Meet Your Mentor

Jennifer Ascolese

My name is Jennifer Ascolese, and I am excited to be a Partnership and BookShark mentor this year. 

I grew up in Berrien County and have lived here all my life.  In 2003, I married my husband Matt, and we now have three children.  We have been homeschooling our two girls since 2020.  Prior to being at home with my kids, I was a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teacher for 11 years.  I graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in elementary education, and then got my Master’s degree in reading and literacy. 
Looking forward to a great year!

Noel Bash

Hello to all! I'm so excited to be back with the Berrien Springs Parent Partnership as a mentor. I have taught in various capacities over the years, from elementary school to adult education, and from public speaking to historic dance. I love seeing your children grow in their confidence and abilities through the school year. 

My husband Bob and I have two grown children and one daughter-in-law to be, as our son is getting married next year. We love living in Southwest Michigan, with the beautiful beaches, abundant local produce, and small town charm. When I'm not working, I enjoy canning, knitting, embroidery, reading, and dancing. We are also big history buffs, and we seek out museums to visit wherever we travel. 

I'm looking forward to getting to know you and your students this year, as we work together to achieve their goals!

Jill Dodge

Salutations Students and Parents!
I have had the joy of teaching since 1997, filling elementary positions such as multi-grade, pre-kindergarten , art, and principal.  In 2013 I started teaching two classes for the Berrien Springs and Niles Partnerships and have enjoyed adding to my art curriculum each year. Most recently I added a Family Adventure Trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

​The things I enjoy are my husband Terry, our four children, Autumm, Winter, Trey and Holden, table games, dark chocolate, ceramics, photography, and being in nature, visiting U.S. National Parks, hiking and much more!

I look forward to communicating weekly with your family throughout this school year
Mrs. Jill Dodge

Phil Giddings

My name is Philip Giddings and I am a teacher who has enjoyed working with students and my colleagues over the past years.  I have worked with middle school, junior high, high school, and college students in various capacities.  I have also enjoyed administrative duties as I was the principal of a pre- kindergarten through 12th grade school in Chicago, Illinois. I also performed joint duties as I had the privilege of working in smaller school settings where I functioned as Teacher/Principal.

My joys are seeing student success and student development as they make positive choices that will enhance their future.  I am an American but I have lived in and traveled to many different countries not limited to but including Africa, France, and the Caribbean.

I realize that the success of today’s youth is in reality a strong indicator of our accomplishments. This paved road makes smooth the passage for the next generation.  We invest now and anticipate a lucrative return on our investment which will be withdrawn during the next generation and beyond.  I am willing to take part in the crafting and the shaping of this emerging generation.
I look forward to being a part of your accomplishments, inspiration, and your ultimate triumph.

Philip E. Giddings III

Rebecca 'Becky' Halcombe-Howard

Warm Greetings!

I look forward to coming alongside you in your homeschool journey as Mentor and friend. It is always a delight to help cultivate and witness the growth and development in each unique student and family. 

I started working for the BS Partnership in 2010 as the Field Trip Coordinator and then eventually a Mentor Teacher.  Prior to that I was privileged to Homeschool my 4 children for 20 years. Prior to that I had the opportunity to be a classroom teacher.

I anticipate a wonderful year of learning with your family!

Juliette Horton

​Hello students and parents!!  I’ve had the awesome privilege of being an elementary school teacher!  It has been a joy for me to teach children in the states of Alabama and Michigan for the last 18 years. I am married and my husband and I have been blessed with 2 lovely girls.  We enjoy spending lots of time together as a family.  We love reading together, visiting zoos and museums, playing games and helping others.

It is very important to me to see my students be successful in their education, so I work hard in helping them accomplish the goals that have been set for them or they’ve set for themselves. I’ve often times thought, “Is there another profession that I’d enjoy as much as teaching?”  Well, it’s been almost 18 years and I’ve not found another yet.  I LOVE being a teacher!! My students call me Mrs. Horton and I am happy to be a Berrien Springs Parent Partnership mentor.  I look forward to working with you!

Mandy Jankoviak

My name is Mandy Jankoviak. I was a public school teacher for 13 years before deciding to homeschool.  We have been homeschooling for 4 years.  My children are 13, 11, 10, 6, 4, and 1. (Yes, that's 6!) Needless to say, I love kids and am excited to work with yours!

We enjoy the beach, swimming, Pinterest projects, decorating, and the arts.

​I'm thankful for the opportunity to work with the partnership and happy to help in any way I can.

Amy Scott

Brett Scott 

​My name is Amy Scott, and as a homeschool parent, I am excited to mentor students in the Berrien Springs homeschool partnership!  I have 16 years classroom teaching experience before leaving several years ago to begin homeschooling my two children.  

Our children, ages 13 and 14, are both homeschooled and participate in many activities.  My husband of 20 years is a 4th grade teacher.  We enjoy spending time together as a family and participating in church activities.  

It is a privilege to work with your family.  We will have a fantastic school year and journey together! 

Lynne Wieferich

​My name is Lynne Wieferich. I was a public school teacher for ten years before becoming a stay at home mom and homeschooling my two sons. I enjoy being a mentor teacher and hearing about all of the great classes that are offered through the partnership program.

  • Becky Halcombe: K-8 gen ed
  • Tom Hurst: K-12 Industrial Arts and Agriculture
  • Mandy Jankoviak: K-12 Music
  • Mark Ring: 9-12 Communication
  • Peres Sambu: Family and Consumer Science
  • Luis Sanchez: K-12 Spanish
  • Sara Smothers: K-12 Physical Education
  • Lisa VanPlew-Cid: K-12 Art