OUR PEOPLE

/ PINE RIDGE STAFF

pr-becksvoort-jMRS. JENNIFER BECKSVOORT
5TH GRADE TEACHER
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Hope College in 1996. I went on to earn a masters degree from Western Michigan University

in 1999. I have been a teacher at Holland Christian since the fall of 1996. I have more than 15 years of experience teaching at Pine Ridge.

I am married to Robert Becksvoort and we are parents to two sons, Austin and Dylan. We make our home in Holland and attend Providence Church. At church, I have been active with ministries related to children and small groups. In my spare time, I enjoy being outside, scrapbooking, and going to the gym and pool.

God has created each child in His image. With God’s help, I seek to nurture each child’s academic, emotional, and spiritual life. It is a joy to be a teacher at HCS!

Email: jbecksvoort@hollandchristian.org
Mrs. Becksvoort’s Blog

pr-boer-kMRS. KATIE BOER
6TH GRADE TEACHER
I graduated from Holland Christian High School in 2006 and from Calvin College in 2010 with a B.A. in Elementary Education and Spanish. Prior

to working at HC, I spent 2 years teaching 4th and 5th grade at Rehoboth Christian School in Rehoboth, New Mexico and 1 year teaching 5th grade at Kalamazoo Christian School. This will be my 4th year teaching at Holland Christian.

With my father’s job as a pastor, I spent my childhood living in many different places. Born in Boulder, CO, I have also spent time living in Atlanta, GA; Kingston, Ontario; Holland, MI and even spent a semester abroad in Denia, Spain. It is my goal to combine my range of experiences with my ability to be a compassionate, enthusiastic, and intelligent teacher who will make a positive contribution to the Holland Christian Community.

My husband Jon and I were married this past summer on July 31 and live in an apartment on the south side of Holland.

I take comfort daily from the words in Psalm 23, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me… Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.”

Email: kboer@hollandchristian.org
Mrs. Boer’s Blog

ss-sapp-nMRS. NATALIE BOER
3RD GRADE TEACHER
I had the privilege to attend Holland Christian from kindergarten through graduation from high school. Upon graduating, I continued on to

Calvin College to pursue my love for teaching. It was in college that I decided to major in Special/Elementary Education. I have found it my passion to teach all of God’s amazing children no matter what their abilities are. In the past four years, I’ve been blessed with experiencing multiple teaching placements that have expanded my view of teaching and the world. In May of 2015, I graduated from Calvin College. I have now received the opportunity to teach at South Side as a first grade teacher. I am beyond delighted to come back into the Holland Christian community and serve its young, bright children.

I grew up in Holland with my parents and three older sisters who are now spread out around the West Michigan/Chicagoland area. I have also found overwhelming strength in my church family at Redeemer PCA where I have been a member the majority of my life. In addition to teaching, I enjoy reading, taking exploratory walks through God’s Creation, and spending time with my family and friends.

Holland Christian is in my blood. Attending Holland Christian K-12, has instilled in me a love for this community of people. I am thrilled to be back at this wonderful school teaching first grade. First graders are learning multiple subjects, which is going to be challenging. Not only are they learning new material, but they are trying to figure out what it means to be a student. It is exciting to be the teacher that has the privilege to illuminate new curriculum and experiences for these young ones. This fall will be a wonderful adventure for us all and I am exhilarated to see where it leads!

I believe that God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in atonement for our sin. My life revolves around this blessing. The reason why we are on this glorious earth is so that we can glorify God in everything we do. My relationship with Jesus Christ has always been my number one priority in my life. I have stumbled numerous times because of my depravity. However, I know and believe in God’s redeeming promises. He alone is my Savior and Deliverer. Every day I challenge myself to live each moment according to the call Jesus made to His disciples to be in the service of God’s Kingdom. I believe this aspect should be acknowledged and modeled in and out of the classroom with the students. I hope to instill in my students the idea of being a servant to others in order to serve God’s Kingdom.

