Here at Kickstand, support doesn’t mean clicking a ‘help’ link with a non-committed operator at the other end. It doesn’t mean waiting on hold for hours for someone who doesn’t even know your name. Instead, it means one email or phone call, and getting a personalized response in minutes. That’s because our team doesn’t mess around when it comes to supporting our educators.
We are a powerhouse of certified teachers who have worked in the classroom, so we know how precious your time is and, more importantly, how pivotal a quick and comprehensive response can be.
Our support for you comes from the support we get from each other.
Everyone here has a different background, and we share that knowledge to strengthen our team from within. There’s no hierarchy here. We pal around and spend time with each other and our families, because we value the energy that comes from being a team, holistically.
Speaking of being holistic, our software developers work right alongside our educational services team, providing real-time feedback the minute it’s needed. If we get stuck on something, they usually know what’s up. This is their brainchild, after all, so why wouldn’t they be on the frontlines with you?
Pam Kies-Lowe State Coordinator for Homeless Education State of Michigan
Since 2008, Pam Kies-Lowe has served as the State Coordinator of Homeless Education Programs for the Michigan Department of Education, in the Special Populations Unit of the Office of Field Services. The program manages federal education grants to serve children, youth and families experiencing homelessness, provides training and technical assistance to over 900 public school districts in the state, collaborates with all state agencies working with low income and homeless populations and ensures the educational rights of these children and youth.
She has worked in the area of homeless education for over 20 years, having spent ten years as the Title I Family Involvement Specialist and District McKinney-Vento Liaison for the Kalamazoo Public Schools, developing the district’s program for homeless children and youth, and coordinating the regional McKinney-Vento Homeless Education grant. (She is quite accustomed to wearing multiple hats!)
Pam has also served as a consultant in the Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services at MDE, working in the areas of disproportionate representation of minorities in special education, the Reaching and Teaching Struggling Learners initiative, high school student support and intervention recommendations for the Statewide System of Student Support, and the State Board of Education’s Universal Education framework.
She holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Western Michigan University in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Psychology. Her previous positions in education have included preschool teacher/director, sexuality education teacher and trainer, continuing education coordinator, and adjunct faculty at Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
Pam has presented at numerous national and state conferences and serves on multiple state boards and committees in Michigan.
Mat Rehkopf Director of Teaching and Learning Hamilton Community Schools
Mat Rehkopf is the Director of Teaching and Learning at Hamilton Community Schools. He was a Chemistry major at Adrian College and received his Master’s Degree from Grand Valley State in Educational Leadership. Mat started teaching Chemistry at Hamilton High School in 2003. During his time he also coached Football, Basketball, Track, and Science Olympiad. Prior to becoming the Director of Teaching and Learning for the District, Mat was the Co-Principal of Hamilton High School for 4 years.
Mat has helped lead his district in a standards based grading movement, several curricular changes, a new innovative Advancement Point Teachers Contract, and most recently a Blended Learning initiative which has lead to several teachers finding success with Kickstand.
Mat and his wife Jacquie enjoy all of their time with their 6 children. Five boys in sports keeps them very busy throughout the year.
Karen Roy Director of Special Projects Mecosta-Osceola ISD
Karen Roy is the Director of Special Projects for the Mecosta-Osceola ISD. Much of her work involves early childhood, family services, data analysis, grant writing, homeless education and community building. Karen has been working with Kickstand on projects since 2012 and has thoroughly enjoyed watching the company evolve and respond to the needs of teachers and students across the state.
Karen has four grown children and four grandchildren and numerous fur and feathered "family members". Karen resides in Grand Rapids with her cats and husband with whom she attends rock and roll concerts and likes to travel abroad.
Rod Hetherton Assistant Superintendent Swartz Creek Community Schools
Rod is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Swartz Creek Community Schools, where he is in charge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. He has been in the Swartz Creek Community School district for thirteen years, ten years as the Morrish Elementary Principal and the last three years at central office. Before that he was an assistant principal, teacher, and coach in a variety of Michigan districts. He has earned his BA and MPA from the University of Michigan, and he earned his Education Specialist from Oakland University.
Rod is also the co-moderator of the #COLchat Twitter chat and co-author of #COLchat Reflections: Creating a Culture of Learning One Day at a Time. #COLchat is a global chat where a variety of educators, students, and parents show up to discuss the important aspects of culture and learning. Rod is a student-centered leader who believes in creating healthy supportive systems for our schools.
Rebekah Hornak Director of Instructional Services Saginaw Intermediate School District
Rebekah Hornak is the Director of Instructional Services at the Saginaw Intermediate School District. Prior to her position at the SISD, Rebekah was the Middle School Principal and Curriculum Director of the Freeland Community School District and the Assistant Principal at Durand High School. During her teaching years, Rebekah worked for Mt. Pleasant High School focusing on History and ELA.
Rebekah earned both her B.S. Secondary Education and M.A. in School Principalship from Central Michigan University. Over the past three years at the the SISD, Rebekah has been dedicated to rebuilding the instructional department and developing comprehensive services for her districts. You can follow Rebekah on Twitter @SISDInstruction.
William Smith, Ph.D Assistant Superintendent Kent Intermediate School District
Dr. William Smith has been an educational innovator in a variety of roles for 27 years. As a leader of innovation, William has leveraged data-driven and research-based best practices to incite change on multiple levels. His range of educational innovation could be seen as a high school principal where unique, flexible scheduling offerings allowing students to select courses, teachers, instructional delivery models that best serve their learning style. He also played an integral role in the development of a unique digital learning ecosystem as the Chief Academic Officer of Kent ISD.
As a superintendent of schools, and a county-wide leader in educational reform, William focused on the benefits of assuring that student experiences reflected rigor, relevance and relationships resulting in personalized learning and educational achievement growth. Now, as the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, William has shifted his innovative focus on integrating the foundations of educational best-practices and individualized learning through educational technology supports with the development of Kickstand – a learning eco-system for students and staff to excel and achieve.
Diane Mayse, Ph.D Principal Nextech High School
Diane Mayse is a Principal at Nextech High School in Michigan, a blended-learning charter school in the Metro Detroit area that provides students with laptops, 24-7 access to online courses developed by Michigan providers (Kickstand and MVU), and classroom support from highly qualified Michigan teachers. Her program is student focused, parent engaged, and growing with the support of Michigan-based management company, C.S. Partners.
Diane’s career began in corporate training and leadership development with national companies including BoysTown, Cox Communications, and the YMCA, where she developed high-performance teams and streamlined business processes using business technologies. She brought that same passion for learning excellence and a focus on building program efficacy to her teaching in both the traditional and fully virtual K-12 learning environments, earning her awards for demonstrated student learning growth on state assessments. She has also served as an Adjunct Instructor for Baltimore County Community College and the University of Nebraska.
Diane earned a Ph.D. in Internet Based Education at the University of Nebraska studying how effectively students are using online course resources for learning, how effectively students are assessing their own readiness for course assessment, and looking into student and curriculum factors that impact learning success. Her research has been published in the Journal for Online Learning Research and presented at iNACOL and several Pearson and Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) webinars. A blog from her recent work with Pearson-Connections Data and Reporting team was published on the MVLRI website and describes the process used in work with teacher and school leader “customers” to develop more effective visual data-reporting tools to help school teams better monitor student learning progress throughout the year and achieve their school improvement goals.
From a curriculum director's perspective, your response time is incredible. You blow other products out of the water.