Staff Directory

  • Darci Long Principal

    My name is Darci Long. This is my 4th year as the principal of the best school on the planet! We do things a bit differently at BCA. We hug kids when they need it, we dance to the Cha Cha Slide with our students when we get the urge, we schedule a ton of recess and we have fun learning! BCA has the best team of educators in the state of Michigan and we have trophies to prove it (okay, we made our own trophies, but that is besides the point). I have been an educator since 1999 and they have not kicked me out of a school yet! I started teaching elementary friends and quickly realized that my sarcasm was much more effective in a Jr. High setting. If I am not at school you will find me at a field or gym watching my sons play sports, hanging with my daughter at Starbucks (even though I don't drink coffee), working out or on a lake in Northern Michigan. I lived in a foreign country, called California,
    for 17 years and I am so glad to be back in Michigan!  I love the 4 seasons (yes, even winter), up north and small towns. This year our theme is "Back to Basics."  At Bay City Academy we are going to take a moment to appreciate simplicity this year! I am so excited for the 2019/20 school year!

  • Sarah Rice Behavior Intervention Specialist

    In west Philadelphia born and raised on the playground was where I spent most of my days...oops sorry wrong intro! Hi! I’m Sarah Rice I’ve made my way from the tiny island of Grenada to living in Escanaba and a short period in beautiful Bay City. I finally settled down in Saginaw, where I live my wonderful husband, our two awesome kids and our crazy chickens!  I enjoy long walks down every aisle in target, many outdoor activities including kayaking, fishing, hiking, and camping. You can also find me curled up on my favorite chair reading a good book!  I am looking forward to my 7th year at BCA! 

  • Connie Spence Special Education Director

    My name is Connie Spence, and I am thrilled to say this is my 20th 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 in Special Education from Walden University in 2011. This year will be my fifth year at Bay City Academy. I am the Special Education Director and Case Manager for grades 7-12. Currently, I live in Essexville. I have two beautiful daughters Sheresse, 33 in St. Paul, Minnesota and Jessica, 30 in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. I am also a crazy spastic sports fan. My favorite teams are the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, and my favorite college sports are Michigan State Spartans! I also converted some of students as Spartans Fans! I love my students and sports! I enjoy cooking, reading, watching movies, camping, boating, and attending NASCAR races at Michigan International Speedway. I am so excited about our first graduating class at BCA! I am looking forward to a prosperous 2019-20. I cannot wait to see our students shine!

  • 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

    I am starting my 9th year at BCA as an administrative assistant. Before that I was a medical receptionist for 22 years. My family moved to Michigan from Illinois in 2008 to be closer to my husband's family. I am an AFOL or adult fan of LEGO due mostly to my husband's obsession with LEGO. To give you an idea just how much LEGO is a part my life, last year we had a single family display at Brickworld MI that was 28 banquet tables big and I filled 6 of those with my LEGO Friends display and my husband filled the other 22 tables with his creations. I also enjoy reading, camping, Star Wars, Marvel, playing any Legend of Zelda game, and playing Pokemon Go with my husband and son. We have also hosted exchange students since 2011 and we have 10 "daughters and sons" 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. 

  • Albert Torres Bus Driver/Custodian

    Hi my name is Al. I work as a bus driver, janitor, and maintenance assistant at Bay City Academy. I was born and raised in Bay City. I served 4 years in the Army before going into construction work. I worked construction for 31 years and then drove truck the previous 5 years before starting here. I have one son who is 27 and one grandson named Titan who is 2. My hobbies are weight lifting and horseshoes. I was a competitive bodybuilder in my younger days and now compete in physique contests.  I really enjoy being here as everyone is so friendly from staff to the students.

  • Stephanie Eich Kindergarten Teacher

    Hi! My name is Stephanie Eich. I graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in December 2015 and have been blessed to be teaching Kindergarten at BCA ever since.  I LOVE teaching Kinders and being able to welcome a new class into our BCA family every year. I am married to my awesome husband, Phil, and we have an adorable (we’re biased) daughter, Evelyn. I am born and raised in Bay City and actually still live in the house I grew up in (we bought it from my parents.) Although I spend a lot of my spare time shopping or with my secret obsession, reality TV, I can never spend enough time outside. I love to sit on my parents porch by the river and read, take Evelyn for walks, and work out in the yard. I’m a huge fan of anything Michigan, from Michigan decorations in my house to the, at least, 14 and counting Michigan related apparel items I own. And of course the traveling! I love camping, boating, skiing and adventuring every part of this beautiful state! BCA is a second family to me and I feel so grateful to be a part of this school. I am excited for this new year and all of the adventures and opportunities that will come with it. 

  • Caleigh Thompson 1st Grade Teacher

    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! 