Email: nboer@hollandchristian.org
Miss Sapp’s Blog

ss-pr-boer-sMRS. SHELLY BOER
MUSIC TEACHER
In 1988, I graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. in Elementary Education. I continued on with my schooling and received a Masters of Reading

from Western Michigan University in 1996. I taught at Cutlerville Christian (now Legacy Christian) in kindergarten and 1st grade from 1988-1995. I began teaching at Holland Christian in 1996 where I taught 11 years in preschool and am currently at South Side and Pine Ridge teaching music.

My husband, Jim, and I have 4 children. We like to debate a variety of topics over a good dinner. My hobbies include playing the piano and guitar, reading, and doing puzzles.  Our family belongs to Heritage Christian Reformed Church in Byron Center where my husband is the pastor.

King David proclaims in Psalm 92, “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” Music is a wonderful gift from God. With music we can image our Creator, praise His name, and connect with Him in a profound way. Music has been an important part of my spiritual growth beginning with piano lessons at age 8, through band and choir in middle and high school, through organ and the Oratorio Society in college, and currently as I am part of my church’s praise team. My desire is to pass along that joy and avenue of praise to the students I teach.

Email: sboer@hollandchristian.org

pr-brieve-jMRS. JERRI BRIEVE
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES ASSISTANT
I am an ESS parapro at Pine Ridge. Sometimes I work with individuals or small groups, other times I assist in classrooms. I thoroughly enjoy

working with students who struggle as well as those who excel. I attended Christian Schools myself, Grand Rapids Christian then both Calvin and Hope College.I have worked for Holland Christian since 1995.

My husband Steve is an administrator for Kelloggsville Public Schools and also a Drivers Education Instructor. We have a son and a daughter who both graduated from Holland Christian.

I believe that all children can and do learn. Many learn in different ways and finding the way that works can be challenging but also exciting and rewarding. I strongly believe in the importance of Christian Education. I have been very blessed by the students and adults I work with.

Email: jbrieve@hollandchristian.org

pr-danneberg-jMRS. JAMIE DANNENBERG
6TH GRADE TEACHER
I graduated from Holland Christian in 2001. From there, I went to Calvin College where I graduated in 2005 with a B.A. in Elementary Education

(K-8), Language Arts, and Health Education. I also earned a masters degree in reading education from Grand Valley State University in 2012. A year after I graduated from Calvin, I took at job at HC and have been here since. So far I have experienced teaching 6th grade Language Arts, Bible, Social Studies, and Reading as well as 8th grade Image Bearers.

My husband Dave and I have been married since the summer of 2006. Dave is a Business Analyst for Holland Inc. (formerly USF Holland). We have three sons and one daughter: Hayden, Gavin, Hudson, and Kinsley. Our life is never boring because they always keep us on our toes. It is a JOY to watch them grow and interact. We attend Park Christian Reformed Church.

I consider it a privilege to be able to teach at a Christian school. I love discussing the tough questions and being able to talk about God’s purpose for us. I believe He has made us in His own image and has given each of us our own gifts and talents which we should use to fulfill our purpose on earth. I hope to help my students discover their gifts and use them to the best of their abilities. My goal is to help the students better understand how to actively live out God’s love and put it into practice.

Email: jdannenberg@hollandchristian.org
Mrs. Dannenberg’s Blog

pr-dezwaan-cMRS. CHRIS DEZWAAN
3RD GRADE TEACHER
I graduated from Hope College in 1992 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Language Arts and an Elementary Education Certificate. I went

on to substitute teach in area school districts before being hired by Holland Christian Schools in 1994. Within a few years I earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University. My husband Kevin and I have three boys, Nate, Curtis and Lucas. We attend Providence Church where we have been involved in small groups and children’s ministries. As a family we enjoy spending time together and with friends, time at the lake, and attending sporting events.

