Staff Directory

  • Mrs. Darci Long Principal (989) 293-6091

    My name is Darci Long. This is my 5th year as the principal of the best schools on the planet! We do things a bit differently at BCA. We hug kids when they need it, we dance 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! Shocking! 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 youngest son play sports, hanging with my daughter at Starbucks (even though I don't drink coffee), checking in on my son who attends the US Naval Academy, working out , practicing my golf game (which has much to be improved) or on a lake in Northern Michigan.  I love the 4 seasons (yes, even winter), Michigan summers are my favorite, up north and small towns. This year our theme is “In This Together”! We know that this year is going to be quite different than any other, but we are excited to serve our BCA students and families!  At Bay City Academy we are going to focus on working hard, taking ownership, taking risks, and not limiting ourselves by making excuses. I am so excited for the 2020/21 school year!

  • Mrs. Sarah Rice Behavior Intervention Specialist/Grades 9-12 Online/Virtual Teacher (989) 280-1752

    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 family 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 8th year at BCA!

  • Ms. Nicole Lopez Special Education Director (989) 778-0388

    M = Mom of two wonderful children, Raymond and Shaleigh. S = Special Education Teacher; this is my 9th year at BCA and 8th 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. 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, and sometimes I talk a mile a minute.

  • Ms. Jessica Stark Enrollment Director/Food Service Director (989) 225-5160

    I have lived in the Bay County area my whole life and I have been at BCA since March 2012. While not at work, my family enjoys camping, tubing, and enjoying the outdoors. 

  • Mrs. Jenny Hugo Accounts Payable/Athletic Director (989) 284-3988

    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!

  • Mrs. Sherri Thompson Administrative Assistant

    I am starting my 10th 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, 2 years ago 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. We will be hosting our 11 exchange student this year and he is coming to us from Thailand. 

  • Mrs. 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. 

  • Ms. Paige LaFave 1st Grade Teacher

    Hello! My name is Paige LaFave, and this is my second year being a part of the BCA family. This year I will be teaching first grade. Can I tell you a secret? I LOVE TEACHING FIRST GRADE!   I have a degree in elementary education and cognitive impairments from Northern Michigan University in the beautiful U.P. I love my job and especially love all the amazing families and students I get to work with at BCA. My partner, Jarrod, and I are the proud fur parents of two male cats – Bing and Bogey. We love classic movies, so we named them after Bing Crosby and Humphrey Bogart!  One of my favorite hobbies is exploring our Great Lakes State and discovering hidden gems. I also enjoy gardening, playing cards, crafting, and reading. 

  • Ms. 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!

  • Ms. Teri Peterson 3rd Grade Teacher

    Hi my name is Teri Peterson. This is my 2nd year at BCA. I am so excited to learn and bond with this year’s group of awesome 3rd graders! I have two sons, Jacob is {gulp} 20 and AJ is almost {yikes} 18, I am so glad they get older and I don't.  We live with my boyfriend of 15 years.  Our loving black lab Lady-dog went over the rainbow bridge in Nov. and now we have a spunky German Shepherd named Daisy.  Reading memoirs, learning about nature, and playing Yahtzee with my mom are my favorite hobbies.  BCA is truly a caring family of  adults and children eager to help each other learn academics and life skills while being supportive during personal or daily struggles.  I feel blessed to be a part of BCA!!!

  • Mrs. Kayla Rupprecht 4th Grade Teacher

    Hello! My name is Kayla Rupprecht. I am entering my 5th year teaching at BCA. I have taught 5th grade, 1st grade, and am currently entering the role of the new 4th grade teacher. I have lived in Vassar, MI my entire life. I spend a majority of my time with my son, Hudson! We love to go for walks, play outside, and play with all of his tractors and trucks. I also really enjoy reading, working in my flower beds, spending time with my family and friends, and spending all my money shopping online. Aside from being a teacher and mother, my third passion is coaching basketball. I have coached a range of girls, 7th grade all the way to Varsity and I cannot wait to get back in the gym someday soon. I am looking forward to this adventurous school year. I am so excited to tackle all of the challenges and enjoy every day with my BCA family!

  • Mrs. Leurissa Timm 5th Grade Teacher

    Hi! My name is Leurissa Timm and this is my 7th year teaching at BCA and my 5th 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 south end of Bay City when I married my hunky husband, Jordan. Yes, my lawn is immaculate. 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!

  • Mrs. Kelly Pletzke 6th Grade 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.

