OUR PEOPLE

/ HOMESCHOOL CONNECTION STAFF

hc2-briggs-mMRS. MERRILL BRIGGS
SECONDARY ENGLISH & HISTORY TEACHER
My Bachelor of Science Degree is from Michigan Technological University and I completed a Masters Degree at Aquinas College.

My teaching experience is varied with over 12 years as an instructor at several universities including Davenport and the University of Akron. In addition, I have had the pleasure of homeschooling our own two children for over ten years.

It is a privilege to have the opportunity to be part of the partnership between Holland Christian and the homeschooling community, “equipping minds and nurturing hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ.” My greatest goals as a teacher of English and History are to share my passion for reading, writing and learning in a supportive environment that glorifies God.

Email: mbriggs@hollandchristian.org

hc2-brouwer-aMRS. AMANDA BROUWER
ELEMENTARY SPANISH EXPLORATION
¡Hola! My husband, Jeff, and I live on the north side of Holland where we enjoy spending time outdoors. We welcomed our son, Adrian,

in December 2011 and our daughter, Evelyn, in June 2014. Our lives have been full of making the joyful adjustment to becoming a family of four. I earned a BA in K-12 Spanish education at Calvin College and a Masters in Spanish language and culture at the University of Salamanca in Spain. Since 2012, I have been teaching the (HC)2Spanish classes. Before that, I taught K-12 Spanish at Holland Christian.

I’m looking forward to leading an (HC)2 Spanish program that gives students the skills and confidence to begin to speak and understand basic Spanish. In class, we use actions, activities, stories, and songs to learn the language. Outside of class, students have access to various online activities to help reinforce our weekly lessons.

Email: ambrouwer@hollandchristian.org

hc2-demeester-gMRS. GINA DEMEESTER
SECONDARY HEALTH TEACHER
My husband Scott, a banker for Bank of America, and I have lived in Holland our 22 years of marriage and have four beautiful

children: Jade is a sophomore at Calvin College; Eve, a freshman at MSU; Megan, a sophomore at HCHS; and Trenton is in 8th grade at ZCS.

After graduating with my B.S. from Grand Valley State University, I continued my education at Aquinas College where I received my teaching certification and Masters degree. My certification includes elementary classroom and K-12 Physical Education and Health Sciences. Upon graduation, I worked for West Ottawa Public Schools for 8 years teaching elementary PE, 5th grade health and heath at West Ottawa’s alternative high school.

My outside interests include hot yoga, walking/hiking and healthy cooking. Reading, my women’s bible study and traveling are also at the top of my list. And I discovered a new favorite this summer– backpacking in Yosemite National Park!

It is such a blessing to resume my teaching career at HCHS (HC)2. I truly believed in Holland Christian’s philosophy of “Equipping minds and nurturing hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ,” and I am excited to teach the kids Christ centered, life long healthy practices.

gdemeester@hollandchristian.org

hc2-devries-sMRS. SUSAN DEVRIES
2ND-6TH WRITING, SCIENCE, SOCIAL STUDIES
My husband, Dave and I have five sons: Matthew is a recent graduate of Calvin College, Jacob is a graduate of HCHS and is

currently working for a local builder, Kyle is a senior at HCHS, Jesse is a freshman at HCHS, and Josiah is a pre-schooler. I am a graduate of Calvin College with a degree in elementary education and special education. Before choosing to stay at home with my boys, I taught at Holland Christian for 8 years. I have been on staff at Providence Church for the past few years as the Compassionate Care Director, but am excited to be led very clearly back to teaching. My interests include women’s Bible studies, baking/cooking, reading, and watching my kids play sports and participate in musical activities. I look forward to teaching writing, social studies, and science each Wednesday. I also delight in encouraging students in their relationship with God and with each other.

Email: sdevries@hollandchristian.org

MS. MARY HALLIHAN
SECONDARY ART TEACHER
I am very excited to be working with the HC2 program at Holland Christian High School! I graduated from Hope College in 2001

with a degree in fine arts. After working with toddlers for the past 10 years, this is a nice change of pace! I have a 7- year-old son, Dylan, who has my heart. My hobbies are drawing, painting, photography, and cake decorating.

Email: mhallihan@hollandchristian.org

hc2-harrelson-dMRS. DYANA HARRELSON
SECONDARY MATHMATICS TEACHER
My husband, Shane, and I, moved to Holland in 2000. I had just completed my PhD in math at Georgia Institute of Technology and took a

position as an Assistant Professor in the Math Department at Hope College. Since moving to Holland we have had 4 beautiful children; after the second was born, I decided to leave Hope College and stay home with my family. We thought about moving back to Atlanta, but decided to stay in West Michigan. We love the four seasons, the local beaches, and the faith rich family friendly environment.

