/ Education Department

After Graduation

Our teacher certification program is nationally accredited, which means that you have an opportunity for certification in other states, opening up your job prospects.

We take our national accreditation program seriously 鈥 and so does , which has granted us a full seven-year recognition for all Hope students. This means you have the backing and recognition of CAEP for future employers in Michigan and other states.


As an education graduate from Hope College, you鈥檙e well-equipped to become a teacher in either elementary or secondary schools. Our students have found teaching positions throughout the country and world 鈥 24 states and 14 countries to be exact.

Not all education majors and minors go on to the classroom. Graduates of our program have gone on to become Peace Corps volunteers, counselors, curriculum coordinators and supervisors, administrators in school systems and college professors.

Graduate School

Most graduates pursue advanced studies for continuing certification and complete graduate degrees in special areas of education, such as reading, curriculum development, special education, counseling and administration. 

Graduates of our education program are currently serving as:

  • Classroom teachers in rural, urban and suburban K鈥12 schools
  • Special education teachers in categorical, inclusive or resource classrooms
  • Teachers overseas
  • Peace Corps volunteers
  • Counselors in elementary and secondary schools
  • Curriculum coordinators and supervisors
  • Administrators in school systems throughout the United States
  • College professors


We love to hear from our education alumni. Let us know what you鈥檙e up to! Email us to share new jobs and tales from grad school. In addition, fill out the so we can count your success story among the others!

Teachers of the Year

Kaleigh Doan 鈥16

Kaleigh DoanKaleigh Doan 鈥16 received an Outstanding New Teacher of the Year Award in Prince William County, Virginia. Doan was a secondary English and French double major at Hope. She spent a few years teaching English in France, and now she is teaching French at Hylton High School in Virginia.

鈥淥ne of my most important values as an educator is to create a 鈥榝amily鈥 atmosphere in my classroom where students feel safe, valued, and empowered,鈥 Doan said. 鈥淚n this way, my classroom becomes an effective learning environment in which students are both self-motivated and peer-encouraged to strive for success.鈥

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes 鈥14

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes 鈥14 was named the 2021 Michigan Charter Schools Teacher of the Year. He also received an honorable mention for the EPA's 2021 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators and was listed in a Time Magazine article in September 2021 featuring teachers and staff who made a difference during the pandemic.

Spencer Vanderheide '12

Spencer Vanderheide was named the 2022 Educator of the Year Award by the Michigan Lottery through their program called Excellance In Education. 

Lisa Jurries 鈥86 Waldorf Werner
Lisa Jurries 鈥86 Waldorf Werner was named Teacher of the Year at Hopewell Middle School in Milton, Georgia. She teaches those with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities.

Other Accomplishments

Allison Utting 鈥18 Burkhardt

Allison Utting 鈥18 Burkhardt received a 2022 James Madison Graduate Fellowship. 

Erin Johnson 鈥16
Erin Johnson 鈥16 published her book, Eyes Different Than Mine, in 2021. The book is a children's book about growing up with a brother with Down syndrome.
Clarissa Johnston 鈥16

Clarissa Johnston 鈥16 has been teaching lower elementary special education in a therapeutic program in the Alum Rock Union School District in San Jose, California, since 2016.

Ms. Johnston is a dedicated teacher leader who collaborates closely with our teachers and families. She creates a warm and welcoming environment for her students. Her love and passion for working in a therapeutic program is evident in her instruction, relationships she has with her students, and her overall classroom culture. Thank you for all that you do to instill a love of learning!
鈥擱yan Steam Academy, Alum Rock Union School District

Hillary McIntyre 鈥11 Knight

Hillary McIntyre 鈥11 Knight is a K鈥4 Resource Room teacher in Venice, Florida.

鈥淢y Hope classes were extremely relevant to real-life classrooms, particularly my special education classes, which were thorough in teaching students how to write IEPs, practice scheduling, and understand the laws of education in our state. Hope demanded your best, and while your schedule felt full at times, I never felt unprepared for a new placement in a classroom.鈥

Nathan Vande Guchte 鈥08

Nathan Vande Guchte 鈥08, pictured here with his family, is a special education teacher in Zeeland, Michigan. He is also the coordinator of the program he started at his school called . Through the program, students are matched with a special needs peer to provide them with support in the classroom and to be a connection outside of the classroom as well. There is more about how the program works on the .

Visit Hope's alumni page for information on resources and services