As parents, Kevin and I send our children to Holland Christian because we want to give them every opportunity to grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ. As a teacher, I want the children in my classroom to experience Christ in every part of their day. I want to make a difference in the lives of these children – a difference that will last to eternity.

Email: cdezwaan@hollandchristian.org
Mrs. DeZwaan’s Blog

pr-folkerts-kMS. KIM FOLKERTS
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES ASSISTANT
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, receiving my education from Timothy Christian School in Elmhurst, Illinois and earning my

teaching degree from Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois.

My husband and I and our two children moved to Holland 17 years ago and have since added an amazing son-in-law to our family and two precious grandchildren.

I feel honored and privileged to be working at Holland Christian as a paraprofessional in the Educational Support Services. I am so thankful and blessed to be alongside students and staff who love the Lord. My goal is for each student that crosses my path is to feel loved and to know that they each have special God-given talents and abilities which make them unique. I am looking forward to a wonderful year serving others.

Email: kfolkerts@hollandchristian.org

MRS. FEBE GOMEZ
SPANISH TEACHER
I was born and grew up in Campeche, Mexico. I came to the U.S. with my husband Enrique following a pastoral call he had from a church

in Texas, were we served for seven years, and our two older children were born. My educational background includes degrees from Rio Grande Bible Institute in Edinburg, TX, and the Children Ministries Institute in Warrenton, MO in Religious Education. I have been involved in the field of education since 1999 serving in different positions in both public and private schools, mainly in Spanish Immersion programs. My passion for teaching my language was the big motivator to go back to college, and I graduated from Hope College in 2011 with a B.A. in Spanish Education.

Currently, I am working towards certification in the English as a New Language (ENL) graduate program through Notre Dame University. One of my biggest rewards as a teacher is seeing how my students successfully progress in language acquisition and I definitely believe that the younger the brain, the better they learn!

I truly believe that learning a new language is a challenge and a blessing; however, I’m a firm believer that every child has the potential to learn–it doesn’t matter their abilities or disabilities. I’m very excited about being part of the staff of HC this year because this institution has been an important part of the academic and faith formation for our family for several years. Sam and Betsy, our two older children received their entire education here, and Raphie, our youngest son, is in the 8th grade.

My favorite Bible verse is Luke 2:52: “and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”–and we are no different! Each child/person also needs to grow intellectually, physically and spiritually. We always taught this to our own children.

Some of my hobbies are walking, biking and traveling with the family, as well as reading and listening to classical music. I’m looking forward to meeting my students and their families, and to seeing how the Lord is going to guide us in this new venture!

Email: fgomez@hollandchristian.org

MRS. CHRISTY HAIG
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES TEACHER
I graduated from Calvin College in 1999 with a degree in elementary and special education. I taught in Kentwood Public Schools for four

years before God called my husband and me to Pittsburgh, PA. We lived there for five years and then were blessed to be able to move back to West Michigan.

My husband Tim and I have three children: Michael, Jonathan, and Becca. I was honored to stay home with them full time while they were young. When they entered school, I returned to work part time at Engedi Church, serving as the early childhood coordinator and then curriculum coordinator for their children’s ministry team. Now I’m thrilled to be teaching again. I love coming alongside students, helping them learn and grow.

In addition to teaching, I love playing board games with my family, serving in children’s ministry at church, and scrapbooking family memories on the computer. My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:38-39 which tells us that God’s love is so big and so strong that nothing can ever separate us from it.

Email: chaig@hollandchristian.org 

pr-hirdes-mMRS. MICHELLE HIRDES
4TH GRADE TEACHER
In 1987, I graduated with a B.A. in Elementary Education from Calvin College. I have been employed by Holland Christian since the fall

of 1988. I have taught 3rd-5th grades at HC; I teach mornings and I am the language arts instructor. I love teaching language arts and I am constantly looking for ways to engage my students in reading and writing. I have served on the K-12 language arts committee and am currently serving on the Pine Ridge chapel and program committees.

