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Jr/Sr High School


Staff & Faculty


High School Office Staff

Michael Banyas, Principal

Hello, My name is Michael Banyas and I am the Secondary Principal with L’Anse Area Schools. This will be my twenty fifth year in public education in Michigan. I was a 6th grade teacher for eighteen years in the Thumb, where I also coached football, basketball, track and softball. I have been in administration in both the greater Flint and Kalamazoo areas as an elementary and secondary principal since leaving the classroom. I have one daughter that is eighteen and aspires to be a teacher or a speech pathologist.

Student safety, health, and academic growth are the most fundamental duties I will work on within our school. Every decision that is made will take the impact it will make on a student or group of students into account. I am here to nurture, counsel, discipline, and educate our students. I will not lose sight of the fact that students will always be our focal point at L’Anse Area Schools.


Kimberly Hendrickson, Social Worker

Mrs. Hendrickson's bio is forthcoming...


Katie Martinac, Secretary
(906) 524-6000 ext. 2



Holly Belanger

CLICK HERE Click here to view teacher Web site.

Hola! Bonjour! My name is Holly Belanger and I have been teaching world languages for 23 years. I currently teach French & Spanish to middle and high school students. Before coming to L'Anse, I taught at Berkley High School for seven years. I have a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University and a master's degree from Wayne State University. In my free time, I enjoy being with my husband and friends. I also like to ski, fish, snowshoe, hike, kayak, go to the movies, read, travel, cycle and entertain my dogs.


Jason Briggs
Substitute Teacher

I am married to the Middle School English Teacher, Sarah Briggs-McNeal. She moved to L’Anse from Negaunee Township in 2020 and I moved here the next year. We have built a house on Lake Superior after living in a camper for a couple of years on our property. I went to NMU for Art & Design in 2000 and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. I met my wife Sarah at College and we have lived in Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming and Newberry before moving to L'Anse. We love going to the beach on Lake Superior with our dogs and canoeing.


Sarah Briggs-McNeal

My name is Sarah Briggs, and I joined L’Anse Area Schools in 2020. Previously, I worked at Gwinn Middle and High School as an English and Special Education teacher.

I graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2004 with a B.S. in Political Science/Psychology. I later decided to earn my teaching certification and have now been teaching for seven years. I am excited to be here!

My husband and I are rock pickers, and we love this area. In my spare time, I also enjoy reading, gardening, canoeing, camping, and spending time with my family and critters.


Betty Cangemi
Science & Math

Mrs. Cangemi is a L'Anse Area Schools graduate and has taught for over 20 years. She is repected by her students and peers.


Lisa Cichosz

My name is Lisa Cichosz and teach Middle School Math. I was born and raised in L’Anse. I received my Elementary Education degree with a major in math and minor in language arts from Oakland University. I also have a masters degree in Instruction from Northern Michigan University. I currently reside in L’Anse with my husband Chad and our children Lola and Kale. Besides teaching, I enjoy sports, reading and being with my family.


John DeLine
Social Studies

My name is John DeLine. I joined L'Anse Area Schools in 2021. Previously, I worked at L'Anse-Baraga Community Schools as an Alternative Education Teacher.

I graduated From Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, with a B.S in Social Studies Education. I am a graduate of L'Anse Area Schools and have lived here most of my life. I feel fortunate to live and work in Baraga County.

I enjoy spending time on or near Lake Superior. My son and I have recently taken up fishing and we are eager to find the best parts of the earth that are covered by water. I also enjoy camping, snowshoeing, swimming and riding in my side by side.


Eric DeMink
Physical Education & Health

Hello, my name is Eric DeMink. I graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2009 with a degree in secondary education. This will be my 3rd year with L'Anse Area Schools; however, I've been in the community since 2006. My eldest child graduated from LAS and my youngest is currently a junior. I really enjoy encouraging students to try new things and grow as individuals in fitness and socially.

I have coached many sports in the community in the past including: Little League Baseball 2010- 2016, Little league 12u and 14u Girls Softball 2014-2019, Junior High Basketball 2016, Junior High Volleyball 2020-2021 season, and I've run an afterschool weight lifting program in the community since 2008. Also, this will be my 13th year coaching football and and my 3rd year in LAS as a Varsity coach.

Physical fitness, nutrition, and teaching are things I'm very passionate about.


Rebecca Frost

Hello! My name is Rebecca Frost and this is my first year at L'Anse schools. I graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2007 with a degree in German Language and Literature, and then came up to the UP to go to Michigan Tech for graduate school. I earned my masters in Rhetoric and Technical Communication in 2010, and my PhD in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture in 2015. I've taught composition at both Tech and KBOCC, and I'm happy to be able to continue to call the UP home.

I teach English III and NMU English, and I'm also a published author. In my free time, when I'm not reading or writing, I like to knit.


Heather Grentz
Guidance Counselor

My name is Heather Grentz and I am the Jr/Sr High School Counselor. I graduated from Northern Michigan University in the Spring of 2000 with a degree in elementary education. I started working in the District that fall teaching 5th grade. In 2004 I received my Masters from NMU in K-12 guidance counseling. After 7 years in the District teaching 5th grade I made the move to the Guidance Office. The counseling office can be used for individual student planning, responsive services, guidance curriculum, and system support.