  • Mrs. Amy Denson Secondary Math Teacher

    Hello! My name is Amy Denson and this will be my first year teaching. I graduated with my teaching degree in 2005, but due to family circumstances I did not start teaching right away. Instead, I started working at Delphi Automotive Systems as a training coordinator and did that for 3 years. When they offered me the opportunity to go back to school full time, I took it and worked towards my master’s degree. When the funding fell away from the program I was in, I began substitute teaching because it offered me a flexible schedule and I had an infant at home. I was then offered a position as a paraprofessional in a high school emotionally impaired classroom, where I stayed for the past 5 years. I also drove bus for the district I worked in, so I have a lot of experience in education as a whole. I am lucky enough to have married my high school sweetheart, and we have a daughter and a son. My daughter will be starting her freshman year this year, and my son will be starting kindergarten, so we have a lot of firsts this school year. I am so excited to finally be teaching in my own classroom, and I look forward to sharing everything I have learned with the students at BCA!

  • Mr. Ross Rumon Secondary Math Teacher

    Hello!  I'm excited to be the newbie at BCA, even though I have been in education all my life!  As your math teacher I hope you can COUNT on me to make SUM fun.  I want to ADD to your number knowledge and MULTIPLY your understanding of how math applies to your life.  I'm a motor head and love the roar of a good engine. I participate in extreme endurance events with Hylands Hopeless, play sports, read anything and everything, love laughing, have a decent tool addiction...correction....ALL tools including power tools addiction, seeing how things work (just slightly worried when have parts left over after putting back together), getting to know people, and trying new things in life every chance I get.  I enjoy the challenge of something new.  Never know until you try!  I grew up near Detroit and in the thumb of Michigan, so it was the best of both worlds.  I have one son and one daughter who are getting near choosing their career paths.  So proud of them!  I enjoy time with my girlfriend as we explore places all around Bay City and Michigan.  I hope to work together with all of you to have a good finish to the 2020-2021 school year and make some new friends at BCA.

  • Elizabeth Shea Secondary Science Teacher

    This is my second 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 two years 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 husband!

  • Mr. Chris Gibas Secondary English Language Arts Teacher

    Hello, my Internet friend. My name is Mr. Gibas, and I teach English and Defense Against the Dark Arts. I have been teaching for 10 years or so, and I started at Bay City Academy in 2014. I live in Saginaw Township with my 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 to Disney and Traverse City). Reading and writing are important pastimes, and my favorite authors include David Sedaris, Thomas Pynchon, and George R.R. Martin. I am a film buff, but the Age of COVID has allowed me to enjoy 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

  • Ms. Stacy Baybeck Secondary Social Studies Teacher

    I came to teaching as a later career, after being in Quality Control Management and Systems Training for years in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I attended Central Michigan University to obtain a Bachelors of Applied Arts with a minor in Art History.  After moving back to Michigan I obtained a Bachelors of Arts, History Education and a minor in Social Studies.  Never content to just stagnate, I went back to get my Masters in Education, Principalship.  I am a lifelong learner and would love to eventually obtain a Doctoral degree.  I enjoy the art of teaching and find the craft of curriculum an enjoyable challenge.  Having a quality education, a positive outlook towards hard work  and community responsibility was ingrained in me by family and teachers.  This outlook is passed on to my students in all of my classes.I live out in the country on over 20 acres so during my off hours I often enjoy working in my yard -landscaping, growing flowers, fruit, and vegetables.  Time permitting, I enjoy projects building new things, refinishing and modifying old furniture, painting, and tinkering. I have one daughter in college studying to become a nurse.  When we are able, we enjoy going on road trips wherever and relaxing at the beach together.  We both like to spend quality time with our family.

  • Mrs. 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!

  • Ms. 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 18, Taylor is 15, Abby is going to be 8, and our only boy (poor kid) Evan will be turning 6 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!

  • Mr. 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 15 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.  I am a huge University of Michigan fan! Go Blue! I have also coached high school sports for over 21 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! 

  • Mr. Erin McLaughlin Special Education Teacher

    I am Erin McLaughlin and I am very excited to be joining the staff at BCA as a Special Education Teacher. I come here with 11 years of experience teaching on the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii. Now I know what you are thinking. “How do you go from Hawaii to taking a job in Bay City?” Well sorry to disappoint but that isn't that interesting. I am from Kingston, so a guy from Kingston taking a job in Bay City isn’t that exciting. The more exciting story is how I ended up in Hawaii in the first place. I would love to share that with you if interested. My years in the islands really showed me the strength of diversity being that there were people from all over the world there. I also got married over there to my wife Samantha who was born in the Philippines. We have 5 kids with an age range of the oldest in the Army and the youngest in 1st grade.  In my free time, I enjoy sports though the only sport I am playing these days is Cornhole. I also love being on a boat. If I could have one big enough to live on, I would do it. My faith in Jesus is my foundation.

  • Ms. Connie Spence Special Education Teacher (989) 891-6775

    Hello! My name is Connie Spence, and I am thrilled to say this is my 21st 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 sixth 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, 34 in St. Paul, Minnesota and Jessica, 31 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 the 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 looking forward to a prosperous 2020-21. I cannot wait to see our students shine!