My husband Kevin and I have four children. We attend Calvary CRC where I am involved in worship team and drama team ministries.

Christian education is a joy for me not only as a teacher, but also as a parent. I love the community that is formed each year with God as the center and each child as a reflection of Him. Our schools are places where prayer and worship are outward expressions of love for our Creator, where students are valued because they are image bearers of God and their potential for kingdom work is limitless. It is also where grace is not only taught, but also modeled and where a Christian walk is encouraged, prayed for, and maintained. As a teacher I enjoy the opportunities I have to challenge my students to think about their faith and what it is they believe. I love using stories to get students to see how their decisions affect their life here on earth and eternally. I eagerly await those teachable moments when questions are asked and answers are prayerfully considered. I treasure prayer with my students and relish rejoicing with each answer. It is my prayer that my students leave my room academically ready, but more importantly one step closer to shouldering their responsibility of God’s work in this world.

Email: mhirdes@hollandchristian.org
Mrs. Hirdes’ Blog

rp-hofman-mMRS. MARY HOFMAN
MEDIA SPECIALIST
I graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. in music education and Spanish. My Master of Arts in Teaching degree, in the field of language arts,

is also from Calvin College. I did my graduate education in School Library Media at Grand Valley. My teaching background includes several years of elementary music, as well as high school and college Spanish. Since 1997, I have enjoyed my role in the Holland Christian elementary media centers at South Side, Rose Park, and Pine Ridge.

My husband, Marv, and I have five children, all of whom have attended HCS. We have lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Metro Manila, the Philippines; Raymond, Minnesota; and since 1990, Holland, Michigan. We are members of 14th Street Christian Reformed Church.

God has given us the gift of language, and revealed Himself as the Word. As elementary media specialist I strive to serve staff and students by promoting delight in language and stimulating interest in reading. The role of the media specialist is also to teach information literacy by helping students to access, evaluate and use information in all its various forms. It is a wonderful privilege to accompany students on their learning journeys and assist their growth in reading, selection, discrimination, and use of print and non-print materials.

Email: mhofman@hollandchristian.org

pr-hoogland-hMRS. HELENA HOOGLAND
6TH GRADE ART TEACHER
I grew up attending a wonderful Christian School in Ontario, Canada. My experiences learning at Beacon Christian School gave me a passion

and appreciation for the solid Biblical foundation that a Christian education instills in students. This influenced me to become a teacher. In 2000, I moved to the United States to get my B.A. in Elementary Education at Calvin College. Upon graduating in 2005, I moved to South Korea where I taught at a small International Christian School for three years (Centennial Christian School). In, 2008, God called me to Indonesia where I taught at a very large International Christian School, Sekolah Pelita Harapan International. Here, God gave me the wonderful opportunity to lead a team of six teachers, and help launch a professional development program for National Indonesian teachers in village schools.

In 2013, I returned to the United States to get my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Calvin College. Here, I met my husband. We got married December 2014. I have a passion to continue to learn more about God’s creation, His people, and His Word. Holland Christian, I feel privileged to continue following God’s call to invest in the lives of young people; encouraging them to grow in their faith, learn more about who God has created them to be, and empower them to develop a passion for God’s creation, His people and His Word.

Email: hhoogland@hollandchristian.org

pr-howell-tMR. TIM HOWELL
PRINCIPAL
I received a B.A. in Language Arts from Calvin College in 1982. While teaching at a Christian elementary school in Florida, I received a M.A.

in Administration and Supervision from Nova University. My wife Janet and I have two children. We attend Calvary Christian Reformed Church, where we have been actively involved since joining.

I love teaching in a Christian school where I can be bold and share my love and joy for Christ. I see my vocation as equipping students to impact our world for Christ’s sake creatively, morally, socially, intellectually, and spiritually. It is my goal to lead my students to see and believe that “our chief purpose in life is to glorify and enjoy God” (Westminster Catechism).

