Staff Directory

  • Darci Long Principal

    Hi! My name is Darci Long.  I have the privilege of being the principal at BCA. I was born and raised in Bay City. I went to college at Judson University where I played collegiate volleyball and basketball.  After high school I moved to Southern California for 17 years where I taught 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 7th grade science before becoming a principal. We moved back to Bay City in 2015 to be close to family and to enjoy the warm Michigan winters. My husband Josh and I have 3 teenagers, Jericho, Jobe and Jeremiah. I love Michigan summers, anything sports related, reading and having fun! I love BCA. The teachers, staff and families involved in BCA are family. Hands down the best educational environment I have ever been a part of!

  • Sarah Rice Vice Principal/Finance Teacher

    I am a graduate of Saginaw Valley State University with a degree in Physical Education and History. I have been a part of the BCA family for going on 6 years, it is my home away from home!  I am married with two children and a couple of chickens. I enjoy dancing, traveling, hiking, and reading. I count it an honor to be able to do what I love!

  • Amber Johnson School Counselor

    Hello. I am Amber Johnson, the school counselor here at BCA. I, along with my husband Phillip and our children Alayah and Jeremiah, have lived in Bay City for almost 20 years. We also have a fur friend Chloe, our Maltese Pomeranian mix. I am a National Board Certified, Licensed Professional Counselor with over 15 years experience working with youth. I have a Masters of Science in Psychology, a Masters of Arts in Counseling, and a Bachelors of Applied Arts. I enjoy reading (Shakespeare and James Patterson), watching movies, and spending time with my family. I have a fond love for everything Wizard of Oz and the Wiz, and I have a large collection of turtle figurines. This is my 5th year working in some capacity at BCA and I could not be more proud to be part of the BCA family.

  • Connie Spence Special Education Director

    Hello!  My name is Connie Spence, and I'm thrilled to say this is my 19th year of teaching.  I grew up in Central Lake, Michigan and graduated with a Bachelor of Elementary Education/Language Arts (BX) K-8 degree from Grand Valley University in 2000 and a Masters of Special Education from Walden University in 2011. This year will be my fourth year at Bay City Academy. I am the Special Education Director and Case Manager for grades 7-11.
    I have two beautiful daughters Sheresse, 32 in St. Paul,
    Minnesota and Jessica, 29 in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan.
    I enjoy cooking, reading, watching movies, camping, boating, and attending NASCAR races at Michigan International Speedway. I’m looking forward to a prosperous 2018-19
    school year.

  • Jenny Hugo Accounts Payable/Athletic Director

    I am originally from the Yooper, grew up on a military base up there.  My parents moved to Bay City in 1984 and I planted my roots here, even though the UP will always be my home.  I am retired from Dow Chemical, married with two kids, Logan and Kayla, who are students at BCA.  My family has a strong military background:  my dad and brother are retired Air Force, my husband is retired Army and my nephew is in the Air National Guard.  On my downtime I travel a lot with my family and read.  I love BCA because the staff and students are like family!

  • Sherri Thompson Administrative Assistant

    My husband, son and I moved to Bay City Michigan in 2008 from Joliet Illinois to be closer to family. Our son started school at BCA in 2011 and I started working here in 2012. I am starting my 7th year at BCA as an administrative assistant and have loved every minute of working here as we are one big family. When I'm not working I enjoy reading, camping, and building with LEGO. My family will be hosting our 10th exchange student this school year and I have "children" that live in Europe, Asia, and South America. 

  • Jessica Stark Admissions Director/Food Service Manager

    I have lived in the Bay County area my whole life. My children have attended BCA since opening in 2011 and are now in middle & high school. I started at BCA in March 2012 and there is no where else I'd rather be, than here with the BCA family. My time not at work is usually spent being a baseball/football/soccer mom. 

  • Gary Bennett Maintenance/Bus Driver

    My name is Gary. I have been driving a school bus and working in maintenance for 21 years. I love BCA because I love who I work with! The kids at BCA are friendly, eager to help and I love building relationships with them. When I'm not working I enjoy hunting, fishing and watching my grandkids play sports.

  • Stephanie Eich Kindergarten Teacher

    Hi, my name is Stephanie Eich. I graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a degree in Elementary Education and two minors in Language Arts and Science. This year is my third year at Bay City Academy teaching kindergarten. I am born and raised in Bay City and currently live here with my husband, Phil and our dog, Watson. Currently, we are anxiously and excitedly waiting to become parents to a baby girl in September. In my free time I enjoy anything and everything Michigan. I love to camp, boat, swim, ski, explore, and be with my family and friends whenever possible. I love being a part of BCA because being here is more than just having a job, it’s being a part of a family.

  • Kayla Rupprecht 1st Grade Teacher

    I graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a major in Elementary Education and two minors in Mathematics and Language Arts. This is my third year teaching at Bay City Academy and second year in the first grade. I grew up and currently still live in Vassar with my husband: Chris, Great Dane: Xena, and our two cats! We are also welcoming our first son, Hudson, into the world this October. When I am not teaching, I really enjoy spending time with family and friends, crafting, remodeling our home, and exploring on our Harley! 

