/ ROSE PARK STAFF
in elementary education from Western Michigan University. After teaching in West Ottawa for four years, I took ten years off to be home with my children. It is an absolute privilege to now be teaching at Holland Christian.
My husband, Mark, and I have been blessed with three treasured children. They are all at Rose Park elementary. Our family are members at Calvary CRC where I teach GEMS.
I believe that God is the creator and sustainer of our amazing universe! Our world is His! It is through His living Word that God directs us to the life He intends for us to live. Although we are all sinners, it is through God’s redeeming grace and the blood His Son shed for me, that I am saved. I desire for all students placed in my classroom to realize that as truth! Our calling while here on this earth is to be obedient to the leading of God and to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. We are called to share the truth of God’s Word in and around His incredible world! I consider it an incredible privilege to be teaching at Holland Christian! I pray each day, with God’s leading, I am able to help students understand they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” in the image of our GREAT God!
MRS. LEANNE BOUWMAN
JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
I attended Jenison Christian, Unity Christian, and Trinity Christian College. I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree
in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology. After graduating I taught the Extended Day program in West Ottawa for two years. Since then I have been teaching here at Holland Christian. I also am currently attending Grand Valley to receive my masters in Early Childhood. It is amazing to see the plan that God has for me each year. I love being a part of the Holland Christian community.
I am blessed to be married to Michael and we live on the north side of Holland. When I am not in the classroom I love to spend time with family and friends, going for a run, playing and coaching soccer, reading, going camping, shopping, tubing, and sea-dooing.
“Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” (Philippians 2:15b) I believe that each child of God is a unique star in the sky. God has created and gifted us all differently in His image. As an educator I am able to teach my students how much our Sovereign God loves them. I love to share my faith and hear stories about how God is working in the hearts and lives of my students.
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.
received my degree in Education from Hope College. I started my teaching career at Zeeland Community Preschool and my gifts in leadership at Calvary CRC as the Children’s Ministry Director. After five years away from the classroom I felt God’s calling to go back into teaching. I began taking graduate classes at Grand Valley State University where I have recently received my Masters in Early Childhood Education. I have been teaching preschool at Holland Christian since 2006 and have been the Preschool Director since 2010.
My husband and I met in high school and have been blessed with three amazing children. We attend Calvary CRC and love using our gifts to help build His kingdom! As a family we enjoy camping, fishing, being outdoors, and movie nights.
Working in a Christian school gives me the opportunity to use my God given gifts and talents to make my students’ learning experience nurturing, fun, and memorable. I want every student that walks into my classroom to know that there is a God who loves them and who has created them in His image. They are all created with gifts and talents that will help build His kingdom and I have the honor to play a part in helping them grow into the person God created them to be.
MRS. CARLA CHASE
I graduated from Grand Rapids Christian Schools and went on to Calvin College. I ended up transferring to Trinity Christian College and
graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. I taught 7th and 8th grades at Southwest Chicago Christian Schools, though I put my teaching career on hold when we had our first child. When our second child was born, we decided to move back to Western Michigan to be closer to family.
We are so grateful that God led us to Holland, and the Holland Christian Schools community. Our three children, Emma, Hannah and Jacob attend Rose Park Christian and the Middle School.
I am incredibly grateful for the role the Christian school has played in my life, and having the opportunity to be back in a Christian school brings me great joy. Being able to serve the students and families, as well as the faculty and staff of Rose Park is a huge blessing. I am grateful for the opportunity to walk beside them and provide them with encouragement, and I pray God uses me to bless all those who walk through the doors or Rose Park.
majored in Psychology. I started my professional career as a case manager for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities at a non for profit organization in 2003. I moved into an administrative role and oversaw the operations of adult day services. Additionally, I went on to obtain my Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University. In 2011, my family and I moved to Holland where I accepted the position of Program Supervisor of Intellectual/Developmental Disability Services at Ottawa County Community Mental Health.
My husband Jon and I have two sons, Oliver and Coen who both attend Rose Park. We attend Hardewyk church where we are currently pursuing membership. I am so excited to join the Holland Christian family and look forward to meeting everyone!
served in a variety of capacities within the early childhood education field that include positions with the Head Start and CASA programs at Hope College. I also spent several years teaching in the Spanish immersion program at Zeeland Christian.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to teach my native language of Spanish to the students at Holland Christian. I love worshiping God not only with my voice and hands but with my life as well. Each day I greet students with the realization that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and I cherish the opportunity to have a small part in that plan by showing them the love of God in a practical and tangible way.
