MR. DUANE BAKER
BUSINESS & SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER
I graduated from Calvin College with a B.S. in accounting and then returned to school to pursue a history major, an economics minor, and
an earth science minor. I also hold an MBA from Grand Valley State University with an emphasis in economics and finance. Additionally, I am a Certified Flight Instructor.
I teach at Holland Christian because each year I have felt God leading me to continue my ministry here. I love seeing high school-aged faces throughout the day and playing a role, along with their Christian families, in preparing them to live for Christ, impacting a world that very much needs to feel His justice, love, and grace.
MRS. JEANETTE BARRY
I received my B.A. from Hillsdale College in 1988; I graduated with a major in English and a minor in both History and Christian Studies.
I am currently pursuing my Masters degree in Literature at Grand Valley State University.
My husband, Greg, and I were married in 1991, and we have three children: Mitchell, Avery, and Grant. We are members of Ridge Point Community Church, and we enjoy skiing, boating, and camping as a family. We especially love being “Up North” in Michigan, where we all are able to relax completely.
I am so happy to be part of the Holland Christian family, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to teach and love the kids in my classes. Each one of my students is an individual with his or her own unique gifts, and I am determined to help bring forth those gifts. I am passionate about living my life for Jesus Christ and about sharing that passion with others. I pray every day that God will show Himself to us in our class through thought-provoking literature, the structure of writing, the detail of grammar, or whatever we discuss in class; God’s blessings are everywhere, and I want our class to be a blessing.
MRS. JENNIFER BIERI
ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
I graduated from Hope College in 1984 with a business major and then married my husband
(Bob) that summer. I worked for Haworth and the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce until we moved to England for 2 1/2 years for Bob’s job in 1990. Since then I have been home raising our four children until starting at HC in the Summer of 2010.
I love to do pretty much anything in the outdoors with family or friends including running, biking, hiking, rollerblading, skiing, and working in my yard. I also enjoy reading, cooking, listening to BBC World News and watching good movies (especially Pride and Prejudice) with my daughters.
Nine years ago we were newcomers to Holland Christian and Christian schools in general. I must say, I have truly grown to love this place, and even more so now that I work here. It is very apparent to me that everyone on staff has the same goal to help students become the people God made them to be and give them the tools they need to impact the world for Christ. I am thrilled to be a small part of making HC a safe, loving, and God-centered school where students can grow and develop.
MRS. ERIKA BLOM
I graduated from Hope College in 2006 with a major in Vocal Music Education. During the summer of 2007, my husband and I moved
to Southern New Jersey to join a beginning church and help start their worship and youth programs. In 2009, the opportunity to teach at Holland Christian brought us back to Michigan. In addition to teaching choir at the high school and middle school levels, I assist with the HS theatre department as a vocal coach.
I enjoy living life with my husband, Josh, our son, Parker, and daughter, Adeline. We like to spend time playing music together, reading, cooking, enjoying a good cup of coffee, playing games, being outdoors, and exploring new places. We also love being with our family and friends.
Music is an integral part of society. It is my hope to help students grow a deeper understanding and appreciation of music through participation in choir. More importantly, I believe that each of us was created to worship the Maker of the universe. While singing is only one aspect of worship, it plays a central role in expressing praise and honor for what God has done for us. I am humbled by the opportunity to lead young hearts to connect with God by worshiping Him in song.
MR. KEITH BLYSTRA
In 2005 I graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. in education and began teaching middle school Bible at Ontario Christian in Ontario, CA.
After teaching four years I decided to pursue graduate studies and in 2009 moved to Jerusalem, Israel, to study at both Jerusalem University College and at the Hebrew University with a focus on Old Testament and Modern Hebrew. After spendin five years in Israel, my wife Laura and I, along with our two young daughters, returned to the States so I could begin teaching at Holland Christian.
My wife and I are both HC graduates and are excited to be a part of the community once again. We have been married for nine years and have recently enjoyed reconnecting with family in the area upon our recent return to the States. I enjoy reading lots of different literature and being active. I have currently taken a new interest in racquetball. My goal is to get more than five points on Mr. Koeman by the end of the school year.
As a teacher of the Bible, one of my goals is to teach students how to read the Bible and be an active participant in its conversation rather than someone sitting in the audience. If we are going to take the message of God’s word seriously then a focus on its context, the land, culture, and language becomes foundational for learning the message and representing it in our daily life. Without learning these contextual elements the message of what God is communicating through the Bible can become diluted and lose its clarity. It is my hope that our study of the Bible will provoke us to take on an attitude and lifestyle that gives witness to God’s love and concern for our world.
I am excited to be teaching at a place like Holland Christian that values the study of the Bible and follows through with its appeal for social responsibility in the world around us.
MRS. ANNA BOORSMA
I graduated from Calvin College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Integrated Science and minoring in Physics
for Secondary Education. I then continued my education at Calvin College and completed my Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Science in 2015. My husband, Anthony, works as an embedded systems engineer in Grand Rapids. We live in Byron Center and love spending time with our families. We also enjoy traveling, boating, reading, and playing board games together. I am very blessed by teaching at Holland Christian! In addition to teaching I have enjoyed participating as the high school Science Olympiad coach.
Science is about curiosity and answering questions about the world that God has created. The world has been created to be an intricate network of connections which models the concept of Biblical community. I believe strongly in creating a community of support and love in the classroom. Faith should be integrated into every part of a Christian’s life. This is why I love being able to teach in a Christian school where we can teach students to see Christ in the material they are taught, and also in their classroom community..
MR. JIM CASERTA
PHYSICAL EDUCATION & HEALTH TEACHER
I received my Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University in 1980. Then in 1983, I received a M.Ed. in HPE/Athletic
Administration. I taught in Ohio for 15 years before moving to Michigan to began teaching at West Ottawa in 1996. In 2012, I was blessed with the opportunity to teach Health and P.E. at Holland Christian High School. I also currently serve as the football and baseball coach at HC. Go Maroons!
My wife, Deb is a special education teacher at Pine Creek Elementary School. We have two great sons; Justin (Hope College 2008) and Grant (2012 Saginaw Valley State University). We attend Central Wesleyan Church. We love West Michigan and our family enjoys many types of athletic activities.
I believe we are called to do two things: Love God – Love People. The rest …. details.
MRS. AMANDA CISNEROS
I graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. and K-12 teaching certificate in Spanish. After graduating I taught Spanish and English
at Holland Christian High School for six years. Then I moved to Madrid, Spain for two years where I earned my master’s degree and worked as a bilingual teacher’s aide. When I returned to Holland Christian, I taught K-8 Spanish for four years, and now I am teaching at the high school again. I am currently earning my certification to teach ESL.
I am married to my husband, Guillermo, whom I met while living in Spain. We have a toddler daughter, Lorena. We attend Engedi Church. Aside from playing with Lorena, we spend our time exploring new places, trying new food, and meeting new people! We have hosted three international students that went to Holland Christian.
God’s beauty and intelligence is so evident in the intricacies of language! He gives us language to live in community and discover the personal narratives that He has given to each person. What a gift! Just as I get to know my students, I teach them language so that they may get to know others, demonstrating Christ’s love.
I do my best to love and respect each student, model Christ, and pray with and for each student. I value being a part of the Holland Christian community and knowing that I, too, am being prayed for.
MR. CHUCK COMMERET
& WINTERIM DIRECTOR
I am humbled and honored to join the Holland Christian community. I will be entering my
eleventh year in Christian education, most recently serving at Zeeland Christian. I have also served at Kalamazoo Christian Middle School and Trinity Christian College.
In 2010 I earned my M.A. in Educational Technology from Michigan State University. I am excited to share my passions for technology and creativity in the classroom, chapels, theatre, and beyond. I am here to serve God, the kids at HC, my colleagues, the HC community, and the broader community as well.
