TCANTri-Cities College Access Network
We believe that when students have access to tools they need to succeed, we all benefit and enjoy a stronger and more productive community. TCAN began in 2011 with the goal of ensuring the successful futures of Tri-Cities students. Since the program’s start, TCAN has brought in a wealth of programs to local schools, including College Application Week, MI College Goal, and the Early Childhood Education Expo. These programs, as well as those we continue to develop and bring to the community, provide Tri-Cities students with opportunities that will help better prepare them for their future after high school.
The mission of TCAN is to develop sustainable methods that create a career-oriented and college-going culture in the community. The program aims to increase the number of Tri-Cities residents with high-quality credentials or college degrees. TCAN has four action teams that identify programming that is applied to specific age levels to help foster a pro-secondary education culture within our school system.
Preschool – 4th Grade
Creating a culture of success starts early. TCAN believes, and research has shown, that children who are provided necessary learning tools at a younger age tend to do better in school as they get older. Children who attend a well-equipped preschool enter kindergarten with more advanced pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not.
To ensure that young students of the Tri-Cities area are able to receive this high-quality primary education, TCAN strives to:
- Increase the number of 3- and 4-year olds attending a quality preschool program
- Increase the percentage of at-risk kindergarten students who meet and exceed kindergarten readiness benchmarks
9th – 12th Grade
The high school years are critical to preparing students for life after graduation. This is the time of their lives when finding a career or considering a future in post-secondary education is most important, and TCAN works to increase initiatives to help these high school students. Goals include:
- Increase the percentage of high school students who complete high school with a post-secondary plan.
- Increase the percentage of high school students who graduate with a financial plan to successfully complete some post-secondary education.
- Increase the percentage of high school students who successfully complete a college course or credit by the time of high school graduation.
For questions about the Tri-Cities College Access Network, contact Holly Cole.
College Application Week
This is a national initiative that TCAN has brought to the Grand Haven and Spring Lake High Schools in an attempt to provide every graduating senior the opportunity to apply to a post-secondary option. The program places special focus on assisting potential first generation students, or students who may not have otherwise considered applying to a program for post-secondary education. TCAN hosts College Application Week every October. For more information about the program, be sure to talk to a TCAN advisor or a school counselor.
Each year, on or around May 1, TCAN hosts a College Decision Day to recognize high school students for their post-secondary educational plans. Designed to coincide with the day most seniors must inform a college of their plans to enroll, this event helps encourage younger students and families to prepare early for post-secondary education.
College Application Week
FASFA Help Event
FASFA Application Help Event
TCAN hosts a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Help event, formerly known as the MI College Goal event, every November at the Grand Haven High School. This event happens in November at the Grand Haven High School. If you or your child are looking for help completing the FAFSA, this is the perfect event to attend. Local college financial representatives will be present, and help is offered free of charge. For this year’s event date, to ask questions, or for more information, make sure to see your school counselor.
We encourage you to attend our programs, but if you’re looking for additional help or information, check out our TCAN resources!
The Tri-Cities College Access Network Team
The TCAN Crew
Thomas Langejans, TCAN Advisor
Tom has served as a high school guidance counselor for nearly three decades, most recently supporting area students at the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District’s Careerline Tech Center. Tom’s extensive experience navigating post-secondary opportunities provides students in both Grand Haven and Spring Lake a thorough understanding of their financial resources, and ultimate career opportunities.
TCAN Board Members
Superintendent of Spring Lake Public Schools
Dennis Furton has served Spring Lake Public Schools as its superintendent since 2008. Dennis has a bachelorʼs degree in English from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Houston.
Dennis taught high school English at Ball High in Galveston, Texas before becoming an assistant principal there. His career in Michigan includes stops at Onekama and Glen Lake as principal and Bath Community Schools as superintendent.
President of the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg
Joy Gaasch joined the staff of the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg as President in 2000. She is a graduate of The Institute for Organizational Management, Notre Dame and has spent 25 years in the management of not for profit organizations. She is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and is a member of the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals as well as serving on its Board of Directors in the capacity as Treasurer, Vice Chair and Chair. Along with the Chamber presidents from Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Holland, Joy serves in a managing capacity for the West Michigan Chamber Coalition and is Chair of its Leadership West Michigan program.
