Van Andel Education Institute welcomes new Director and Education Officer: Terra Tarango to lead VAI’s education initiative

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Nov. 29, 2016)Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) announced the hiring of Terra Tarango as the new Director and Education Officer. Tarango will be in charge of VAEI’s strategic direction, which includes overseeing kindergarten – 12th grade programming, teacher professional development initiatives, and the expansion VAEI’s education products including NexGen Inquiry®.

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Terra Tarango

“We are thrilled to welcome Terra to Van Andel Education Institute,” said David Van Andel, Chairman and CEO of Van Andel Institute. “She has a proven track record of leadership and creativity that will support curriculum development that engages students’ critical thinking and curiosity.”

Tarango has over 15 years of experience working on curriculum and innovative education products. During that time, she worked with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the largest educational publisher in the world, designing print and digital curriculum for kindergarten – 12th grade. Most recently, Tarango served as President of Staff Development for Educators. Her work in that role provided professional development that supported the work of more than 100,000 teachers each year.

“The welcome to Grand Rapids has been tremendous and I’m excited to be a part of the Van Andel Education Institute community,” said Tarango. “I am looking forward to growing VAEI’s reach to support educators and students as they create classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive.”

The Education Institute works to empower teachers to engage students to think and act like scientists. This initiative is in response to the national need for stronger STEM education in the classroom.


Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent, research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. Through programs that provide hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities across the entire educational spectrum – from elementary through graduate school to the professional development level – Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI), VAI’s non-profit education arm, is dedicated to strengthening science education and preparing and motivating individuals to pursue science-related professions.

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