  • Andrea Lechner 2nd Grade Teacher

    This summer, I returned to Bay City (my hometown) after teaching 5th grade in sunny southwest Florida for six years.  I love spending time with my family, and can't wait to explore Michigan again!  I also enjoy reading, singing silly songs, cooking, running (slowly- think Tortoise and the Hare!), and chasing around my feisty puppy, Charlie.  She is less than 2 years old and already ran in two 5ks with me!  I'm super excited to join the BCA family as a second grade teacher!

  • Teri Peterson 3rd Grade Teacher

    Hi my name is Teri Peterson and I feel blessed to join the Bay City Academy family as the new third grade teacher!  This is my first year teaching and I am very excited!!!  I have a 19 year old son- Jacob and a 16 year old son- AJ.  We live with my boyfriend of 14 years and our loving black lab Lady-dog. I like to bake during the winter and read in the sun during the summer.  I do not like to travel, I know I am strange, but car rides longer than an hour agitate me.  My goal is to learn from everyone here and help every student be the best they can be. My best memories come from spending time with family, relatives, and neighbors and I will now make wonderful memories with the BCA students and staff! 

  • Sheri Bertapelle 4th Grade Teacher

    My name is Sheri Bertapelle. Reading and teaching others to read is how I find fulfillment  In 1999 I received my teaching certificate in Elementary Education from Saginaw Valley State University. Over my 17 year teaching career I have taught Art (K-9)  and first-fourth grade.  Over the last 7 years I have taught  1-4th grade at Bay City Academy.

  • Leurissa Timm 5th Grade Teacher

    Hi! My name is Leurissa Timm and this is my 6th year teaching at BCA and my 4th year in 5th grade. I have experience with lower elementary, but the older students are definitely my favorite grade to teach! My favorite thing about teaching fifth grade is the conversations we have- sometimes deep and meaningful, sometimes silly and amusing. You never know what you’re going to get! I was born and raised in Midland, but moved to the southend of Bay City when I married my hunky husband, Jordan. Yes, my lawn is immaculate. I am the middle child of three daughters.. my poor dad! Outside of teaching, I enjoy gardening (I’m a succulent master), fixing up our Brady Bunch era home, and exploring Michigan with my fluffy fur child, Zoe. Bay City Academy is my home away from home and I strive to make my students feel the same! 

  • 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 Middle School English Language Arts Teacher

    This year marks my 21st year as a teacher!  I know what you are thinking, "Woah! She looks WAAAAAAY too young to have been teaching for 21 years!"  But, it's true!  (I started teaching when I was 8, just in case you were wondering:)   I have experience in 1st-8th grade and have also taught K-6th grade reading and math intervention. This will be my 8th year with BCA and 3nd year teaching middle school ELA.  I have been married for 18 years to my high school sweetheart, Kevin, and have two wonderful children, Paige and Makenna.  I also have a loud, barky Beagle named Macie. In my free time, I enjoy reading (in the summer, I sit in my donut tube, floating around the pool.  In the winter, I sit in front of my fireplace.  I tried sitting in the donut tube in winter (but the ice made it difficult) I also enjoy walking, biking, spending time with my family, eating a lot of sweets like cookies and candy (that's why I have to bike and walk), and traveling.

  • Stacie Mundo Secondary Math Teacher

    Hello, my name is Stacie Mundo. I grew up in St Charles, Michigan. I am happily married and have five kids. I know that all kids are not built the same. I have a child that was advanced and skipped grades, two with ADHD, and one with dyslexia. I know how I want my kids to be treated and I do my best to treat the students with the same helpfulness and respect. I graduated with Honors from Northwood University. As I finished my degree, I decided to become a substitute teacher. I fell in love with helping kids succeed and decided to go back and get my degree in teaching. I homeschooled my kids for 4 years. I taught preschool, middle school social studies, high school civics, and middle school math. I am happy to be able to teach math again. I am here to help the kids succeed! I am excited to be a part of the BCA school family. The teachers and students have welcomed me and treated me like part of the family.

  • Elizabeth Tkaczynski Secondary Science Teacher

    This is my first year at BCA and I am very excited to get started as the science teacher! I am originally from New Jersey, born and raised. But, no I do not have an accent and no I am not anything like the cast of the "Jersey Shore" show. I do however say "soda" instead of "pop" and think calling lollipops "suckers" is super strange. I have only lived in Michigan for about a year but am enjoying myself so far (even the cold, crazy winters). Before moving to Michigan, I was a researcher at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Hematology, worked at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technologies with crabs and parasites that live in their blood, and have done research with salamander embryos and the algae they live with. So basically, I have done science, science, and more science. Outside of my science-ness, I have also been a dancer, dance teacher, and choreographer for the past 24 years and love teaching ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, and basically any style of dance! In my free time I enjoy going on hikes, canoeing, kayaking, baking, and spending time with my friends, family, and boyfriend!