I have an amazing family of women! My wife, Michelle, and I have three girls. We love being together and investing in our school and church families. We are excited to be here!
MR. DAVID DEBOER
PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER
& DEAN OF STUDENTS
I graduated from Cornerstone University in 2010 with a B.A. in Physical Education and
Health Education. I am currently working towards my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership through GVSU. At Holland Christian, I serve as the Dean of Students as well as teach a couple Physical Education classes. I also coach the boys’ varsity soccer team and girls’ JV basketball team. In 2004 I participated and completed the Discipleship Training School through Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Kona, Hawaii.
My wife (Bria) and I got married in the summer of 2010 and live in Holland. Bria and I love sports, traveling, quotes, or anything outdoors. We also enjoy spending time with our families. We have 2 beautiful daughters, Jayna & Lauryn, who we adore.
There is no difference between life, as we call it, and spiritual life. All of life is spiritual; all aspects of my life are interconnected. God is the Creator of all things and since the fall He has begun redeeming all of creation. It is my responsibility as a citizen of God’s kingdom to join with Him in this redemptive process. I believe that exemplifying this belief with my own personal life is the building block to being able to reach students and help them understand this concept. Through my actions, devotions and prayer in the classroom, I reinforce that all of creation belongs to God and that we must love and serve Him and others. Also, allowing students to ask questions, be reflective, and letting them struggle with issues within a safe and facilitated environment is essential for their journey.
MR. DARRYL DE RUITER
I graduated from Dordt College in 1986 with a B.A. in Secondary Education (P.E. & Spanish). In 2001 I earned my Masters degree in Education
graduated from Dordt College (Sioux Center, Iowa) in 1986 with a B.A. in Secondary Education (P.E. & Spanish). In 2001 I earned my Masters degree in Education Leadership from Buena Vista University (Storm Lake, Iowa). I have had teaching/coaching/
I have been married to Shelly since 1987 and we have three great kids: Derek (22), Morgan (20), and Jake (19). We enjoy sharing life together and Shelly and I are excited to support them as they pursue their dreams and callings.
I am honored and blessed to serve the excellent faculty and staff at Holland Christian. I love that HCS has a mission statement that is “alive” and truly is the filter by which all decisions are made and all work is focused. One of the best parts of my job is the opportunity to work with and serve the young people that make up the Holland Christian High School student body and, along with our faculty/staff, have significant impact on their development as students and as followers of Jesus Christ.
MRS. KRISTIN DEWITT
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES
Hope College is my alma mater. I graduated with a special education endorsement specializing in learning disabilities. I taught middle school
special education for several years at Byron Center and also at West Ottawa. For a number of years I worked at home raising my children.
My husband, Kelly, and I have three children, Katelyn, Ryan, and Nathan, who currently attend Holland Christian. I love to run, travel, read, camp, and spend time at the beach and with family and friends. I am also faithfully involved with my church, Calvary on 8th, and the Heights of Hope community.
Spending time with students and helping them to learn, develop and grow is my passion. I love getting to know each student and finding out what motivates them. I am so thankful for Holland Christian which is a place where we can speak openly about our faith, share the love of God and develop in and nourish our faith together.
MR. DALE EIZENGA
In the fall of 1992, I began teaching students science at HCHS after earning a B.A. in Education from Calvin College and a secondary
certification in Chemistry. In the summer of 2001, I completed my M.Ed. with an emphasis in Educational Technology from Grand Valley State University. I have also completed the Target Inquiry Program at GVSU. This 3-year program for high school chemistry teachers involves chemistry research and curriculum design/research, including presentations at national and international conferences. I have been active at HCHS having served on various committees as well as the science department chair. I have enjoyed using videos and inquiry learning to bring individualized learning into my classroom.
My wife, Heather, and I have 2 children. We are members of Calvin Christian Reformed Church where I regularly serve in the children’s programing. In addition, we have often spent our summers working or volunteering at Camp Roger in Rockford, MI.
I chose to teach in a Christian school, because I wanted to be able to show students more than just how the creation works (on a molecular level). I wanted to help them deepen their faith through that knowledge. In my Chemistry class we routinely discuss the question: “How does what you have learned enhance your view of God, His world, and your place in it?” This discussion allows us to step back and see a bigger picture, one that cannot be shown in other schools.
MR. DAVID ENGBERS
In 2001 I graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. in education and started teaching K-8 physical education and directed the middle
school athletic program at Millbrook Christian School. I began teaching physical education at Holland Christian High School in the fall of 2003. I have coached JV girls basketball and the varsity boys lacrosse program. My M.A. degree in Sport Management was completed at Western Michigan University in 2010 and I am currently serving as Athletic Director.
My wife Michelle and I moved to Holland in 2007 after living in Grand Rapids since we were married in 2003. We have four children and are active members at Faith CRC in Holland. Michigan summers provide a great place for our family to enjoy the outdoors together.
It is amazing how different life looks when you view every piece of creation as God’s. We have an incredible opportunity to learn more about our Creator from studying the world around us. There is also a deep respect that is gained for ourselves and others around us by realizing we are loved by God despite of what we deserve. Working at Holland Christian gives me a chance to be open with high school students about Christ and our true purpose for living on earth. Serving coaches and athletes is a privilege for me and provides a powerful opportunity to impact people for Christ. I strive to take the opportunity I have at Holland Christian and not only promote an excellent athletic program, but promote one that glorifies God.
MRS. LYDIA FRENS
WINTERIM INTERNSHIP COORDINATOR
I specialize in career development and planning, and am particularly passionate about helping individuals understand who they are and where
they might fit in the world of work. I see work as an outlet for the talents and temperaments unique to each one of us. Work is a way of creating community, too, because we can benefit from the expertise of those around us. I hold a Master’s of Education degree in Adult and Higher Education.
MR. JEFFREY GOORHOUSE
I graduated from Calvin College in 1980 with a B.A. in Mathematics and a secondary education certification. I later returned to Calvin College
and obtained my M.A.T with a concentration in teaching Mathematics. I started teaching at Holland Christian in the fall of 1980 and have been here ever since. I have coached volleyball, baseball, basketball, and presently coach both JV boys and JV girls tennis.
My wife, Karen, and I were married in 1981. We have three children. Melissa is a Spanish teacher and librarian at Brookfield Christian School in Wisconsin. Michael is married and is the president of the Holland-Zeeland Community Foundation. His wife, Rachel, is a high school Spanish teacher. Jonathan is a mechanical engineer for the Gentex Corporation. His wife, Angie, is a physical therapist. We are members of Providence Church. I enjoy all sports, both watching and participating, and love spending time with family.
I have always felt called to be a teacher. I enjoy the challenge of trying to explain the logic and procedures that are involved in doing Mathematics. I have always loved working with young people and look forward to each new school year. God has given each of our young men and women special abilities, and I feel that my job is to develop those abilities so that each student is prepared to serve God in whatever calling He has for them.
MR. JEDIDIAH GROOTERS
The Holy Spirit caught my ear and called me into the same ministry that Jesus began not long after the end of my high school career.
Saying yes in that moment led shortly after to a B.A in Christian Ministry from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and a Masters of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary here in Holland. A vocational commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ is not a universal call, but I knew in those early days that any other life would be choosing regret. And as such I am very happy to be ordained as such a minister. What I am far more excited about is the opportunity given to me now by Holland Christian Schools and by you all as students and parents to help you hear, just like I did, that very same call to the death to life ministry of Jesus Christ, in all the vocational forms it takes.
My wife, Brittany and I live near downtown Holland with our two children, Eliyanah (2014) and Jace (2016). I also serve as a worship leader at North Holland Reformed Church, and she works at Grooters Productions helping create films that showcase the work of God in the world today. Our hearts are spread across the States and across the globe to all the many places our friends and family call home, but we couldn’t be happier to be here with this staff and this mission at Holland Christian this very day.
