Kent Transition Center (KTC) offers a new, innovative program designed to meet the needs of Kent County's secondary students that are not yet prepared for independent, competitive employment, which is an enrollment requirement for KTC.  The CORE program will better prepare (empower) students for adult life by working mainly on career and employability skills, but also teaching them to invest in their community through community participation, and when needed, provide instruction with semi-independent living skills.  

The main components of the program are:

  1. Functional Academic Skills

  2. Pre-Vocational Skills

  3. Vocational Skills

  4. Communication Skills

  5. Interpersonal Skills

Additional components:

  1. Semi-Independent Living Skills

  2. Leisure Skills

We have two off-site locations for this program:
Mary Free Bed YMCA (5500 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546) & Visser Family YMCA (3540 Fairlanes SW, Grandville, MI 49418).

We are happy to be partnering with them in using their facilities for our classrooms and collaborating with them for hands-on experiences for our students.


  Michael Spagnuolo

Michael has over fifteen years of experience working with students in Special Education throughout Kent County. His mission is to improve the lives of every student that he is privileged to work with. Before creating KTC CORE, Michael was a Work Based Learning Facilitator at Kent Transition Center (Region 1 and 2).  Previously, he started the R1TS 1 Program at Rockford Public Schools, and was a Child Care Worker at GRPS for ten years (KEC Beltline & KVO). In addition, he completed his student teaching experiences at GRPS, Northview Public Schools, Forest Hills Public Schools, and Caledonia Community Schools.

Michael graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Special Education degree with endorsements in Emotional Impairment, Cognitive Impairment and Elementary Education. He values being a lifelong learner and implements best practice in his program. He is a positive and energetic teacher who creates a warm and welcoming learning environment. Mr. Spagnuolo is looking forward to teaching the fundamental Career and Employability skills necessary for a successful career. 

Michael and his wife, Melanie, have two sons named Dominic and Isaiah. They enjoy spending time with family, especially their thirteen nephews and nieces who reside in Kent and Ottawa County. In Michael’s spare time, he enjoys yard work, cooking, reading, traveling, hiking, camping, woodworking, playing sports, and working on projects around the house. He believes that being positive is contagious and it promotes the proper learning environment for a successful system. Mr. Spagnuolo is ecstatic to be the KTC CORE Program Instructor!

For more information, Michael Spagnuolo's LinkedIn Page

  Susan Balas

I was born in Michigan City, Indiana near the lake shore. I grew up in Chesterton Indiana.  I married my High School sweetheart Craig. We were the Prom King and Queen our Senior Year. We have been happily married for 33 years. We have three grown sons, Ryan Devon and Alec.  We also have a wonderful daughter in law Deirdre and one grandson Benson. My husband and I love animals and have adopted two pitbull terriers four years ago whom are the sweetest dogs ever. I have several hobbies and things I love to do…Walking our dogs, exercising, gardening reading and just spending time with our family. I have several years experience working with students with disabilities and I truly love it. I am very excited to be part of Kent ISD, KTC Core. I feel this is such a unique opportunity and I feel very fortunate to be part of all of it.  

Dress Code

Taken from the Student/Parent Handbook:



Personal hygiene and acceptable dress are essential parts of student behavior. In all programs, dress shall not be extreme, exhibitionist or immodest in so much as it is disruptive to the educational process. Students are expected to use good taste, good judgment, discretion and modesty in their personal appearance. In all program areas, the usual occupational dress requirements will guide the dress code. Students who are inappropriately dressed will be referred to the main office and may be asked to wear a lab coat or coveralls for the day if they are unable to acquire appropriate clothing.

  • Footwear: Appropriate footwear must be worn at all times. Bedroom/household slippers are not acceptable. Most programs at KTC require closed-toe shoes (no sandals) for health and safety reasons.
  • Shorts/skirts: Shorts and skirts (jeans or khakis) must be of an appropriate length. They must be of at least fingertip length at the shortest part with the waistband at the waistline. Many programs at KTC prohibit skirts and shorts for safety reasons.
  • See-through clothing: Bare midriffs, exposed cleavage, cut-out dresses, tank tops, muscle shirts, halter (bare back) tops, spaghetti straps, and bare shoulder styles are not permitted.
  • Pants: Pants (jeans or khakis) are to be pulled up at the waist and not worn below the waist or sagging at any time. Undergarments, shorts, navels and buttocks should not be seen.
  • Clothing with writing or attached symbols that are obscene, libelous, suggestive or illegal to students is not permitted.
  • Clothing that represents or implies gang affiliation is not permitted.
  • Personal hair grooming, dress and/or accessories shall be of a style, which will not jeopardize the health or safety of any individual.

Mary Free Bed YMCA & Visser Family YMCA

For more information about the MFB YMCA, Mary Free Bed YMCA Website.
For more information about the Visser Family YMCA, Visser Family YMCA website.


Lori Dulak
at Mary Free Bed YMCA

Susan Balas
at Mary Free Bed YMCA
CTE Specialist

Michael Spagnuolo
at Visser Family YMCA

Megan MacNaughton
at Visser Family YMCA
CTE Specialist


For more information about KTC CORE, please contact Michael Spagnuolo or Lori Dulak.


For more information about enrollment, please contact the Discovery Center.


Maranda visited our students to see what KTC CORE is all about! To view the segment aired from Maranda's show: Kent ISD Program that empowers students.

School News Network article about KTC COREWorking at the Y Opens Doors for CORE Students A Transforming Experience

KTC CORE students tour the The Rapid (city bus) and explored the Central Station (main hub):Ride The Rapid