Our Staff

Executive Leadership

Dick Bulkowski, MA

Dick Bulkowski, MA

Executive Director

Dick Bulkowski was part of the core team that launched Steepletown in 1993. He currently serves as the Executive Director. Dick has his MA in Theology from the Oblate School of Theology which focused significantly on community development. Dick served as a Kent County Commissioner for 10 years representing several urban core neighborhoods of Grand Rapids.

Phone:(616) 451-4215 Ext 101

Gwen Jordan, MS, MA

Gwen Jordan, MS, MA

Gwen Jordan has seventeen years of experience in human services and community development, with a focus on youth and adults. His principles, beliefs, and practices to create social change for all racial, ethnic, gender, and economic groups developed at an early age. These experiences continue to guide him in his work towards disrupting unhealthy social narratives.

Phone:(616) 451-4215 Ext 128

Workforce Development

Emilio Zamarripa, BSW

Emilio Zamarripa, BSW

Workforce Development Director

Emilio started at Steepletown nine years ago as a GVSU undergraduate intern, was hired as a youth case manager, and is now the Workforce Development Director. His personal mission is to empower youth and young adults to pursue their academic and professional goals. Emilio puts his passion into practice through advocacy, community engagement, and education.

Korey Anderson

Korey Anderson

JobStart Coordinator

Korey Anderson has over 15 years experience in Workforce Development and is a certified GCDF (Global Career Development Facilitator) as well as a certified Business Solutions Professional (BSP) with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit field. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Career Development, Job Coaching, and Conflict Resolution.

MelanieRose Straub, BA

MelanieRose Straub, BA

Education Coordinator

Melanie Grandy has been with Steepletown since February of 2012. She loves her job and is very grateful to work with such amazing colleagues and meet people from all over the city of Grand Rapids. Melanie is a proud alumnus of Grand Valley State University where she earned a degree in education.

Jane Wolterstorff, BSW

Jane Wolterstorff, BSW

Case Manager

A native of Minnesota, Jane Wolterstorff earned a BSW from Dordt College in Sioux Center Iowa. Her professional career of more than 30 years has been dedicated to front-line work with teens and young adults. At Steepletown, Jane is one of the Youth Advocates in the GED/Workforce Development Program. Jane has traveled the world, spending significant time in Russia as a member of a church planting team.

Teresa Rivera

Teresa Rivera

Apprentice Career Coach

Teresa Rivera started at Steepletown last fall as an intern as part of her MSW program at Ferris State University. In August she was hired to serve as the Apprentice Coach to continue her work with Steepletown’s early childhood educator apprenticeship training program, working directly with the apprentices.

Nyla Cones

Nyla Cones

Case Manager

Nyla is a native of Grand Rapids, MI. She is a product of the Grand Rapids Public School System and earned her A.A. from Grand Rapids Community College. Nyla holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Ferris State University and has over 15 years of experience in the field of Social Service. Her personal goal is to continue to advocate for criminal justice reform, equality in education and to empower families to overcome boundaries.

Preschool

Meredith Vedder

Meredith Vedder

Preschool Director

My name is Meredith Vedder. I graduated from Central Michigan University in May of 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development and Learning, with a minor in American Sign Language. After a couple years teaching 4 year olds, I came to Steepletown to teach in the EHS (2 year olds) room. I have loved my experience with Steepletown and look forward to learning and growing more as the Preschool Director. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, painting, hanging out with friends, and rock climbing!

Miguel Abreu

Miguel Abreu

Family Coach

Miguel Abreu is placed at the Steepletown Preschool as an EPIC Family Coach; EPIC stands for Empowering Parents Impacting Children, and is supported and funded by the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative. He spent 13 years teaching in the Dominican Republic, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Family Care from Calvin College. His work with families is to ensure that their basic needs are met in order to support their children’s ability to attend preschool every day.

Kayla Baker

Kayla Baker

Kayla Baker is a first-year teacher at Steepletown. A graduate of Grand Rapids Community College. Kayla has worked with infants during her education. “I knew my heart wanted to with children. It has been so much fun creating strong relationships with the children and their families!”

Fredericka Brown

Fredericka Brown

Preschool Teacher

Fredericka Brown is the Co-Teacher in Steepletown’s 4 year-old classroom. She is a 3rd year Co-Teacher and has been working in childcare and development for nearly 15 years. She has a CDA (Child Development Associate) certification in Preschool and is working on her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Ferris State University. This is her first year at the Steepletown Preschool.