MR. BEN HERRMAN
I graduated from Hope College in 2009 with a degree in Math for Secondary Education. After graduating, I spent a year living in Holland
and substitute teaching. I spent the next year in South Haven as a full-time middle school math teacher and the head swim coach the men’s and women’s varsity teams. My first experience with Holland Christian was serving as Todd Smeenge’s assistant coach for the boys swim team for two seasons from 2008 to 2010. During this time, I saw all that Holland Christian has to offer its students and consider myself extremely blessed and fortunate to have been serving on the Holland Christian staff in a full-time capacity since 2011. In addition to teaching, I am also the head coach for the Holland Christian High School girls swim team.
Outside of teaching and coaching, I enjoy staying active and being outdoors amongst God’s creation. I love to camp, hike, fish, mountain bike, road bike, cross country ski, and climb. I also enjoy reading and playing a good board game (when I can find the time!) I am a member of the Providence Church family.
I am excited to be teaching in a faith-based school where students and faculty alike can openly discuss and share their experiences on their journeys toward developing a deeper relationship with Christ. I believe that looking at mathematics from a Christian perspective provides the subject a much deeper context: the formulas and proofs and equations are not happen-stance, but rather things specifically designed by God that we are still uncovering.
MR. MARK HISKES
I graduated from Calvin College in 1979 with a B.A. in English and Psychology. I received my M.A.T. from Calvin a few years later. I taught
for six years at Chicago Christian High School, and came to Holland Christian in 1989, where I have taught on and off ever since. I have taught a couple courses part time at Hope College, and taught for one year at Calvin College in 2000-2001.
I am married to Cindy and have two children, Pete and Mary. We attend Third Reformed Church of Holland and love that old place, its people and mission.
In all my years of teaching I have taught one thing, really, and that is, as a colleague of mine once said, “Mark Hiskes.” In the end, that’s all that we teachers do–teach the truth about life as by Grace we have come to know it. As much as possible I try to shape my classroom to be the kind of place I want the world to be–a community where people can be comfortable and encouraged, accepted for who they were created to be, gracious in their words and actions, challenged to think outside the box, and challenged to do good work. After about 30 years of teaching, I can say that I love students even more than I love good books and writing, and that is a lot. They will know that after leaving my class. In addition, I want my students to come from my class with the confidence to live as counter-cultural Christians: not accepting the shallow values of our American culture, with its emphasis on speed, efficiency, money, materialism, popularity, and competition. Instead, I want them to model the counter-cultural values of Christ’s Beatitudes–such as, mercy, peace, humility, compassion, righteous conviction. As long as Holland Christian values these things, I will continue to love my work.
MRS. DAWN HOGUE
LIBRARY MEDIA SPECIALIST
I was very blessed to grow up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, near Seattle, Washington. After graduating from Calvin College in 1995,
I taught middle school Social Studies (primarily American History and Geography), Language Arts, and Bible, as well as directed eighth grade plays for 16 years. My teaching career began in 1995 at San Jose Christian School in California. I then moved back to Michigan to teach at Kelloggsville Christian School in Kentwood. God called me next to teach at West Side Christian School in Grand Rapids, where I would stay for 13 years. During those years, I also was involved in high school youth ministry, leading small groups, and going on mission trips. In 2005 I lived in Guatemala for six weeks working with Paradise Bound Ministries.
My husband Ty is the Youth Pastor at Harderwyk Ministries. We have two little girls, Ella and Megan, who are students at Rose Park Christian. As a family we love spending time outside — riding bikes, hiking, camping, going to Captain Sundae — as well as reading and playing games, and travelling. In my spare time, I love to read, read, and read some more! I also enjoy baking, scrapbooking, and doing crafts with my girls.
I am thankful that I was able to stay home with my girls for a few years, and now that they are starting school I am enjoying working part-time. I am blessed that God has called me to serve Him at Holland Christian. I already love my job as the HS Library Media Specialist and look forward to getting to know students and staff, as well as learn something entirely new in life. I have always had a stack of books waiting to be read, and I love that I am surrounded by great literature all day at work! It’s exciting to be able to work with students again, and I look forward to being able to assist students with research and writing, as well. “A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.” Henry Ward Beecher
MR. DALE HOMKES
APPLIED TECHNOLOGY TEACHER
I am a 1973 graduate of Holland Christian and a 1977 graduate of Calvin College with a B.A. in Economics/Business. I worked for 22 years
at Prince Corporation/JCI in various manufacturing leadership roles where I received an excellent “nuts and bolts” education in manufacturing management, mostly in the areas of business and engineering. After leaving JCI in late 2000 I formed a consulting/contract business that helps companies with manufacturing improvement. My clients include Gentex, Prince Manufacturing, Idra Prince, Great Lakes Home and Resort.
I have been married to Carrie for thirty years and we have two sons, Alex and Austin, both HC grads. We are members at Christ Memorial Church where I have served several terms on Consistory and have been Treasurer on two occasions.
In the area of Applied Technology my teaching philosophy is to come along side each student (at whatever level they may be) and work with them to learn skills that will serve them for life. Creative subject approaches, enthusiasm, encouragement, and industrial experiences can all be used to facilitate learning. I believe God has given us the incredible privilege of working along side Him as He reclaims this fallen world. I will emphasize this great truth daily as your sons and daughters learn how engineering, technology and machines can prepare them to be more productive as they work in God’s Kingdom.
MRS. JANET HOWELL
I graduated with a B.A. from Calvin College, majoring in English and minoring in psychology. I received my Master’s degree in counseling
from Michigan State University. In 1986 my husband and I moved to Holland from Florida and I began my work at Holland Christian High School. I hold a professional counselor license from the State of Michigan.
My husband Tim and I have two married daughters, Elizabeth (Justin) Boldt and Emily (Michael) Schipper, who both attended Holland Christian. Tim and I love the simple joys of life in Holland: Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning, soup at 8th Street Grille on a winter evening, bike rides to Saugatuck, Hope Summer Repertory Theater, waiting for the first tomato in our garden, and communion of and with the saints at Pillar Church.
At Holland Christian High School, I enjoy helping students with their academic concerns, college and/or career plans, and personal matters. I feel especially blessed to be able to counsel from a Christian perspective, to encourage students in their personal walk with Christ, to share God’s word with students, to discuss His love, grace and forgiveness, and to pray with them in personal matters. It is a joy to see students grow and change in the four years they attend high school and to see God working out His plan in their lives.
MR. CHRISTOPHER JACOBS
SOCIAL STUDIES & SPANISH IMMERSION TEACHER
After graduating from Holland Christian High School, I never would have thought I would come back, especially not as a teacher.
However, God’s plans for our lives always seem to include frequent twists of irony. In college, I studied social studies and Spanish and studied abroad in Mexico, originally with plans of moving there permanently to teach after graduation. I graduated from Grand Valley State University in the winter of 2014 in with a degree in social studies and a minor in Spanish. After college, I worked as a para pro at Byron Center High School as well as taught Spanish at Holland High.
Last year, I married my amazing wife Kaitlyn (who is also an HC grad). We are extremely excited to once again be a part of the Holland Christian community. Some of my personal hobbies aside from Spanish and history are playing music with my wife in our band and at our church Calvary CRC, kayaking, traveling, and building guitars.
As a first year teacher, I’m humbled by the opportunity that I have to teach at Holland Christian. I am extremely excited to help students grow not only in knowledge, but in a deep, real, and authentic relationship with their Savior. Learning about history and government to me is primarily a means to figure out who we are as servants of Christ and as those charged with helping bring redemption to this world. It’s to those ends that I desire to focus students as well as my own life.
MRS. KAREN JEFTS
I graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1995 and from Western Michigan University in 2000 with a B.A. in Math and Biology Secondary
Education. From there I moved to Tulsa, OK where I attended a two-year Bible school with an emphasis on missions. In college God placed a love in my heart for Afghanistan, and in 2005 my dream of moving there came true. I taught, counseled and worked in administration at the International School of Kabul for six years. I have many stories of living in Afghanistan and if you ask me, I can talk for hours!