Richard Hartman
At Risk Teacher

My name is Rick Hartman. I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth. I have taught in Minnesota, Michigan and China. I am pleased to be the At Risk teacher and Virtual Learner Mentor. When I am not working I like to spend time with my dog and go for walks.


John Jacobson
Special Education

This is my 23rd year teaching at L'Anse High School. I have a son who is in college and I'm very proud of him, and I guess I am now qualified as an empty-nester. I recently retired from coaching high school football.

It was a tremendous 20 year experience working with so many young men in that position, but it was time to move on. I now get to be a fan and I can focus more on other things, such as teaching special education during a pandemic. It is sometimes hard to believe, but every year it seems like I appreciate my students even more than the year prior. So many of them surprise me by what they can overcome and achieve. I do try to push them hard to achieve their highest potential, and when they can't do anymore than what I am asking from them then that's when I try to provide as much support as I can. I consider education to be an incredible gift, and as I have gained more experience I have come to realize that achieving in education is one of the greatest accomplishments a person can do. It is absolutely one of my greatest thrills to see a student's confidence grow because they realize that they can learn and that once they get an education it is something that no one can ever take away from them. I work with students a lot in math, and I absolutely love the challenge of that discipline as it keeps me in touch with my inner nerd. So anyway, that's all I got, thank you for reading this to the very end, you did good!!!


Bruce Kerry

Hey everyone. My name is Bruce Kerry. I am so happy to be teaching in L'Anse. I have been teaching for almost 15 years, mostly in Colorado but also in Farmington Hills, MI and Winston-Salem, NC. I have also coached Football and Boy's and Girl's Tennis. I was voted Coach of the Year in 2010 for the Boy's Tennis Team at Evergreen High School in Evergreen, CO. I have taught students from 5th grade to 12 grade. I have been fortunate enough to teach Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Environmental Science, English, LIfetime Sports, Study Skills, and Family Consumer Science but I have spent most of my time teaching Middle School Science. Last Year, I was honored to be nominated as Teacher of the Year for Thompson School District in Loveland , CO. I believe that the best thing about teaching is building relationships with students so that I can discover the best learning pathway for each student and guide and support them to discover their strengths so they can be excited about becoming lifelong learners.

I graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Environmental Science. Then I continued my education at the University of Denver, where I received my Teaching Certificate in Secondary Science with a focus in Literacy. I continued my education at the University of Denver and received my M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, with emphasis on Twice Exceptional, The Underachievement of Boys, and The Inclusion of Students with Asperger's in the Mainstream Classroom which is the focus of my post-coursework PhD in Curriculum and Instruction.

I have enjoyed becoming part of the L'Anse school and community. It has been great getting to know everyone in this strange time of teaching and learning. I look forward to a continued safe and healthy school year for all.


Jennifer Knisely
Social Studies

Hello, my name is Jen Knisely. I grew up in Baraga and graduated from Baraga High School in 2004. I then attended the University of Michigan where I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education in 2008. In 2017 I graduated with my Master's Degree in Learning Disabilities from Northern Michigan University. I was hired by the district in the fall of 2008. This school year I am teaching Civics & Economics, Psychology, and U.S. History.

I currently reside in Baraga with my husband and three children. I enjoy watching and playing sports, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with my family and friends.

Parents and students, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns throughout the school year.


Nicole Maddux
English & Computers

Hello! My name is Nicole Maddux. I currently teach English I, II & Computers. I have a B.S. degree in Education with a major in English and a minor in Speech Communication. I have a M.A. degree in Communications/Media Arts, both from Wayne State University. I live with my husband and our daughter. When I am not a school, I love to spend time with my family, watch movies, and travel. I am happy to be teaching at L’Anse Area Schools and participating in this wonderful community!


Ben Maycunich
Industrial Education

My name is Benjamin Maycunich and I am the instructor for Woodshop, Welding and Manufacturing, and CTE welding. I am a graduate of Kingsford Highschool and Northern Michigan University. I am glad to be able to work and play in the Upper Peninsula, and reside on Lake Michigamme. In my spare time I enjoy building/restoring antique cars, traveling, and exploring our beautiful area.


Shelsey Mleko
Special Education

My name is Shelsey Mleko and I'm a special education teacher. I work with students from upper elementary through high school. I graduated from NMU with a B.S. in Emotional Impairment and a minor in Chemistry. I live in Negaunee with my family and our German Shepherd dog. I love gardening, reading, archery, boating, and fishing. I am originally from this area and I am happy to be working in the community!


Paul Moore
Special Education

I have been teaching in L'Anse for 20 years in the Special Education Resource Room working primarily with grades 7-12. I am also the school's Youth in Government Advisor.

I can be found in room 316 or can be reached at extension 379. My e-mail at school is listed above. Please drop me a line through e-mail, if I can be of assistance to you or you have a question for me.


