CAF Executive Team

 

 Sam Joseph, Founder and Chairman

Before founding the Covenant Academies Foundation, Sam Joseph opened Muskegon Covenant Academy, the Covenant House Academies in Grand Rapids and Detroit, and served as the founding Executive Director for Covenant House Michigan from 1997-2013.  There he established two residential programs to house 75 young adults, a Street Outreach program, as well as job readiness and education opportunities. Prior to 97, Joseph served as the administrator of mental health services for the Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens in Jamaica, New York. There he developed and managed psychiatric inpatient and outpatient services for four hospitals and three long-term facilities.  He developed programs that provided services to HIV infected infants, adolescents and pregnant women.  Joseph also established and administered a specialized 168-bed program for mentally ill homeless adults, which became a model for the State of New York.
 
This administrative experience dates back to 1973 and includes 16 years to emotionally troubled young people.  He has been an adjunct lecturer for post-graduate students in Mental Health Administration at the New School for Social Research and a visiting scholar at Columbia University, both in New York City.
 
Joseph received a BA in English Literature from Loyola College; an LPH in Rational Psychology and Natural Law from the College of the Jesuits; an MFA in Communications (Mass Media) from Columbia University in New York; and a post graduate certificate in mental health administration from the New School for Social Research in New York.

Sam Joseph

 

Jon Felske, Chief Executive Officer

Jon Felske is a graduate of Albion College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Education.  He also received a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Saginaw State University, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Superintendency at Saginaw Valley State University. 

In December, 2016, Mr. Felske retired from Muskegon Public Schools, ending his 33 years of service in education which included positions in urban, suburban, and rural districts as a Classroom Teacher, College Basketball Coach, Athletic Director, Assistant Principal, Principal, and 18 years as a Superintendent. 
Mr. Felske also served as an Adjunct Professor at Grand Valley State University where he taught Educational Leadership, and Curriculum.

In his spare time, Mr. Felske enjoys running, biking, paddle boarding, and traveling with his wife Kerstin.

Jon Felske

 

Gretchen LaHaie, Chief Operating Officer

Gretchen LaHaie is a founding member of the Covenant Academies Foundation and instrumental in helping to launch both the Muskegon and Kalamazoo Covenant Academy schools. As COO, she is responsible for ensuring the academies uphold the mission of CAF and providing budgetary/HR oversight, compliance with the charter school authorizer and Michigan Department of Education, marketing development, and serves as the board secretary.

Prior to working with Sam Joseph, LaHaie served disadvantaged youth as the Business Community Liaison for the Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center for 5 years. There she oversaw community and business outreach, congressional advocacy, work-based learning and a center-wide student/staff mentoring program. She has also taught high school social studies and spent 7 years working in the Michigan Legislature as a legislative assistant for members of both the Michigan House and Senate.  

LaHaie graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and a secondary education certification from Michigan State University. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University and is an active member of the Michigan School Business Officials (MSBO) organization. 

Gretchen LaHaie