Email: thowell@hollandchristian.org

MS. SUSAN KEHRER
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES
My move to Holland four years ago is, I  hope my last move! I grew up in St. Paul, MN and went to college for two years in Illinois. I completed

my degree in Elementary Education at Carthage College in Wisconsin. From there I lived in in a few different suburbs of Chicago. My last position was as Academic Advisor at The Illinois Institute of Art in Schaumburg, IL, where I helped students who majored in Audio Production, Game Art & Design, Animation, and Media Arts. My motivation in moving to Holland was to be closer to my son, daughter-in-law and three wonderful grandchildren! I have been truly blessed to be a part of their lives.

I have recently become a member of the First Presbyterian Church and help with the Worship Time for the preschool.

It is a privilege to be a part of Holland Christian/South Side.

Email: skehrer@hotmail.com

MRS. TINA MECKLEY
ART TEACHER
I have lived in Holland all of my life. I graduated from GVSU with a B.S. in Art and Design and a Minor in Education. After graduating college I

was immediately hired to teach elementary art at Jenison Public School, where I remained for nine years. After nine years at JPS I was led to teach PK-8th grade art at Jenison Christian School, where I remained for five years. What a blessing it was to be able to bring my love and joy of art and the Lord to so many wonderful children, for 14 amazing years. In 2015, God’s plan led me in a new direction. I was called to Holland Christian School to aide for preschool-aged children where I could continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to my students daily. I am so blessed to have been given the passion and gift for loving and leading children closer to Jesus Christ. I also feel blessed to be able to be part of this community while still being able to balance being “Mom.” My husband, Joe, and I have two beautiful children Ella and Eli, and both attend HCS.

Email: tmeckley@hollandchristian.org

MR. WILLIAM MEYERING
4TH GRADE TEACHER
I am a proud graduate of Calvin College in the year 2015 where I majored in Elementary Education and Integrated Science as well as

minored in Mathematics. My first few years out of college I taught a wide variety of classes at East Martin Christian School where I learned so much about myself, my teaching, and God’s plan for me. I am currently teaching 4th grade at Holland Christian, and am ecstatic to see what God has in store for us.

In August of 2016 I married my beautiful wife. We enjoy all sort of different activities, but we especially love playing golf, tennis, and softball. I am a die-hard Detroit Lions fan which means that I now have the distinct displeasure of rooting against Kirk Cousins twice a year, but please don’t hold that  against me! My wife and I live in Grand Rapids and attend Brookside CRC.

I love teaching in a Christian school where I can share my love for Christ and lead God’s children by example. We have the amazing opportunity to not only raise children to be lifelong learners but to be lifelong followers of Christ who share their love with those around them. It is my goal that my students grasp the intense love that God has for us and that we can glorify him by pouring that love out onto others.

Email: wmeyering@hollandchristian.org

ms-nester-kMR. KYLE NESTER
ORCHESTRA TEACHER
I graduated from Alma College in 2004 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree. After a long-term substitute teacher

position in Fremont, Michigan I taught 5th – 12th grade orchestra at Chippewa Hills School District for seven years.  After my wonderful wife Andrea finished her law degree at Michigan State University, our Lord led us to live and work in West Michigan. I started teaching at Holland Christian in 2012 and Andrea is currently employed in a law firm in downtown Grand Rapids.

Andrea and I enjoy running races, enjoying nature, playing music, traveling, and spending time together. We have three “interesting” cats and a planted freshwater fish tank.

Music is one of many wonderful gifts that God has given us. In my teaching, I strive to give the students of Holland Christian the tools, guidance, and inspiration they need to become competent, complete musicians who can fully appreciate and share our Lord’s gift of music. Together we bring praise, honor, and glory to His Name.

“Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” – Martin Luther

Email: knester@hollandchristian.org

pr-norman-lMS. LAURA NORMAN
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
I have lived in this area all my life. I am a graduate of West Ottawa High School ’89. I have two daughters, Mackenzie and Madison. I

love to read, scrapbook, craft, listen to all kinds of music, and spend time outdoors by a campfire. I am returning to Holland Christian after being a stay-at-home mom for my girls for 12 years. Before having children I worked in the Administration Office at Holland Christian, as an administrative assistant from 1996-2000. I came to work at Pine Ridge in 2012. This has been a true blessing and a great opportunity for me, working with such an amazing community of people and watching all the growth of my students that I see on a daily basis.

This is a song, that sums it all up: “This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long. Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels, descending, bring from above. Echoes of mercy, whispers of love. Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest, Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

Email: lnorman@hollandchristian.org

pr-riemersma-dMRS. DIANE RIEMERSMA
4TH GRADE TEACHER
I am a 1989 graduate of Hope College. I received a degree in Special Education/Learning Disabilities and have been a member of the

Holland Christian staff since my graduation. I am currently teaching 4th grade in a shared time position. I have served on various curriculum committees during my time at Holland Christian including Social Studies, Math, and Science. I am also coaching girls’ varsity diving at HCHS.

My husband and I have three children. We are members of Faith Reformed Church where we have enjoyed serving as small group leaders, Children In Worship teachers, and Pastoral Care Elders.

Teaching in a Christian school gives me the incredible opportunity to share God’s love with each of my students, in every aspect of their lives, and to enable them to share that love with others. I want each of my students to know that God has a plan for each of them, and that each student is a special creation of God – made just for His plans and purposes. I want to instill in each child a trust in his Creator, and the faith to follow His leading.

Email: driemersma@hollandchristian.org
Mrs. Riemersma’s Blog

ss-scholten-tMRS. THEA SCHOLTEN
TECHNOLOGY ASSISTANT
I graduated from Calvin College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. I have also taken some Information Technology classes at Davenport

University. Our family lives on and operates the farm in Graafschap that was settled by the Scholtens in 1849. We are members of Graafschap CRC. When our children began attending Holland Christian Schools, I began volunteering in the media centers. By the time our children graduated, I had been hired as a clerk in the media center, and I later transferred to the information technology department.

As Christians we are called to serve others and to walk humbly with our God. At Holland Christian Schools I assist staff in “equipping minds and nurturing hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ,” and I can encourage others and be encouraged myself to become more Christ-like in “mind, body & soul.”

Email: tscholten@hollandchristian.org

MRS. STEPHANIE SMIT
5TH GRADE TEACHER
I grew up in Kalamazoo and went on to graduate from Calvin College. I taught second grade at Highland Christian in Indiana for nine years,

3rd grade at Zeeland Christian for four years, and 4th grade at Rose Park Christian for five years. Once our eldest daughter was born, I chose to step away from teaching for a season to stay home full time. Having enjoyed ten years of “just being mom,” I’m eager to get back into the classroom full time!

My husband, Matt, and I have three beautiful daughters who attend Holland Christian. We attend Maranatha CRC, where I have been involved in the children’s ministry. Some of my favorite things include traveling–especially internationally–spending time with my family, doing anything water-related (knee-boarding, skiing, swimming), and coffee.

I count it a privilege to teach at a Christian school and do what God has called and equipped me to do. Teaching is my passion, and I truly love interacting with students, encouraging them to develop their God-given gifts.

Email: ssmit@hollandchristian.org

pr-stielstra-lMRS. LYNAE STIELSTRA
3RD GRADE TEACHER
I graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2000 with a B.A. in Special Education & Psychology and a minor in General Education.

Immediately after graduation I was hired by West Ottawa Public Schools as a teacher for the Mild Cognitively Impaired students in 3rd-5th grades. I taught special education for four years and also one year of general education (5th grade) at West Ottawa Public Schools before deciding to stay home with our growing family. In 2011 I was lead by God to accept a teaching position at Holland Christian Schools in the Homeschool Connection which led me to my current position of teaching 3rd grade.

