Our Crew

Rick Couturier - Head of School



Education: Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals Path to Leadership Program (State of MI, Administrative Certification), 2015 Spring Arbor University Master Degree, November, 2008 Master of Arts/Education Spring Arbor University Secondary Education Post BA, Completion 2003 Political Science Minor.  Michigan State University Bachelor of Arts Degree, May, 2002 Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science-Human Resources and Society.   Eastern Michigan University (1980-84) Major: Marketing, Minor: Management

Beth Gomez - Assistant Principal



Education: Ms. Simon received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa in Vocal Performance and Elementary Education with specializations in Reading and Music. She has spent the last seven years successfully teaching in Houston, TX where she taught second and third grade as a classroom teacher and PreK-5th as a technology teacher! She obtained her Masters of Education in Instructional Technology from Sam Houston State University as well as her Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership and Administration from Colorado State University.

Why Teach?: Ms. Simon is delighted to be starting a new chapter in her career as a school administrator! She cannot wait to build strong relationships with the community and help continue to grow a positive school culture where all students, families, and staff can thrive! 

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? Ms. Simon is delighted to be starting a new chapter in her career as a school administrator! She cannot wait to build strong relationships with the community and help continue to grow a positive school culture where all students, families, and staff can thrive!

Interests/Hobbies: Ms. Simon is an avid reader and one of her favorite things to do is getting lost in a book! As an Interlochen Center for the Arts alum, she loves to sing and share her love of music with others. Ms. Simon also enjoys baking and watching The Great British Bake Off. Most of all, Ms. Simon loves spending time with her fiancé and their dog!

Darla Eimers - Office Manager



Education: I have an Associate Degree in Applied Science and am currently working toward a Bachelor Degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Anthropology.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I am excited about everything in the new school year!  Not only will I be starting in my new position, but my son, Quinlan, will be attending OMPS as a new student.

Interests/Hobbies: I have several different hobbies, including scuba diving, fencing, both land and nautical archaeology, and I am in the process of learning to play the violin. I love challenges, trying new things, and learning in general.

Melissa Muran -Front Office Director and Director of Camp Island View



Education: Bachelors in Exercise Science, Minor in Dance Western Michigan University, Masters in Business Administration University of Phoenix 

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? Looking forward to incorporating more outdoor adventure into the school day.

Interests/Hobbies:  Love to hike, bike, camp, roller blade, kayak and have kitchen dance parties


Mason Hopkins - Kindergarten



Education: Grand Valley State University, Bachelors in Elementary Education and English

Why Teach?: I chose to become an educator because of my love to learn. At a very young age, I discovered that learning can be engaging and enjoyable. It is a goal of mine to instill that passion of learning into my students.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I was immediately attracted to Old Mission Peninsula School because of the community based atmosphere. Among many things, I am most excited to be a part of the OMPS team because of the long-lasting relationships that will form. The success of OMPS excites me and I am honored to be along for the journey.

Interests/Hobbies: Aside from teaching, I enjoy spending time on the water and taking on new adventures with my friends and family.

Courtney Kierczynski - Kindergarten



Education: Western Michigan University, 2008 with a Bachelors of Science in Education, majoring in elementary education. I am presently working on my Masters Degree through Grand Valley State University..

Why Teach?: Since a very young age teaching has been a passion of mine. I can remember making my brother and cousins “play” school while I taught them in our living room. Once in elementary school I had amazing experiences and teachers throughout my education, especially in Kindergarten. I remember taking a field trip to my teachers lake house where we learned all about our beautiful area and community, I left thinking, “this is what I want to do when I grow up”.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I am most excited about being part of this new journey at Old Mission Peninsula School alongside our students, crew and community. It has been a dream of mine since graduating from college to work at the school where I learned to be a respectable, caring and exceptional learner. I look forward to an amazing school year and building relationships that will last a lifetime.

Interests/Hobbies:  I enjoy spending time with my husband on the water, fishing and riding bikes. We love to spend time on our family’s Old Mission Peninsula farm and fruit stand. I am excited and thrilled to be involved with “the most beautiful school setting in Michigan”.

Kaile Bartnick - First Grade



Education: Central Michigan University with an Early Childhood Degree in Education.

Why Teach?: After redirecting my career to education, I felt very passionate about guiding and helping young children make and learn valuable lifelong choices to make them better citizens in today’s world.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I feel very fortunate and excited to be a part of the OMPS team. I  strongly believe in the philosophy and vision that the school will be providing to their students along with involving the Community as much as possible. OMPS feels like a school family.

Interests/Hobbies: I enjoy golfing and spending time in the Upper Peninsula stream fishing and exploring the beaches along Lake Superior with my husband and two Jack Russell Terriers.

Kaitlyn Thomas - First Grade



Education: I grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, MI before attending Michigan State University where I earned my degree in Elementary Education with a focus in Language Arts and a minor in Child Development.  I spent last school year in the Chicago Public Schools in a Kindergarten classroom

Why Teach?: It has always been a dream of mine to teach, and to be able to create a classroom community where all children feel welcomed, safe, and encouraged.  I am excited to be able to do that this coming year.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I was attracted to Old Mission Peninsula School because of the strong community support system with common goals for our students; this kind of support will help our students go above and beyond.