In 2010 I obtained my M.S. in School Counseling from Concordia University and in 2011 I moved to Grand Rapids and worked at Calvin College for two years in admissions. That experience allowed me see how things worked in college admissions from the other side of the desk. I began at Holland Christian in 2013 and sometimes I am still in awe that I work at such an amazing place.
MR. PAUL KLOKKERT
I graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management, and from Appalachian State
University with a Master of Arts in Counseling. Since graduating from college, I worked as a high school counselor and in higher education/student affairs as well. My hobbies include coaching golf, running, and watching the Detroit Tigers whenever I can find the time. I attend Central Wesleyan and serve as a Pastoral Care Elder/Community Shepherd for the congregation. My favorite verse is Isaiah 58:11 which says, “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
MR. JOHN KNOESTER
I graduated from South Christian High School in 1972. In 1976, I graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics from Calvin College. In 1980, I
received my M.A.T. from Calvin College. I began my teaching career at Ripon Christian High in California in the fall of 1976. I taught math, computer programming, and physics for thirteen wonderful years at RCHS. I also coached baseball, track, basketball, and tennis during that time. In 1989, I began working at Holland Christian Schools. I currently teach Calculus and Statistics and coach the boys’ and girls’ tennis teams.
I am blessed with three children (John , Tim, and Rachel) and three darling grandsons. All three children are graduates of Holland Christian Schools and Calvin College. I also have been blessed while serving as a volunteer in the Faith CRC ALPHA program.
I now have had the privilege of teaching at a Christian high school for many years. Each year I have the opportunity to work with students that exhibit a variety of unique God-given talents and gifts. My job not only includes helping young minds learn mathematics, but more importantly, it gives me an opportunity to see God at work in the lives of our students. Through daily devotions, weekly worship services, classroom conversations, and coaching tennis teams, my faith in God has been strengthened and my life enriched. For this I am truly grateful.
MR. KEVIN KOEMAN
I graduated from Holland Christian High School in the spring of 1998. From here I moved to Palos Heights, IL and attended Trinity Christian College
College. I graduated with a major in English and a minor in Philosophy. Following graduation, I taught at Chicago Christian High School in Illinois. I am so blessed to work at Holland Christian. It is humbling to be working at the place that had such a huge impact in shaping me. Hopefully God uses me each day to work in the lives of His children here.
My wife Gretchen and I have been married for 11 years and have three children, Tessa, Lleyton, and Gibson. What a blessing! I love sports and love competition, especially when the competition is done with class. I also enjoy fishing, golfing, and water sports. I wake up each day and try hard to live out Psalm 103…”The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in LOVE.”
I am so blessed to be a teacher. It is a wonderful gift not only to be able to work with young kids, but also to have the opportunity to tell them about Christ on a daily basis. I feel that God is sovereign over all things. I believe that He sent His Son into this world to redeem it, and that it is now our job to be agents of restoration. Whether that be as a lawyer, teacher, nurse, garbage collector, electrician, physician’s assistant, or a stay-at-home mom, we are each able to share the gospel. The theme in my class is “living in community.” One of my favorite questions to my students is: “Are you going to change the world; or are you going to let the world change you?” Personally, I enjoy doing this through the realm of English because there are countless avenues of connection. I look forward to being back here at Holland Christian High School, this time as a teacher.
MR. DAVID KOOL
PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER & ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT
I graduated from Western Michigan University with a B.S. degree in 2011. I majored
in Physical Education K-12 with an emphasis on teaching and coaching and received a minor in English. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Educational Leadership through Grand Valley State University and I will complete it in August 2018.
My wife Olivia and I were married in 2014 and we have one daughter, Mackenzy. We attend Ada Bible Church and really enjoy traveling and being outdoors. We love seeing God’s Creation at work on our frequent visits up north. We also love being active and finding ourselves around water at any time!
I am excited to teach and coach at Holland Christian because I love kids and wish to impact them in a positive way by leading them to Christ. I strive to model the behavior that I wish to pass onto my students and athletes on a daily basis. I believe there is no greater job than being a teacher as we get to impact kids on a social, emotional, and physical level while teaching them about life and all the things God has given us. Each student and athlete is designed in a unique way by our Creator and I enjoy finding ways to help them reach their full potential.
MR. CHRIS KUIPERS
MATHEMATICS TEACHER &
FUTURE MAROONS COORDINATOR
My calling as a Christian educator has taken me from Grand Rapids Christian High School to South Christian
High School, to a Christian school in Indonesia, and now to Holland Christian High School. I love sharing my academic and athletic passions with students, and use those contexts to develop and challenge the mind, body, heart and spirit of young men and women, glorifying God in all things.
MR. CALEB LAGERWEY
SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER
I graduated with honors from Calvin College with a B.A. in History Education and in Social Studies. While there, I nurtured a love for American
History, particularly the Spanish-American War era and its parallels in current foreign policy debates.
While at Calvin, I also met my wonderful wife, Holly, a Social Worker who speaks fluent Spanish during her work with Hispanic refugee children. We currently live near extended family on the near side of Grand Rapids and attend Hillside CRC.
Holland Christian is a quintessential Christian school, and I love teaching where I can pursue my passion for Christian education with fellow educators and fellow believers. Christian education, in my opinion, starts and ends with the student, for education is less about teaching and more about learning. I also believe that faith is an integral part of every subject and that through Christian education we nurture our students as citizens of God’s Kingdom. Christianity, to me, is an all-encompassing framework that should prompt teachers to mentor and train students to be exceptional citizens of the United States, the world, and the Kingdom of God. I therefore aim to instill in my students a life-long love of learning, both for the sake of developing their God-given talents and for understanding more fully the amazing creation with which God has blessed us. As a Christian teacher, I aim to apply my faith to all areas of life, infusing my everyday teaching with faith and not merely applying a spiritual veneer of Christianity to my content. I help my students reach their greatest spiritual, academic, and social potential as they become those who transform the world for Jesus Christ using their equipped minds and nurtured hearts.
MR. BRIAN LEMMEN
Where to begin and what to include in a biography are eternal problems. I could start with my mother’s version of a breech delivery but
that would make this too long and painful. So I’ll begin with telling you about my education. In 1979, I graduated from Holland Christian High School. I then attended Calvin College, where I earned a B.A. in math. Upon graduation in 1983, it was off to sunny Southern California and Valley Christian High School, where I taught math and coached both soccer and track until 1992. While in California, I received my M. A. in math from California State University, Fullerton. I have been teaching at Holland Christian since 1992.
My wife, Jane, and I have two children. We attend Calvary Christian Reformed Church. Jane is employed by Young Life as the director of Young Lives, a ministry to teen moms.
Christian education has been an important part of my life. I never considered teaching in a public school because being able to talk about my God openly and honestly is very important to me. God is a God of order and of logic. Learning math, I believe, helps us to understand our God better.
MRS. KRISTI LOKKER
MEDIA CENTER ASSISTANT
I am a graduate of Holland Christian. After graduating I went to Cosmetology school. I still enjoy cosmetology part time out of my home.
When my kids were in Holland Christian, I volunteered for the school. One of the volunteer positions I had was in the Media Centers. I have also substituted for the Holland Public School system. I have worked with their special needs students and in their Media Centers.
I love working in the Media Center. It’s great to see and hear the excitement the kids have when they find a book they really enjoyed reading or together we have found that article they needed for a research paper. Showing Christ’s love to everyone who walks through the Media Center doors is something I strive for everyday.
MR. TIMOTHY LONT
PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER &
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES
Grand Rapids Christian Schools (1975); Hope College (1979); Grand Valley State University
(1984); Holland Public Teacher/Coach (1980-1999); Holland Christian Teacher/Coach (2000-Present).
