Staff Profiles

Office Staff

AN KUROSU

PRINCIPAL


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College, Special education K-12 and elementary education K-5; MA Western Michigan University, K-12 Principalship; fourth-grade teacher in Honduras; third and fifth-grade teacher at West Side Christian School The students and staff motivate me each day. It’s a blessing to be able to be such an important part of their lives, especially in their spiritual growth. Every Monday morning we pray as a whole school. I am honored and humbled to serve this community and all the families who are a part of West Side Christian School. God's Kingdom is here and I am encouraged each day by the conversations I have rooted in faith and God's love. Without the support of parents, families, churches, and community businesses my work would not be possible. Outside of school, I love to travel around the world and explore God's creation all around me. My husband and I love to run, bike, and kayak. I also enjoy giving my time to my church and other local nonprofit organizations. God is doing amazing things here and I look forward to what is to come.

MARLENE ALVAREZ

OFFICE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College in Business and Communications My husband, Yoel, and I have three children. Our oldest son, Joel, is a senior at Calvin Christian High School and our two younger ones, Jordan and Jaydan, are in 7th and 4th grade at WSCS. Before joining the West Side staff, I was the Director of Children's Ministries at Caledonia Christian Reformed Church. Over the years, I have enjoyed watching WSCS use every opportunity to speak Biblical truths into students lives. I am excited to be a part of the wonderful staff at WSCS!

GORD BYLSMA

BUSINESS MANAGER


Bio
As business manager, I have the privilege of seeing first-hand the sacrifices made by parents and grandparents to have their students at West Side Christian School. Christian education is so important to them that it is a top priority, both financially and in volunteer hours. I am absolutely committed to Christian education, and specifically, I love West Side Christian School. The commitment to excellent Christian education at WSCS is lived out every day by staff, teachers, parents, students, and our faithful supporters. It is an inspiration to me to be in the middle of that each and every day. My wife, Ruth plays flute with the Grand Rapids Symphony and we have three children and four grandchildren. Ruth, her mother, and our three children are all graduates of West Side Christian School. I am in my eleventh year at WSCS after 30 years helping to manage a small blueprint shop in Grand Rapids.

DALE BURGHGRAEF

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR


 

JANE ELZINGA

TECHNOLOGY COACH


Bio
I'm a WSCS alumnus, I have had three children graduate from WSCS, and now have a grandchild in preschool here! My goal is to create a technology-infused learning environment that will increase student achievement, expand technology literacy, advance digital citizenship, and create a culture of learning and innovation.

SUE FOLKERTS

TRANSPORTATION COORDINATOR


Bio
Additional experience: BA Dordt College in Communications and Speech I was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago. I attended Timothy Christian School from K -12. I met my husband Ken at Timothy, though I was sure I would never marry him! Ken and I raised 3 daughters, who also attended Timothy, and went on to college and further education. Ken is a Maintenance manager and worked for Republic Services in The Chicago area. My daughter and son-in-law live in Grand Rapids with our 3 granddaughters, and she has been asking us to think of moving to be nearer to them. That happened last October, when Ken saw an opening in Jenison! Before we knew it, we had moved back to Michigan. I love Christian education! My mother attended Timothy, as well as my aunts and uncles, along with all of my brothers and sisters. I believe it is a wonderful gift to be able to give our children a consistent message in the home, church, and school that Jesus is Lord! To train and teach them through these formative years, to prepare them for a world that is hungry for the truth, and yet hostile to our Savior. 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

STEVE JOLING

FACILITIES MANAGER


Bio
Additional experience: Calvin College and United States Air Force I spent most of my life as a commercial bus driver, served as an Air Traffic Controller for the United States Air Force, and worked at Wedgwood Christian Services as a Shift Supervisor. I have also had more than 30 foster sons. The best thing about Christian education is having the freedom to talk and teach about the Creation or all things! I feel privileged to serve West Side Christian School and work hard to keep our campus safe and beautiful.

TIM KAMPS

TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT CONSULTANT


 

SUSAN KRIEGER

KITCHEN SUPERVISOR


Bio
Additional experience: I have experience serving as a volunteer at school in the kitchen, the food pantry at my church, and as a children’s leader for Bible Study Fellowship. I really appreciate how Christian education starts children off right with a strong foundation of Biblical truths while challenging them to live in those truths daily. At WSCS, I’m responsible for making sure our kitchen is well-maintained and complies with Michigan Health Department standards. I’m also a mom to twin boys who attend WSCS!