Interests/Hobbies: In my free time I love to be outdoors, and even more importantly on the water with my family.  I could not be more excited for the school year ahead!

Amy Littlefield-Bousamra - Second Grade



Education: I have a Masters in Theater Arts/Production, a B.A. in education and a B.S. in computers as I also love learning!

Why Teach?: It's my honor and privilege to help children on their journey of lifelong learning. As an educator, I like the creativity of each day as no day is the same in education. I enjoy getting to know each child, the process of exchanging and sharing knowledge and watching kids as they continue to learn and grow.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I am excited to teach 2nd grade at the school I attended when I was a kid! 

Interests/Hobbies: I have especially enjoyed gardening this summer. Other interests include, hiking, theater and spending time with my husband and daughter.

Sonya Neal - Second Grade



Education: B.A.- University of Maryland German literature and language. B.S.-University of Maryland Business Management.   Teaching Certificate in MI, TX, and GA.

Why Teach?: I became a teacher to make school a relevant part of a child's daily life, to affect change, and to take part in the shaping of the next generation.  Education and its hundreds of daily challenges work well with my creative and energetic mind as I work to inspire and empower each learner

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? OMPS is charting a whole new course for itself and I am eager to see the benefits of an exciting new curriculum.  I am looking forward to contributing to this special community in a meaningful way and to be a part of a collective team of dedicated individuals who together, will enhance the educational opportunities on Old Mission Peninsula.

Interests/Hobbies: My hobbies include music, horses, travel, water sports and spending time with my wonderful family.

Liz Hague - Third Grade


Education: Graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and I obtained a Master’s Degree with a Master in the Art of Teaching focusing on Reading and Literacy from Mary Grove College. I taught second grade for two years in southwest Florida. In 2008, I moved up to Michigan after marrying my husband and taught third grade for six years in Oxford, Michigan.

Why Teach?: Ever since the third grade I have wanted to become a teacher. My main goal as an educator is for students to be excited to come to school and have fun learning! I want to instill the value of being a life-long learner and serving others.


I have two daughters that currently attend OMPS. I love to be outside in all seasons either running, hiking, walking my pups, snow skiing and boating. I also love to be with my family! I am looking forward to an exciting year teaching third grade!


Danielle Clayton - Fourth Grade



Education: I graduated from Aurora University with a Masters in Elementary Education in 2007.  Since then, I have had the pleasure of teaching in a variety of different states. I have also had the unique experience of helping jump start an early intervention reading program (Dolly Parton Imagination Library), in Sitka, Alaska, and working for a Early Childhood nonprofit organization in Mobile, Alabama.

Why Teach?: Teaching gives me the opportunity to watch and facilitate children overcoming challenges and reaching for their best version of themselves. I whole heartedly believe in the "power of yet," and I love helping children achieve their goals.  

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I am excited that the Coast Guard has moved us to such a beautiful and unique place.  I am looking forward to learning more about Traverse City from my students and sharing my love and passion of persevering through challenging academics with them. I love the community support that Old Mission Peninsula School has, and I am excited to be a part of this family network.

Interests/Hobbies: I love spending time with my family, exploring new adventures. Since I was young, I have always loved riding horses, running and going to the beach.

Molly Norton - Fourth Grade



Education: I was born and raised in Columbia, Maryland. I graduated from Salisbury University where I obtained my degree in Elementary Education. Right out of college, I secured a full time substitute teaching position at Courtade Elementary School where I worked with students from K-5.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I am so honored to begin my teaching career at OMPS. Something that I am looking forward to this school year is getting to know all my students and their families. I am over the moon to be working with an exceptional staff that are all as optimistic and enthusiastic about teaching as I am. 

Interests/Hobbies:  Being new to Michigan, I love to explore some of the surrounding towns to take in incredible sceneries! Family and friends are important to me so I enjoy spending time with them. I love to cheer on the Philadelphia Eagles during football season. I am also a big fan of crocheting and reading a good book. You can often find me humming along to a latest country music hit or popular Disney song.

Renee Kolle - Fifth Grade



Education: I grew up in Traverse City.  I attended Eastern Michigan University for my undergrad and Grand Valley State University for my Masters.

Why Teach?: I chose education because working with kids is an amazing experience, helping them learn and grow.  They make me laugh every day, and they inspire me to continue to see the world through their eyes.  Seeing a child’s eyes light up when they learn something new, have an idea, or grasp a new concept, is incredibly rewarding to me.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I'm very excited to be a part of a brand new school.  The energy and passion going into this upcoming school year is truly awesome and I can't wait to jump right in.  I have always loved the community and environment in which OMPS sits, and I know both will be utilized throughout the school year.  Students will have a fresh, real world learning experience at OMPS with these benefits and curriculum offered. I am so thrilled that I get to be a part of all of it!

Interests/Hobbies: My number one interest is travel. My family and I (husband and daughter) travel when we can, but it's not as often as I'd like! I love experiencing different cultures, the traditions, food, lifestyle, etc.  It gets me out of my own world and helps me to remember the global picture.  Other hobbies include: reading, being outside whether it's swimming and boating or hiking through snow and skiing. 

