JHS Welcomes New Teachers

The Jenison High School is thrilled to have these passionate and skilled educators join the team. Even with a year that has been different than most, these new staff members have proven they have the relentless commitment of a Wildcat teacher and have been great additions to our high school staff.


Amanda Alverson

Having grown up in West Michigan, and keeping JPS on her radar, Amanda was eager to join a district she considered to be ‘first-rate’ and return home. She has served in other teaching and staff roles on the east side of the state, most recently as Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction in Taylor, MI.

In her free time, Amanda enjoys spending time with family (pictured here with her mom) and her dog, Georgie; baking, cooking, and crafting. If she wasn’t an educator, she might have pursued event management. It’s her personable heart and attention to detail that makes her a key leader as Assistant Principal at the High School.


Jordan George

A recent Hope College graduate, Jordan joins the Jenison community as a high school English teacher and Student Council teacher sponsor.

He never imagined he’d be starting his teaching career during a pandemic but he has been highly impressed by the hard work and efforts of all the teachers, administrators and students to keep things moving.

Jordan loves to spend time traveling, reading, attending concerts, and golfing. He also coaches the JV Basketball team for his Alma Mater, Forest Hills Central. If he wasn’t a teacher, you might find him chasing his other passion on the basketball court, and possibly pursuing a college coaching career.


Nick Berens

After student teaching at Bauerwood Elementary last year, Nick knew that Jenison would be his desired district upon graduation from Saginaw Valley State University. He had a great first semester teaching Social Studies and felt very welcomed by the students and his colleagues.

Nick enjoys spending time doing nearly anything outdoors, including backpacking, water skiing, and fishing. If he was not a teacher he would have followed in his fathers footsteps and would take over the family greenhouse business. 


Alexandra Aguilar

Alexandra appreciates and knows first hand, the commitment of the JPS school district because she is an alumna. She’s previously taught a combination of English as a second language and Spanish in public and charter schools in Utah, New Mexico, and Michigan. 

As her Jenison high school experience as a student was vastly different than the one she is observing her students tackle, she is very impressed with the tenacity and resilience they’ve shown this year.

Her free time is spent on the go… chasing after her 2 year old and 1 year old. If she wasn’t a teacher, she might be stay at home mom, working in education technology, or possibly immigration law.


Ashlee DeGraaf

Ashlee is a West Michigan native who made teaching stops in California and then Indianapolis before finding her way back home, and stepping into the position of Theatre Director and English teacher at Jenison High School.

She enjoys spending time with family and looks forward to more of that now that she’s back in the area. She has made the most of her Covid year while hiking, traveling and reading (with a count of over 50 books already)!

Ashlee is grateful for the community support of the arts and is really looking forward to kicking off the high school spring musical production.


Festival of Plays

The resilient Jenison High School thespians have pulled off a totally new experience this year! The “Festival of Plays” is a 26 year old Jenison theatre tradition that hasn’t missed a beat. From student directors choosing their scripts, organizing auditions and casting the parts with fellow students; it remains a largely student led experience, offering each participant unique points of learning about acting, and the direction/production of their own shows. Through ticket sales, it has also been considered a major annual fundraising event.

During early summer, the directors conducted auditions through video chats and prepared for the show to go on! Throughout the next few months, casts would meet virtually, outdoors and in-person while adhering to the appropriate safety recommendations. Now, they are ready to ‘hit the stage’ and tomorrow the public will have the opportunity to view the three shows that have been underway.

Check out the short promo video done by Senior, Brandon Sams.

The YouTube link below will take you to the recorded performances, Friday, September 11 at 7pm.

There will also be an online opportunity to donate to the Thespian program if you’d like as well.

FESTIVAL OF PLAYS 2020 – WILL BE “LIVE” Friday, Sept 11 at 7pm.

It is really exciting to see these passionate students work hard and be able to complete their goal in the midst of this difficult season. Please join me; mark your calendars and make a plan to watch the students perform three great shows this weekend!
1) 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview

Two college interviewers are tasked with finding another applicant by the end of the day, or else they’ll be fired. Their only option is to look at the waitlist, which has 13 unseen students. Directed by Alex Wood and Carmine Sabatini.


2) The 9 Worst Breakups of All Time

You think your breakup was bad? Eve Tonsil, an employee of the nonprofit company “Relationships for a Better Tomorrow” is here to take you on a tour of the nine worst breakups of all time, from the Cro-Magnon era to the Civil War, to a smattering of modern-day breakups. A comedy that proves that no matter how hard someone has stomped on your heart…it could always be worse. Directed by Liberty Kasper and Katelyn Warkentien.


3) 12 Angry Jurors

A drama in which a jury decides whether to put a 19 year old man on death row for the alleged murder of his father. Directed by Connor Vachon and Maddison Cheyne.

Can’t make it this weekend? The link will remain available online so you won’t miss your chance.


Meet Ashlee DeGraaf

Jenison Theatre Director & English Teacher

This is also a great opportunity to introduce the newest addition to the Jenison Theatre program. As Todd Avery prepared to retire at the end of last year, Ms. Ashlee DeGraaf was introduced at the annual (virtual) student Thespian award show last spring. We’re very excited to have Ashlee accept the position of Theatre Director and English teacher at Jenison High School.

Ashlee is a West Michigan native who made teaching stops in California and then Indianapolis before finding her way back home. She has really enjoyed the school year so far and has been connecting with theatre students while sponsoring the Festival of Plays show alongside Julie Oosterink (Jenison Junior High School Theatre Director).

She enjoys spending time with family and looks forward to more of that now that she’s back in the area. She has made the most of her Covid year while hiking, traveling and reading (with a count of 46 books already)!

Ashlee is grateful for the community support of the arts and is really looking forward to building on our distinguished theatre program.

“Well, this has been a wonderful and strange start to the year with distancing and masks, but all the students I have met have been so kind and welcoming.

I have some big shoes to fill but I also very much appreciate inheriting the gift of an amazing program like Jenison. I also look forward to adding some new elements, possibly some improv projects.

I have been super impressed with the students and their drive to overcome some some really frustrating circumstances. They have worked hard to produce the best shows that they can. We hope you enjoy the Festival of Plays!”

Ashlee DeGraff

WELCOME TO JENISON ASHLEE!

GO WILDCATS!