I have been married to Joyce Elaine Takens since 1984. I graduated from Hope in 1979. I have three children, Heidi, Tracy, and Jimmy. “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord” – Joshua 24:15.
I want all my students to know that God has an exciting plan for their life. I want them to know that the educational process is an important piece in God’s plan. Using my knowledge and experience about unique learning styles and individual differences, and my care and concern for people, I want to help my students be successful doing “school.” They are uniquely gifted by God and they are very important to me. It is my responsibility as a high school teacher to make practical, applicable and real the lessons that I present. Most importantly, I want to show how these lessons are a special part of God’s plan for each student’s life. I desire all my students to feel good about themselves, their school, and their efforts. I want them to know that they have a responsibility to work up to the best of their God given abilities. I pray that they will be responsive to God’s will for their life. Finally, I dream that they will be faithful servants of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
MRS. ANNEKE LOUDER
SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER
I graduated from Calvin College in 2009 with a B.A. in Secondary Education, with a History major and English minor. After Calvin, I moved
to Minneapolis where I taught at Calvin Christian High School, teaching both social studies and language arts. After teaching here for seven years, I taught at Robbinsdale Middle School, an inner-city school in my neighborhood.
Last year, I married my husband Ramsey and we recently relocated to Michigan to be closer to family. We live in Grand Rapids and we are enjoying exploring our new city and making it home. When not teaching, I love reading, taking care of our crazy dog, traveling, coffee shops, beach days, baking, and loving on my nieces and nephews.
I am thankful for the opportunity to join the community at Holland Christian; I am passionate about intentional Christian education, exploring what it means to be obedient in His kingdom, understanding that every square inch is already His. I believe Christian education must be more than raising “thinkers” but rather must create and equip “doers”, God’s hands and feet, and I look forward to partnering with students to dream together of what it might mean to be Kingdom workers. agents of shalom in the world.
MRS. JANET LYNCH
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES TEACHER
In 1988, I graduated from Elmhurst College with a B.A. in Education with a Special Education Endorsement in the areas of Learning
Disabilities and Behavioral/Emotional Disorders. After graduating, I taught at Indian Trail Jr. High in Addison, Illinois as a Special Education Teacher. My family and I relocated to Holland in February of 2002. I began teaching at Holland Christian Schools in the fall of 2002.
My husband, Mike, and I have three children: Steven, Jessica and Daniel. We enjoy spending time at baseball games, miniature golfing, swimming and vacationing. We also spend a great deal of time visiting family and friends in Illinois. We are members of Ridge Point Community Church.
Teaching in a Christian School enables me to remind the students that I work with that each and every one of them was created in God’s image and was uniquely gifted to serve Him. It is very exciting to work along side students as they prepare to live for Christ in a global society.
MR. AARON MECKES
In 2014 I graduated from Calvin College where I studied secondary science education. I am married to Abbie (a former Maroon!), who works
as a nurse. We live on the south side of Holland where we enjoy working around the house and spending time with our puppy, Leo.
I am blessed to call Holland Christian home, and I am convinced more and more every day that God is present within our walls. I hope that while learning science, my students also see the love I have for them, which pales in comparison to the love they receive from their Creator. God is truly good.
MRS. ELIZABETH MOGCK
I graduated from Taylor University in 2001 with a B.A. in English Education. I then completed Youth With A Mission’s Discipleship Training School,
a program with an emphasis on missions and biblical worldview, in Hawaii and Thailand. Following DTS, I moved to Delaware, where I taught seventh and ninth grade English and coached the varsity volleyball team at Red Lion Christian Academy. I also organized and led students on summer mission trips. In the summer of 2006, I moved to El Paso, Texas, to work with a border ministry, and I spent the next two years coordinating trips and working with mission teams in Mexico. As my time with the ministry drew to a close in 2008, God made it clear to me that He was calling me back to Christian education and then led me to Holland Christian. I consider teaching and coaching at HC a wonderful blessing and privilege.
My husband Matt and I enjoy living in Holland and taking advantage of its all season outdoor beauty. We attend Engedi Church in Holland.
God has given me a passion for teenagers, for excellent Christian education, and for sharing my love for God through teaching and coaching. As an English teacher, I believe it is my privilege and responsibility to teach students how to be critical thinkers and seekers of God’s truth; the studies of literature, language, and writing are wonderful ways to pursue this objective. I believe that my life is an outreach motivated by my love for God, and my prayer is that He will use me to give my students opportunities to experience the adventure of loving and serving our incredible God!
MR. DAVE MOSTERD
After graduating from Holland Christian High School in 1999 after 12 years of excellent education in the system, I went on to Reformed
Bible College earning a B.A. in Bible and Theology. I continued my education at Cornerstone University with a major in History and a minor in Communications for high school education. Throughout my years in college I have studied overseas four times, concentrating mostly in Israel and the Middle East studying the culture, land, and language. In addition to teaching World History and U.S. History, I am also involved in the theatre program at Holland Christian as well as on the Chapel Committee.
I have lived in Holland my whole life but in the times I have been away for an extended period of time I have always enjoyed returning. I joined the staff of the church I grew up in for three years and stepped down to focus on finishing up my education to be a teacher. In my spare time I love to be outside. As a junior at HC I started the annual Caving Expedition and I continue to enjoy caving, camping, backpacking and most everything outdoors. That is coupled with my deep passion for all aspects of the stage. I have co-written three full-length plays, directed, produced, acted and done all facets of technical theatre participating in 45 productions to date. I live my life in the hope of fulfilling the Westminster Confession which states, “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior, my joy and my hope, and to Him I give all the glory for all the blessings he has showered down upon me as the flood gates of heaven have opened up and spilled over. I am married to my beautiful wife Nicky, who teaches at Rose Park.
Growing up in the Christian Reformed Church and educated in the Reformed tradition I have always been told about “worldview.” As a History teacher with a deep passion for God and His Word I find it critical to study History in this context. As students enter my classroom they have been taught about how they should “view.” They have been given the Biblical foundation upon which to construct their own worldview. It is now they begin to put the “world” into the equation. I desire to challenge students to put their Christian perspective into the study of ancient, world, western, U.S., and current history. We want to learn how to make our “view” affect the “world” and not our “world”; affect our “view.”
MRS. ELLE NIEUWSMA
I graduated from Calvin College in 2016 with my Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Secondary English Education and minoring in Communications. It is
surreal (but exciting) to be returning to my high school to teach and direct.
This past year I married my husband, Dave, whom I met while working as a counselor at Camp Roger. He teaches 5th grade at Rose Park. We are loving our new life in Holland, and enjoy road-tripping, drinking coffee, and walking our black lab, Luna. Outside of school, I play cello and lead worship. I also love stories and can spend hours lost in a good book, movie, or play.
I pray that, in addition to intellect, students grow in compassion, courage, and creativity through my subject areas of Theatre, English, and Psychology. I am particularly thankful for the opportunity to invest in students and walk alongside them in a Christian environment as we glorify God, respond to His calling, and care for the world around us.
MRS. JULIE O’BRIEN
In 1995, I graduated from Calvin College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Science Studies and a secondary education teaching
certificate. I finished my M.Ed. with a biology emphasis in 2003 through Grand Valley State University. I began teaching science at Holland Christian in 1995 where I have served on a variety of committees and as a coach for volleyball and track. In 2000-2001, I took a leave of absence to teach at Sahel Academy, an international school in Niger, West Africa.
The more I learn about the world around me, the more amazed I am at the order and beauty in such a complex universe and the more I feel I get a glimpse of how amazing God truly is. It is exciting to expose students to this beauty, complexity and order, and it is my prayer that through a growing understanding of the world, they will see God more clearly and they will desire to become good stewards of the blessings they have been given.