I have been married since 2003 and have three children ages who all attend Rose Park. My husband is also an educator and part-time music minister. I am an active member of Holland First Assembly of God church where I also teach Sunday school and lead a small group. In my spare time I enjoy drawing, scrap booking, photography, and spending time with family and friends.
Alyssa, who graduated from HC four years ago and from Taylor University this past May, is now married to Grant DenBesten (also an HC and Taylor graduate), and is working as the Marketing Director for a company in Grand Rapids. Alexis graduated from HC two years ago and has started her own company. Our youngest child is Caleb and he is a fifth grader at Rose Park. Holland Christian Schools have been a huge blessing to us.
MRS. BETH DIEPENHORST
6TH GRADE TEACHER
Since graduating from Calvin College with a B.A. degree, I’ve taught for three school systems: Calvin Christian Schools in Grandville,
Zeeland Christian School, and Holland Christian Schools where I am currently teaching 6th grade.
In 2016-17 Holland Christian Schools granted me a one year leave of absence to teach at The Esther School in Zambia, Africa. This school serves orphans and under resourced children. This was a life-changing experience!
My husband and I have a son, daughter and son-in-law. Our kids live out of state; we really appreciate family time. We are members Pillar Church in Holland.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
I love teaching at Holland Christian Schools because it allows me to partner with home and church as we help train young people to claim the world for Jesus Christ.
MRS. SHEILA DOKTER
1ST GRADE TEACHER
I graduated from Calvin College in 1995. I spent the first two years of my career teaching in a Christian school in Indiana. After that,
I moved back to Michigan and have been teaching first grade at Holland Christian since. Teaching at Holland Christian is something I hold dear to my heart. It brings me great joy to serve the Lord through my work here. As I greet children each day, I am given an awesome opportunity to share the love of God with each one; each child is His masterpiece! It is my hope and prayer that through the words I speak, the meditations of my heart, and the actions that I do, God will be glorified and pleased (Psalm 19:14). My desire is for Him. In my life Lord, be glorified.
MS. DANIELLA FERNANDEZ
3-SCHOOL PRESCHOOL AIDE
Bio coming soon!
Illinois and worked for Glen Ellyn public schools for two years before moving to Michigan and getting married. I started working for Holland Christian’s ESS program in 2011.
My husband Matt and I met at Calvin and got married in 2011. We live in Drenthe and attend Vriesland Reformed Church where we volunteer with the high school youth group. We enjoy Sunday dinners with his large family as well as traveling back to the Chicago area to visit my family as often as possible.
I enjoy working as a parapro for Holland Christian because I get to support the wonderful teachers here in their mission of nurturing young hearts and guiding them to follow Jesus and the path He has laid out for them.
worship for elementary and middle school aged girls. Aside from being passionate about children, I enjoy fitness, crafting, the beach, and being active outdoors with my family.
After my student teaching experience at Holland Christian High School, I fell in love with the HC community. I am passionate about helping students find the best way they learn. Teaching in ESS will fuel my passion for working with students of all gifts and talents. I feel truly blessed by this opportunity to share God’s love to children each day.
My favorite Bible verse is Joshua 1:9. This verse has given me peace, strength, and encouragement through different life experiences. I believe God is with me wherever I go and in all aspects of my life. I cannot wait to explore with my students new ways where we can see God in each day. I am excited to help children discover their abilities and how they can use them to glorify God.
MRS. JODI GILLMORE
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES ASSISTANT
I grew up in Hudsonville, Michigan, and attended Hudsonville Christian School, Unity Christian High School, and Calvin College,
where I majored in English and minored in history in the Secondary Education program. Upon graduation, I moved to Muskegon to teach English and history at Western Michigan Christian High School, while earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Grand Valley State University. Helping students find their strengths and weaknesses and “fill their toolboxes” with strategies for success was one of my greatest joys in my teaching career. In 2005, I moved to Holland after marrying Jason, an organic chemistry professor at Hope College. In 2008, after 10 years of teaching, I chose to stay at home when my daughter was born. Now that both my children are in school full time, I am excited to return to a school setting and the field of education, serving the staff and students at Rose Park in the ESS program.