I am excited to be teaching math in the HC2 Program at Holland Christian this year. I look forward to getting to know each of my students, helping them in their mathematic endeavors, and supporting them as they experience high school.

Email: dharrelson@hollandchristian.org

hc2-haveman-aMRS. ANDREA HAVEMAN
SECONDARY ENGLISH TEACHER
I grew up in the Holland area and love living in such a beautiful corner of the world. Having lived away for a while, I appreciate the Great Lakes all

the more. After graduating from Grand Valley State University with my secondary teaching degree and an English major and Spanish minor, I accepted my first teaching job in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as a junior high English teacher. In addition to teaching, I also got to enjoy one of my great loves, downhill skiing!

I moved back home to West Michigan two years later to marry my husband, Rob. I worked for the next three years in the Kenowa Hills School district teaching at both the middle and high school level. Since then, I have been raising my family, which now includes three boys, James (5), Andrew (2.5) and Isaac (2 months).

I love teaching English because I believe in the power of the written word. Words, written well, can challenge, illuminate and transform a person. That is my hope for each and every student, that the reading and writing in my classes encourages personal growth and transformation.

Email: ahaveman@hollandchristian.org

hc2-klingenberg-eMRS. BETH KLINGENBERG
K-1ST WRITING, SCIENCE, SOCIAL STUDIES
After teaching for eight years, primarily in the first grade, I took some time off to stay home with my kids. It was where we felt the Lord leading our

family at that time. I have three children, Sarah age 10, Evelyn age 8, and Luke age 5. My oldest daughter attends Pine Ridge and my younger children attend South Side. My husband Mike farms with his father near Overisel, and we all really enjoy living out in the country!

Every Wednesday I teach the kindergarten and first grade writing, science, and social studies classes at (HC)2. This has been such a thrill for me to be back in the classroom again! I love sharing the love of Jesus through all areas of the curriculum.

My hobbies include: spending time with my family, reading a good book, and collecting and looking for antiques. I see God’s blessing in every area of my life. One of those many blessings is being a part of the staff at Holland Christian.

Email: bklingenberg@hollandchristian.org

rp-luce-aMRS. AMY LUCE
ELEMENTARY ART TEACHER
I graduated with a B.A. in Art and Communications at Calvin College and a Masters in Education at Grand Valley State University.

After college I taught art at Holland Christian High School and presently teach art at Rose Park Christian School and at (HC)2.

My husband Mike and I have three children who attend Holland Christian Schools. We are members of 14th Street Christian Reformed Church, where I enjoy creating art to enhance worship. I am energized by hikes with my family, personal devotions, reading, gardening, and painting.

I have been passionate about creating art ever since I made my first purple polka dotted dinosaur at age 6. Using art to reconnect with our Creator and renew our world bit by bit continues to be a recurrent theme I have enjoyed exploring. I nourish this fascination by studying, creating, and by teaching art in my home, church and at school. In class we integrate art history, techniques of art, elements and principles of art, while at the same time, find meaningful topics that relate to student’s lives. It is my hope that students will grow in their understanding of art and grow in expressing themselves through their art to bring joy to others and glory to God.

Email: aluce@hollandchristian.org
Blog: luceartstudio.blogspot.com

hc2-luurtsema-lMRS. LISA LUURTSEMA
ELEMENTARY PE TEACHER
My hometown is Escondido, CA where I attended Calvin Christian School. At Calvin College I obtained a major in Physical Education and minor

in Biology with my Bachelor of Arts in Education. I have taught fifth through eighth grade at South Olive Christian School and have done quite a bit of substitute teaching while raising five children. My husband Gary is a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. I have also coached middle school volleyball and basketball. Some of my interests include scrapbooking, reading, children’s ministry, playing sports myself, and watching my kids play sports.

Faith, nutrition, and fitness are a big part of my life, and I hope to instill in my (HC)2 students the importance of caring for and exercising their bodies in God‐honoring ways. The time that we spend together includes both fitness (proper stretching, cardiovascular training, some Pilates, and core and balance activities) as well as learning proper sports skills (catching, throwing, striking, etc.). We play fun games which incorporate the skills that we learn and we track our progress. Making healthy food choices, cooperation, and “doing our best” is our emphasis.

Email: lluurtsema@hollandchristian.org

hs-meckes-aMR. AARON MECKES
SECONDARY SCIENCE TEACHER
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.

