Meet the Staff

Leslie Rindfliesch, Director

I’m Leslie Rindfliesch!  I was born and raised in Port Huron,  MI.  My family made the move from one lake to the other 13 years ago (and I must say that we absolutely LOVE the west-side of Michigan!). I attended Central Michigan University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.  In 2010, I graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a Masters in Educational Leadership.

    This is my 20th year in the educational field, my 13th year with Zeeland Public Schools and I’m entering my 9th year at Zeeland Quest!  I have taught every grade level, kindergarten through 8th grade in my career, and I am so proud to be the Principal of the most amazing, non-traditional public school in the area!  We are so lucky to have educational options here in Zeeland like ZQuest!  My husband, Mark, and I enjoy doing all types of outdoor activities with our girls, Alexis, 11th grade and Tessa, 9th grade (who completed 8 years of schooling at ZQuest!), going to ZPS high school sporting events, traveling to Penn State football and volleyball games, and watching the girls participate in their activities (primarily I’m a taxi, getting them to their practices on time...for the most part and will have a new licensed driver in October)!  I very much enjoy listening to music, learning more about and improving education, relaxing in the sun (when I get a chance), baking and of course shopping!

This year will prove to be very rewarding, and I am more than excited to get started!  My goal this year is to continue the great work we’ve started together as a team of teachers, parents and kids,  to take Zeeland Quest students and teachers to the next level of outside-of-the-box learning, strive to continue our uniqueness within the great district of ZPS (with COVID-19 in the picture, our team will be as creative as ever to facilitate learning!).  We have a wonderful school in front of us, great teachers facilitating the education of your learners and  leading the way to changing education by offering different opportunities to our community!  The kids of ZQuest are taking the lead in these new ways of learning and will prove to be leaders of their learning and our ever growing and changing community!  There are no limits on how, where and when we learn at Zeeland Quest and that excites me more than anything! 

Hello! I’m Marcy Hartzler and I will be celebrating my ninth year of learning, teaching, and growing at  ZQuest! My path to ZQuest started when I chose to pursue my lifelong passion for teaching by attending Hope College, where I graduated summa cum laude in May 2012 with a major in special education and a minor in mathematics education. Shortly after graduating, I was given the amazing opportunity to join ZQuest in its pilot year and to help shape a school that puts students first, not standards. Not many teachers get the unique blessing of being able to witness and nurture the growths in academics, maturity, and self-awareness that students go through in those consecutive middle school years. Seeing that blossoming of confidence and identity is the best thing about teaching!

    The last year has brought many big changes for me, including graduating with my Masters of Education in STEM Leadership; I am thrilled to have more knowledge, strategies, and innovative practices to bring into the classroom. I’m also extremely excited to continue pushing the 7th/8th classroom to the next level with my teaching partner, Zach. We achieved some amazing results with our PBLs so far and I know we are both eagerly anticipating the great things that PBL will bring this year. As always, we are focusing on creating learning experiences that are challenging, engaging, flexible, and authentic--all while maintaining the trademark 7/8 “fun factor.”

The second big change in my life in the past year was marrying my husband Joel! It has been so amazing to settle into life with him and to continue to explore our shared love of travel, team trivia, and time with friends and family. I also became a first-time aunt when my brother and sister in law welcomed their first child, a girl named Tatum!

Amongst the students at ZQuest, I’m known as the teacher who loves cats, Diet Coke, purple, and The Wizard of Oz. I also hold the title of “Teacher Most Likely to Get Mistaken For a Student.” When I’m not teaching, you will probably find me reading on the beach in the summer, or snuggled up with my cats, Pippa and Izzy, and a book in the winter. 

 My mom and younger sister, who reside in the suburbs of Chicago, love to visit and take advantage of the beach and all the tasty produce in West Michigan. My brother and his family live in Wisconsin, so we have all sides of Lake Michigan covered!

Hi, my name is Zachary Adams and I am excited to begin another year of teaching 7th and 8th grade with Ms. Marcy! I was born and raised in the Columbus, Ohio area. I am the youngest of four children in my family, which includes two older sisters and one older brother. My parents raised me to be a responsible, respectful, and intelligent person who is driven to be the best man that I possibly can be. I find joy in reading, which I developed from my father, and I also enjoy staying active whether that is playing soccer, riding bikes, or going on runs with my wife Katie. My wife and I love to travel during the ZQuest break weeks and I often connect these vacations to a topic that I am teaching. This summer I will be competing in my first triathlon. After the triathlon I will begin my training for a marathon, which will take place in October. 

This past December I completed the requirements for my Masters in Educational Technology from Michigan State University. Go Green! I am passionate about providing my students with the best education possible and that means providing them with many opportunities to engage in creating with technology. I am continuously encouraged and challenged by the things I have learned in my Masters program as well as by Ms. Marcy to develop outstanding PBLs where students can foster their love of learning and express their personal interest.  