When not too busy being a wife to Jason and mom to Anna and Will (both also at Rose Park), I enjoy running, lifting weights, reading, sewing, and baking. I also serve as a core group leader with Community Bible Study and as a GEMS counselor at Calvary Christian Reformed Church, where our family are members.
MRS. KALEE GUSTAFSON
I graduated from Calvin College in 2012 with my Bachelors in Elementary Education. I minored in Early Childhood, Integrated Science,
and Language Arts. I spent my first year after graduation teaching ESS at Rockford Christian School in Rockford, MI and was grateful for all I was able to learn in that area of education. Pursuing my passion for early childhood, I am blessed to be a part of the Holland Christian community!
My husband John and I were married in July of 2012. While not in the classroom, I love spending time with my husband, our families and friends. We enjoy traveling, camping, playing soccer, biking, fishing and boating. We have been so blessed!
I am blessed to be at Rose Park using my God given gifts to build His kingdom by teaching His children. I feel honored to have the opportunity to teach these children just how much God loves them and how individually gifted they are. I believe that life is a precious gift from God and as Christians, we are called to live a life that pleases Him. Just as life is precious, God created each precious child unique and in His image. As a teacher to the littlest learners at Holland Christian, it is my prayer that each child enters our classroom feeling that they are honored, accepted, loved and precious in His sight.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:4
MRS. MARY HOFMAN
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.
at Jenison Christian Elementary from 1988-1991. I then taught part-time at Zeeland Christian Middle School from 1991-1993. After spending several years at home with my family, I have begun working toward a Master’s in Elementary Education through Grand Valley. I currently teach 3rd grade at Rose Park.
I have 3 grown up children. My oldest daughter is happily preparing for her second year teaching 2nd grade at San Jose Christian in California. My second daughter is spending this school year in Budapest, Hungary. She will be teaching English, as well as a few other classes, to 2nd graders. My youngest is a sophomore at the University of Michigan. I am a member of Ridge Point Community Church, where I have been involved in music, drama, and children’s ministries.
I believe that each child is a unique individual, created by our Heavenly Father. In a Christian school setting, I have the opportunity and obligation to teach children that God is in control and wants us to serve Him in all we do. I incorporate my faith in our prayer time, worship time, and in daily conversation. I hope that my students will see Christ in me–in how I speak, act and live. It is my desire to honor God in all I do and to encourage my students to do the same.
During that time, I studied abroad for a semester in Seville, Spain, and I also did summer mission work in Reynosa, Mexico, where I moved after graduating from college. In Mexico, I worked for two years at an international school, where I taught various subjects and grade levels. I also married my husband, Miguel, there in 2009, and we moved over the border to McAllen, Texas in 2010.
In Texas, I spent three years working at IDEA Public Schools, a charter school system serving the community of the Rio Grande Valley and other cities in Texas. I then left the public school system to teach adult ESL at South Texas College for three years. During this time, my husband and I welcomed daughter Anaiah in 2013 and son Isaac in 2015.
In the summer of 2016, we moved back up north to be closer to family (and experience seasons again!). After a 12-day, 12-state road trip, we arrived in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, where I began to work towards my Master’s degree in Language Education. After a whirlwind year, I finished my degree and my family decided to relocate again to Holland. I am thrilled to join the Holland Christian community and can’t wait to get to know all of my students!
has led me here to this wonderful school as a teacher now. His plan is perfect and is so good! I graduated from Hope College in 2010 and taught middle school for three years at Moline Christian School before following God’s call to Holland Christian. I married my high school sweetheart in December of 2012 and we now live in Zeeland with our Golden Retriever, Daisy. We attend Providence CRC and are truly enjoying starting our life together. I cannot wait to see what else God has in store for me as I follow His path for my life.
Teaching at Holland Christian is such a gift. Being able to incorporate God into every subject and in every lesson is so incredibly amazing! I was blessed to have a Christian education as a child and now I am honored to be a part of providing one for these wonderful children in my classroom. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. God is so good!
Fitness Center in the child care area and teaching kids fitness classes. I came to Rose Park first as a recess monitor. It wasn’t long before I was a regular sub as a preschool aide which then turned into a permanent position.
I am married to Bob who works at DeLeeuw Lumber. We have four children: two boys and two girls, all of which attended Rose Park and HCHS. We as a family enjoy hiking, camping and bon fires. I enjoy running, scrapbooking, drawing/painting, cooking-trying new recipes and just being with my family.