MRS. ANN PAWLOSKI
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES
I graduated from Calvin College in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. After graduating, I taught Environmental Education at Au Sable
Institute of Environmental Education in northern Michigan. I then moved to Hawaii to teach Outdoor Education on the North Shore of Oahu. I loved teaching so I decided to go back to school to become a teacher. In 2000, I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Secondary Education Science and Special Education. My first teaching position was at Woodland Park Middle School in Woodland Park, Colorado. I taught special education there for 4 years before accepting a position at Holland Christian High School. I am currently working on my Masters in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism.
I live in Hamilton with my husband Chuck and two step children, Luke and Kristen. We spend a lot of our time working on our small 10 acre hobby farm. We also enjoy traveling, hiking, biking, and spending time with family. We are members of Third Christian Reformed Church in Zeeland.
I believe God has given us all unique gifts and abilities. As a teacher, I hope to help each student discover these gifts and learn how to use them to glorify our Creator.
MRS. AMY PETERSON
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES ASSISTANT
I graduated from Calvin College in 1987 with a B.A. in Secondary Art Education. Prior to being in the Guided Studies room, I aided in the
Learning Center and taught Art and American Culture at Holland Christian High School.
My husband Clint and I have three children who graduated from Holland Christian. Lydia, a graduate of Calvin College, was recently married and moved to West Virginia. Isla and Luke are both currently attending Calvin. We are members of 14th Street Christian Reformed Church and have been blessed by being part of the faith community there. In my free time I enjoy reading, walking, creating liturgical art with kids at church and caring for our numerous family pets.
It’s a great privilege to be able to guide student in their learning. Students can be unsure of their strengths and abilities and I love helping them recognize, discover and build upon the gifts God has given them.
MRS. MERIDITH RIDL
I received my B.A. in Studio Art from the College of Wooster and my Master’s in Fine Arts from the University of Michigan. Prior to teaching
at Holland Christian, I was an adjunct professor for two years at various colleges including the University of Michigan, Kendall College of Art and Design, Southwestern Michigan University, and Hope College.
Each day as I enter the classroom I am newly energized by the sense of creation that surrounds me. Thanks to wonderful students, I get to see new things every single day. I believe in the artist that tucks inside all of us–that piece of us that finds delight when looking into the stars; that remembers we live in a world that shows us ancient trees, weathered walls, creeping vines, and coffee cups; that piece of us that at some point or another has felt free to pick up a crayon and add color to the world. As we create we are reminded of a larger creation and Creator. It is my hope that we can let a sense of the wonder of God’s world spill out into our daily moments, creep into our artwork, and invade our imaginations. In class we look at art, create art, and discuss art as we dive into the sometimes confusing, sometimes beautiful, sometimes frustrating, sometimes gleeful, sometimes boisterous, sometimes subtle, always mysterious, and delightfully big world that creating can open up for us. God has such open arms!…and I hope art can help encourage us to welcome this embrace.
MRS. BETSI ROELOFS
I graduated from Holland Christian High in 1993. I did my undergraduate work at Grand Valley State University over the next four years.
I received a B.A. with a double major in math and Spanish, and am certified to teach at the secondary level. I completed my Master’s degree in a math/education program at Grand Valley State University.
My husband, Mike, and I have three children. Our three children attend Zeeland Christian Schools and Holland Christian High School. Mike works as a deputy for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. We are members of Haven Christian Reformed Church in Zeeland, where I enjoy being a member of the praise team.
I love teaching in a Christian school because of the opportunities it gives me to share my faith in God and help young adults grow into their faith. I believe every student is a child of God, capable of wonderful things, including learning math! I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to help students learn about the ways in which God created our world, and to be able to have relationships with these students.
MRS. DIANE ROELOFS
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES ASSISTANT
I graduated from Holland Christian and love that I get to work at my alma mater in the ESS department. I have worked in the Inclusion
MRS. MARIA ROOKS
I earned a B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Calvin College, and, for the last number of years, I have been taking graduate
classes at GVSU in both English and Education. I previously taught at Holland Christian High School from 1991 to 1999.
I grew up in northwestern New Mexico but have lived in Holland for the last 20 years. My husband, Doug, and I have four daughters. We are members of Fourteenth Street Church.
I teach at a Christian School because both teachers and students can explore and share how God reveals himself to us in every subject at school and every area of our lives. We can connect elements of faith such as repentance, obedience and trust to our daily experience and work in the classroom. It is exciting to reflect on what we learn in light of Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
MR. BRIAN ROZEMA
I am a 2002 alumnus of Holland Christian. I attended Calvin College, earning a B.A. in Mathematics and Latin for Secondary Education.
I began teaching Latin at Holland Christian High School in 2006.
I married my wonderful wife, Katy, in July of 2013. We attend Haven CRC, in Zeeland.
My time as a student at Holland Christian was a great time in my life. It was a place where I was challenged to develop both mentally and spiritually. My positive experience was due largely to the teachers I had. I love that I am now able to try to help students have great experiences of their own, growing in knowledge and faith at Holland Christian.
MRS. MARY ROZENDAL
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES
I grew up in Grand Rapids, and, in 1994, I graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. in Elementary Education, married my college
sweetheart, Dave (a ’90 HC grad), and moved to Holland. It was quite a year! I was hired for a long-term sub position at HCMS, teaching 7th and 8th grade English and literature in the spring of 1995. The following fall, I began teaching at Beaverdam Christian School in Hudsonville, where I taught for more than five years. During that time, I earned my Masters of Education in reading at Grand Valley State University. In October of 2000, my husband was transferred to Huntsville, Alabama. Our family moved south and began what was to be a twelve year adventure. There, I worked at Westminster Christian Academy, as a librarian, secretary, a 4th grade teacher and a middle and high school tutor (not all at once). In October of 2012, my husband got a new job at Tennant Co. in Holland. Our family moved back to Holland, and, again, I got involved in school by subbing and volunteering as an in-class aide at Pine Ridge. A week after school began in the fall of 2013, I was hired as a para-professional for HCMS and HCHS. It was exactly where God wanted me to be and what He had prepared me for.
My family and I miss our friends and “family” in Alabama, but we love being back home in Holland and being part of the HC family. We are members at Park CRC. I enjoy reading and writing and I would really love to have a book published some day. I have already been rejected by lots of great publishers!
Christian education is a blessing and a privilege that I believe should be available to children of all abilities and gifts. I’m pleased to be part of the Educational Support Services to help insure that all children receive a quality Christian education.
MR. JOSH RUMPSA
SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER
I graduated from Hope College in 2004 earning a B.A. with majors in both Biology and History. Following graduation, I spent a year in the
Czech Republic as a missionary where I served an American Football team as a player/coach and also taught English in a variety of settings. In 2006 I was hired into the Holland Christian family as a teacher in the Social Studies Department and have also coached football, basketball, track, and legislative debate. I enjoy historical board games or books that challenge me with how I approach the world. I have been blessed to travel, including trips to Bangladesh, South Africa, New Orleans, and Costa Rica. Three of those trips involved leading HC students.
In August of 2009 I married my love, Kim. We own a home near Washington square here in Holland and together enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, racquetball, sledding, etc… anything active. In 2013 we were licensed as foster parents and through that have adopted our five beautiful daughters: Teeyana (3), Novi (5), Dee (7), Khee (9), and Selena (12). We have a fun, loud, active home! We have also hosted four international students that attended HCHS.
Harry S. Truman often suggested that all the problems we face today could be understood if we look to the history we do not know. I believe in the importance of history and am excited to be teaching it. I believe that God has had His hand guiding all of human history and I respect and honor the people who have stood up courageously against all forms of tyranny in our world. I hope that with parents, the school, and my efforts, the students at Holland Christian will be molded into Christians who love Jesus, serve others, and are willing to go into the world as examples and leaders, showing God’s love to all. I leave you with this Anne Frank quote: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
MR. BRYANT RUSS
I have the privilege of teaching high school Bible. It is a joy being able to communicate and demonstrate God’s good heart through the
teaching of God’s Word. Seriously, this job rocks.
