Matthew Vertin – UPVA Director

Mr. Vertin is the Director of the UPVA and also serves as the College and Career Readiness Advisor to students at Calumet High School (CHS). A 1988 graduate of CHS, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Western Michigan University. He has always enjoyed working with kids and helping them grow as a person. Mr. Vertin enjoys camping and traveling with his family as well as coaching hockey and girls softball. In his spare time, he also likes to play and officiate ice hockey in the winter months and occasionally take in a round of golf in the summer months. He’s an avid sports fan, following the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons and Lion’s, but his one glaring item on his “Bucket List” is to add the Super Bowl to his attendance of professional sports championships as he has been to a Stanley Cup, World Series and NBA Championship game of all the Detroit teams except the Lions. Maybe this will be the year!!!

Rita Krans – UPVA Office Assistant/Mentor

Mrs. Krans, UPVA Office Assistant/Personal Assistant to Director Matthew Vertin, joins us from Denver, Colorado with a diverse educational administrative background. As co-founder and Director of CLK Childcare at CLK Elementary school in 2012, Rita received coursework in Special Education from Colorado University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Grand Canyon University. With a deep love for her friends, family, the outdoors, and being a well versed foodie, Rita spends her free time bumming at the beach, gardening, sewing, and eating chocolate!


Penney Parmet – Mentor/English Teacher

Mrs. Parmet is a mentor and English teacher for the UPVA. She began teaching in 1974 and during that time has taught at the elementary, middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate school levels. In addition to working with the UPVA, she is also an instructor at Bay College in Escanabe where she teaches Interpersonal Communications and College Reading Skills. Mrs. Parmet is originally from Philadelphia, PA, but in 1999 moved to Gladstone, MI where she and her husband live. She has 3 children and a very cute dog named Jynx who is a 16 year old Bichon.

Serena Peterson – Mentor

Ms. Peterson, a native of Houghton, Michigan, has continued her education at Gogebic Community College and Finlandia University majoring in Education and minoring in English and History. Some of Ms. Peterson’s hobbies include reading, music, sports, especially football and hockey, Shark Week, exploring the Keweenaw, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family.



John Asiala – Science and Math Teacher

Mr. Asiala is a graduate of Michigan Technological University where he majored in Mathematics and minored in Science. He also has a Master’s degree in Applied Science Education. Mr. Asiala taught for 2 years in Minnesota where he was teaching High School math and science. He currently is a teacher at Washington Middle School in Calumet where he has taught since 2004. As you can tell from his photo, he enjoys hunting.




Joni Carlson – Health/PE Teacher

Mrs. Carlson is from Calumet, Michigan. She teaches 6th-12th grade Health and PE at Calumet High School and Washington Middle School. She holds both a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Education from Northern Michigan University. Her major is Health and she has a double-minor in Mathematics and Physical Education. In her free time, Mrs. Carlson likes to spend time with her husband and two children at their cottage on the lake. She also enjoys traveling, cooking, swimming and golfing. She currently resides in Calumet with her husband, two children and their dog, Buster.


Dave Heinz – English Teacher

Mr. Heinz, a delightful bearded grizzly of the Keweenaw can be found educating the young minds of CLK in College English Composition and English 3 as well as students attending UPVA. He is also the director for the Drama Club and a board member for the Copper Country United Way. He lives in the CLK district with his daughter Jenna, son Nick, and two dogs: Molly and BB. In his spare time he enjoys involvement in local music festivals, anything to do with coffee, watching the TV shows Archer and The Simpsons, and many outdoor activities including kayaking.


Troy Jarvi – Social Studies Teacher

Mr. Jarvi graduated from Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science, with a major in Social Studies. He enjoys many sports and is a huge Detroit sports fan. Mr. Jarvi also enjoys the many outdoor activities the U.P. has to offer. Originally from Ontonagon, Michigan, he now lives in Houghton with wife Jordan.




Keith Johnson – Math/Business

Mr. Johnson is a lifetime Yooper and currently lives in Laurium. He is a husband and father of six grown children. His hobbies include hunting, fishing, traveling and spending time with family. Mr. Johnson graduated from MTU with a teaching certificate in Math and Business. With over 12 years of teaching experience I have grown a passion to this profession and it has become a big part of who I am.