  • Chris Gibas Secondary Social Studies and English Language Arts Teacher

    Hello, my Internet friend. My name is Mr. Gibas, and I teach High School English, History, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. I have been in the teaching game for 10 years or so, and I started at Bay City Academy in 2014. I live in Saginaw Township with my lovely wife Emily and my son Eli. I spend a lot of time on work-related projects, but my other commitments include fine-tuning my mid-century ranch home and traveling as much as possible (especially Disney and Traverse City). Reading and writing are important pastimes, and my favorite authors include David Sedaris, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R.R. Martin. I am a film buff, but most movies these days are made for tween boys, so I am enjoying the Golden Age of Television. Your children only watch YouTube for their entertainment, so I will mention that my favorite channel is RedLetterMedia, but I also watch HGTV on loop like all suburban dads. Anyway, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at Have a magical day.

  • Stacy Baybeck Secondary Social Studies 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.

  • 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 K-12 Music Teacher

    My name is Ms. Messbarger and I’m the music/choir/theater teacher here at BCA!  I am very passionate about what I do, and it shows when our students shine onstage!  Most importantly, I am obsessed with Starbucks coffee. I have a blended family with an awesome guy named Bill ( Who helps with all of our theater set design craziness!) and together we have 4 amazing kids. Maddy is 17, Taylor is 14, Abby is going to be 7, and our only boy (poor kid) Evan will be turning 5 soon! I’m passionate about spending time with my family, trying new things, traveling, sushi, and of course singing!  I can’t wait to begin another amazing year at Bay City Academy, and watch our kids continue to mature and grow in our music department! 

  • Eric Kern K-12 PE 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

    M=Mom of two wonderful children (Raymond 13 and Shaleigh 10). S=Special Education Teacher. This is my 8th year at BCA and 7th year teaching Special Education. L=Love to travel, go to the beach and spend time with my family. O=Oceans are one place I love to be, just quietly reading a book and relaxing. P=Popular places that I like to shop at are Vera Bradley outlet store, Birch Run and Great Lakes Crossing Mall. E=Excited to be starting a new school year with such wonderful colleagues and BCA students. Z=Zany and Zesty is how I like to be, sometimes I talk a mile a minute.

  • Bridget Rochelle Title I Teacher

    Hi, I’ve been teaching for over twenty years in various positions; swimming classes, bible/Sunday school, substitute teacher, first grade (7 years), second grade (1 year), third grade (1 year), kindergarten (4 years), and title teacher (5 years). My parents went to MSU when I was a toddler, Spartan since I was little.  My earliest memories were of libraries, cultured gardens, and art work. MSU was my first playground.  I returned and attended for college. Go Green! I' the mother to three young adults; my son is an electrical engineer, middle daughter is attending law school, and my youngest daughter is pursuing a business degree at MSU. I love spending time with my family is also important to me, every summer visiting my thirteen nieces and nephews, building memories to last a lifetime.

  • Mary Smith Title I Teacher

    Hello peeps! My name is Mary Smith. I’m excited to be starting my 10th year with BCA. I’ve done a lot of different jobs but working with my 3rd through 5th graders helping them become better readers and writers is by far my favorite. I have degrees in early childhood education, English, history, reading Intervention and curriculum and instruction. Despite all my degrees there is still so much for me to learn, especially how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie POP! Not sure if I’ll ever figure that out.
    I’m a mom to a wonderful son who will be graduating next spring. I’m proud to say that he’s never missed a day of school - ever! Knock on wood he’ll graduate with perfect attendance!
    Let’s see, what else should you know about me? Oh yeah, I almost forgot......I’m getting married
    to the Ice Cream Pedal’r next summer. Our wedding is going to be in one of my favorite places, Mackinac Island! Nothing can be better than marrying the ice cream man in one of your favorite places, right?! And yes, we are having ice cream at our wedding reception!
    In my free time when I’m not helping sell ice cream, I like to go antiquing, travel our Great
    Lakes state and spend time with my family.
    This year is going to fly by, I can feel it in my arthritic bones! Oh and yes I’ll be investing in
    Kleenex stock. Going to be using a lot of it in the coming months! (But only to dry happy tears)

  • Drew Porter Middle School ParaPro

    “Hi! My name is Drew Porter and I’m an 8th grade paraprofessional here at BCA. I grew up in the small community of Beaverton, graduated in 2015, and that time I will be forever grateful for. Growing up there gave me a genuine realization of the need to respect those around you, and to come together as a community in a time of need. I look forward to join the great community at BCA!

  • 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!