Mary Vonck, President
Mary Vonck grew up in Illinois and earned an engineering degree from the University of Illinois. She completed her MBA at the University of Michigan.
Mary moved to Michigan after college to accept a position as a sales engineer and became a registered professional engineer for the state of Michigan. She and Ray, her husband, have lived in Forest Hills since 1991 and have four children who graduated from Forest Hills schools. As an empty-nester, she enjoys traveling with her husband…especially to see her kids.
Mary’s early experience as a school volunteer and PTO officer fueled her interest in board service. She has since served on academic, athletic, and music booster boards and currently oversees Project Charlie for the district. Her board service has included roles on both the curriculum and finance committees and as the foundation liaison. She is grateful that Forest Hills was able to afford her children the opportunity to thrive at many of our traditional schools, as well as Goodwillie and Ada Vista. She thus embraces Superintendent Behm’s vision to continue to customize the classroom experience, especially secondary redesign, always focusing on doing what is best for kids.
Marti Atwater, Vice President
Martha Atwater, or Marti, is an attorney and founding partner of Atwater Law & Intellectual Property. She serves as the FHPS Board of Education vice president and chair of the curriculum committee. She is active on the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation, and she is the Odyssey of the Mind coordinator at six FHPS schools. Education issues led her family to Forest Hills when their oldest was in preschool and their middle child was receiving uninspired special education services elsewhere: she and her husband wanted the best schools for their three children and found them here.
She has been deeply involved as a district volunteer since the family moved to Forest Hills in 1998, and has served as a room parent, reading buddy, PTO vice president and president, Odyssey of the Mind coach and school coordinator, Academic Boosters president, member of both the Parent Advisory Committee and Special Education Advisory Committee, and currently Board of Education member.
Her passion for education prompted her to run for the FHPS board in 2010; that passion has not dwindled as she continues her board service. She remains committed to a high-quality educational experience for all students and wants every FHPS student to leave the district prepared for a satisfying and productive life, whether they go on to college, enter the workplace or follow another path.
In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and water skiing.
Suzanne Callahan, Secretary
Suzanne Callahan grew up in Indianapolis and attended Indiana University for her undergraduate degree in Business. She earned her MBA at Western Michigan University.
Suzanne has called Grand Rapids home since 1991 where she has worked for various large and small businesses. For over two decades, she has been dedicated to teaching marketing courses as an adjunct professor at Davenport University and Aquinas College. Currently, Suzanne focuses on curriculum development and course delivery for customized corporate training and professional development programs. Suzanne and Jerry, her husband, have three children who have participated in the Spanish immersion program; they are a proud Forest Hills Northern family.
Suzanne has served alongside and creatively recruited many fellow parents into numerous volunteer and fundraising roles within various PTOs, academic booster and athletic booster groups. She is a vocal advocate for the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation and served as co-chair of the gala in 2016. Suzanne serves on the curriculum committee and the communications resource team.
Walter F. Perschbacher III, Treasurer
Walter “Chip” Perschbacher graduated from Forest Hills High School (Central) in 1966 and graduated from Western Michigan University in 1970.
Chip has lived in the Forest Hills school district since 1960. His wife Judy was a teacher here from 1972-1984, and their sons Walter IV and Scott went through the Forest Hills Public Schools, graduating in 2000 and 2002. They both live in the district along with a growing generation of Perschbacher grandchildren. Chip is the chairman of the board of Greenridge Realty, Inc. and previously served on the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan. Chip is a strong supporter of the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation and actively encourages the community to support the district. He continues to exhibit unwavering support for the growth, continued innovation, and long-standing financial strength of the Forest Hills school district.
Kristen Covelle, Trustee
Kristen Covelle and her family have lived in the Forest Hills school district since 2004. She, and her husband, Brad, have two children currently in the Spanish immersion language program. She currently teaches at Caledonia High School, where she also directs the fall play. In the past, she coached competitive cheer, debate, and advised clubs as well, and served as an advisor for the high school yearbook and school paper. She has served on the PTO board and continues to volunteer, coach Odyssey of the Mind, lead Girl Scouts, and has directed a Spanish play through Forest Hills Community Services.
She has a strong personal commitment to serving others. She employs her natural curiosity for diverse perspectives by listening broadly to community opinion and suggestions for districtwide improvement.
Kristen received her bachelor’s degree in English, American Language and Literature from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in English also from EMU. In her spare time, she enjoys theatre and dance, reading and writing, traveling, and spending time in the summer at the beach.
Nicole Meloche-Gregory, Trustee
Nicole is a Yooper; she graduated from Marquette Senior High School. She earned her Bachelor of Science in business with a focus in marketing and communications from Northern Michigan University in 1994. In 1997, she graduated from UCLA with an MBA from the Anderson School of Business.
After spending over 15 years in Southern California, Nicole and her five children (all attending FHPS) returned to Michigan. They chose Grand Rapids and Forest Hills because of the excellent education provided in the district. Nicole and family are avid travelers; they have visited 48 of the 50 U.S. states (only two to go), as well as many international destinations. Professionally, Nicole has been an entrepreneur, owning her first business at 17-years-old. Her focus has been on finding gaps in the market and filling them with new or repurposed businesses.
Nicole serves on the curriculum committee, communications resource team, AAA – Awareness, Acceptance and Advocacy team, and is involved at the school level for each of her children. Her passion lies in looking at the whole child and instilling in them the skills needed to be 21st-century learners, workers, professionals, community members. “Nothing is more exciting than seeing a student find their ‘thing’ and excelling in school because they know how it applies to them.”
Michael Seekell, Trustee
Mike Seekell attended Ada Elementary School, Forest Hills Central Middle School, and Forest Hills Central High School. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in economics.
Mike, and his wife, Susan, have lived in Grand Rapids their entire lives. All five of their children attended and graduated from Forest Hills. Mike is a financial advisor serving individuals and companies with their planning and investment needs. Mike enjoys golfing and traveling and finds therapy in occasional construction projects. He adores his children and grandchildren and always makes time for them.
Mike is committed to helping the Forest Hills School District be one of the best in the nation. Mike believes the support of our schools from community members by way of the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation is an integral part of fueling continued, innovating teaching and learning for our teachers and students.