I graduated from Hope College in 2011 with a degree in English Education and Biblical Studies. My wonderful wife is a nurse in Zeeland (feel the zeel!) where we live with our two dogs, Annie and Piper. I have been a huge Holland Christian fan ever since college when I was blessed to learn from some excellent HC teachers while studying to be a teacher myself. It is now an honor to be part of such a wonderful team of dedicated teachers.
MR. GREG SCHEMPER
FILM & ENGLISH TEACHER
I graduated from Calvin College in 2000 with a teaching degree in English and biology and then moved to Southern California, where I
taught two years at Ontario Christian High in Ontario, California; three years at John Burroughs High School in Burbank, California; and earned a Masters of Professional Writing in poetry and film at USC.
In 2006, we moved here to Holland. While we miss the sunshine of Southern California, we feel blessed to be part of Holland Christian, where I teach American Literature, Communications, Film Studies, and Film Production I & II. My wife, Sarah, and I have been married since December 2002, and we have two daughters, Kate and Elia, who both attend Zeeland Christian. Our family attends Faith CRC.
In American culture, which grows ever more sophisticated and often equates truth with being nice or with whatever feels good, it’s often difficult to recognize the lives Christ would have us lead. Through studying and teaching literature, writing, communications, and film, I aim to help my students better see that Jesus calls us to the most exciting of all possible lifestyles. And that through our individual gifts–whether they be in music, art, engineering, or accounting–deep joy is found in using these gifts to be agents of change for Christ.
MS. ANNA SLENK
SPANISH IMMERSION BIBLE TEACHER
I graduated from North Park University (Chicago, IL) with a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies and Creative Writing in 2006.
In 2016, I finished my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a certificate in Dual Language and Immersion Education.
Last year, after living in Costa Rica for almost ten years, I moved back to West Michigan with my family. My husband, Andrés Castro, is a software engineer and we have three young boys: Levi (3 yrs old), Oliver (22 months), and Wesley (6 months).
While in Costa Rica, I helped start and lead El Puente, a bilingual Christian school in a small beach town on the Pacific Coast. I still work with the school from a distance in an administrative position, and am hoping to bring some of our teachers and 6th grade students to visit Holland this fall!
The mission of the school is to equip students “be a bridge,” showing the love of Christ by crossing linguistic, cultural, and socio-economic boundaries in the classroom, in the community, and in the world. That is my desire for all students I will have this year as well. Learning a second language is an incredible opportunity to start to understand and connect with others in our world in meaningful ways for God’s glory. I am excited to explore this through the context of the Bible 1 Spanish Immersion classroom this year.
MR. ELLIOT SLENK
ART TEACHER & ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT
I received my B.A. in Art Education from Grand Valley State University. Prior to teaching at Holland Christian, I spent time volunteering
at La Escuela Cristiana El Puente, located in Quepos, Costa Rica. There I taught elementary art and physical education.
Along with teaching art, I enjoy serving as the Holland Christian Girl’s Varsity Soccer Coach in the Spring and as the Assistant Coach for the Hope College Women’s Soccer team in the Fall. My wife Jamie and I were married on July 11, 2015 and we currently reside in Graafschap, MI.
Since working at Holland Christian, I have been blessed by the community that encourages excellence alongside of Christian growth. I am excited to teach art and help students create, while encouraging them to always recognize the ultimate Creator God.
MRS. JAMIE SLENK
I graduated from Hope College in May 2012 with a B.A., certificate in K-12 Spanish Education, and a minor in Organizational Leadership
Practice from the Center for Faithful Leadership. I also am currently in pursuit of my MAT at Aquinas. During my years at Hope College, I spent time abroad in Querétaro, which is Holland’s sister city in Mexico. While there, I studied at the UAQ (Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro) and taught high school English at Vanguardia Educativa. Later, I spent some time living in Barcelona, Spain. While there, I took classes through IES Abroad and taught English for a non-profit organization that supports Latin American immigrants in Catalonia. God ignited my passion for the Spanish culture and called me to my vocation in teaching while doing mission work in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala. I could not be more excited and blessed for the opportunity to be a part of the Holland Christian community.
I was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois, and am the youngest of a family of four. This past summer, my husband Elliot (who also teaches at the high school) and I got married in Holland and are now happily residing in Graafschap. We both love HC, coaching, and our dogs, Maya and Red.
It is my purpose and calling as a teacher to walk in faith with my students as well as my brothers and sisters in Christ. Being a part of a Christian education system allows us to pursue a learning that is ordered by Christ, where together we may realize and use our individual gifts and capacities in order to grow both the Kingdom of God and ourselves. I believe that learning a second or third language can only catalyze this process of better understanding the world and people around us in order to live well and faithfully.
MR. SAM SPORTEL
I graduated from Calvin College in December of 2007 with an Integrated Science major and Biology minor for secondary education. I then
acted as a research assistant and science instructor for an NSF program for middle school students at Calvin College. I spent the year of 2008 working at Calvin College as a research associate in science education and I spent the summers of 2007 – 2010 researching the scientific reasoning strategies of middle school students. In 2013, I completed my masters program in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in science education through Calvin College.
My wife, Katie, is currently a stay at home mother with our three children Jack, Grace, and Chloe. We enjoy hiking, camping, and just generally being outdoors. One of our goals is to visit all the national parks in the United States. We currently live on the south side of Holland and are members of Providence Church.
I have the unique opportunity to integrate my faith into teaching science. In science, we look at creation in its amazing intricacy as well as its simplicity. I believe students are all unique creations of God and need to be treated as such in and out of the classroom. I also believe that science content is not necessarily the most important thing I will be teaching them. Developing the students themselves is the ultimate goal. I am here to love my students, to be patient with them, and to help them grow in grace, knowledge of God, and knowledge of His creation.
MRS. HEATHER SWIERENGA
PHYSICAL EDUCATION & HEALTH TEACHER
I graduated from Calvin College in 2010 with a B.A. in Physical Education and Health Education. At Holland Christian, I will be serving
as the Physical Education and Health teacher for freshmen girls, and will also coach the girls’ varsity basketball team. I am currently in a Master’s program at GVSU for Educational Leadership.
My husband, Mark, and I got married in the summer of 2011 and live in Grand Rapids. Mark and I love to travel, hike, bike, and play outdoors. We also enjoy visiting Mark’s family in Arizona and spending time with my family here in Holland. We have one beautiful daughter Madison.
I truly believe that we are called to walk as Jesus walked. I love the image of walking similarly to Christ as I learn best through movement. I believe that God has created all things and continues to partner with us fix the brokenness of this world and restore it to wholeness as originally intended. It is my responsibility in that partnership to continue the redemptive process; I see that as a building block in my interaction with students. Through my “walk,” I hope to exemplify Christ. I believe I can do that through grace-filled class discussions and my personal words and actions. I look forward to journeying with students and creating a safe, Christ-centered environment for them to learn and develop their own partnership with God.
MR. KEVIN TIMMER
TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT SPECIALIST
A Grand Rapids native, I graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2005 with a French degree. Following my college years,
I taught English in France for several years, an worked as an Assistant Director of the Language Resource at GVSU, before working as a technician for Apple. It was there at Apple that I met Charlie Piffer, and subsequently was offered the job here as Technology Support Specialist.
Last year I had the privilege of doing a work exchange in Ecuador. I enjoy traveling, and have been able to explore Peru and India, as well as Berlin, Germany. I also enjoy hiking, reading, biking, and playing trivia and other social party games.
career began at Sunnyside Christian Schools in Sunnyside, Washington, where I taught band and choir for five years. Most recently, I was director of instrumental music for four years at Valley Christian High School in Cerritos, California. I have been at Holland Christian since 2007.