My husband David and I have three children, Elliot, Joseph, and Lillian, all of whom bring us so much joy. We attend Providence Christian Reformed Church. As a family we love spending time outdoors, swimming, biking, camping, reading and spending time with friends.

I stand amazed at the love and grace God has poured upon me and I consider it such an honor to share God’s love with my students. I love that I am able to share my faith in every academic area that I teach. One of my favorite verses that I pray over my class is from Zephaniah 3:17 which states “The Lord our God is with you, He is mighty to save. The Lord our God will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Email: lstielstra@hollandchristian.org
Mrs. Stielstra’s Blog

rp-throop-dMRS. DEE DEE THROOP
COUNSELOR

I graduated from Purdue University in 1984 with a B.A. in Elementary Education and received my M.A. in School Counseling from the University of

South Florida in 1991. I have taught 1st, 3rd and 5th grades and counseled at all levels K-12. My experience includes working in Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Georgia and now back to Michigan.

I am married to Merle and we have a daughter and a son. We have moved a lot, as Merle was a Senior Special Agent for Homeland Security. We worship at Covenant Presbyterian Church and are involved with: Youth Group, Bible Studies, and Christian Education. We like to play with our children, read, and go for walks.

My previous experience has been in public school, so I am thrilled that I can speak freely and openly of the authority of our Lord Jesus in my counseling situations. My faith enables me to show boys and girls practical and biblical solutions to their everyday problems. One of my favorite verses is 2 Tim 3:16-17. I am so happy that I can help students grow in their relationships with each other, the Lord and on their educational journey.  I agree with Holland Christian that it takes the home, church, and school to raise our children. Praise the Lord for the freedom we have in His Son Jesus.

Email: dthroop@hollandchristian.org

pr-trujillo-rMR. ROBERT TRUJILLO
CUSTODIAN
I am a Holland High School graduate. After graduation, I served four years in the U.S. Marine Corp. One year in the Delayed Entry Program,

and three years in active duty. Upon completion of my tour I received an Honorable discharge. I lived and worked in the Holland area for years after. I prayed for a job in which I could express my love for Christ and He answered. I was hired in 2002. I worked at the High School for one year and then was awarded the job opening at Pine Ridge elementary where I currently work. I am truly grateful!

My wife Kellie and I are members of Harderwyk Ministries (Watershed), and serve in Children’s Ministries, Cadets, and the Worship Team. We love our church! and our five children love it too! Aaron, Marcus, Hannah, Michael, and Isaiah. What blessings God has given us to raise up for His glory. I consider it an honor to exemplify His love for His children. Whether my own or the children that surround me daily at Pine Ridge. What a joy to see their kind thoughts and actions, their honesty refreshes my attitude on a daily basis.Even on those days which can be challenging, they becomes trivial at best. May I always show that same honesty towards encouraging them to grow in Christ and to help them realize their importance to God and the talents and potential given them. May it be pleasing to God our Father.  LOVE IS, AS LOVE DOES.

Email: rtrujillo@hollandchristian.org

pr-vanbeek-dMRS. DILLENE VANBEEK
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES ASSISTANT
I graduated from high school in 1989 and moved shortly after that from Zimbabwe, Africa, where I was born, to Grand Rapids where I attend Calvin

College. After graduating from Calvin I worked at Wedgwood Christian Services with youth and staff for 16 years. I then spent 6 years at Dutton Christian School, working in Education Support. After moving to Holland, Michigan I began working at Pine Ridge as a paraprofessional in Education Support Services.

I am married to Keith Van Beek, a Holland Christian alumni, and we have two children Erin and Ethan. Erin is currently a senior and Ethan a freshman at Holland Christian. We enjoy spending time with our extended family and friends playing games, watching sports, camping and hanging out together. I also love coffee and enjoy cooking different types of food. We attend Calvary CRC and enjoy being involved in our small group and a number of other church activities.

