About Aspire Academy

ASPIRE (Adventist School Preparing Instilling and Redeeming for Eternity) Academy is a Technology-Mediated Instruction and Learning elementary school. ASPIRE seeks to do something that is not readily seen in technology based education programs. ASPIRE utilizes a Technology Mediated Educational approach that is interactive, based on live instruction, instant feedback, and is as similar to a physical classroom experience as possible.

ASPIRE is a grades 1-10 educational program operated by the Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. As such, ASPIRE falls under the Michigan Conference Educational Handbook policies as well as the policies of the Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Until ASPIRE receives full accreditation, it can only accept students who reside within the state of Michigan.

Learn more about Adventist education:

Benjamin Zork

Principal | 5th-8th (9 & 10 Bible | 1-8 Music)

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Hello ASPIRE family. My name is Mr. Benjamin Zork. This is my 15th year as an educator. One of the most foundational goals I have in my classroom is to help my students see themselves as strong, creative, capable human beings, with the ability to rely on God and accomplish anything for which they are willing to work. In a society that increasingly values easy outcomes and instant gratification over a focus on the processes required for success, the desire I have for my students is that they learn to face all of life’s challenges (including academic) with a God-given, creative, “can-do” spirit. I have no greater goal than to daily provide opportunities for my students to meet Jesus and build a relationship with Him.

I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Andrews University and am currently working on my Masters in Educational Leadership. I have had the privilege of teaching at three different schools in the Michigan conference. My professional career began in Charlotte where I taught for three years. After Charlotte, I transitioned to Grayling, where I taught for 9 years followed by two wonderful years working at the Traverse City school. All my teaching experience has been in single-classroom schools, so I have a unique passion and appreciation for multi-grade education. I am incredibly excited to lead the ASPIRE team. We are passionate about technology mediated instruction and learning and are determined to provide the most cutting edge online-learning experience for our students.

My wife, Mirka, and I have two beautiful children, Zoey and Leo. They are the light of our lives, sources of constant joy, and the subjects of our unyielding affection and love. When I am not teaching, I love hiking, yard work, wood working, and writing music on the piano and guitar.

CONTACT: ‪(517) 258-2435‬


Julia Robinson

3rd & 4th (1-8 Art)


Hello ASPIRE family. My name is Mrs. Julia Robinson and this is my 22nd year as an educator.
My goal is to not only add value to the lives of children and families, but also create an experience that fosters a love of learning and success. One of my greatest joys is working with young people and encouraging growth through their unique abilities and learning styles. Academic success for my students is so important, but more than that I strive to help my students come to know Jesus as their Friend and Savior.

I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University and my Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Andrews University. I have 21 years of experience teaching at Greater Lansing Adventist School in a classroom setting. I am thrilled to make the move to technology mediated instruction and I look forward to a new adventure teaching at ASPIRE. It’s truly a blessing to be part of the teaching ministry.

My husband, Jerrod, and I are lifelong Michigan residents. Spending time with our 2 beautiful daughters, Jade and Abby, and amazing son-in-law, Jonathan is a joy for me. I am the youngest of 4 children and the only girl. When I'm not teaching or planning, I'm exercising, reading, knitting, crocheting, or just being outside.

CONTACT: (517) 258-2536



9th & 10th (5-8 Bible) 

Lexi Barnum

Hello ASPIRE family. My name is Ms. Lexi Barnum and this is my 4th year as an educator. My
goal as a teacher is to educate in a way that shows the love and mercy of Christ, our Great
Teacher. I am inspired daily by the following quote from Maya Angelou:
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
My hope is that each student I come in contact with will feel the love of Jesus through me.
I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Andrews University located in
Berrien Springs, Michigan. I have a passion for Language Arts and Literature, which I chose to
focus on while earning my degree. I have three years of experience teaching in multigrade
school settings. I began teaching 5th and 6th grade in Niles, Michigan. More recently, I spent a year as a teaching principal in Traverse City. I am excited to be adding more time to this
accomplishment here at ASPIRE.
I have lived in Michigan most of my life and I absolutely love calling this state my home! When I am not teaching, I am cooking, painting, or spending time outside with my dog Oscar.

CONTACT: (517) 258-2548


Samantha Gusky 

1st & 2nd (9 & 10 Geometry)


Hello ASPIRE family. My name is Samantha Gusky, and this is my third year as an educator.
My goal as an educator is to create a lifelong love of learning. I believe curiosity and the drive to ask questions are crucial in developing a lifelong love of learning. Most importantly, I enjoy
instilling a lifelong love for our Savoir Jesus Christ.
I earned my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Educations with an Emphasis in Mathematics from Andrews University. I am still praying about what field God wants me to pressure for my masters. I have taught all across the country and have seen many different learning styles throughout my teaching career. I am excited to join the ASPIRE team and reach students all across Michigan. It is truly an honor to be part of this ministry.

My husband, Michael, is also an educator. He works for one of our sister schools here in the
Michigan Conference. When we are not teaching or planning, we love camping, backpacking,
and exploring God's nature. I also enjoy baking, knitting, and spending time with friends and family.

CONTACT: (517) 258-2524



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If you have questions about ASPIRE, please contact our principal, Benjamin Zork.

Voice or TEXT: ‪‪(517) 258-2435‬