  • Christina Johnstone 2nd Grade Teacher

    I have been teaching elementary for 8 years and I am progressing towards a Master's degree in School Counseling. When I am not working I enjoy traveling, sports and being outdoors.

  • Lisa Martin 3rd Grade Teacher

    I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Saginaw Valley State University in Elementary Education. I have minors in Mathematics and Science. I also have degrees in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. I have a son, Daniel in fourth grade and a daughter Jaden all grown up. I recently moved from Bay City to Standish area on the water. I love to swim, fish, boat and really anything that’s outdoors. I am looking forward to getting to know the students at BCA!

  • Sheri Bertapelle 4th Grade Teacher

    My name is Sheri Bertapelle.  I grew up in the Rocky Mountains of northwest Montana.  I became a Michigander in 1989 when I moved to Michigan with my husband Bob and our four children: Jeri-Marie, Bethany, Michael and Andrew.  I now have three grandchildren: Lucas, Eloise and Bella. Originally I graduated with Fine Arts and Business Administration degrees from Northwest Nazarene University in 1981 but found my real calling in education. In 1999 I received my teaching certificate in Elementary Education.  I have been an Art Teacher, and 1-4th grade teacher.  The love of reading is my passion and it is my joy to instill this love of reading in my students. I enjoy spending time with my family, riding horses, running, boating, skiing and gardening. Generally anything that can get me out of doors!

  • Leurissa Timm 5th Grade Teacher

    I am married to my husband, Jordan, and we spend our free time fixing up our house, going to concerts, and exploring Michigan with our malti-poo fur child, Zoe. I have been at Bay City Academy for 4 years and am entering my 3rd year in 5th grade. I love BCA because no matter what grade you teach, you get to know all students and it truly feels like a family. 

  • Paige LaFave 6th Grade Teacher

    Hello! My name is Paige LaFave and I am so excited to be joining the BCA family. I have a degree in elementary education and cognitive impairments from Northern Michigan University in the beautiful U.P. Previously, I have worked as a middle school resource teacher and am looking forward to be being back with middle school students. I am recently engaged and have a spoiled cat named Bing. I love traveling around the state and discovering new places. I also enjoy gardening, playing cards, crafting, and reading in my free time. 

  • Kelly Pletzke 7-8 Language Arts Teacher

    I have been an elementary teacher for 19 years this year.  I have experience in 1st-5th grade and have also taught k-6th grade reading and math intervention. This will be my 6th year with the Academy and I couldn't be happier.  I have been married for 16 years to my high school sweetheart and have two wonderful children.  I also have a dog named Macie. In my free time I enjoy reading, running, spending time with my family, and traveling.

  • Stacy Baybeck 7-8 Social Studies/Spanish/Healthy Habits Teacher

    I have 12 years experience working with at risk students from all over Michigan from all demographics. I have a passion for anything related to Social Studies and for providing life skills and community service opportunities to my students, in and out of the classroom setting. School is one of my favorite places. As a teacher, I try to instill in my students the value of school and pass on my love of learning new things to my students. Even if school is not their favorite place, I do my best to create an environment where they feel safe, respected, and secure in their value while there. I am a single parent to one child, my daughter, Hope, who is 16. My daughter attends Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy and Saginaw Career Complex. I love staying busy through painting, gardening, and home improvement projects for myself and others, when I am not teaching. We have three cats that all came to our family in rescue situations. We enjoy all animals, but have a special bond with cats.

  • Michelle Dulac 7-12 Math Teacher

    My name is Michelle Dulac and I teach 6 th through 11 th grade math. I have a BBA Degree in Marketing and Business, a Master’s Degree in Education and a Secondary Math Certification. With two grown sons, Jeremy and Evan, I understand the value of a good education and more importantly of teaching our kids to be kind and respectful to all. Trying and participating are of major importance in my classroom. My favorite saying, “Not trying is not ok.” One more thing, I became a grandmother this past year to a dear baby boy, Dean. This particular event has been life changing for me and has filled my life with joy!!!

  • Leanna Hirsch 7-12 Science Teacher

    I was born and raised in the Queen City of Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a diehard Bengals fan and I love my Bearcats and Redlegs as well. My husband and I have lived in Michigan for four years and truly enjoy experiencing all four seasons. This is my first year teaching and I’m honored to be apart of the BCA family and share my love for science with the kids. On my down time, I enjoy spending time with my family, being outside, taking long walks with my dog and working out. 

  • Chris Gibas 9-12 Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher

    Hello, my name is Chris Gibas, and I teach High School English and History at Bay City Academy. I am from the area, but I currently live in Saginaw Township with my wife, Emily, and my son, Eli. I love to travel with my family to places like Walt Disney World, South Carolina, and Traverse City. When I have free time, I enjoy working on my house, reading, and of course, taking naps.