I feel very blessed to be a part of Rose Park and to be able to show these precious little ones the love of Jesus.
MRS. AMY LUCE
I graduated with a B.A. in Art and Communications from Calvin College and hold a Masters of Education from Grand Valley State
University. This is my sixth year teaching art at Rose Park and my ninth year teaching students in the Holland Christian’s Home School community, also known as (HC)2.
I married Mike Luce and we are deeply committed to raising our three children, Mason, Audrey, and Elijah to love Jesus, listen to His voice, and serve Him in all we do. We worship at 14th Street Christian Reformed Church of Holland where I enjoy creating art, volunteering as a Joy Club leader, and connecting with our 14th Street family. When not attending one of our children’s sporting events our family takes pleasure in hiking, kayaking, and exploring Art Prize. I also enjoy attending Bible study, reading historical fiction, gardening, and watercolor painting.
When I made my first purple polka dotted dinosaur at age six I fell in love with the process of creating art. Being able to showcase a God of detail to my students in a grace filled community is a privilege. I love helping students learn how to do this well together! A God that not only relishes in the details of his creation but also takes great joy in our wonder-filled response humbles me! I am honored to encourage my students to learn through their mistakes, gain confidence as they strengthen their skills, and explore novel ways to bring joy to others while glorifying God through their art.
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
In the years between graduation and coming to Rose Park, I have worked as a math interventionist, taught as a substitute, and worked in outdoor education. Working at Camp Roger for the past 5 years in different roles has also been a huge part of my life in showing me my God-given gifts. I’ve also lived in the Grand Rapids area my whole life, and am very excited to be teaching at Holland Christian!
Having the opportunity to teach in such a strong Christian community is an amazing blessing for me. I am thrilled to be a part of the 5/6 Team at Rose Park and am learning more about myself each day. I also am passionate about math and science and learning more about the world God has given to us. Teaching children about God’s love through experiences in His creation is the reason I teach.
Outside of school, I enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking, and generally being outdoors. Another passion of mine is music, and praising God through worship leading at my church.
MRS. DINAH PEREIRA
SPANISH TEACHER &
SPANISH IMMERSION COORDINATOR
I am a 2005 Hope College graduate with a Bachelors in Special Education
and a Master’s in Administrative Education from the University of Phoenix. I found my passion for Spanish through my family and culture. I come from a Mexican and Puerto Rican family, who have been in Holland since the early 1970’s. I grew up in Holland and have always wanted to be a teacher, who not only impacted students but also someone who helps to lead those who have the same passion as I.
I have been married for 9 years and have two wonderful boys. In a house full of boys we spend lots of time outside and dreaming of the wonderful adventures we can have. I enjoy journaling, reading and drinking coffee with good friends. We have been members of Res- Life Holland for almost 7 years. My husband and I lead the Spanish church within Res-life called Iglesia vida, as associate pastors. I have participated and have lead children’s church, hospitality and worship with creative arts.
I am so excited to be part of Holland Christian Schools. It has always been a dream of mine to be able to live out my passion for teaching and for Christ in the same place. In my position this year as the Coordinator for our new Spanish Immersion program and being part of the FLES team will allow me to do all these great things. The one verse that resonates with me most often is Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
MS. JULIE RAAK
PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER
I graduated from Holland Christian in 1982, and continued my studies at Calvin College where I received a B.A. in Elementary
Education, with a Fine Arts Music Major and a Physical Education minor. I began my teaching career at Muskegon Christian Schools where I taught 1st and 3rd grade. During the summers right after graduation I completed my Master’s program in Elementary Education at Western Michigan University. After 3 years at Muskegon Christian, I had the high honor of being able to teach at Holland Christian. I have taught at Holland Christian since 1989 teaching 4th grade at Rose Park, K-5 P.E. at South Side and Pine Ridge, and most recently directing the Middle School choirs and teaching several P.E. classes. At HC I have also coached the JV basketball teams and varsity softball teams for 15 years, and the middle school basketball, volleyball, and softball teams at various times the past 14 years.
God has gifted each one of us with many different gifts, talents, and abilities, and in the different areas in which I teach, I want to impress upon the students I meet each day whether in the gym, choir room, or the athletic fields that each one has many, and maybe very different gifts (music and sports) and we are called to use the gifts and talents to bring glory, honor, and praise to Him. Ephesians 2:8-10 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It is my prayer that the students will see through me how God can use each one of us to let our light shine wherever we find ourselves.