Joy served on Ottawa County’s Workforce Development Board for 9 years. She currently serves on the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival Board as its Treasurer, is a member of Grand Haven Rotary, Grand Haven Light House Conservancy Board Treasurer, and Grand Haven Economic Development Corporation Vice Chair. Prior to joining the Chamber in Grand Haven, Joy was President of the Cadillac Area Chamber of Commerce, 1995-2000 and from 1987 to 1992 Executive Director of the Bay County Growth Alliance, Forward Bay County and Valley Center Inc.
Superintendent of the Grand Haven Area Public Schools
Andrew Ingall was raised in Grand Ledge, Michigan and graduated from Grand Ledge High School in 1988. He earned an Associate’s Degree from Jackson Community College in 1990. He later earned a Bachelor of Science (1995) and Master of Arts (2000) in teaching and education leadership, respectively, from Western Michigan University. Andy is married to Beth Ingall, a teacher, adn they have three children: Abby, Joey, and Ben.
Andy taught middle and high school math, along with coaching football and baseball with the Okemos Public Schools, prior to becoming an administrator with the Chelsea School District in 2000. While in Chelsea, Andy served as an Assistant Principal, Dwight E. Beach Middle School Principal, Executive Director of Instruction and Superintendent. In 2015, Andy was named Superintendent of Schools by the Grand Haven Area Public Schools Board of Education. An active community member, Andy is a member of the Grand Haven Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Save the Catwalk Committee, as well as being a member of the TCAN board.
President of Greater Ottawa County United Way
Patrick Moran was raised in the midlands of England, and graduated with a City & Guilds of London certificate in Recreation Management. He moved to Michigan in 1988 where he met his wife, Stacy within 2 weeks of landing in country. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in Recreation Administration, Patrick moved back to Grand Haven in 1995 to work with the YMCA. There, he spent 11 years in various positions including CEO. Patrick joined Greater Ottawa County United Way as President in 2006.
Patrick is very active in the community. He is a graduate of YMCA Senior Director Program, YMCA of the USA’s competitive Executive Development Program, and the Holland Chamber of Commerce Leadership Holland program. Patrick also served on numerous community committees, events and task forces including Chamber of Commerce, American Heart Association, North Ottawa County Council on Aging, 2-1-1, Human Services Coordinating Council of Ottawa County, Great Start Collaborative and many more. In addition, he serves as a Community Facilitator for projects such as Ottawa County Community Assessment, Holland New Tech High School, and Community Report Card Initiative. Patrick was awarded the Communicator of the Year Award in 2010 by Macatawa Toastmasters.
In his spare time, Patrick is an avid soccer player and coach, a published author of a coaching manual, and has served the State Soccer Association as a coaching educator since 1999. He currently resides in Grand Haven with his wife and two sons.
Development Director for Career and Technical Education within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD)
Jason Pasatta is the Development Director for Career and Technical Education within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD), which serves 55,000 public and non-public school students over an area that covers 742 square miles within the Ottawa Area of West Michigan. Within this position, he has developed and is championing the FuturePREP Program, an initiative that connects education, business, and the community to provide relevant learning options for both educators and students.
Prior to joining the OAISD in 2010, Jason Pasatta worked for the Chicago Public Schools as the Technology Magnet Administrator. While there he developed and implemented a Technology Magnet Program within 19 schools from across the city, many of which were located in Chicago’s highest-need neighborhoods.
Jason graduated with bachelor’s degrees in Psychology, Art History, and Elementary Education from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Educational Technology from Harvard University. He is currently ABD in a Doctoral Degree Program in Educational Administration and Leadership from Loyola University, Chicago. He lives in Holland with his wife Kelley, his 9-year-old twin girls Mae and Madeline, and his feisty 4-year old Elsa. He graduated from Leadership Holland in 2012 and currently serves on the Board of Education for the Holland Public Schools and the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. While not working, he enjoys running, drawing and painting, and simply hanging out with his family.
Superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District
Pete joined the Ottawa Area ISD in July of 2015 after serving 11 years with Greenville Public Schools, eight of which were as superintendent. Previously, he served at Tri-County Area Schools as a principal and then assistant superintendent working in instructional leadership, special education coordination, and as manager of state and federal programming.