ANGELYN KUIPER

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College in Organizational Communication and Writing As Director of Communication and Marketing, I have the wonderful job of highlighting the ways in which God is working at WSCS. I love sharing stories that highlight the creativity and passion of our staff members. Students here have amazing opportunities to learn and grow in God’s creation, and I’m blessed to be able to share these stories with the broader community. I previously worked for the Christian Reformed Church in North America’s Office of Social Justice, and I have a passion for justice issues, especially creation care—something WSCS cares deeply about. My husband, Michael, and I have a daughter in heaven, Eloise, and a one-year-old son Ellis. We love spending time on the water, traveling, and watching our son grow!

LINDA MULDER

LIBRARY AND OFFICE ASSISTANT


Bio
Our goals in the library are to try and help each child discover the privilege and benefits of reading books. It brings me joy when kids come in looking for a good book and we can help them find books that motivate them to read. Outside of school, I enjoy cooking, reading, sports, and visiting Northern Michigan with my family.
 

Teaching Staff

KELLY ZECK

EARLY EDUCATION DIRECTOR AND 3S PRESCHOOL TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: BA Early Childhood Education from Western Michigan University; MA in Family Life Education with an emphasis in Child Development from Western Michigan University I taught preschool for several years before I made a switch into social work after getting my master's degree. This experience made me love working with the whole family and helping them find their strengths to encourage each member of the family succeed. I was then fortunate to stay home with my children for several years. I am now so blessed to be working with students and families alike at West Side Christian School. My greatest goal when working with all students is for them to know and feel the overwhelming love our Lord has for them and to grow in confidence in being a child of God! I want to help all students see who they are in the Lord and who He has called them to be. Preschool is the first time many young children are away from their parents. My hope is to create a safe and loving environment where preschoolers (and parents!) feel safe to explore, grow in their independence and community with each other. I love watching preschoolers discover the world around them and how it connects to our Creator. I am married to Rich and have two children, Tyler and LilyAnn. My children are fourth generation West Siders. Outside of school I love to read and spend as much time as possible with my family at the beach!

AMALIA MULDER

4S PRESCHOOL TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: BA/Kuyper College & Cornerstone University in elementary education language arts, Bible, & theology with a minor in early childhood development; taught kindergarten and preschool The children’s enthusiasm, motivation, joy, laughter, and excitement to learn inspires me, and I receive so much joy from watching them learn and grow throughout the year. It is a gift to be able to teach the children about Jesus and His great love for each of them. My goals are that the children will not only grow in knowledge throughout the year, but that they will also grow spiritually. I want to ensure that each and every child feels valued and appreciated as a child of the Lord. I hope that the children will learn how to love God with all of their hearts, and that it will be evident through their learning and their actions. My husband Josh and I live on the West Side of Grand Rapids and we have a son Noah, as well as daughter Caroline who is in our hearts. I love to take walks, bake, read, and spend time enjoying the outdoors.

KRISTI ELLIOTT

3S PRESCHOOL TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: Associates Degree in Child Development from Grand Rapids Community College I have been in the field of Early Childhood for many years. I feel so blessed to now be a part of the West Side Christian community! It is my goal that when young children come into the classroom they are loved not just by me, but most importantly by God. For many preschoolers this is their first experience away from parents. Creating a safe environment that will nurture and support the spiritual, emotional, social, and academic development of my students is something I strive for. I have such great joy in watching preschoolers discover the world around them and creating community with each other. I am married to Kirt and have 4 children, Lindsay, Tyler, Leah, and Mason. They are 4th generation West Siders! Outside of school I love to spend as much time with them as possible. That usually means playing games or hanging out in our backyard pool!

KATELYN EGNATUK

NATURE PRESCHOOL TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: Calvin College BA in Special Education What brings me joy? I love that I get to spend my days exploring His world with my preschoolers. It's an amazing blessing to rejoice with my students in the beauty of God's world, to watch their love for God grow as they care for His creation, and worship Him through singing, dance, stories, and prayer. I love seeing their excitement as they discover/explore something for the first time! In Nature Preschool everyday is a new adventure and experience- you never know what might hop or fly by, and I love that! Outside of teaching, I enjoy spending time with my husband Ryan by or on the water!
 