MRS. STACEY RIETMAN
5TH GRADE TEACHER & MUSIC TEACHER
I graduated from Hope College in 1996 with a major in Language Arts and an Elementary Education certification. I taught 2nd grade
at Eagle Crest Charter Academy prior to starting our family. While staying home with my kids, I taught piano lessons, directed the kids’ choir at our church, and gave music leadership to a variety of children’s ministries. For the past 4 years, I have taught music for the Holland Christian Homeschool Connection. This year I am also teaching music at Rose Park (my old elementary school), and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
My husband Dennis and I are both HC graduates. We have 3 fantastic children: Paige, Kaleb, and Brynn. As a family we love to camp and explore God’s amazing creation through hiking, biking, and just being outside whenever we can. I enjoy cooking, baking, and attending live music performances. We are active members at Calvary Christian Reformed Church.
Music is truly a gift from God, but it can also be our gift to God. I love Psalm 105:1-2 “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.” I am so blessed by the opportunity to encourage students in the development of their musical gifts. By encouraging students to engage in meaningful worship, they are able to realize another way to connect with their Heavenly Father, and to demonstrate their love and devotion to Him.
MRS. LAURA ROTMAN
4s PRESCHOOL TEACHER
I am a graduate of Holland Christian. I also graduated from Calvin College with a B.A. in Elementary Education. I am currently pursuing
my masters in Early Childhood Education. I love teaching preschool and feel so thankful that God has led me back into the Holland Christian family. My husband, Bryan and I have three beautiful children. We are involved in and are members at Harderwyk church. Our family loves to camp, ride bikes, and we love being outside.
I am blessed that I can use my God given gifts to further His kingdom. I also feel honored that I can show these beautiful children the love of Jesus every single day.
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.”
University. I’ve taught in Christian Schools in Pennsylvania and Michigan since 1986.
I base my curriculum on the fact that “Our World Belongs to God.” As we learn to read and write we see that language and the ability to communicate is a gift from God which we must use wisely. In math we see that God is a God of order as we learn about patterns in the number system. We discover God’s world and our place as caretakers through our study of Earth’s land and water. And we see God’s creativity as we learn about the diversity of people He’s created – both long ago through our Bible and history lessons and today through our social studies activities. Our discussions often include “Wow, God” moments – expressions of awe and praise at something we’ve discovered – like the perfectly formed bird’s nest a student brought in, or reading about stars and how far away they are and how big our universe really is and then realizing that God is bigger than that! Just as important, and perhaps more important, are the unplanned times: praying with a little girl whose grandma died the night before, listening to scared 2nd graders pray together on their own and then calm down and relax while crouching in the hallway during a long tornado warning, and beginning parent-teacher conferences with prayer, acknowledging the presence of God in our discussion. My prayer for each of my students is that they will grow academically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually during the year, and that as they grow they will recognize that this world and everything in it really does belong to God, and that they will begin to see how God can use them to impact the world for Him.
spending the day at the beach, and family vacations. I love impromptu adventures and a spending time with my two younger brothers. I am an active member at Third CRC in Zeeland.
With a father who is a mechanical engineer, and a mother who was a 5th grade teacher at Holland Christian’s Maplewood Elementary, I grew up in a home where we were encouraged to be creative, to be problem-solvers, and have a deep relationship with our Lord and Savior. My parents had the opportunity to provide my two brothers and me with Christian education. I attended Holland Christian for my high school education and graduated in 2011. I furthered my education down the road at Calvin College. In May of 2015, I graduated from Calvin’s Elementary Education program with a major in Early Childhood education. The following summer I searched, applied, and waited to see where I could fulfill my desire to teach and learn alongside young minds. Then it happened. I received a call from Holland Christian for an aide position at South Side Elementary. All I could do was give praise to my Heavenly Father. He had a plan. For the 2015-16 school year, I worked alongside and learned from Karen Strikwerda in her kindergarten classroom. During that school year, I built relationships with staff, students, and families at South Side. In the spring, I was offered a position as a second grade teacher for a year, and then as a third grade teacher at Rose Park. I now have the opportunity to create a classroom community where I can encourage creativity, problem-solving, and furthering a relationship with our Lord and Savior. My excitement is still overflowing!
