Meet Our Office Staff

Photo of Sara Van

Sara Van, Assistant Principal

Hi, I am Sara Van, the Assistant Principal at Kent Transition Center. I began my career in education in New York City Public Schools where I worked in a variety of roles. I also worked with the New York City Teaching Fellows Program to develop aspiring teachers. Most recently, I worked as a Special Education Supervisor for Grand Rapids Public Schools.

I was born and raised in Grand Rapids. I attended Grand Rapids Community College, received my Bachelor's degree from Michigan State University, my Master's degree from PACE University, and my building and district leadership certification from CUNY Hunter College. I am currently pursuing a doctorate at Western Michigan University. I am passionate about equity and access to educational opportunities for all learners. 

My husband and I have two small children with lots of energy. In my spare time I enjoy playing at the park with my family, dancing, running, and yoga. I also love traveling, learning about new cultures, and trying new foods.

Vicki Bickel, Registrar

My name is Vicki Bickel and I have worked for Kent Transition Center since 2012.  I am the registrar for Kent Transition Center, Kent Innovation High and Launch U.  I also help Kent Career Technical Center when they need additional support with registration. I love the programs we offer here and how they can positively impact students futures. 

Before coming to Kent ISD I was registrar out in the Seattle Washington area for 4 years.  I also have HR/Benefits experience for the school district I worked with out there for 6 years.

I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for a LONG time, but it doesn’t feel that long. I am the proud mother of 3 adult children and doting grandmother to 4 grandchildren. I enjoy gardening, reading, crafting, getting to know people from other cultures and helping them adapt to the U.S.

Jennifer Thornton, Receptionist

After 18 years in the corporate world and 3 years staying at home with my young boys, it was time to get back to work. I knew this time I wanted to be able to work and help people. I am able to do this as the Receptionist and Attendance clerk here at the Kent Transition Center. I enjoy coming to work and seeing the students every day.

Outside of work I like spending time with my husband and 2 sons. We like being active outdoors with hiking and kayaking. In my alone time, which is rare, I like to work on vinyl crafts.




Joe Leinesch


Sara Van

Assistant Principal

Vicki Bickel

Phone: 616-365-2392

Jennifer Thornton

Phone: 365-2391