Following God’s clear calling in my life, I have been Principal since the fall of 2010. Before experiencing God’s call to administration, I was blessed to teach Bible classes at Holland Christian High School since 1989. I taught Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, Hermeneutics, World Religions, and Reformed Doctrine. Most recently, my areas of concentration had been Reformed Doctrine (senior requirement), as well as Bible I and Bible III. As I have followed God’s calling to elementary administration, I have experienced his equipping and affirmation, for which I am extremely grateful. I am very excited to be the Principal at Rose Park. I love the wide-eyed enthusiasm and child’s faith of students beginning their journey at Holland Christian. Even here and now, in very age-appropriate ways, we are equipping growing minds, and nurturing tender hearts, to transform the world for Jesus Christ.
I have not known, nor can I imagine, a day without Jesus Christ in my life. He is my only comfort in life and in death, and I belong to him, body and soul. I graduated from Holland Christian in 1978 with no intention of ever returning, certainly not as a teacher. My sights were set on accounting. I studied accounting and computer programming at Davenport University, graduating from there in 1980. I worked in the accounting field, private and public, for six years. During this time God was pointing me in a new direction. Through a variety of experiences, lots of prayer, encouragement from trusted friends, and the leading of the Spirit, I left the accounting field and went to school again, this time to Calvin College, to prepare to be a teacher. In the context of secondary education, I majored in English (I love a good word and a good story!), and minored in the Academic Study of Religions (a study which can never remain only “academic”). I added extra Bible and theology courses as I could, knowing that my greatest passion was to teach Bible. I graduated from Calvin in 1989 with a B.A. degree, and began teaching the following fall at Holland Christian. The following summer I began my Master’s degree. I completed my M.A.T. with a concentration in biblical and theological studies from Calvin in 1996. Since then I have taken various classes to satisfy my ongoing teaching license requirements and increasing sense of calling to administration. I have been blessed personally also to be married to “a wife of noble character” and great beauty. Together we have been blessed with 3 awesome kids. We are members of and cared for by a loving church family, Faith Christian Reformed Church, where I have served as a worship leader, trumpet player, elder, youth leader, and teacher.
There is much to say. Here is my in-process working statement of what it means to be a Reformed Christian teacher. First, being a Reformed Christian means that my focus is always foremost on God, the creator, sustainer, and finisher of all things. He alone is sovereign; he takes center stage. God is our environment (“In him we live, and move, and have our being”–Paul in Acts). A good deal of time in Bible class is spent on theology, or the study of who God is. But, following in John Calvin’s footsteps, my study cannot end there because, you see, I cannot completely know God apart from knowing myself. Since I find myself in an inextricable relationship with the God who created me and in whom I live and breathe and have my being, I can know God best from that relational base. Again, I cannot fully know God apart from knowing myself, and I’ll never fully know myself unless I know God. Second, being a Reformed Christian means that I affirm and celebrate the goodness of all of creation. Sin is not the beginning of the story, but the good creation is the first chapter of the Christian story. This means a couple of things. First, in class we look at the creation and culture around us with discerning eyes and hearts. We fit on those glasses of Scripture to see that every aspect of God’s good creation is under his control. As Abraham Kuiper loved to say, there isn’t one square inch of the universe over which Jesus does not say “mine.” And where different pockets of that culture do not demonstrate God’s reign, we encourage our students and ourselves to go into those “mission fields” of culture to make evident God’s reign over that aspect of culture. (That is, the popular media, and other “value-shaping” institutions of our culture, as author Bob Briner describes them.) This Reformed creational perspective also has profound implications for how I see students. They are not first of all fallen, sinful creatures who sit before me everyday waiting for me to fill them with knowledge. My students are image-bearers of God, and redeemed for his service. I am to affirm them as God’s children, whether they realize that fact or not, and nurture the God-given gifts and abilities which they have. I am to meet them at their intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual level, and spur them on to growth. I see my job in relation to students in a three-part way. I am guiding them, telling them, “Here, come this way, not that.” Leading the way pointing, sometimes at the side encouraging, and sometimes behind nudging, I am guiding my students as a fellow-traveler. Second, I am unfolding students, preparing hearts and minds to be opened to all that God has in store for them to learn. Third, I am preparing students for discipleship and service to the King. Third, being a Reformed Christian means that I teach with a real awareness of the Covenant God has made with his creation and with his people. The fall’s effects are drastic; sin and evil are real. But, God does not abandon his world or people. He binds himself in a covenant relationship with them. These are covenant children we teach. The home, church, and school form vital links in the network of God’s faithfulness to these children. We are connected, a community. As a teacher I am assisting parents in their role of raising their children to know and love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength. It’s what we promise at baptism. Fourth, as a Reformed Christian, my teaching recognizes the reality of God’s Kingdom NOW, but not yet. Jesus has ushered in a new age, a new way of understanding things. The Kingdom is here now already. But, that Kingdom is not fully here yet. We look for the day when Jesus will return and bring to completion what He has already started. So, again, I encourage my students to do their part in following in Christ’s footsteps in making the Kingdom of God a reality in every part of the world. We are God’s agents for change in making that Kingdom a reality in our world. Our feet are firmly planted in this world, but our vision and focus are on our risen and ascended Lord who will finish what He started. We are part of that process. Knowledge, the school’s primary concern, is not complete unless it is articulated in action. This is a crucial biblical understanding of knowledge. It is not just ideas in one’s head, but how those ideas are acted upon. That’s real knowledge.