Whether it is a conversation about a child’s baseball game the prior night, joining them on the playground using their imagination, creating art, or building a Lego creation alongside of them: I find abundant blessings through these moments of building relationships with God’s children. I am reminded of one of my favorite verses that say, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). Just as the words say in the verse, each of the children in my classroom are uniquely created by the Great Maker’s hands. They are His. And I have the opportunity to teach and learn alongside of them 5 days a week. I value that time I receive to build those relationships with my students and their families.
MRS. DIANE STEENWYK
I am a graduate of Holland Christian and attended Calvin College and Elmhurst College in Chicago. My past work experience includes
managing Alpenrose Restaurant and working for the Hope College Financial Aid Office.
After marrying my high school sweetheart, Al Steenwyk, we moved to Chicago for five years for my husband to finish school and to work. Due to family circumstances we were called back to Holland where we established our family and our home. We have two boys, both Holland Christian graduates, both engineers, who are married and live in the Grand Rapids area. My favorite pastimes include first of all, my family and grandchildren, then cooking, traveling, and gardening.
I feel very strongly that God has taken me on a journey, preparing me for my work at Holland Christian. I love working in an environment with such Godly staff, supportive parents and delightful students. My job is precious to me and I consider it a privilege to work for each of you.
working on my Master’s degree from Grand Valley State University. I substitute taught in the Holland area for five years and was an instructional aide at Pine Ridge for one year. I taught 4th and 5th grade at Rose Park from 2000-2007, and am currently teaching 4th grade part time, in a partnership with Mrs. Kim VanderZwaag.
I am married and have three children, all of whom have graduated from Holland Christian. Our family attends Providence Church in Holland where we are involved in various programs. We enjoy traveling, spending time at our cottage, home improvement projects, and supporting the great sports programs at HC.
Children are a “precious” gift from God and have been made in the image of God. I, as a teacher, have a job to not only provide an excellent educational opportunity for my students, but also have the privilege to provide an environment that encourages and nurtures a relationship with God on a daily basis. Every child has a gift to discover and my goal is to provide a step in the development and growth of whom God created that child to be.
Holland Christian in Title One Math. In 2010 I moved to Whitinsville, MA to take a teaching job as full time kindergarten teacher at Whitinsville Christian School. I feel very blessed to be back in Holland and be a part of Holland Christian!
I was born and raised in Holland and attended Holland Christian Schools. I am a member of Christ Memorial Church where I have been involved in GEMS. Outside of teaching I enjoy running, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
As a Christian educator, it is my responsibility to reveal God’s love to children. I must show to my students that God is in all things. I have the awesome responsibility of helping students discover and develop their gifts and abilities so they can glorify God in their daily life so they can transform the world.
toward teacher certification. My husband and I lived in Charlotte, NC for 11 years where we had three children. In 2013 we were happy to move back to our home state of Michigan, and to live in beautiful Holland has been such a blessing. Our three children attend Rose Park Elementary.
I feel blessed to be working at Holland Christian Schools in the Educational Support Services as a paraprofessional. I enjoy working one-on-one with students to get to know them personally and watch them develop into the person that they were created to be. I am honored to work with a team of people who love and serve the Lord.
We attend Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, MI where we serve on the Guest Services Team. I love trusting in the integrity of God’s word and His promises. One of my favorite scriptures is: Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
MRS. DEE DEE THROOP
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.
MRS. KATIE VANDENBELDT
Bio coming soon!
from Western Michigan University. Since my college graduation in 1998, I have been teaching at Holland Christian in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade levels.
As a Christian educator, I understand and acknowledge that every child is made in the image of God. It is my job to respect each one, develop a personal relationship with them, and nurture them in their walk with Christ. Daily, I try to let my students see Jesus in me and feel His love for them coming through me.
MRS. VICKI VANPEURSEM
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES TEACHER
I graduated in 1981 from Calvin College with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. From there I taught at Christian
Opportunity Center in Pella, Iowa for three years, teaching in a classroom of mentally impaired teenagers. I returned to Michigan and taught for Holland Community Education in a program for mentally impaired adults at Kandu Industries. During this time, I went back to school and got my Master’s degree in Learning Disabilities from Western Michigan University. I have been teaching at Holland Christian Schools in the Educational Support Services program since 1994.
I am a member of Third Christian Reformed Church where I attend with my three children. As a family, we enjoy camping, biking, and traveling.