My goals as a teacher include teaching the students to be independent learners as well as problem solvers. At ZQuest we focus around Project Based Learning where students are encouraged to communicate and collaborate with each other to answer questions and fully understand the content. I have a passion for  reaching the students on an individual level and making sure their learning style is being accounted for. In my class we will be using technology not to substitute for learning, but to enhance the learning that is already taking place. I will strive to help my students to love the learning process. In my class we are a team and treat one another like family so that every individual feels like they are loved and respected in the classroom. I know that I am in the classroom to teach the students, but I am also there to learn from the students how I can be a more influential teacher.

 

Hello! My name is Amy Bultena, and I am one of the 5th/6th grade teachers. I am thrilled to be at ZQuest for my sixth year!

     I was born and raised in Farmington Hills in the Metro Detroit area, and lived there my whole life before attending Grand Valley State University. I’m a two-time graduate of GVSU- I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies in 2011, and my Master’s Degree in Literacy Studies in 2018. I truly enjoyed having so many opportunities to learn new things to bring back to my classroom!

     I’ve lived in West Michigan ever since marrying my husband, Andrew, in July of 2013. Our son, Carson, joined us on March 17, 2020- a St. Patrick’s Day baby!  I miss the hustle and bustle of the Detroit area, but have grown to love the beauty of West Michigan and its close-knit community feel. There’s nothing quite like having Lake Michigan just a few miles away (although I could do without the lake effect snow!).  I try my best to take advantage of the beautiful weather by going to the beach, riding bikes, or reading outside in the sun! I also love to travel whenever I get the opportunity, and try to spend time with family and friends as much as possible, especially my parents in the Metro Detroit area, and my brother and sister-in-law in Florida.

     ZQuest is an amazing place to grow and learn, and I’m thankful to be able to teach here! I am looking forward to a wonderful year for our 5th/6th grade students. 

 

Hello ZQuest Families! My name is Liz MIreles. I am very excited to start my ninth year at ZQuest as one of the lead teachers for the 5th and 6th grade room! I have been at ZQuest since the very beginning fulfilling a variety of roles but this year marks my fifth year working with the 5th and 6th graders.

What I love most about ZQuest is the opportunity for students to learn 21st century skills that will prove to be very beneficial in our classroom and in their future! It is so fun to be able to bring new experiences to them and listen in to their wonder and amazement.

Before ZQuest, I graduated from Grand Valley with a major in Social Studies and a minor in Elementary Education. I was born and raised in Holland, MI. My fiance and I planned to be married on March 28, 2020 but as I am sure we can all attest, this pandemic has forced everyone to make changes both big and small.  As soon as we can arrange for our closest family and friends to be together we will get married sometime this summer.  We bought a house in Norton Shores MI where my ‘soon to be’ husband is a high school teacher and coach for Mona Shores. In our spare time we love to stay active and be outdoors!  I also love to read, bake, and do crafty things!

One goal that I have in my classroom is to build relationships with my students.  I think that when students develop both a strong relationship with their teacher and peers that the most successful learning can occur.

 

Victoria Grace pictureHello! My name is Victoria Grace and I am one of the 3rd/4th grade teachers here at ZQuest. I recently graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder, where I studied English Literature and Elementary Education. As a Boulderite I loved living an active lifestyle - nothing beats going for an evening run under the flatirons. While I miss the mountains, I have fallen in love with Michigan’s beauty. 

I grew up in a military family and spent most of my life moving every two years. I was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved around to places like Korea, Germany, England, Ohio, and Colorado! In my free time I enjoy cooking and baking, walking my labradoodle, and reading a good book.

My classroom is centered around the social-emotional well-being of each of my students. Students will learn how to express their emotions, while checking in with themselves throughout the day. I believe it is important to take care of students’ emotional needs before jumping into academic needs. I am so excited to work with such wonderful families, while helping my students find their own success. I look forward to meeting everyone. Please feel free to reach out whenever - my door is always open!

Hi! My name is Kimberly Villanueva and this will be my 13th year of teaching!  I graduated from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.  I also have my certification in teaching Academically and Intellectually Gifted students from North Carolina Central University as well as an Early Childhood Endorsement..  I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 2008 where I taught 2nd grade for 1 year and 3rd grade for 4 years. I miss those warm winters and those scorching summers as well as the mountains and oceans, but love the quiet of Lake Michigan and the calm of Spring and Fall.

My husband Jeffery and I have been married for almost 12 years.  We have an awesome little girl named Ellery Faith.  Ellery is  8 and starting Third Grade this Fall in Allendale!  As a family, we stay incredibly busy with soccer, softball, volleyball and dance.  We love the chaos of it all (most of the time.)

