Jan VerMerris, a retired special education teacher and high school guidance counselor, is the newest addition to the Noorthoek Academy Board of Trustees. Mrs. VerMerris attended Hope College for two years. She transferred to Grand Valley after deciding to major in Special Education and completed her undergraduate degree there. She also has two Masters degrees, one in Special Education and one in Counseling. Jan spent twelve years as a special education teacher at Kent Occupational High School and at two schools in Illinois. She then worked for 28 years as a guidance counselor at South Christian High School.
Mrs. VerMerris has a unique connection to Noorthoek Academy. Her mother’s brother was Joseph Noorthoek, for whom the school is named. Jan says, “Uncle Joe was an inspiration to me. The work he did to improve special education was phenomenal. He introduced me to special education classrooms and helped me see that I was a good fit for my future vocation.”
After Jan retired she hoped to have some involvement with Noorthoek Academy, so last year when the new computer classes were offered she volunteered as an aide. She is helping again this year in addition to her new Board work, which she is very excited about. Mrs. VerMerris thinks Noorthoek Academy is an amazing school and fulfills a vital need in our community. She knows her Uncle Joe would be so pleased to see the continuing success of the program.