Donte Castleberry

Donte Castleberry

Preschool Teacher

Donte Castleberry is the Co-Teacher in Steepletown’s 3 year-old classroom, and is in his fourth year of teaching. He has received his Child Development Associate certification and is working on his Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. He enjoys working with families and coming up with strategies to prepare their children for kindergarten and for the real world.

Penny Chamberlain

Penny Chamberlain

Hi, my name is Penny Chamberlain. I am the Lead Teacher in the Lilac Room at Steepletown Preschool. I received my bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University several years ago. I majored in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. I realized early on that I enjoyed working with the younger age groups and have worked with three and four-year-olds pretty much my whole life. What I really enjoy about working in the preschool rooms is that they are so eager to learn and they are very honest. I have six sisters and no brothers. I think I got my love of working with children from babysitting all my nieces and nephews. When I am not at work, I quilt, read and love to Pinterest (it is my online hoarding passion).

Nellie Fuentes

Nellie Fuentes

Preschool Teacher
Tonya Harris

Tonya Harris

Tonya is the Lead Teacher in the Sunflower Room, which is a 4 year-old classroom funded by the Great Start Readiness Program. Tonya has been working in early childhood education for nearly 30 years. She has a BA in Elementary Education and is currently working on her BA in Early Childhood Education at Aquinas College as part of the PREP Program. She has owned and operated a private Christian School in Florida called Kids World of Learning. In the fall of 2020 she is pursuing her MA in Educational Leadership.

Garrett Hoskins

Garrett Hoskins

Preschool Teacher

Garrett Hoskins is the Assistant Teacher in Steepletown’s Early Head Start classroom. He is in his first year of teaching, currently working on his Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Garrett recalls his 3rd grade math teacher being a significant influence and motivation in his academic life and wants to offer the same to children with whom he teaches. He especially enjoys teaching math.

Sarah Marion

Sarah Marion

Sarah is the Lead Teacher in the Rose Room, which is a 3 year-old classroom. Sarah has her MA in Early Childhood Education and has been a teacher for 20 years. While a teacher at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Ionia, Sarah was nominated as the Teacher of the Year. For the previous two years Sarah taught at the Early Learning Center in GR, which is another partner site of the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative.

Jazmine Marsh

Jazmine Marsh

Family Coach

Jazmine Marsh is placed at the Steepletown Preschool as an EPIC Family Coach; EPIC stands for Empowering Parents Impacting Children, and is supported and funded by the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative. Jazmine has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Western Michigan University. She connects parents to resources to meet basic needs and expand their network to increase the overall well-being of their families.

Nikki Steenland

Nikki Steenland

Preschool Teacher

Nikki Steenland is the Lead Teacher in Steepletown’s 3 year-old classroom. She has been teaching preschool for 4 years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from Western Michigan University and she is a certified Family Life Educator. She enjoys interacting with the kids and seeing them develop and grow.

Monique Vance

Monique Vance

Preschool Teacher

Monique Vance is the Co-Teacher in Steepletown’s newly opened 3 year-old classroom. She has been teaching 3 year-old preschoolers for about 5 years. She has her CDA and is currently finishing up her Bachelor’s degree at Aquinas College. She enjoys working with and developing relationships with the kids and seeing all their personalities come to life through their education.

KitchenSage

Dustin Marshall

Dustin Marshall

KitchenSage Director

Dustin Marshall is the director of KitchenSage. Graduating from Baker College with an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts, he is working on his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. He has spent the past 2 and ½ years working for a nonprofit through the Child & Adult Care Food Program, or CACFP. He is ServSafe certified, ServSafe allergen certified, ServSafe instructor/proctor certified and has undertaken CACFP meal pattern requirement training through the Institute of Child Nutrition. He has a passion for bringing healthy nutritious food to young children today. His hobbies include brewing beer and doing home improvement projects.

Audra Belser

Audra Belser

KitchenSage Cook/Instructor

Audra Baker has been working in the food service industry for 7 years. She received a dual Associate’s degree in Arts and General Studies from Kellogg Community College, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Phoenix. She is ServSafe certified as well as ServSafe Allergen certified. She loves sewing, crocheting and making baked goods from scratch.

William Caldwell

William Caldwell

KitchenSage Cook/Instructor

William Caldwell has been in food service for over 9 years. He grew up in the Kalamazoo area and received his Associate’s degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Computer Information Systems and Business Management. He also took a year of school to learn early childhood development. He is ServSafe Manager certified and ServSafe Allergen certified. He is passionate about being in the kitchen and learning new recipes for classic dishes.

Nelson Collins

Nelson Collins

KitchenSage Assistant