ALISHA MYERS

YOUNG 5S TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: BA/Grand Valley State University, Elementary & Special Education; MA Early Childhood Developmental Delay; Early Childhood Special Education & Young 5s teacher at East Grand Rapids Public Schools I have a heart for kids and a passion to see them succeed and know the love of Christ! It is such a blessing to be a part of the teaching staff here at West Side Christian and to be able to teach the children about God’s amazing world. The students’ joy, laughter, and curiosity is inspiring to me. I strive to create a safe loving environment for all my students to feel comfortable and loved by God and by others. Outside of school, I love spending time with my three girls Adalyn, Reese, & Cora and my husband Brian. I also enjoy reading a good book, camping, and refinishing old furniture for my home!

HANNAH LITWILLER

KINDERGARTEN TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: BA at Hope College, Elementary Education major, Endorsement in Early Childhood I love how WSCS is a family who is prayerful and encouraging. It’s such a blessing to be able to work in a place where everyone is passionate about serving the Lord through loving children. I love the one-on-one moments with the students, where you really get to love on them, get to know them, and encourage them. The ‘Aha!” moments are inspiring to see, especially when it is a student who has been struggling for a while. I see and experience God mostly through nature, which is why I love the opportunity to be part of the West Side Christian community! My husband Noah and I love to travel! We have family and siblings all over the country. We love to run, and we love to spend time up north at Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp, where we both worked as counselors.

DELIA ROBERTS

KINDERGARTEN TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BA in Elementary Education Calvin College with minors in Language Arts and Spanish; K-8 Spanish teacher at WSCS, Preschool teacher at WSCS My husband, Tim, and I have three children, Adam, Allison and Alex. We live in Hudsonville and are members of LaGrave Christian Reformed Church. West Side Christian School has been my home for the last 21 years! In that time, I have taught K-8 Spanish, Preschool and Kindergarten. Growing up in a Christian home, I was always taught the importance of a Christian Education, which has led to my passion for it. I have been able to give my own children that gift as well! Teaching at West Side Christian, I am able to freely show my love for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. In my classroom, I can share my faith with my students and help them grow in their relationship with God. We learn to see how God is a part of everything, and in everything. It’s wonderful to be able to pray for my students and with my students.

JENNIE KORTMAN

FIRST GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BS Elementary Education - Olivet Nazarene University; M.A.Ed Reading Specialist - Olivet Nazarene University; nine years teaching Kindergarten in Illinois I am thrilled to be a part of West Side Christian School. I am a Michigan native, and we are so excited God has brought our family back to Michigan. I have known from a young age that I wanted to be a teacher. I had some very influential teachers, and I strive to be that kind of teacher. I love creating an environment where students feel loved while finding success through all the challenges. I find great joy in getting to know each student as individuals and watching them grow academically and spiritually. I am so excited to work in a Christian environment where I can share God's love and joy with my students. I enjoy spending time with my husband, son, and dog on the water. My son is excited to also join the WSCS family and come to school with mom!
 

ALISON GROENBOOM

FIRST GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BA Trinity Christian College in Elementary Education; graduate work at MSU, Calvin College, Grand Valley State University; Sixth and second grade teacher There is great joy in first grade! Joy happens when students are learning to read and making math connections! Joy happens when we sing praises to Jesus. Joy is working with other teachers and parents who serve God and his people each day. I have pages of academic goals for my students, but my main goal is for them to see Jesus in me and in each other. Pointing their eyes up to heaven is a daily goal! My students certainly motivate me to work harder. Seeing their progress inspires me, but so does their lack of knowledge -- I want them to learn! The teaching staff here at WSCS also inspires me to keep learning and growing as an educator, for we are in a school community that loves to learn about God and his creation. Teaching is a big part of my life, but I am also a wife and mom. I am married to Pastor Roger Groenboom, and we have three children, one of whom is married. I have two grandchildren: Eloise and Ellis. Each of my three children had the blessing of attending WSCS. I also love the Chicago Cubs, Chicago pizza, and reading books!

