/ 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 — and so does Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), 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’re well-equipped to become a teacher in either elementary or secondary schools. Our students have found teaching positions throughout the country and world — 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–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’re up to! Email us to share new jobs and tales from grad school. In addition, fill out the Graduate Job Tracker so we can count your success story among the others!

Teachers of the Year

Kaleigh Doan ’16

Kaleigh DoanKaleigh Doan ’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.

“One of my most important values as an educator is to create a ‘family’ atmosphere in my classroom where students feel safe, valued, and empowered,” Doan said. “In this way, my classroom becomes an effective learning environment in which students are both self-motivated and peer-encouraged to strive for success.”

Read about Kaleigh Doan's accomplishment 

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes ’14

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes ’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.

Read about Jordan Dischinger-Smedes' accomplishment 

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. 

Read about Spencer Vanderheide's accomplishment 

Lisa Jurries ’86 Waldorf Werner
Lisa Jurries ’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 ’18 Burkhardt

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

Read about Allison Utting '18 Burkhardt's accomplishment 

Erin Johnson ’16
Erin Johnson ’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 ’16

Clarissa Johnston ’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!
—Ryan Steam Academy, Alum Rock Union School District

Hillary McIntyre ’11 Knight

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

“My 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.”

Nathan Vande Guchte ’08

Nathan Vande Guchte ’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 zLinks. 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 zLinks website.

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