Rebecca Michaelson – Elementary Teacher

Ms. Michaelson is a UPVA teacher in addition to being a high school teacher at Calumet High School. She teaches elementary school online and special education in the high school. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2011 with a degree in Elementary Education, Special Education and Language Arts. She also has her Master’s Degree in another type of Special Education. She loves living in the U.P. and likes to do things outside. Fishing, kayaking, camping and getting bitten by mosquitoes (just kidding) are all favorite things of hers to do in the Yoop. Ms. Michaelson lives in Hancock, Michigan with her fiancé and two cats and one, big dog. Please contact her via email or message to help you be successful.

Meg North – Science Teacher

Mrs. North is in her 14th year of classroom teaching and has been involved in online education for 9 years. She is certified in all subjects of Math and Science and has taught and/or tutored all subjects. Copper Harbor is home, which is convenient for the hiking, rock-picking, berry-picking, snowshoeing, and paddling that she enjoys with her husband and two dogs. When the weather’s too bad for outdoor fun, she loves to cook, read good books and play her ukulele.



Lacey O’Donnell – English Teacher

Mrs. O'Donnell lives in Chassell with her husband Mike, daughters Clare and Paige, and Golden Retriever Mya. She loves teaching English and Civics at Calumet High School. During her free time, Mrs. O’Donnell enjoys reading, being outdoors, playing board and card games, and spending time with her family. 




Luke Theisen – English Teacher

Born a Yooper, Mr. Theisen enjoys all that the U.P. has to offer, including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. He attended Gogebic Community College, transferring to Northern Michigan University to complete his degree in Secondary English Education, with a minor in History. Teaching is one of Mr. Theisen’s favorite things, and he has at least a little bit of fun every single day.



Lisa Twardzik – Business Education/Personal Finance Teacher

Mrs. Twardzik is the Business Educator at Calumet High School. She holds a Bachelor’s in Business Education from Northern Michigan University and is certified by Microsoft Corporation in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Mrs. Twardzik teaches Marketing, Accounting, Business Applications, Desktop Publishing, and Personal Finance. In addition, she is a co-advisor for the Calumet Chapter of Business Professionals of America and the Varsity Volleyball Coach. To be successful in on-line coursework, create a daily schedule of assignment deadlines and allocate time for each course. Write course goals down and hold yourself accountable. If you would like to contact Mrs. Twardzik, her office hours are from 10 AM – 11 AM, Monday through Friday. Be excited to learn and grow!

Abe Voelker – Social Studies Teacher

Mr. Voelker has been a teacher at Calumet High School since August of 2000. He has a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education from Northern Michigan University and a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Walden University. In his years at CHS, Mr. Voelker has been assigned to teach classes ranging from Local History to Gogebic Community College Psychology and Economics, to Civics, Government, World History, U.S. History, Michigan History and Sociology. In addition, he teaches driver education, advises the Student Senate and Student Leadership Committee and is the assistant varsity baseball coach. He resides in Calumet with his wife and three sons and feels privileged to be able to also work as an instructor through UPVA. 


Todd Waurio – Math Teacher

Mr. Waurio is in his 19th year of teaching and has been at the Calumet High School since 2010 (and previously taught in the Washington Middle School for 3 years.) He has an Associate of Science from Gogebic Community College; a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in Physics from Northern Michigan University and Masters of Applied Science Education from Michigan Technological University. Mr. Waurio has taught all math and science courses at some time in his career from 7th and 8th grade math and science through Advanced Placement Calculus, Probability and Statistics, Physics, Chemistry and all in between. Mr. Waurio lives in Hancock, Michigan and enjoys hunting, fishing, mountain biking, building stuff and projects around the house.

Jennifer Wickstrom – Science Teacher

Mrs. Wickstrom has been a teacher for 22 years. She have worked in several districts around the state and earned her Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Michigan Tech. She also has a Master’s degree in Education focusing on learning disabilities from NMU. Mrs. Wickstrom is a Calumet High School grad and lives in Calumet with her husband Jason and their 3 daughters.



Chris Woods – Math Teacher

Mr. Woods has been teaching math since 1999 at Calumet High School. Mr. Woods grew up in South Lyon, MI and came to the U.P. to go to Michigan Tech. He wrote an Algebra book for the iPad, presents at conferences about STEM, posts interesting articles and pictures on social media that relate to STEM, and records the STEM Everyday Podcast for teachers and parents. During the school year, Mr. Woods keeps busy with family activities, building things, and coaching his son's basketball team. In the summer he cuts and makes firewood for a campground. Mr. Woods lives outside of Hancock with his wife and 2 kids.