ELLEN KOSTER

SECOND GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BS Grand Valley State University/elementary & special Education; MA Western Michigan University & Michigan State University; emotionally & mentally impaired special education teacher in the Grand Rapids Public School; kindergarten, first grade teacher at WSCS Being a part of the academic growth and development of the children at West Side Christian School is so rewarding, and cultivating and encouraging their spiritual growth as children of God is so gratifying. Goals for the children in my classroom include using their God-given abilities the best they can, making the choice to always walk with Jesus with their words and actions, serving others, and appreciating and caring for the world we are blessed with. I always enjoy bringing new ideas, strategies, and techniques into the classroom to provide students with the best understanding of skills and concepts – which means I get to keep learning too! I attended West Side Christian School from kindergarten through ninth grade, my two daughters went through West Side Christian, and my grandson went to preschool here too! Outside of school, I enjoy bird watching, reading, biking, and baking.

LORI POTT

SECOND GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College/elementary education; graduate studies at Western Michigan University My love for children and love of teaching brought me to the classroom. It is a wonderful privilege to be a part of a child’s learning experience and to watch them grow with the Lord at a young age and it brings me joy to share my faith in Jesus with my students each day. It is also a joy seeing my students inspired to live their lives for Jesus and becoming more like HIM. The joy and happiness my students have and share with others is amazing! I strive to create an environment where my students feel comfortable and loved in my classroom and I also want to see them grow closer in their relationship with Jesus and have fun learning new things about God’s World and preparing for a life of service in God’s Kingdom. Besides teaching, I enjoy exercising, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

MELISSA VANTIL

THIRD GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BA/Calvin College and MA/Calvin College in curriculum & instruction with a literacy concentration; Title I teacher; 7th & 8th grade language arts teacher; Kindergarten teacher. My students constantly inspire me with the gifts, talents, and challenges that they bring to the classroom. I love challenging them and helping them grow in whatever they need to the best of my ability. I would like all of my students to be deeply engaged in their learning because there is so much to learn about in God's world. I have a deep love and passion for helping my students become lifelong readers. I love the challenge of helping my students find "The Book" that connects with them. Cultivating a classroom community where students help take care of each other (and me!) brings me great joy. I am always astonished by how my students bless me and each other in so many ways. The "aha" moments in my classroom when students make connections or are lost in their learning are what keep me going. I want all of my students to grow into the young men and women that God has planned for them to be, to teach them that everything sings of the glory of God, and to equip them to make the world a better place. I want my students to leave my classroom passionate and committed learners. I am a learning junkie. If there is something I want to learn about I will get my hands on things to read about it. I love reading and talking about educational research to the point where I am annoying. I enjoy being outside, especially camping or working in my yard. I love cooking and eating and have a pretty serious coffee addiction. My two young boys keep me laughing, on my toes, and my house a mess. They have made me an infinitely better teacher and person. I take great joy in working at the same school my two sons attend.
 

AMANDA VANDERWALL

THIRD GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BA/Calvin College, MA/Calvin College, Literacy; teacher at National Heritage Academies; fourth grade teacher at West Side Christian School It brings me so much joy to see students enjoying learning, and also persevering through difficult situations and reaching those "aha!" moments. I love watching students discover a love of reading and experiencing the wonder of exploring new things through the pages of a book. It’s a privilege to bring my students into the presence of Jesus every day and to learn about and experience Him together in our classroom community. In my free time I love read, especially science fiction, historical fiction, and articles pertaining to new practices in education. I continue to find so many great things to learn and stories to be explored.

BETSI BROOK

FOURTH GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: BA/Calvin College

KIM KRYGER

FOURTH GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: BA/Calvin College, Elementary & Special Education; MA/Michigan State, Reading; GVSU-LD endorsement; First grade teacher at Allendale Christian; Special Education teacher at NHA’s Vista and Walker Charter; First, Fifth, and Fourth grade teacher at West Side Christian It is a privilege for me to teach at West Side Christian School. I find joy in greeting my students each day, as each day is a gift. Their smiling, curious, faces return my greeting, and then we are off to begin our day’s adventures! Knowing that I am shaping lives for the future inspires me to give God my best in all I do. I strive to inspire my students to do the same for God. The growth I see in students spiritually each year inspires me to make this a priority. I have devotions each day with my students and we grow close as a class. We share things with each other and with God in our prayer book. God is present as I see Him working in the lives of all of us in the room. Daily He is making us grow to be more like Christ, His Son. Mr. Kryger and I love being grandparents! We also love boating and ORV dune riding at SIlver Lake.

