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The new Old Mission Peninsula School (OMPS) Board of Education took their oath of office at the first board meeting for the new charter school, held on Dec. 7, 2017 at the Peninsula Township Hall. The board, pictured above, includes (left to right):

Erica Walsh, Director. Originally from St. Clair Shores, Erica previously served as principal of the Michigan Collegiate High School in Warren, Michigan. She is currently the board president for Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan.

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Susie Shipman, Director and Secretary. Susie was born in British Columbia, Canada and is the conservation director for the Trust for Virgin Island Lands, as well as a member of the Peninsula Township Planning Commission. Susie has also been instrumental in planning the new section of Bowers Harbor Park which borders Devil’s Dive Road.

Amanda Igra, Director. Amanda is the music director at the Children’s House School in Traverse City and maintains a private music studio in downtown Traverse City.

Isaiah Wunsch, Director and Treasurer. Isaiah is a native of Old Mission Peninsula whose farming roots run deep. He is the managing partner and CEO of Wunsch Farms, a Peninsula Township Board Trustee, a member of the Michigan Cherry Committee, and an alum of OMPS.

Mike Smiley, Director and President. Mike moved to Traverse City from Kansas in 2016. He is employed by Hagerty in Traverse City as a vice president and assistant general counsel.

Jennifer Coleman, Director and Vice President. Jen, who attended OMPS, is president of the Michigan Chapter of the Radiology Business Management Association and executive director of Grand Traverse Radiologists, PC.

Becky Seah, Director. Originally from Holland, Michigan, Becky moved from Vermont to Traverse City in 2013. She’s a seamstress and parent volunteer at OMPS.

The new board is working to transfer the OMPS budget and curriculum away from Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS), with a goal of opening the doors to the new school in Fall 2018. As we reported previously, the school was awarded a charter through Grand Valley State University.

The Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation (OMPEF), the nonprofit organization which formed after TCAPS’ decision to close the school, recently received an anonymous donation of $250,000 as part of their $2 million campaign.

To make a donation, visit the OMPEF website. Donations made to the foundation before Dec. 31, 2017 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000, so if you’ve been thinking about donating, now is the perfect time.

Also on their website is an Intent to Enroll form to help with planning. The school also has a couple of job opportunities available – read more about those here.

Here is the announcement about the new board posted on OMPEF’s Facebook page.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

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    • It is an appointed school board by the Charter authorizer, Grand Valley State University. Members filled out applications to GVSU and were vetted and chosen through that application process. It’s a strong, smart group of people. We are very lucky ❤️

    • Allison Bullard O’Keefe that “appointment” process is antithetical to the process of voters in a school district electing candidates of their choice from their community. I don’t doubt they are “strong, smart people.” But charter schools should hold elections for boards, imo. They take tax payer money, so taxpayers should have a say. Appointing is not the same as electing, which is why I’m not a fan of charter schools. But, sincerely, all the best anyway.


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