My wife Susan and I were married in July of 2003 and have 2 daughters, Ella and Charlotte, and a son, Abram. I am originally from Iowa where my family still lives. My wife’s family is in Kalamazoo. Aside from music, I enjoy hiking, playing tennis, and reading.
God has placed us in a world with the raw materials of music “pitch, resonance, and time” and has given each of us image-bearers the ability to create music. We respond by praising God for this wonderful gift and by using this gift to create music that is true, noble, right, pure lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Band, Jazz Band, and Orchestra are classes with the goal of creating music that meets this criteria and appreciating how others have used their creative abilities to develop and enhance music in history.
MRS. JANE VANDERBEEK
In 1994 I graduated with a B.A. in Spanish and a secondary education certification from Calvin College. In 1999 I completed a Master’s
of Teaching Languages degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, although all the coursework and studies took place over three summers in Morelia, Mexico. I began teaching at HCHS in 1994, and I have taught all four levels of Spanish over the years. I am very grateful that HC has granted me two leaves of absences. During the ’03-’04 school year my family lived for a year in Morelia, Mexico where my husband and I volunteered at Centro Victoria de la Roca, a Christian home for adolescent street girls and girls from troubled families. During the 2012-2013 school year, our family lived in Quepos, Costa Rica where my husband and I volunteered at El Puente Christian School.
My husband, George, and I have three children who are in the Spanish Immersion program at Zeeland Christian School and the SI maintenance program at HCHS. We are members of Maple Avenue Ministries in Holland.
I desire for my students to see the beauty of God’s diverse creation. I want them to grow in their awareness, knowledge, and respect for Spanish speakers and the many cultures represented throughout the Spanish-speaking world. By learning another language such as Spanish, our students can be a blessing to others who speak Spanish in our own community or as a blessing in other countries if God gives them the opportunity to travel abroad.
MRS. CHARITY VANDERLAAN
I grew up in a large family–a loving and slightly zany Christian family. That’s why one of the things I love about being a Christian is that sense
of being a part of a big Christian family: the love and support from within the Holland Christian community is unparalleled to any other educational or work setting of which I have been a part. When our daughter had her first open heart surgery, the parents of our son’s classmates sent us cards, bought her gifts, made us meals and gave us gift cards to local restaurants. When she had her second surgery, her 4th grade teacher had her classmates diligently write comforting comments online for her, sent homemade cards from the class, and visited us at home with homework so she did not fall behind. These actions were Christ-like for us in a difficult time, but what makes Holland Christian special is that these occur everyday within the HC community as an effort to live out our faith and impact the world for Christ.
I attended public school from K-12 on the east side of the state and then graduated from Calvin College (where I met my husband Jeff and in turn obtained a Dutch last name) with a degree in Classical Civilization. After being home much of the time caring for our four children, who are all currently attending HC schools, I was blessed to begin working in the counseling department at Holland Christian High School, assisting the two counselors who work hard to serve our students.
I love knowing that everything the staff does, and everything the students are learning, is bathed in the light and knowledge that we are not our own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death, to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. There is nothing more beautiful during a work day for me than to walk down the hall and hear our high school students gathered together in the auditorium singing about our great and faithful God.
REV. RAYNARD VANDERLAAN
My wife, Esther, and I have four adult married children, all of whom have children. Three of our kids graduated from Holland Christian.
My preaching and teaching ministry has been well received because of its unique focus on the Bible in historical and cultural context. This perspective on the Bible highlights God’s call for Christians to be a transforming influence on their culture. I do not view myself first as a scholar in the area of Jewish culture and archaeology. I have established a knowledge base in this area by studying the scholarship of others. My gifts, expertise, and my calling are to link that cultural information and the Bible so that the message applies to our lives today.
MRS. MELISSA VANDERZWAAG
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES ASSISTANT
In 2007, I graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. in Special Education and Elementary Education. At Holland Christian I was
hired as the ESS Life Skills Job Coach in 2007 as well as being a Classroom Assistant. I continued job coaching for 5 years. I have since then continued working as a Classroom Assistant and Teacher Assistant. Working with students on their life skills lessons, general education class work and helping to make modifications so that they can learn to the best of their ability is a passion of mine. Since 2008 I have also enjoyed teaching a 5 week program each summer for Ready For Life at Hope College. The program works with young adults with disabilities high school age and older on having a Christ- centered, educational, and fun summer.
My husband, Jim, and I were married in 2007. We have been blessed with two sons, Levi and Elliot. We enjoy spending lots of time with family and friends as well as being outdoors. We love being involved at Ridge Point Community Church, and sharing God’s creation with our children.
I love being a part of Holland Christian. It is wonderful to be in a Christian School setting where I can share my love of Christ with others around me. I believe that God created each student in a very unique way. Each student has many abilities and gifts to share. My passion is to help students further their abilities so that each of them can find an appreciation for God’s creation and their life.
MRS. KELLI VANEERDEN
I graduated from Holland Christian High School in 1989 and Calvin College in 1993, with a major in Therapeutic Recreation and a minor
My husband Chris and I were married in 1994 and we have two children, Jordan and Cameron, who are presently in the HC school system. We are members of Providence Christian Reformed Church where I am active with praise team and am the Hospitality Coordinator for our coffee hour. As a family we love to camp, play and watch sports, and enjoy all of the beautiful Lake Michigan beaches.
I am so happy to be part of the Holland Christian family. I am often overwhelmed by the privilege of working with such quality staff, students, and an amazing facility. The students at HC continue to impress me with their incredible personalities, gifts, and their love of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that I can help students understand what a beautiful and important foundation Holland Christian will be in their lives. My goal is to be a positive and encouraging part of their daily experience at HC.
MR. CHRIS VANNOORD
THEATRE TECH, AUDITORIUM MANAGER
& FINANCE TEACHER
1995 was the year I graduated from HCHS. From here I pursued my degree in Vocal Music
Education at Trinity Christian College. After that I taught Music and Drama in the south suburbs of Chicago for 14 years, and also earned my Masters degree in Educational Administration. I am married to my wonderful wife Michelle and we have two children, Maya and Owen. We are members of Faith CRC here in Holland. We enjoy the outdoors, playing games, and trying new foods!
I trust my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ completely. I believe that Jesus calls us to live lives without fear. It is my prayer that God will use me to help students let go of their fears and grow in bravery and confidence and love for each other.
My hope is that I will be a blessing to my students in the same way my teachers were a blessing to me when I was a student here.
MS. BRIANNA WIMMER
SPANISH & ENGLISH TEACHER
I graduated from Calvin College in December 2012 (I loved it so much after 4 years that I decided to go back for an extra semester!) with a
certificate in 7-12 teaching, a major in Spanish and a minor in English. During my time at Calvin, I had the opportunity to spend a semester living in México, where I lived with a family and took classes at La Universidad Modelo in Mérida, Yucatán. It was there that my interest in Spanish became a passion for language and love for the people who speak it.
I was born in Casper, Wyoming, and I still have a love for wide open spaces, 80 mph speed limits, and mountains. My family ended up in Michigan by the time I was in high school, which is how I got excited about Calvin. I did my student teaching and a few long-term sub jobs at Holland Christian High School, and these experiences really confirmed my vocation to me. I have taught Spanish for four years, and I am thrilled to be teaching English as well this year. It’s so fun to get to know students in either their first or second language, and to watch inhibitions come down as we laugh and sing and tell stories and learn about not only language, but also other groups of our Father’s children.
I have recently relocated to Holland and I attend Engedi Church. In my free time, I love to run, read, eat, and get really good Chaco tan lines. In addition to teaching, I coach cross country and track at the Middle School and lead YoungLife at the High School. I love getting to know students in a variety of environments, and it’s so fun to watch God move in and through these young people in the classroom, around the track, and in life.