Who are the people that support you at Relevant Academy?
Jennifer Varney -
Jennifer is the Executive Director of Relevant Academy. After graduating from Maple Valley High School, she attended Western Michigan University. While at WMU, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, a Master’s in Career and Technical Education and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. She comes to Relevant with an educational background beginning her career as a business and technology teacher. After several years in the classroom, Jennifer has been a media/technology director and high school administrator for several years. Jennifer lives in Charlotte with her husband Chris and enjoys traveling, golfing and being outdoors.
Loretta Williams -
Loretta is the Team Leader 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 collaboratives in Eaton county, Loretta is able to connect learners and their families to additional supports in the community.
April Delecki -
As the Office Manager, April comes to us with a lifetime of working with kids. April has 18 years of High School Office experience. She uses that experience here to assist learners, and the staff with the necessities to run the program efficiently.
Brian Barden -
Brian is from Leslie, MI and completed his B.A. in Secondary Education (English and Phys Ed.) at Albion College, where he also competed in Football and Track and Field. Brian has worked extensively with at-risk youth at both Starr Commonwealth and Highfields. He also attended Baker College (Jackson/Owosso) to become certified in Math and Social Studies. Prior to coming to Relevant in 2014, Brian worked at Ingham Academy and Battle Creek Public Schools. Brian is currently the Math Learning Coach.
John Ley -
John is the science learning coach 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.
Sharon Guenther -
Sharon teaches Art and 10-12 English at Relevant Academy. For about 20 years she taught on Lakota, Apache and Navajo reservations, and she also was an art instructor at a camp for people who are visually impaired. She enjoys people who are trying to overcome challenges in their lives. Sharon was born and grew up in Michigan and earned her teaching credentials from Michigan State University. She is a proud aunt. Currently, she lives in a little house in the woods with two highly opinionated cats.
Diana Thompson -
Diana is the Social Studies/English Learning Coach 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.
Jessica Woodward -
Jessica is a Michigan native that graduated from Hope College in Holland, MI with a degree in Biology and Psychology. She moved to Florida to attain her Master's degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management. It was during this educational pursuit that her passion for teaching was turned on as she took students on day-long excursions in the Everglades. After graduation, she spent her summers working on the beach with the sea turtles and the school year in the classroom teaching Marine Science and AP Environmental Science. Fifteen years later she moved back to Michigan and is now working for Relevant Academy. As the assessment/at-risk coordinator, she is excited about helping students achieve success and make plans for their future.