Email: ameckes@hollandchristian.org

hc2-ritsema-kMR. KURTIS RITSEMA 
SECONDARY BIBLE TEACHER
I have had the privilege of being involved in teaching youth the Bible since 2001, upon my graduation from Reformed Bible College.

Youth Ministry opportunities have taken me between Pella, Iowa and Holland, Michigan. I am very excited about this new opportunity at Holland Christian! My church home is Graafschap CRC, and I have been the youth pastor there for the past five years. My amazing wife, Jenna, also teaches at Holland Christian (2nd Grade), and she loves doing ministry alongside of me. My three children, who are in middle and high school, bring so much joy to my life. I am very passionate about teaching the Bible, and it brings me so much joy to help build the spiritual lives of students. One of my life verses comes from Jeremiah 29:11-13, where God reminds His children that He has plans for their lives filled with hope, and this is something that I love to challenge my students to live by each day.

Email: kritsema@hollandchristian.org

hs-russ-bMR. BRYANT RUSS
SECONDARY BIBLE TEACHER
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.

Email: bruss@hollandchristian.org

hc2-rutherford-sMRS. SUZANNE RUTHERFORD
SECONDARY TECHNOLOGY TEACHER
After being born and raised in South Carolina in a great Christian home and Christian school, my parents relocated to the midwest, where my

engineer father was very excited to encourage me to go to Purdue University. I graduated from Purdue in 1993 with a BS in Math/Math Education. After that, I taught for several years at Holland High School as a Math, Computer, and Yearbook teacher. While I was there, I began and finished a 3-summer Master’s program in Educational Technology through Michigan State that met in Switzerland. Being in other cultures tempted me to consider teaching overseas and my first job assignment landed me in The Hague in the Netherlands. After 2 years, I returned to the U.S. to marry and have twins, which kept me home for 6 years. It was then that the Lord presented the opportunity to work part-time at Holland Christian teaching technology. After teaching at Holland Christian High School and Middle School for 7 years where I taught middle and high school tech, computer science, and a bit of math, I now teach for HC(2).
I am excited to work with kids to explore how we can use our HC technology to glorify God’s Kingdom. My philosophy is that while technology is awesome and exciting, it has to be used with discernment. My goal is to teach kids that people are more important than technology and to always approach it with balance and moderation. My hope for the computer/technology classes at HC is to offer many more classes, especially in the programming and AP areas. I pray that God will bless that in the upcoming years!

Email: <a href=”mailto:srutherford@hollandchristian.org”>srutherford@hollandchristian.org</a>

hc2-ruthsatz-jMRS. JESSICA RUTHSATZ
SECONDARY SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER
I have lived in West Michigan my entire life and I love the atmosphere of faith, family, and friends. I attended Hamilton High School and Grand

Valley State University where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education/History Emphasis and a Psychology Minor. I am currently working on my Master’s of Educational Technology at GVSU. My husband Rock and I have been married 7 years and we live in South Haven. It has been amazing to watch God unfold His story for our lives. We have a 2 year old son named Cruz who has added to our adventure in immeasurable ways. As a family we enjoy our beautiful Lake Michigan-summers; come wintertime you’ll find us loving the snow while we downhill ski and snowmobile.

It is my desire to impact students on a personal and academic level in a dynamic classroom environment. My goal to challenge my students by offering them authentic interaction with materials, such as primary documents, that elicit critical thinking and responses. As a Christian History teacher I believe it is impossible to truly understand the history of our nation without taking into context the Biblical roots many of our forefathers attempted to establish. One thing my students will continually be challenged with is the concept of a the “Christian World View” as it pertains to the current events and issues taking place in today’s world.

Email: jruthsatz@hollandchristian.org

hc2-seaboltMRS. KRISTA SEABOLT
ELEMENTARY COORDINATOR
Our family moved to Holland from Asheville, North Carolina almost 20 years ago. My husband Chip and I have three children who

have all graduated from Holland Christian.  They continue to be grateful for the impactful and grace-filled teachers, coaches and friends that they had while at HC.

I enjoy walking our dog along the dunes of Lake MI, cross country skiing and cycling with friends, gardening, and studying God’s Word in community. I received a BS in Industrial Engineering at North Carolina State University and a M.Ed. in Math Education from Vanderbilt University. After graduating, I taught high school math and science and coached the girls tennis team before our children came along.

Currently, I coordinate the Holland Christian Homeschool Connection program – (HC)2, teach 5th/6th grade science, and organize a senior service class at Holland Christian High School (SOGO).