He began his teaching career as a middle school science teacher in Kalamazoo. His background in public education consists of six years in student services at Grand Valley State University and several years as an adjunct faculty member at GVSU. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology for secondary education from Western Michigan University, a master’s in Education from Grand Valley State University, and completed doctoral coursework at Eastern Michigan University.
Pete is married to his high school sweetheart, Ronnie, and is blessed with two remarkable, grown daughters, Olivia and Rachel.
Executive Coach, Mobius Coaching
Pat VerDuin is a lifelong resident of West Michigan who says “all the memories that impacted me personally and professionally started here in Grand Haven.” She worked in county government for 35 years before founding Mobius Coaching, an executive coaching business, and says her life’s work has been about “children, community, and collaboration.”
While most of Pat’s career has been in juvenile justice and community engagement, she has been engaged in workforce development with area corporations investing in their future workforce by preparing our youngest citizens. She was the founder and past Executive Director of a nonprofit called Ready for School, which aimed to increase the number of preschoolers that entered kindergarten ready to learn. She is currently a board member on the MiWorks Workforce Development Board, Children’s Advocacy Center, the Ottawa County Planning Commission, and the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.
Monica Verplank, community member & educator, is passionate about TCAN’s work with local schools to increase real world experiences in classroom learning. She graduated from Spring Lake High School, the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Education, and from Northern Arizona University with an M.A. in Multicultural Education. After teaching in Arizona for six years, Monica returned to Michigan. She has since served Allendale Public Schools as an elementary principal and Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Grand Haven Area Public Schools as Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services.
As a full-time mom of two young boys she continues her work in education as a strategic planning consultant for districts across the state. Monica volunteers for hospice and has served on numerous local boards including the North Bank Communities Fund, the Spring Lake Schools Foundation, the OAISD Education Fund, Kandu Inc. and is a former Trustee for the GHACF.
City Manager of Grand Haven
Pat accepted the position as City Manager for the City of Grand Haven in the fall of 2003. Prior to moving to Grand Haven, he had served as the City Manager in West Branch, Michigan since 1990. He also served in the Cities of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and Farmington Hills, Michigan. Pat is an Accredited City Manager through the International City Management Association (ICMA). He serves on the Ottawa County Central Dispatch Authority (Chair), Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy (Secretary), Rotary Club of Grand Haven (Secretary), Harbor Transit Multi Modal Transportation Authority (Secretary), Grand Haven Spring Lake Sewer Authority (Vice Chair) and several other non-profit committees and boards.
Mr. McGinnis is originally from Birmingham, Michigan and received his bachelor’s (’85) and master’s (’87) degrees in Public Administration from Michigan State University. He has served in an adjunct capacity for Baker College.
The McGinnis family now calls Grand Haven home. Pat’s wife Tina is a reading specialist at the Mary A. White Elementary School and he has two children, Molly and Mitch, in college and one at Grand Haven High School, Mary. In his spare time Pat loves to attend governmental and non-profit meetings to learn more about his community. He also bikes, runs, reads and camps.
Manager of the Village of Spring Lake
Christine Burns’ career as a public servant began in 1991, shortly after her college graduation. Since that time, Ms. Burns has served in various capacities for four local units of government, honing her skill set along the way. She first began her career in the City of Clare, spending 14 years serving the residents of her home town. After a brief stop in southeast Michigan, Chris made her way to West Michigan, where she found the friendly people to be a wonderful fit. Chris has called Spring Lake home since July 2012.
Chris’ strengths are her problem-solving and collaboration skills, as well as her ability to solve financial challenges in communities with limited resources. She serves as co-chair of the Michigan Municipal Executives Ethics Committee, setting high standards for not only herself but those who serve alongside her. As part of her commitment to public service, Chris also serves on numerous boards and committees in NW Ottawa County that improve the quality of life for residents of the region.
Ms. Burns holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a major in management from Central Michigan University. She also holds a Master of Science in Administration with a concentration in Public Administration from CMU. Fire up Chips! When she finds spare time, Chris enjoys traveling and remodeling projects as well as spending time with her husband Bill and her kids, Brad and Bre.