Village Oaks New Staff Members, 2017-18
The Village Oaks Elementary community added 14 new people to its administrative and teaching staffs for the 2017-18 school year. Here's a glimpse at these wonderful educators, who are new to the VO community.
DR. ALEX OFILI – Principal
College: University of Michigan, BA Education; Eastern Michigan University, MA K-12 Administration; Doctorate Educational Leadership.
Experience: Ypsilanti Public Schools, teacher, assistant principal, athletic director; Birmingham Public Schools, teacher, assistant principal.
Three Tidbits: Born in Birmingham, England. … Married to Stephanie Ofili and we have two amazing sons, Alex Jr (AJ) and Xavier. … Favorite children's book: “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.
CHRISTINE JOHNSEN – Awesome Secretary
Three Tidbits: Born and raised in New Jersey. … Moved to Novi in 2010. … Is the proud mother of two children: a daughter (Class of 2021) and a son (Class of 2018).
ALLISON GRAY – Elementary Teacher
College: Michigan State University, BA Education.
Experience: South Lyon Community School District, elementary teacher.
Three Tidbits: I am a mom of one daughter (2014). … On the weekends I teach children in China how to speak English (online). … I recently ran a half marathon in Novi and that was a huge accomplishment for me!
KATIE CUDNOHUFSKY – Music Teacher
College: Central Michigan University, BA Music Education.
Experience: Oxford Community Schools, music teacher, choral director.
Three Tidbits: I met my husband at KMart when we were both working there at the age of 16. … I am a first generation American. Both of my parents immigrated to America from Germany. … My family loves being outside, including biking, hiking, and camping.
NICHOLAS WEIGEL-HUBLER – Elementary Teacher
College: Michigan State University, BA Education; MA Teaching and Curriculum.
Experience: National Heritage Academies, elementary teacher; Cumberland County (NC) Schools, elementary teacher.
Three Tidbits: I WAS a vegetarian for 12 years. … I have been to the 'Top of Europe' on the mountain Jungfraujoch in the Swiss Alps. … I have attended over 200 live music concerts.
JUSTIN HAAS – Elementary Teacher
College: Central Michigan University, BS Education; MA Educational Technology.
Experience: Waverly Community Schools, elementary teacher; Huron Valley Public Schools, elementary teacher; Garden City (Kansas) Public Schools, elementary teacher.
Three Tidbits: I am a fitness instructor at Power House Gym. … I studied for a summer in Morocco. … I have a dog named Nala.
TODD ERICKSON – Library Media Specialist
College: Eastern Michigan University, BA; Wayne State University, MA Library and Information Sciences.
Experience: Hamtramck Public Schools; Huda school & Montessori, Franklin (Mich.); Orchard Hills Elementary.
Three Tidbits: I've spent the past year renovating a 110 year old house in Detroit’s New Center area. … I was born and raised in Rogers City, Michigan. … My hobbies include gardening, riding my bike, and travel.
JESSICA TABER – Elementary Teacher
College: Eastern Michigan University, BA Elementary Education and Special Education.
Experience: Southfield Public Schools; Novi High School.
Three Tidbits: I am getting married to my best friend in the whole entire world in December, 2017. … I dropped out of college for a while to backpack through Europe. … I hit a home run this summer during a night game of our softball league.
NANCI DUTKIEWICZ – Elementary Teacher
College: Eastern Michigan University, BA and MA Education.
Experience: Howell Public Schools; Parkview Elementary; Deerfield Elementary.
Three Tidbits: I enjoy running races; I’ve finished a full marathon, three half marathons, and over 20 5K/10K races. … I enjoy doing volunteer work through organization in Oakland County, my church, soup kitchens, and more. … I'm attending graduate school at Madonna University to learn more about teaching ESL students.
HEATHER PAULK – Elementary Teacher
College: Michigan State University, BA Education.
Experience: Rookie year.
Three Tidbits: I am a Michigan State University graduate. Go Green! … I am the second “Miss Paulk” at Village Oaks. My sister teaches first grade here. … My favorite thing to do when I'm not at school is to stroll through the aisles of Target (usually for things I don't need), and spend time with my nephew.
TERESA HARDY – Elementary Teacher
College: Spring Arbor University, BA Special Education and Psychology; MA Arts of Reading.
Experience: National Heritage Academies, special education teacher, content leader and lead teacher; Momence (Illinois) High School, resource teacher; Sylvan Learning Center, lead teacher.
Three Tidbits: On my honeymoon to Iceland, I repelled into and toured the inside of a volcano, hiked a glacier, snorkeled over the plate tectonics, white water rafted down and cliff-dived into glacial run-off and hiked the tallest European waterfall. … I have a twin sister, who has a daughter nine months older than my own daughter who lives 10.2 miles from me. Consequently, these girls get to share a very close bond just like we did growing up and still do. … I enjoy running and completed my first marathon in 2015. I am now training for the Detroit International Half Marathon in 2017.
CASSANDRA SPARKS – Speech Pathologist
College: Wayne State University, BA Communications Science & Disorders; University of Toledo, MA Speech Pathology.
Experience: Farmington Public Schools, speech pathology.
Three Tidbits: For hobbies, I enjoy cooking with my fiancé and playing with my dog, Charley. … I have climbed three 14ers to the summit in Colorado. (A 14er is a mountain reaching 14,000+ feet elevation.) … My passion is to teach others that their words matter whether they are gestured, written, signed, spoken, or by using augmentative and alternative communication.
BRIEANNA MERSHMAN – Title I Specialist
College: Michigan State University, BA Education; MA, Teaching and Curriculum.
Experience: Garden City (Kansas) Public Schools, elementary teacher.
Three Tidbits: I cheered on the Michigan State Competitive Cheer Team, and have coached high school cheer since 2013. … I studied abroad in South Africa and went bungee jumping on the “Highest Bridge Bungee” in the world. … I will be getting married in October, 2017.
KATIE ELLIOTT – School Psychologist
College: Albion College, BA Psychology, Economics and Management, Concentration in Human Services; Wayne State University, MA School and Community Psychology.
Experience: Detroit Public Schools; Inkster Public Schools; Burger School for Students with Autism, Garden City School District; Grosse Ile Township Schools.
Three Tidbits: Has been a psychologist since 2006. … Married to Brian Elliott (Teacher/Coach in South Lyon Schools). … I have two children, Caleb (2011) & Stella (2012), who attend Novi Woods.