Email: kseabolt@hollandchristian.org

Admin-Dianne-SuigussaarMRS. DIANE SUIGUSSAAR
SECONDARY HC2 COORDINATOR
After graduating from Ferris State University with a B.S. in Human Services, I began working in college admissions with the longest time spent

as the Director of Admissions at Davenport University. During this time I earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and another in Holistic Health. While at Davenport, I married my husband, Arnie, and have since had 4 children. While raising a family I returned to school and earned a B.S. in Occupational Therapy and worked part time in a hospital setting until joining Holland Christian Schools.

It is an honor and privilege to now serve as the Middle and High School (HC)2 Coordinator, developing and overseeing this program for homeschool families in the greater Holland area. Homeschooling my children for more than a dozen years has naturally helped prepare me for this role. I am passionate about this program and its potential to benefit both the homeschool community and Holland Christian Schools. When I read the mission statement: “Equipping minds and nurturing hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ,” I knew this would be a great fit. Being a part of the Holland Christian family has allowed me to see first hand the warmth, the passion, the academic excellence, and most importantly the Christ centered focus of this amazing learning environment.

Email: dsuigussaar@hollandchristian.org

hc2-vogelzang-jMRS. JAN VOGELZANG
MIDDLE SCHOOL BIBLE TEACHER
I was born and raised in Holland, Michigan to a family of eight children, all of whom graduated from Holland Christian. After I graduated in 1974,

I attended Calvin College for two years before marrying my high school sweetheart, Steve. We have two daughters who both attended Holland Christian.

I returned to my education once my children were in school by attending Hope College. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and a minor in Youth Ministry. The most rewarding part of my education was my work with the Greek language and culture which gave me a rich background to the New Testament.

I knew I wanted to work with students, so after graduating from Hope College, I became the Youth Ministry Director at our church, Bethany CRC. I oversaw both middle and high school groups, as well as Vacation Bible School and high school catechism instruction. I especially enjoyed teaching catechism because I was able to witness students embrace the Christian faith as their own.

In 1997, I began what would be 18 years of serving in various roles at Holland Christian Middle School, including teaching 7th and 8th grade Bible, designing and managing the small group program, and coordinating the chapel program. What a blessing it was to walk beside so many middle school students on their faith journeys.

God has given me several unique experiences along the way that have informed my Bible knowledge and instruction. I was honored to be an author of the 8th grade Credo House Publishers student textbook in 2011 (I will be using this for the 7th and 8th grade Bible course.) I participated in a Biblical Archaeology Review archaeological dig in Haifa, Israel in the summer of 2013. What an experience! On that trip to the Middle East and several others, I have had the opportunity to learn about Jewish culture, visit Biblically significant historical sites, and walk where Jesus would have walked.

When I was five years old I clearly remember giving my life to Jesus Christ while swinging on the family farm swing. While singing the old hymn “I’d Rather Have Jesus” at the top of my lungs, I begged Jesus to use me for his Kingdom building (I didn’t call it that at age five) and he has both called me and equipped me to do just that! I am privileged and honored to be continuing my ministry in the Holland Christian Home School program.

I enjoy gardening, traveling, writing and visiting my grandchildren in various places.

“You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  Deuteronomy 11:19

jvogelzang@hollandchristian.org

hc2-walters-sMRS. STEPHANIE WALTERS
ELEMENTARY MUSIC TEACHER
Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother took me to concerts and sang at the piano with me.

I played piano and clarinet through my years at Holland Christian before I went to Calvin College for Elementary Education. Through God’s perfect plan and leading, He directed me to a Music Education degree as well. After graduating from Calvin in 1990, I taught first grade at Hudsonville Christian for 5 years before starting our family.

My husband, Kevin, and I have three sons: Jason is at Trinity Christian College, Seth is at Cornerstone University and Benjamin is a sophomore at Holland Christian. For the past few decades, I have been teaching private piano and clarinet lessons at home, playing clarinet in the Holland Symphony and the Holland American Legion Band, and leading Sunday school singing at Noordeloos Church. In addition to music activities, I enjoy taking walks with our Wheaten Terrier named Abby, exercising, attending Bible study, having lunch with friends, and going to the beach.

I love sharing music with children! It is my hope that my students will grow in their love of God and their love of music as they come to class each Wednesday. Leading children in worship of our Great Creator is a wonderful privilege and an opportunity to share His faithfulness in my own life. Praise songs and hymns tell us so much about God’s attributes, His love for His people and what He wants us to do in the world. Being involved in music also offers friendships and community to those who are participating. I hope that my students will feel loved and valued in music class. I also hope they will find music to be a joy for the rest of their lives.

Email: swalters@hollandchristian.org

new-wisniewskimrs-3MS. NICOLE WISNIEWSKI 
SECONDARY ART TEACHER
Email: nwisniewski@hollandchristian.org