Jacob Ogea
Social Studies

Hello, my name is Jacob Ogea. I currently teach 6th and 7th grade Social Studies and 9th Grade World History. I’m a life-long Yooper born and raised in Marquette, graduate of Marquette Senior High School. I graduated from Northern Michigan University this past December with a B.S. in Secondary Education with a major in Social Studies and a minor in Political Science. I coach Middle and High School Track along with John Jacobson.

In my spare time, I DJ weddings for my dad’s company, Pierre Ogea Entertainment. For the past eight years I’ve done radio broadcasting for Marquette Senior High School sports; calling football, basketball, baseball and softball games over the airwaves.

I’m thrilled that I get to continue calling the Upper Peninsula home and make a difference in the local community. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.


Brooke Osterman
School Nurse & CTE Health Careers

My name is Brooke Osterman and I am the K-12 school nurse, CTE Health Careers instructor, and HOSA advisor. I graduated from L’Anse High School in 2011. I went on to attend Northern Michigan University where I graduated in 2015 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. After 5 years of working as a Registered Nurse at UPHS-Marquette and BCMH, I decided to make the leap to the school setting. This position has given me the opportunity to practice both nursing and teaching, two things I really enjoy. I also enjoy spending time outdoors, watching football, baking, and spending time with my family. I live in Aura with my husband and our two girls.


Aaron Poniatowski
K-12 Music & Yearbook

Aaron Poniatowski started teaching at L'Anse in the fall of 2005. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Music Education (2005) and a Masters in Music Education (2012). Aaron's primary instrument is the trumpet, but does play all woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. She will be teaching K-5 General Music, Sixth grade beginning band, Junior High Band (grades 7 and 8), Senior High Band, and Yearbook. She is also the director of the Marching and Pep Band for the football and basketball games and the Senior Class Advisor. Aaron lives in L'Anse with her son James.


Jacqueline Rowlison
K-12 Art

My name is Jacqueline Rowlison and I am the new K-12 Art Teacher. I graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. I have a BFA in Art Education with a minor in Sculpture and Interior Design. I worked with an Interior Designer for a couple of years before finding a job in Education. I worked as an Elementary Art Teacher in Indiana for two years before taking a job at my old Middle/High School as their Art Teacher. I am so excited to start my 7th year of teaching here at L'Anse and to be able to be teaching K-12 students.

It has been my dream to live in the U.P. and enjoy all the activities it has to offer. In my free time I love to look for rocks, fish, hike and to make my own art.


David Ruhman

Graduated from Eastern Nazarene College with a BA in Psychology with minors in Math and Science, Webster University with a Master's in Counseling Services, NMU with a Specialist's degree in Education Administration and from the University of Missouri - Columbia with a Education Doctorate in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis. I have taught or been an administrator in Missouri, Michigan, and Wisconsin. I have been a Math teacher, Middle School Counselor, Assistant Middle School Principal, Alternative School Director, Career and Technical Education School Director, Dean of Students and Superintendent. Before working in education I served in Residential Treatment Centers and worked with College and University Housing. I am living in the Upper Peninsula to help my wife care for her parents. We love the area, the people and are proud of the schools we serve.


Lauren Scherr

My name is Lauren Scherr, and I've been teaching and living in the Keweenaw since 2012. I grew up in Romeo, Michigan, and got my Bachelors of Arts in English from Oakland University, before going to Saginaw Valley State University where I got my teaching certificate for both English and Spanish. I started off as an AmeriCorps volunteer when I moved here, spent a year teaching at Lake Linden, and 5 years with Baraga High School. I have 3 little boys, and when my twins were born, I switched to teaching online for a few years so I could be home with them. All three will now be coming to L'Anse along with me. At home, we have a hobby farm called Giggling Goose Farm where we raise birds, and bake bread and treats for local farmer's markets, which has been a lot of fun. I have also been the Regional Administrator with International Cultural Exchange Services for the past 4 years, working to bring high school foreign exchange students to the Upper Peninsula, matching them with families, and guiding them through their year here. I am excited to be able to teach at L'Anse and reach a new group of kids, while still continuing to work with the exchange program which has become a part of me.


Mark Smith

I'm originally from Ironwood, MI and graduated from Ironwood High School in 1983. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Michigan Tech in 1988, and my Master’s Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Northern Michigan University in 1994. This will be my 34th year of teaching, of which 33 will have been at L'Anse High School. This school year I will be teaching Algebra 2, NMU Precalculus, NMU Calculus, Algebra 2A, and Algebra 2B.. I currently reside along the Falls River in L'Anse. I enjoy steelhead fishing, running, and watching sports in my free time.






Posted May 19, 2023
2023 - 2024 District Calendar

Posted May 15, 2023
Employee of the Month ~ April 2023
Congratulations to our Employee of the Month ~


Posted April 28, 2023
Teacher Appreciation Week
May 8 - 12 is Teacher Appreciation Week

Thank you to all our amazing staff who
go the extra mil ...






The L’Anse Area School is a drug/alcohol/tobacco-free campus
for everyone including students, faculty, parents, and community members.

Susan Tollefson

L’Anse Area Schools Central Office
201 North 4th Street  •  L’Anse, Michigan 49946  •  906.524.6000


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