MIKAELA GEERS

FIFTH GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BA Hope College/special education Teaching has always been a large part of my family, and I grew up always wanting to teach. Building relationships with my students inspires me each day, as well as having the opportunity to weave my faith into each of the subjects that I teach. Being able to do that here at West Side Christian brings me so much joy, and I strive for each child that passes through my door to feel loved and valued by God, and by me. Having grown up in Holland, I love being in and around the water and enjoy boating, beach days, and walking along the lake as well as hiking, biking, playing tennis, and spending time with family and friends. I’m also looking forward to getting married next June.
 

JOY VANDERVENNEN

FIFTH GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BS Purdue University Calumet; 3rd grade teacher I knew from an early age that God called me to be a teacher. I set my focus towards achieving that goal and it has been a fantastic journey. There are few things better than being a part of watching young people’s minds unfold and become filled with knowledge and the love of Jesus. The biggest joy is leading children in God-inspired worship. It is, for me, the most beautiful part of teaching at West Side Christian School. I have the awesome opportunity to not only lead the student body, but my own children as well, into worship. My goals for the students that God allows me to teach are quite simple; I want to teach them to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to feel success in areas of struggle, and to continue to be challenged in their strengths. But most importantly, I want them to walk out on that last day knowing they were loved, challenged and are important to God! When I am not teaching I LOVE to read. I enjoy taking our boat out and fishing and taking walks with my family. I have 4 children that have attended or are currently attending West Side Christian School and they are the 4th generation to do so. I get a Diet Dr. Pepper from Speedway every day and I do NOT like the smell of oranges. I can speak in many kinds of dialects (my students learn this about me very quickly) and I have recorded a worship CD with my former worship team.

AARON ELZINGA

SIXTH GRADE TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: Associates degree/Grand Rapids Community College in business; BA/Calvin College in elementary education, math, & science; taught 7th grade science and 8th grade algebra. I am inspired by seeing the “aha” moment when a student gets something for the first time, and one of my goals for my students is that they each feel as though they belong. I enjoy being able to share my faith openly with students, staff, and parents here at West Side Christian. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy playing golf and basketball, racing sailboats, and watching hockey, football, baseball, and basketball. I also enjoy spending time with family both inside and outside, especially my wife Katie, daughter Mia, and son Kade.

JADE DEMEESTER

SIXTH GRADE TEACHER


Bio

ZACH KLOMP

SIXTH GRADE TEACHER


Bio
 

MIKE JACOBS

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER


Bio

MATTHEW FALK

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BS/Calvin College in physics; 7th-12th grade math and science Two things really motivate and inspire me as a teacher: first of all, it's a lot of fun to be with young people; second, I had a couple of teachers who made a profound influence on my life and I hope to be that teacher for some of my students. It is rewarding to work with students and to see them master the material. I also love to teach Bible and to have a huge chunk of time each day to talk about God and how we see him working in our lives. I hope my students grow in many different areas. I hope they grow spiritually - in their relationship with God, their knowledge of him, and in seeing him work in their lives and in the world around them. I hope they grow in their ability to think logically, problem solve, and "do math". I hope they grow as individuals, gaining confidence in themselves and seeing themselves more and more the way God sees them. When not at school, I enjoy active outdoor pursuits like biking and adventure racing. I've spent a lot of time fixing up our house over the years - we've installed 21 new windows and gutted several rooms in addition to just normal maintenance and repair things. Together with my wife Michelle and two boys, we spend time biking, hiking, geocaching, and camping. I shoot fireworks professionally and have SCUBA dove on a number of shipwrecks in recent years.

MARILEE MARSMAN

MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College/secondary education English major/communications minor; MA Grand Valley State University; high school English; high school play director I enjoy building relationships with students and watching them grow throughout the year. I especially enjoy seeing what God does in their lives beyond my classroom. I enjoy creative lesson planning and trying something new when it comes to teaching. I love being able to tie faith and academics together. West Side Christian School has a heritage and history that I have personally been a part of and now my children are also benefiting from those roots that were placed long ago. The families are supportive and willing to help out when needed. West Side Christian is about more than just the mind; we work to educate the whole student and grow them to be more like Christ. My goal is to prepare them for high school English as well as push them and challenge them to consider their own faith and how they can make it authentic. What does it look like to be a Christian in our current culture? That is a question I want them to be able to answer. I also love it when students can find at least one thing that they like about English class. I enjoy directing theater as well as watching performances as all levels. My husband Jeremy and I have four children, who all attend WSC. We enjoy spending time traveling, baking, spending time outside, and volunteering at church with our senior high youth group. I also enjoy reading, writing, and walking.