I am passionate about working with children and believe that each one is unique and has a divine purpose. My back ground and experience working with children and youth has allowed me to see that we serve a God who is in the business of healing and restoration. I am excited to work in a place like Holland Christian where I can speak the truth of God’s Word into the students. There is nothing better than seeing a student realize that they have purpose and are a valuable part of a greater story. My goal every day is to let students know that they are more than their labels and limitations because they are children of the Living God who loves them passionately.

Email: dvanbeek@hollandchristian.org

MR. GERRIT VANKLAVEREN
PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER
My name is Gerrit van Klaveren and I am Canadian. I graduated from Calvin College in 2014 with K-12 physical education and

minors in biochemistry and biology. I have taught PE at Rehoboth Christian school in New Mexico, and Eastern Christian High School in New Jersey. Due to visa complications and love (ask me sometime), I went back for my Master’s in Physical Education Pedagogy at Western Michigan University. I recently got married to the wonderful Lauren D, now vK, who has a heart for the Lord and others that is simply contagious.

On the side, I am very active in sports, music, worship, wood projects and recreational activities. Serving, fixing things and helping others brings much joy. Every day, I like to bring an undignified atmosphere where joy and vibrant energy fills my classroom. If students see how much fun being active and moving our bodies in new and exciting ways is, then the hope is they will learn to value living a healthy and active lifestyle for a lifetime. More important, I emphasize the diversity of our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit, all different, yet all made in the image of our Creator. What a gift, what a blessing it is to be able to share that with everyone I meet and teach!

Both Lauren and I are so excited to be here in Holland, and to start a new journey in what I hear and have seen, thus far, as a vibrant, growing and loving community. I am so impressed and so thankful for everyone making this a way easier transition than I expected.

Email: gvanklaveren@hollandchristian.org 

MS. CLAIRE VANWEELDEN
4TH GRADE TEACHER
This past spring of 2018 I graduated from Calvin College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I grew up in Pella, Iowa, where my

parents and twin sister still live. I am very excited to continue living in west Michigan and to make Holland my home.

In my free time I love to go to the lake with my fiancé, hang out with friends, play the piano, paint/draw/write (anything creative), and travel. This past summer I had the incredible opportunity of traveling to Kenya and Tanzania as well as the southwest region of the United States. I am in awe of this beautiful and diverse world that God created for us. I believe that we see God when we explore His world—and this can happen both halfway across the world and in the classroom!

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to work at Holland Christian and share my faith with my students through every sphere of learning. I will encourage my class to share God’s love with everyone because He has first loved us. What a gift it is to learn and love together.

Email: cvanweelden@hollandchristian.org

ms-veenstra-mMR. MATT VEENSTRA
BAND TEACHER, BIBLE TEACHER
I graduated from Calvin College in 1996 with a degree in Music Education for both Instrumental and Vocal Music. I taught band, choir, and

general music for the Grand Rapids Christian Schools for four years, and then moved to Ontario, California where I taught 5th through 8th grade band, choir, and general music at Ontario Christian School. I came to Holland Christian to teach 5th through 8th grade band in 2008.

Besides teaching music for various middle schools, I have been very active in the musical life of several churches over the past 20 years. I currently serve as one of the worship leaders for the Watershed congregation at Harderwyk Ministries. I am also a student at Western Theological Seminary, where I currently work as a Teaching Assistant for the Biblical languages department.

I am married to Kim Veenstra and we have two daughters, Maria and Shawna. Kim is an adjunct professor of music theory at Grand Valley State University, as well as being an accomplished pianist and piano lesson teacher.

Psalm 33:3 tells us: “Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Music is how I love to praise God, and I am grateful for the wonderful Christian teachers who trained me to use my gifts for God’s glory and honor. I feel that it is my responsibility to use my talents to teach others to be used for service in the Kingdom of God. Music permeates our culture, and we can make a big impact aesthetically, emotionally, and spiritually by teaching students to sing new songs, play instruments with skill, and by helping them experience the joy that comes from making music for the Lord!

Email: mveenstra@hollandchristian.org