Meet the Staff
Lauren Blakely -
Lauren is our new Executive Director of Relevant! She is a native Michigander, whom has spent time teaching middle and high school in Michigan, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Prior to coming to Relevant Academy, she assisted in opening a Lakeside Charter School in Albion Michigan as the Assistant Principal. She has earned a bachelors in degree in History, with a focus on secondary education from Michigan State University. She also earned two master's degrees. One from Vanderbilt University in Learning, Diversities, and Urban Studies and another in Education Administration from Michigan State University. Her experience in non-traditional education is an exciting addition to Relevant Academy, as she focuses on bringing RA back to its original mission: providing a safe, secure, successful, and relevant learning experience for all students.
Loretta Williams -
Loretta is the Dean of Students at Relevant Academy. After graduating from Lansing Sexton High School, she earned a Bachelor's Degree (Criminal Justice) from Michigan State University and a Master's Degree (Management) from Cornerstone University. Loretta has been with Relevant Academy since planning and development of the Academy began, joining the Relevant Academy team after 20 years of working with at-risk populations in both Ingham and Eaton counties. Her experience has given her the ability to work with learners to set goals and overcome any barriers that may interfere with achieving them. As an active member of several human services collaborative in Eaton county, Loretta is able to connect learners and their families to additional supports in the community.
Leah Warner -
Leah is our Academic Navigator. She has earned a bachelor's degree from Grand Valley State University. Leah has been at Relevant since 2019. She acts as a great support system for our current students looking to participate in vocational programs, apply for college, and seek career placements. She also assists recent graduates as they navigate life post-graduation. She lives in Springport but graduated from Eaton Rapids High School. She loves hunting, fishing, camping with her husband, son, and two dogs (Hawk and Finn).
Rebeckah Carter -
Rebeckah is our interim special education consultant.
Julia Przybyla-Kuchek -
Julia is the math teacher at Relevant Academy. She has taught math at the high school and college level, working at Central Michigan University and the University of Georgia (UGA). She is currently completing her doctorate in Mathematics Education. Her area of research is in gender and racial equity in mathematics classrooms. She and her husband recently moved back to Michigan after living in Georgia and have four dogs. When not working on teaching, she volunteers her time with an animal shelter, doing social media to help get animals adopted.
Diana Thompson -
Diana is the social studies/English teacher at Relevant Academy. She began obtaining her credentials at Grand Valley State University and has spent the last three years applying them in diverse learning environments. Before Relevant Academy, Diana worked with various grade levels (7-12) teaching English at the Muskegon Community Education Center, Kraft Meadows Middle School in Caledonia, and Wyoming Junior High. She also coached 7th and 8th-grade robotics while at Wyoming Junior High. Diana lives in Freeport with her husband and their two dogs, Maya and Rollo. She enjoys Olympic weightlifting, exploring new restaurants, and spending quality time with family and friends. She cannot wait to share her academic passions with her students and introduce them to her ever-growing classroom library.
John Ley -
John is the science teacher at Relevant Academy. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Michigan. John has spent over 20 years in the field of Education with the goal of promoting student success. He believes building rapport with learners and their parents is key in motivating students. John’s goal is to create an educational environment where students are provided with the proper knowledge, skill, and attitude to be successful. To empower students one must encourage them every day to be active learners. John resides in Okemos with his wife and four children. He enjoys many outdoor activities. His favorites are fishing, playing golf and riding ATVs.
Robin Elliott -
Robin is the English teacher at Relevant Academy. She joins us from 28 years of teaching at Everett High School. She has a passion for making learning authentic for students, which is what drew her to us. Outside of teaching, Robin loves traveling and taking on different jobs to learn new skills. Her latest job brings together three joys of her life, drinking coffee, talking with people, and being a barista. She has traveled extensively and will share travel tips and ideas with you, enthusiastically. She believes life is a journey, and the journey becomes more interesting through the more choices we make for ourselves.
Jay Marietti -
Jay is incharge of our Relevant Academy Virutal (RAV) students as well as our Comet Academy students. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, a Master of Arts in English Literature and Pedagogy, and a Michigan State Educator’s certificate. He has been teaching for twelve years. Jay resides in Grand Ledge, but lived the majority of his life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He likes camping, reading, and basically anything to do with comic books. Lastly, his best friend in the whole world is his German Shepherd, Remy.
Michael Graham -
Michael is our new virtual physical education and health instructor. This is his 11th year teaching. He graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor's degree in Health & Physical Education and earned his Masters degree from Central Michigan University in Learning Design & Technology. Michael currently teaches and coaches at Sparta High School in Sparta, Michigan. Prior to his time in Sparta, he taught and coached at Adrian High School in Adrian, Michigan. Michael and his wife have 2 daughters ages 9 & 12. He enjoy spending time with his family doing outdoor activities and his favorite hobbies include hunting and fishing.
Michaelle Converse -
Michaelle is our virtual art instructor. Michaelle got her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt in New York City and her teaching degree along with a minor in English at Olivet College. This year completes Michaelle's 28th year of teaching art for the Charlotte Public Schools. Michaelle did not grow up in Michigan, she is a "Jersey" girl. Michaelle loves any type of art form that she can get her hands on as well as gardening and cooking. She lives in the Charlotte area.