  • Connie Doud K-12 Art Teacher

    Hello, I am a graduate from Saginaw Valley State University with a BA in Art and Physical Education and a MA in Special Education.  I am married to my amazing husband, Kris, and we have three beautiful daughters, Taylar, Harlee, and Grace.  Grace has attended BCA since kindergarten and is entering the second grade this year.  She absolutely loves BCA and her teachers!  We also have three dogs, three cats, and three koi fish.  When I am not at BCA, I enjoy biking, camping, reading, and spending time with friends and family.  BCA is more than a job to me, it is a second home. Our staff, our students, and our families are the absolute best! I could not chose a better place to teach or a better school for my child!

  • Sara Messbarger Music Teacher

    I graduated from VanderCook College of Music, in Chicago IL - with a degree in music education. My love and passion for teaching has brought me to many new musical experiences. i have had 5 years of class room teaching, 6 years of teaching private voice lessons, 3 years of teaching online music appreciation, and 4 years of music directing experience for the following musicals: "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Lion King", "Music Man", "Cabaret", "Heathers", "Jungle Book KIDS", and "Shrek the Musical". I believe in BCA and everything the school stands for. We aren't just a school...We are a family. I hope that every student I teach, understands the value in communication and respect, and walks away with more confidence in who they are.

  • Eric Kern K-12 PE/Health Teacher

    Hello, my name is Eric Kern and I teach Social Studies and Physical Education.  I have been a teacher for 14 years at both the secondary and primary levels.  I am a 2003 graduate of Central Michigan University.  I grew up in Oil City, Michigan where I attended Bullock Creek Public Schools.  Currently, I live in Sanford, Michigan with my wife Carrie and my two sons, Brayden and Trenton.  I am a huge University of Michigan fan! Go Blue! I have also coached high school sports for over 20 years.  In my spare time, I love to go camping, fishing, hunting, and participate in many recreational sports.  I love the BCA family!  Go Lumberjacks!

  • Nicole Lopez Special Education Teacher

    Hi, my name is Nicole Lopez. This is my 7th year of teaching and my 7th year at Bay City Academy. The first year I taught was in a 4th/5th grade spilt classroom. I currently teach Kindergarten thru 7th grade special education. I have two beautiful children that keep me real busy. Raymond will start his 7th grade year at Bay City Academy this year and Shaleigh will begin her 4th grade school year. In my free time I like to scrapbook, travel and camp with my family.

  • Mary Chambers Title I

    My name is Mary Chambers. I am a graduate of  SVSU, Delta College, and  Concordia University. I have degrees in early childhood education, English, and curriculum and instruction - specifically reading intervention. I’m excited to be in my 8th year at BCA. I enjoy helping students reach their full potential in reading and writing. Our school provides every student with individualized instruction to meet their diverse needs. We go above and beyond each day to not only meet the academic needs of every student but their emotional needs as well. BCA is not only a school, but a family. When I’m not at school I enjoy spending time with my family and my fiance antiquing and traveling our great state of Michigan. I especially like Mackinac Island and Silver Lake Sand Dunes!

  • Bridget Rochelle Title I

    Hi, I’m Bridget Rochelle and I live in Bay City.  I graduated from MSU and taught Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grades. Currently, my three children attend college (engineering, law, and business).  My maltese dog is the laziest dog ever. As an avid reader and writer, I love my job.  I work with students to improve their reading and writing skills.  In the process, I hope to install passion for reading and writing. At BCA, the students are encouraged to be independent.  What I love best about BCA is helping the students grow academically without stifling independent, creative thinking.

  • Caleigh Thompson Elementary School ParaPro

    I am so thrilled to be joining the BCA family! My name is Caleigh Thompson, but formerly known as Caleigh McCrum. I married my husband and very best friend on June 1st, 2019! I love spending time with my family, in particular, attending my brother and sisters basketball games. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, sports, and cooking. I am currently a student studying professional and technical writing in hopes of changing policies affecting our education system. The experience I have gained and am excited to bring to BCA is from working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other cognitive disorders. I am excited to continue to grow in my skill set and change the lives of the kids I work with each day! I find it a privilege to influence the lives of kids each and every day! 

  • Shelly Porter Middle School ParaPro

    Hi! My name is Shelly Porter, I came to BCA in December of 2018 after driving a school bus in Beaverton for 17 years.  I love the challenges that being a paraprofessional gives me!  I grew up in Milan, Michigan and my husband Larry and I along with my oldest son Drew moved up north right after 9/11 in 2001.  My 2nd son Troy was born in 2003.  I love spending my time watching Troy play basketball & baseball and watching Drew coach. Both of my boys are involved in John Glenn athletics - Go Bobcats!! We also have a 14 yr old German Shepherd named Marty.  Working in my yard & going for Harley rides are a couple more of my favorite things to do.  I look forward to a wonderful and rewarding 2019-20 school year. Go Lumberjacks!