CONNIE MEEKHOF

ORCHESTRA TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College/music education; music teacher K-6; K-12 orchestra and general music in several area public and Christian schools; Freelance musician that performs throughout West Michigan Two things motivate and inspire me the most as a teacher: the music and the students. There is more great string orchestra music being written than ever before and seeing the students enjoy creating the music with me is what truly inspires me. Working with other talented and dedicated teachers brings me joy; students who want to perform well and set goals for themselves and seeing from year to year students master their instruments brings me great joy as well. My goal for every one of my students is to have them reach a level of accomplishment that will motivate them to continue their music into high school and their adult years. Outside of school, I also have a very busy music studio at home where I give private lessons. I play in the Holland Symphony, the Simply Strings String Quartet, and in several church praise bands. Hiking, biking and skiing with my family are some of my hobbies outside of school.
 

ANDREW VANDERWAL

PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College/physical education and health minor; PE teacher in Nebraska and Big Rapids. My goal in teaching PE at West Side Christian is to help students develop their skills, knowledge, and enjoyment of physical activity and sports so that they can participate in these activities for their whole life. At a Christian school, it is so awesome to be able to bring God into our discussions of our bodies and getting to enjoy His creation when we get outdoors. But even more than that, sports and physical activity provide such an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to others. Something I tell the students often is that sports are such an important ‘mission field’. Whether it’s how we act when we compete, how we work together as a team or how we treat our opponent or referees, others can see Jesus in how we conduct ourselves during these activities. Another thing I really love about being at West Side is the opportunity to be with students outside of the classroom. Some of my favorite times are eating lunch with kids, going on exploratories, or coaching sports teams after school. These provide a great opportunity to build relationships with students and that is my goal in teaching. Some of my favorite things to do outside of teaching are playing almost any sport, camping, hiking, fishing, or other outdoor activities. And the times I enjoy doing these the most are with my family. I have a wife, Heidi, and 2 wild and wonderful kids - Elliana and Malachi.

JENNA VANDYKE

SPANISH TEACHER


IDELLE WAGNER

CHOIR AND BAND TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: BA Calvin College; Have taught at Lamont Christian, Grandville Christian, Calvin Christian, Jenison Christian, and Hudsonville Christian Schools I love spending time with children and enjoy singing, moving and playing with children using music. I experience great joy when I hear children voices singing and see their smiling faces as we do music together. I am inspired to see how far students have progressed in their musical ability by the time they have reached middle school, (what they can sing in choir and play in band). I thoroughly enjoy being part of this caring body of believers here at WSCS, as we can share our faith with everyone all day long, what a privilege! Besides my teaching responsibilities, I also direct the adult choir, play the organ and help in the planning of worship services for my church, 12th Ave CRC. I also enjoy spending time with my husband, Bob, and our 3 married daughters and grandchildren. Now that we are “empty nesters”, my husband and I have been taking some wonderful vacations. As I look back on how God has used people and circumstances in my life to lead me to where He wants me to do His Kingdom work, all I can say is “Great is Your Faithfulness!” Lam. 3:23

ANDREA KAREL

ART TEACHER


Bio
Additional Experience: BA Art Education K-12 & English - Calvin College I love spending time with my large family (I'm one of 7 siblings!), and I recently got married to my husband Jared. I'm a WSCS graduate and I enjoy bowling, water sports, and creating art. I love to encourage students to tune into their God-given creativity, and I love that art can reach a wide variety of learners. I appreciate being part of a school that has a strong calling to learn from and care for God's creation because it's a perfect reminder that, having been made in His own image, we are called to create too.

