University, a Master’s in Education from Grand Valley State University, and completed Doctoral coursework at Eastern Michigan University.
Pete is married to his high school sweetheart, Ronnie, and is blessed with two remarkable, grown daughters, Olivia and Rachel.
DIRECTor of the Tri-cities college access network
Kim McLaughlin was born and raised in Spring Lake, Michigan. She attended the University of Michigan where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from DePaul University. Kim lived in Chicago for many years teaching middle school math and social studies. She also spent many hours tutoring students in math and developed and taught a summer math enrichment program.
Returning to the Tri-Cities, Kim’s passion for education continues. Kim McLaughlin is the Director of the Tri-Cities College Access Network and working to foster a Tri-Cities culture focused on career and post-secondary success. TCAN works with students of all ages to help ensure they have the opportunity to access and succeed in their postsecondary options.
Jana Reenders is a native of Spring Lake and lives in Grand Haven, where she and her husband Mark have owned a commercial/industrial construction company for 20 years. Since studying Liberal Arts at Aquinas College, Jana worked in the insurance industry as well as the Maternal and Infant Health Program for Ottawa County. Jana has helped her four daughters navigate the college application to graduation process; her youngest daughter recently graduated from Central Michigan.