I have enjoyed being a part of ZQuest for the past 7 years and I look forward to another great year!  It has been such a joy to be a part of a school that values kids and their learning, as well as a part of this team and change the way we educate our kids.  I love sharing my passion for Social Studies with kids and getting them excited about learning about the world.

Hello! My name is Amy Funk and I am one of the 1st-2nd grade teachers.  This will be my 9th year teaching with Zeeland Quest.  I love watching my students develop a love for learning and how they push me because they want to go above and beyond what is required of them. During break weeks and over the summer my students continue to contact me on what they are learning and what they have achieved. A goal for me and my students this year will be to help them develop their critical thinking, problem solving and 21st Century skills to become self directed learners to reach their highest level of achievement. I have a Marketing Degree from Eastern Michigan University and a Teaching Degree from Grand Valley State University. I currently live in Grand Haven with my Husband.  We have 2 Biological Children.  Kyle is living in Washington D.C. and works as a Research Associate for the National League of Cities.  Derek is taking classes at Grand Valley State University, working towards his Bachelor Degree.   In April 2018, we adopted a young man who needed a family and a home.  His name is Carlos. He works at Alliance Distribution Beverage Co..  In my spare time I love to read, play games,  spend time with my family, travel and spend time at the beach.

Hello! I'm Shannon Foerch and I am one of the 1st-2nd grade teachers.  I grew up in Mid-Michigan and have fallen in love with West Michigan.  I am a Hope College graduate and earned my master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Western Michigan University in 2014.  This will be my 14th year of teaching, all in K-2 classrooms.  I had a great opportunity to live and teach in Georgia, but am happy to be home in Michigan :)  I love ZQuest for the multi-age aspect and the ability to meet learners where they are at - it's a great challenge and so neat to see my students’ knowledge and abilities grow exponentially‚Äč! Every year, my hope is that I can create a loving and safe learning environment for my students so that they will love learning.

My husband Luke and I have been married for 12 years and we have two children, Nora (4.5 years old) and Josiah (2.5 years old) who keep us busy!  We enjoy spending time with our friends & families, being outside - hiking, swimming and biking - as well as completing DIY projects for our home and for my classroom!

Hello! My name is Kristy Zimmer and I am so excited to start my third year teaching Kindergarten at ZQuest.   I went to Hope College (2012) for my undergrad and GVSU (2016) for a special education certification. While at Hope, I did my student teaching in Kindergarten and fell in love with teaching at this grade level. It is such a fun age group to work with and to see them learn new skills. I lived in Washington DC after college and worked at Jill’s House, a respite home for children with disabilities. It was an incredible experience to care for children with special needs and give parents respite and rest. Since then I have been teaching at multiple grade levels, special education and gen ed. I am very happy to have landed in Kindergarten! I was raised by my wonderful parents in Holland MI, along with my older sister. My husband, Mike and I got married in November 2017. We love spending time at his family cottage in the summers. We adopted our Labradane puppy, Kirby, in November 2018 and love taking him on walks and runs! We are expecting our baby girl this September! In our spare time we love to play games with our friends, garden and do DIY projects around the house. I have been running races with my dad for 10 years, we started off with just 5k’s and worked our way up to a marathon in 2016!

Melanie Shepardson pictureHi! I am Melanie Shepardson, the Resource Room teacher at ZQuest.  I began teaching at ZQuest this past February.  Just as I was starting to get settled, Covid-19 put a wrench in things! I am very excited to come back in August to pick up where I left off! I can already tell that ZQuest is a great community to be a part of. Both staff and students have been so welcoming! 

I was born and raised in Zeeland with my parents and three other brothers. Yes, all brothers.  I graduated in 2013 from Zeeland East. During my time in Zeeland, I enjoyed being a part of the Dance Program all four years of high school as well as dancing at Zeeland Recreation.  I was a member of the Student Senate and enjoyed Dutch Dancing during Tulip Time.  I am thrilled to be teaching in a district that had a huge impact on my love of learning and school experience. 

Before ZQuest,  I graduated from Calvin College, now Calvin University, in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education. From there, I was a long term substitute in Zeeland and then taught for almost two years at a charter school in Muskegon. My husband and I have almost been married for one year and we live in the Grand Haven area. We have two high energy pups that keep us busy. I enjoy reading, renovating parts of my home, and spending time with my family. In the summer,  we enjoy taking our boat to nearby lakes to go fishing and enjoy the sun. We recently bought a tent, so we are looking forward to camping adventures this summer!

Hello ZQuest family!

My name is Lorna Nelson and I am so excited to begin my 3rd year at ZQuest (and 14th year teaching) as the K-8 Spanish teacher. 