  • Ms. Bridget Rochelle Title I Teacher

    Hi, I’ve been teaching youth for over 20 years (swimming, religious classes, substitute, and classroom).  I love my job here at BCA!  Working with mainly the kindergarten through third graders on reading skills in a small group setting is actually a lot of fun.  Reading is not boring - it is learned through multiple techniques & ways.  Book Club is an elective that I run for middle school and high school students, it's always exciting to read different things than I would normally pick out.  The students help decide the content of this elective.  (Manga of Pokemon was the most interesting so far.)  I do have three early 20's children of my own, we all have a passion for reading various types of literature.  There are books everywhere!  My undergrad degree is from MSU, Go State! Currently, I am pursuing my master's degree from SVSU, Go Cardinals!  Family is very important to me, I have 15 nieces and nephews that I enjoy spending time with.

  • Mrs. Mary Smith Title I Teacher

    Hello peeps! My name is Mary Chambers-Smith. I’m excited to be starting my 10th year with BCA. I’ve done a lot of jobs but working with my 4th-7th 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 attending Delta College this year to pursue a degree in business education. I’m also an aunt to two awesome nephews. This past June I had my very own fairytale and married the ice cream man in the Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island. We had our reception on the porch of the Grand Hotel. Nothing can be better than marrying the ice cream man in one of your favorite places, right?! Our day was absolutely beautiful. 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. My husband and I spend as much time in the summer as we can on Mackinac Island and just recently became associate members of the Little Stone Church where we were married. I’m looking forward to working with my BCA friends again this year!

  • Miss Anna Gorte Kindergarten Aide

    Hello! My name is Anna Gorte. I have been in the field of early childhood education for officially 4 years now. I have a strong nurturing love for all kids but small children in particular. With that being said, my favorite children of all are my two daughters, Skyla and Sophia. They make my world go around and fill my heart with so much gratitude, love, and happiness. Everyday with my children is the greatest adventure and we are always exploring. I recently just moved back to bay city (where I was born and raised) after being in the Detroit area for the last 7 years. I am so happy to be home and be apart of this team! It is my intent everyday to spread love and make a difference where I set foot. I hope that each day I can be the cause of a smile or an ear for someone in need. 

  • Mr. Mike Jeske Bus Driver/Maintenance

    Hello!  My name is Mike Jeske.  Originally from Linwood, I moved to Bay City 30 years ago and drove tanker trucks for the last 28 years.  I decided I needed a change and here I am. I have a daughter, 21 and a son, 23. My daughter lives in Bay City and my son recently moved to Virginia.  I enjoy fishing, hunting, camping and traveling. I am maintenance/bus driver for BCA.  I am new to the BCA family and I’m looking forward to many years together.

  • Ms. Kelly Fuhrman Bus Driver/Parapro

    Hi I am Kelly Fuhrman.  I will be driving bus for BCA and helping with many other positions during the school day. I grew up in the school system, both my parents worked in education for 30 years.  I have 2 grown girls and an almost teenage grandson that I love to spent time with. Friday nights we all go to Tri City Speedway. I love to watch sports, especially Michigan State! GO GREEN!!  I love to watch horror movies, go to rock concerts (the louder the better) and travel to warm tropical places. I recently have taken up hunting and fishing. I am really excited to be joining the BCA family.

  • Mrs. Shelly Porter Bus Driver/Parapro (989) 284-0634

    Hi, Im Shelly Porter a middle school parapro.  I came to BCA in December of 2018 when my family moved from Beaverton to Bay City. I drove a school bus for 17 years and enjoy working with kids of all ages.  I grew up in Milan,MI and my husband Larry and I have 2 boys, Drew 22 and Troy 16.  In my free time I love to watch Drew coach and Troy play basketball and baseball.  We just got a new German Shepherd puppy, his name is Cooper!  I look forward to a wonderful and rewarding 2020-21 school year.

  • Mr. John Ciesla Custodian (989) 274-8203

    Hi, my name is John Ciesla. I was born and raised in Bay City and I’ve lived in Saginaw since the late nineties. I worked as a press operator for 23 years at the F.P. Horak in Bay City. I have 2 children and enjoy golfing, camping, and other outdoor activities.

  • Mr. Alex Mason Custodian

    Hi, my name is Alex! I'm a past Student, a current Janitor, and a future HVAC Professional. I enjoy most outdoor activities including (but not limited to) big and small game hunting, riding quads, hiking, badminton, and volleyball. I just graduated from this school over the 2020 Corona Year, and now I'm happy to be fighting illness as a member of the staff. I hope to see everyone soon. Happy, healthy, and educated!