Staff


Ron Coppess M.A. –
Co-Founder

Ron Coppess

Ron Coppess grew up on a farm in Sunfield, Michigan and graduated from Lakewood High School.  He went on to graduate from Ferris State University in 1974 with a degree in Engineering and Design.  He received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from MSU.  He was recruited away from the engineering world to come back to Lakewood and teach High School Industrial Arts, including Drafting and Design for 23 years.  He also spent 21 years coaching varsity sports.

Ron finished his education career as an Assistant Principal.  He has been a licensed professional builder since 1977 and has built many homes in the area.

During his career in education, Ron saw a critical need for at risk children to have a safe place to live and mature.  When he retired, he and his wife, Ellyn, decided to found Sunny Crest Youth Ranch – bringing a lifetime of experience in mentoring kids to fulfill a dream of giving them a second chance at a brighter future.

 

Ellyn Coppess M.A. –
Co-Founder

Ellen Coppess

Ellyn is married to Ron Coppess and is the co-founder of Sunny Crest Youth Ranch.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Michigan State University and a Masters Degree in Language Arts from Grand Valley University. She spent six years as Tutorial Coordinator for Lakewood Public Schools and then twenty-one years as an elementary teacher.

Having long shared Ron’s passion for troubled youth, she retired in 2013 from teaching in the public schools in order to focus her energies on expanding the educational programming for the Ranch.



Brian De Vos M.S.W. - Executive Director

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Brian began his career directly serving children and families. He subsequently moved into various leadership positions. As an executive leader, he has been successful in financial/business operations, program development, fund development, board recruitment and development, public speaking and presentations, staff development, strategic planning and management, risk assessment and management, crisis intervention, new program start-up and growth, development of new innovative programs, and submission of grant requests and proposals. Brian enjoys negotiating government contracts and partnering with governmental entities to develop effective child welfare services, as well as advocating for policy improvement changes on multiple levels. He has worked successfully with State and national legislative bodies on needed improvements in the child welfare system serving children and families. 

Brian came to Sunny Crest with a vision to grow and further develop programs that enable at-risk youth to grow to their full potential. He is a graduate of Calvin College (BA) and Grand Valley State University (MSW). Brian currently serves as the Vice President of the board of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families.  He is married and is the proud father of two daughters.


Jon Roberts B.A. -Development Director                                                                         

Jon earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies and Bible/Theology from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Presently he is working on a Masters degree in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University. While pursuing his bachelor's degree, Jon worked as Head Supervisor of a historic downtown Chicago Restaurant & Caterer, Berghoff.  He has extensive experience in event production and planning. 

Jon launched a program for at-risk youth through Young Life Chicago to work with  the youth of two rival communities, Cabrini Green/Marshall Field Gardens. In 2014 he launched a Young Life area in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood focusing on the Howard Community. While fostering two teen boys, he developed a deeper passion for youth to have a safe place to live and mature.  With his duel experiences in fundraising, event planning, and mentoring he desires to continue to offer youth a brighter future here on the ranch. 

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Jordan Dotson M.Div.- Vocational Director

in 2009, Jordan graduated from MSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree; his studies emphasized English and German Education.  In the spring of 2014, Jordan received his Masters of Divinity from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jordan has worked with "at-risk" youth for almost 6 years and has worked with kids throughout Lansing and West Michigan since 2006.  Recently, Jordan has developed a deep passion for fine woodworking and cultivating various life skills with young adults.  "I see an essential relationship between healthy interpersonal lives and activity/vocational therapeutic methods," Jordan explained.  Jordan began working at the ranch in the fall of 2017 as the Vocational Coordinator.

 
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Laken Colby B.A.  – Residential Director and Animal Programs Coordinator

Laken has a B.A. in Sociology from Western Michigan University. During that time she also showed horses on the WMU Equestrian Team and since then has continued to show at a variety of open shows.  She first started teaching riding lessons and assisting with Horsemanship Day Camps during college and during this time also volunteered at the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center.

Her previous experience includes working with children who have Autism through Ionia County Intermediate School District as a healthcare aide and working with Adults with Developmental Disabilities and Mental Illness as a Case Manager through Hope Network Behavioral Health. She also owns a business in Clarksville, Michigan where she continues to give riding lessons and provide horsemanship camps.

Laken Colby

Dr. Danial Zak - Psychiatrist

Georgina Hill M.A.- Education Coordinator

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 Georgina Hill received her Bachelor Degree from Olivet College in 1991 with a major in PE K-12 and Business Administration.  In 1995, she received her Master's Degree from Western Michigan University in Vocational Education and Career Technology.  

Georgina is an enthusiastic and committed teacher who uses her natural ability to motivate and inspire others to be their best.  She has worked in public education for 26 years and is known as a role model for students of all ages.  She will not only be working on their academic success, she will help improve their physical fitness levels as well.    She is very dedicated in preparing our boys to believe and achieve in their daily lives.  Everyday is a new day and whatever your 100% looks like, GIVE IT!


 

 


Sherry Koewers – Executive Assistant

My heart goes out to these young men who have been dealt neglect and abuse.  I want to help make a difference in their lives.

 

Sherry Koewers