Brianna McGee - Fifth Grade



Education: Grand Valley State University with a degree in Elementary Education and Mathematics.

Why Teach?: The reason I chose education is to watch a child walk out of school at the end of the year feeling loved, more intelligent, and ready for the next step! I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to teach at OMPS.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I recently moved back to Traverse City so I could pursue my teaching dream along with being close to my family. One thing that really attracted me to OMPS was the community and culture based around the school.

Interests/Hobbies:  In my free time I enjoy working out, watching movies, and spending time with my friends and family. Needless to say, I am so excited to be teaching at OMPS.

Carolyn Mammen - Middle School Math and Science



Education: I began my career in a hematology research lab at Wayne State University utilizing my BS in Biology from Oakland University. I began my teaching career in 2006 upon obtaining a Masters in Education from Wayne  State University. I then proceeded to teach 7th and 8th-grade science in Rochester Community Schools. During my time at Rochester I developed science curriculum and implemented the State’s new standards (NGSS).

Since 2014 I have been the Michigan Science Teacher Association regional director for the Grand Traverse Region. Since my move to Traverse City, I have been teaching 5th grade at Trinity Lutheran School.

Why Teach?: It has been a pleasure helping students learn about and discover the world they live in, and how they can impact it.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I look forward to being able to create this impact in my beautiful Peninsula community among neighbors and friends.

Interests/Hobbies: Outside of the classroom, I have always had a passion for the outdoors— hiking, kayaking, skiing. I love adventures, from climbing cascade volcanoes, exploring the forests of the Appalachians, and of course, walking the beaches of home. I’m excited to share these experiences with my students.

Carly Snider - Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies



Education: Secondary English Education Highly Qualified, Michigan State University

Why Teach?: I wanted to pour my life's work into children's futures and into my community. As a teacher, I have the privilege of being a small part of the lives of my students and to support their growth personally and academically.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I'm most excited to help build the culture of the school and get to know families in my community. The Old Mission community's ardor for the school and its students excites and attracts me most to OMPS.

Interests/Hobbies: I enjoy everything outdoors including hiking, kayaking, and snowboarding. I also like to dabble in creative activities like cooking, quilting, and painting.

Kathleen Hoagg - Art Teacher



Education: BFA  Painting College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI.  MAT Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD.  Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME.

Why Teach?: I’ve always enjoyed and been interested in children. They’re funny, spontaneous, curious, authentic and perplexing. Art can be magic, thrilling, and at times daunting and intimidating. I cannot think of a better way to engage with, learn about and support children through all of this self-discovery and learning about our world than through the arts. And through it all I grow as a person and an artist.

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS?

I can’t wait to settle in, get to know the staff and children, and see what interesting and exciting things we come up with to do together!

Interests/Hobbies: I can find it hard to be inside on a beautiful day and enjoy outdoor activities in every season! I’ve been an organic gardener for years and have chickens too. I also really like to cook. I love reading and learning about all kinds of things, but especially the arts and sciences. I treasure time with my family and friends as well as the  solitary time in my studio.

Laura Axelson - Music and Physical Education



Education: I graduated from Shenandoah University and Conservatory of Music in 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Music Education. Since then, I have been lucky enough to teach high school and middle school choir and musical theater in Virginia, and elementary music, physical education and improv theater camps in Alaska.

Why Teach?: Every child is an artist. I believe in learning in and through the arts to open a whole world of opportunity and new perspectives. My goal is to not only teach musical concepts and physical skills, but confidence, compassion, and citizenship. Learning takes place over a lifetime and I hope to inspire our students to be passionate about learning, thinking outside the box, and being creative!

Interests/Hobbies: Hiking, Rafting, Camping, Baking, Singing, Quilting.

Christine Nowak - Special Education



Education: I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. I attended Grand Valley State University for my Bachelor of Arts

Why Teach?: I chose education because I love creating relationships with children! There is always something new to learn on both ends

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I am most excited about working at OMPS to get to know the incredible families in the community. I am thrilled to be a part of an outstanding staff who is knowledgeable about the curriculum and is excited about the years ahead.

Interests/Hobbies: I love to cook, read, and bike! In the summer, you can find me in the water or on a patio with friends and family. I also love to pickle and make kombucha!

Alan Kierczynski - Head of Grounds and Maintenance 



Education: Powers Catholic High School in Flint Mi, and I studied Industrial Maintenance through Kirtland Community College

What are you excited about in the school year ahead at OMPS? I am excited to see the growth of all of the students I met in my first year and to see the school community continue to grow and come together.

Interests/Hobbies: My hobbies and interests involve everything outdoors in Michigan! Top of the list is fishing, hunting and boating. I also enjoy hiking, biking, camping, and tinkering and working on any kind of old equipment from tractors and farm equipment to lawn mowers and snowmobiles.

Theresa Corcoran - Head Chef


Old Mission Peninsula School

2699 Island View Rd
Traverse City, MI   49686

Hours: 8:15 to 3:15

Phone: 231.252.0225

Mailing Address
2699 Island View Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686