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Office Staff Dec 2023


Dr. David A. Lewis


Dr. David Lewis, a Saginaw, Michigan native and product of Chesaning Public Schools, holds a Bachelor's and Master's from Saginaw Valley State University and earned his Doctorate of Education from Central Michigan University in 2016. With a background in school administration across Michigan, Dave's journey includes roles in admissions and as Director of Minority Services at SVSU. Returning in 2010, he serves as the Director of the School/University Partnership Office, guiding academy operations and prioritizing optimal student outcomes. Dave's wealth of experience ensures a dedicated leadership approach, steering the office towards educational excellence for SVSU's authorized academies.

Candice Casey

Director of Operations

Candice, an invaluable asset to our team since 2016, offers crucial academic support to educators and leaders. Specializing in professional development, educational program reviews, and assessment monitoring, she brings a wealth of experience. Having served as an instructional coach, literacy specialist, and high school English teacher in Saginaw and Flint, Candice possesses a deep understanding of diverse educational environments. Her qualifications include an Education Specialist in Central Office Administration, a Master of Arts in Literacy Education, a Bachelor of English, and a Secondary Teaching Certificate, all earned at Saginaw Valley State University. Candice's expertise enhances our commitment to educational excellence.

Dawn Gillespie

Administrative Assistant

Dawn, a cornerstone of the School/University Partnership Office since its inception in 1995, holds a unique position as the sole staff member with this extensive tenure. Having supported six Directors and numerous colleagues, she is an invaluable resource to the office, SVSU, and stakeholders in authorized academies. Teachers, school leaders, management companies, and board members benefit from her historical perspective on charter school operations. Dawn's planning, analytical, and organizational skills are indispensable to the office staff. Additionally, she serves as the University State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) Coordinator, further showcasing her commitment to the educational community.

Chantra Williams

School Improvement/Student Initiatives Specialist

Chantra, a dedicated School Improvement Specialist, brings a wealth of experience and passion to her role. With a background as an elementary and middle school teacher, academic interventionist, and curriculum/instructional coach, she focuses on curriculum/instruction and professional development. Chantra's enthusiasm extends to educational consulting, program reviews, and fostering professional learning communities in partnership with schools. Additionally, she plays a key role in the School/University Partnership Office's PSA Scholar Program, providing vital support in college readiness, social and emotional learning, and retention. Armed with a Master of Education in Leadership/Principalship and an Education Specialist degree in Central Office Administration, Chantra has contributed formally to education for two decades.

George Copeland

School Improvement Specialist: Student/Community Initiatives

George is a dedicated support for our Public School Academy students both on campus and in their college preparation journey. A 2016 graduate of SVSU with a Bachelor's in Management, George initiated his career in SVSU's Academic Advising Center. His wealth of institutional knowledge and fervor for assisting PSA Scholars in their success make him an invaluable asset. George is your go-to contact for scheduling visits or obtaining more information. His commitment to guiding students through their academic endeavors reflects his passion for their achievements. Contact George for personalized assistance and support in navigating the path to success.

Cathy Malotka

Quality/Curriculum Specialist

Cathy Malotka, a seasoned educator with over 30 years of experience, has taught elementary, middle school, and university students in diverse settings—rural, suburban, and urban. Her wealth of teaching experience is complemented by years dedicated to developing and delivering professional development sessions across various disciplines. Cathy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University and a Master of Art in Teaching degree from Saginaw Valley State University. Her expertise and commitment enrich our team, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of education and a valuable perspective for the benefit of our students and educators alike.

Sara Holding

Special Education Compliance Specialist

With over 30 years of experience in diverse educational roles, Ms. Sara Holding is a valuable addition to the School/University Partnership Office. Specializing in special education and school administration, she is committed to promoting inclusive and equitable education. Sara's extensive background includes serving as Director of Special Education at Grand Ledge Public School and Lead Principal at Grand Ledge High School. Possessing a diverse set of skills, she excels in teaching and learning methods for adult learners, conducting systematic reviews, and providing effective presentations. Currently pursuing further education at Gwynedd Mercy University, Sara is anticipated to defend her research in December 2023. The School/University Partnership Office eagerly looks forward to the positive impact Sara will make in students' lives and the broader community.

Jennifer Pena

Administrative Secretary

Jennifer is a dependable and ambitious professional with a proven track record in secretarial work, banking, and accounts payable. With a strong desire to expand her skills and contribute as a dynamic team member, she embraces challenges and loves learning new things. Jennifer excels in working efficiently both independently and collaboratively with others. Her dedication and adaptability make her a valuable asset in our team setting. Jennifer's commitment to excellence and eagerness to contribute to new projects make her a valuable addition to our workplace.

Doug Newcombe

Field Representative

With four decades of diverse experience spanning private and public sectors, Doug is a seasoned professional contributing significantly to education. Over 32 years in public education, he served in various roles, including 26 years as the finance director and six years as Superintendent in the Bay City Public Schools. Doug's prior experience includes two years in public accounting, specializing in audits of state and local governments, and five years in the banking industry. Currently, in addition to his role at the SUPO office, Doug serves as Vice President on the Board of Education at the Bay Arenac Intermediate School District and consults with K-12 school districts across Michigan, showcasing his enduring commitment to educational excellence.

Ken Tesauro

Field Representative

Ken, with a career spanning 35 years in public education, served as a teacher, coach, Athletic Director, Principal, and Superintendent. Transitioning into charter schools, he has spent the past 16 years contributing to education in various capacities. As a representative of Quality Performance Resource Group since 2000, Ken has been instrumental in providing diverse services for Michigan Charter School Authorizers. His wealth of experience and commitment to educational quality underscore his enduring dedication to fostering excellence within the charter school sector.

SVSU President

George Grant, Jr.


SVSU Board of Control


School/University Partnership Office
Office Location: Gilbertson Hall
Phone: (989) 964-4623