A little about my background... I moved to Zeeland at the age of 3 from the Columbus, OH area. The 3rd of 5 children, I attended Zeeland Public Schools for my K-12 education. After graduating from Zeeland High School (yes, at that time there was only one!), I attended St. Thomas Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, from which I earned a double major in Spanish and Communication with an emphasis in Public Speaking. I also earned my K-12 teaching certificate before graduating in the spring of 2006. During my college career, I was a member of the Varsity Softball team and traveled to and lived in Salamanca, Spain for a semester. I was blessed to be able to travel to many European countries during my 4 months abroad. The summer after graduation, I moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico all by myself to fully immerse myself in a Spanish-speaking country… although I already had a broad knowledge of the language and culture before living there, this was the time and place in my life that I felt like I really fell in love with Spanish. In the summer of 2007, I accepted a high school teaching position in Arizona and stayed there for 11 years. During that time I earned my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix (2010). After having my first child in 2017, I realized how much I wanted for him to get to be a bigger part of his grandparents’, aunts’/uncles’ and cousins’ lives, so I made the move back to Zeeland in the spring of 2018. 

It was only a few months later that I was honored to accept the K-8 Spanish teacher position at ZQuest. During my 1st 2 years here, I have been amazed at how welcomed I felt by the staff, students and families. I look forward to building upon those relationships this year again and for the years to come. I feel so lucky to be able to have students year after year, to be a witness to their growth in the Spanish language over time, but also in deepening our relationships.

Finally, during my free time, my 2 children (Conrad and Frida) and I love to camp, grill, take our miniature schnauzer (Lola) for walks, go to the beach and pretty much do anything playing outside and spending time with my extended family. This year is going to be another exciting one filled with love, laughter and lots of fun! I can’t wait!!

Hello! My name is Krista Schopmeyer and I am thrilled to be a part of the ZQuest staff again this year.  I am a graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Elementary Education as well as a Master of Arts in Education. I am passionate about supporting students as they understand their learning process and develop their skills and abilities.

I began my career 12 years ago in North Carolina, teaching primarily Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten. I loved guiding children to become successful students as they developed their curiosity and discovery into life-long learning practices.  After returning to Michigan to be closer to family, I joined Zeeland Public Schools as an interventionist. Last year I took on the role of Reading Teacher at ZQuest. I love the way ZQuest encourages students to take ownership of their learning and empowers them to become independent learners.

My husband, Jesse, and I have been married since 2007; our son, Owen, is 8 years old and in 3rd grade at ZQuest.  We enjoy reading and playing games together, visiting museums in Grand Rapids and Chicago, and spending time with our extended family.

Hi!  My name is Pat VanderZee, and I just completed my first year as an interventionist for ZQuest.  Before ZQuest, I was in Godwin Heights for 18 years during which I taught Kindergarten and First Grade classes.  I have a BA in English/Language Arts, and my Masters is in Early Childhood Education. At ZQuest, I love working with the dedicated and talented staff and am enjoying teaching some really great students.  I’m looking forward to another fabulous year!

I live in the Marne area.  My husband and I recently moved a little closer to our children and grandchildren.  We spend a lot of our time being a part of renovation projects at my son’s house (built in 1870) and my daughter’s house (built in 1874).  I also cherish my time with my grandchildren, Alora 14, Violet 12, and Gavin 11, and family in general.     

I am Micki Hyma, special education paraprofessional for ZQuest. I was born and raised in Holland but currently live in Hudsonville. This is my sixth year working in this position. I feel so fortunate to be able to hang out with not only the kids I get to work with everyday but all of the great kids that attend ZQuest. 

My husband and I have been married for almost 21 years and we have three great kids, two English Mastiffs, and a Yorkie named Tank.  Our oldest son is twenty three and attends GRCC. We have another son that will be a senior at Zeeland East this year and our daughter will be a sophomore. 

After our oldest moved out my family decided to open up our empty bedroom and home to foster children. We have been able to do this for almost a year now and have had two children come and go from our home. It’s an incredible unpredictable journey that we intend to continue. 

Jil Hartman PhotoHello my name is Jil Hartman and I am the Student Success Coordinator for ZQuest. My position was newly created in the 2018/2019 school year. My job is to be an extra layer of support for staff and students here at school with behavioral, social and emotional support in any situation the teachers think it would be helpful for me to come alongside a student and offer extra support. I love that each of my days are different and that I can be available to support any student who might need a little extra love that day. I feel truly blessed to be in this position. I am not an unfamiliar face around school as my kids started at  ZQuest when it first began and I have been an active volunteer ever since. This year my daughter, Maggie, will be a 10th grader at Zeeland West and my son, Gerrit, will be a 9th grader at Zeeland West. My husband Chris and I were high school sweethearts who attended different high schools and have been married for 20 years. We are both graduates of Grand Valley State University. When I'm not at school you can usually find me driving my kids to and from their various events, helping my daughter run her non profit flower business Maggie's Flowers and doing projects on our 1900 farmhouse.