What I have appreciated most about my years of teaching at Holland Christian is the power of prayer. Whenever something significant happens either to a staff member or student or an event in the broader community, we stop and pray together. This has impacted me in a huge way. When something happens with one of my students in my classroom, I am more inclined to stop what we are doing and say “let’s pray about this.” It is my practice to start all meetings concerning the students I work with in prayer. If we happen to start a meeting without praying first, it feels like something is missing. It seems that when we pray together at the beginning of a meeting, it helps all who are involved to see what our common goal is…that with God’s help we are all going to work together to help that child achieve his or her God given potential.
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!
MRS. GRETCHEN VOGELZANG
I am a graduate of Calvin College, where I earned my B.A. in Elementary Education. While teaching at Holland Christian, I continued
with my education to earn my M.A. from Michigan State University in 1983. To continue my professional growth I worked at Hope College in the Education Department from 1991-1997, where I coordinated and supervised student-teachers. On behalf of Holland Christian, I have served on a variety of committees: Salary Study, Social Studies, Language Arts, Teacher-Board Representative, MANS planning committee, Steering Committee for NCA certification. Within my building assignments I have worked on musicals, programs, theme development, dedication services, social events, and dream/planning committees.
I have two children and am a member of Christ Memorial Church. Church membership has called me to work in the Sunday School program, be Director of Children’s Worship, Children’s Choir, Young People Leader, and steering/study groups for the church.
It is a joy to be able to teach at Holland Christian and be able to share the joy of my salvation with my students. Each day, throughout the day, I can point out the TRUTH of life to those students I come in contact with.
I taught third grade at Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and fifth grade at Cutlerville Christian School for six years. Since 2011 I have had the pleasure of serving at Holland Christian School as an instructional assistant and Title I reading and math interventionist.
My husband Dan and I have been blessed with three children. Our oldest graduated from HC and is now in college and our younger two currently attend HC.
I believe that every child is a child of God, and deserves to be given the opportunity to reach his or her God given potential. My job is helping them to reach that potential and to know their value as a child of God. It gives me great joy to see students succeed when their unique learning needs are met. I strive to help students know that everyone is equally important no matter what they look like, how they act, how smart they are, or anything else. I want them to experience the love of Jesus through my own interactions with them and by helping them show love and respect for each other.
MRS. EENA WRIGHT
6TH GRADE TEACHER
I was raised in the beautiful countryside of upstate New York. My mother is Dutch, raised CRC in Grand Rapids; my father is African
American, born in Brooklyn. I graduated from Calvin in Spring 2015 with a B.A. in Elementary Education/Spanish and an ESL minor. My Calvin journey included teaching experiences at Potter’s House, a semester in Peru, and student teaching in Rehoboth, New Mexico. As a bi-racial female, I’m committed to diversity and am excited to have been given the opportunity to share my love for other cultures with my students at Holland Christian. I am an exuberant, lively, energetic lover of God, children, and teaching and feel blessed to be able to use the gifts I’ve been given in a vocation I am committed to. I enjoy swimming, exercising, and hiking. I love reading fantasy series, taking pictures, writing letters, and laughing. I also like good coffee and conversation.
Teaching excites me! I feel blessed that God has given me the opportunity to challenge, give, love, grow and learn with students at Holland Christian. Sixth grade is such a wonderful grade, and I’m excited that my first full time teaching job is at the grade level I remember as being my favorite. I hope not only to instill in my students knowledge about the world they live in, but also to help them develop tools they can put to work to further God’s kingdom. I want my students to “grow” a sense of wonder at the complexity of the world and at their ability to contribute positively to kingdom work.
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Every aspect of my teaching–from how I greet my students in the morning to the notes I send home to parents is reflects my sense of myself as a conduit of Christ’s love. Teaching at Holland Christian gives me the opportunity to teach the whole student, addressing spiritual, academic, physical, and emotional needs. I believe that education is redemptive work–reclaiming God’s kingdom for all His image bearers. I want to share the unchanging love of God in my classroom. I am eager to work side by side with other Christians, supporting and encouraging each other in the faith as well as professionally.
I also believe that worship is important, and worship includes service. My primary service is teaching: educating young children to know the love of God. I have been blessed with musical talents and wish to continue to use those gifts to further His kingdom. Through dance, playing the piano, and singing, I have worshiped and served the Lord for many years both in church and at school-wide chapels. I eagerly anticipate stepping into my classroom each morning and providing a biblically-based understanding of life. I want each student to know and appreciate education as both a gift and a tool to further God’s kingdom.