Little Sprouts Staff

CHELSEA VANVELS

LITTLE SPROUTS DIRECTOR


Support Staff

MARIA BULTSMA

EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES DIRECTOR


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College/general education and cognitively impaired; MEd GVSU/special education with a learning disabilities endorsement; GVSU learning disabilities consultant & ASD university field coordinator; second grade teacher at Greater Portland (ME) Christian School; second grade teacher at Dawn Treader (Paterson, NJ) Christian School; fourth-sixth grade teacher at Eastern Christian (NJ) Schools My motivation and inspiration continues to come from my memories of my Grandpa Vermaat who was a Christian school teacher for 50 years. I have vivid memories of watching him interact with former students and wanting to have a job that gave me the chance to build those kinds of relationships. That desire was made stronger when I was in junior high school, where my teachers built community within our grade and were quite intentional with learning about each one of us. My role is quite different than a classroom teacher. I do not have a traditional classroom but have 50-75 students, who have a disability, that are on my caseload. My job is to make sure these students have what they need to be successful with their learning. I do this by consulting with their parents, teachers, and our support staff. Part of my job is to offer them continual hope and support as they move through the grades at WSCS and into high school. A goal that I have for these students are to make sure they know God has given them many strengths and gifts and then provide the environment where they can show these gifts. My husband Shawn, a GVSU professor, and I have four children. Outside of school, I enjoy sitting on my front porch, talking with neighbors, walking my dog, and going to Lake Michigan.

REBECCA BOOTSMA

PARAPROFESSIONAL


TERESA KOOYER

NATURE PRESCHOOL AID


Bio
Additional experience: BA Grand Valley State University, Spanish Working with preschoolers -- their curiosity, innocence, and zest for life – is one of the things I love most about working at West Side Christian. I also appreciate the people that I work with and the opportunity to be outside, teaching kids in His creation. Outside of school, I love to swim, exercise, and be outdoors spending time with my husband and four children.

CARA KUIPERS

SCHOOL COUNSELOR


 

JULIE LOUWERSE

RTI/ACADEMICALLY TALENTED/PRE-5 RESOURCE ROOM COORDINATOR


Bio
Additional experience: BA Trinity Christian College/elementary education; elementary teacher at Timothy Christian School (Elmhurst, IL) Romans 12:4-5 “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” This is a beautiful picture of how Christian education and community functions. We belong to each other in all of the uniqueness that our Creator has instilled in us as individuals. I desire for each student with which I come in contact to share this belief and to feel valued and loved exactly as he/she is. It’s such a privilege for me to have a front-row seat to so many of our students’ faith and academic journeys, and I look forward to walking with them as they grow and change from year-to-year. In my own family, my husband and I are humbled (daily), awed, and occasionally frazzled as we have a front row seat to the growth of our own four children. I love reading and music (I've been known to sing and play the violin), any time I can spend on or near water, and being with family and friends.

KIM MAST

PARAPROFESSIONAL


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College/elementary education and MA in Ed. From Cornerstone University; taught 1st and 2nd grades for 10 years in other Christian schools. God has gifted me and prepared me to teach! I am very motivated to help students who struggle, because I struggled so much as a young student. I want to help them find excitement and joy in learning. I want to offer hope and encouragement. My husband and I raised three boys, all of whom serve in the military. Between the three of them, they have had seven deployments to the Middle East. In addition to spending time with kids, I enjoy walking, biking, gardening, singing and needlepoint.

MARY JO NANNINGA

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR & PARAPROFESSIONAL


Bio
Additional experience: BA Calvin College/elementary and physical education; paraprofessional; sensory coordinator; 7th grade girls basketball coach I receive joy through the variety of students I get to work with in the ESS room. Each student has their own unique gifts and way of learning. Having coached middle school soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and track, and as the AD, I find it rewarding to see students working hard to develop their God-given gifts, improving their skills, and working as a team. I enjoy watching all kinds of sports and I see a great variety of them watching the West Side Christian middle school athletes! Teaching PE to the youngest students is a great opportunity to teach them about all the amazing things their bodies can do. My husband Todd and I are both graduates of West Side Christian, as are our two children. We enjoy spending time at our cabin on the Little Manistee River and riding quads and a dune buggy on the trails up there. Our family loves being active, whether it is up north or in our backyard swimming pool (we live in the house I was raised in because I couldn’t live without the pool!). It is a privilege to be part of the West Side Christian School family.

JAN REIDSMA

PARAPROFESSIONAL


 

JULIE RODENHOUSE

TEACHER'S AIDE


Bio
Additional Experience: Teacher's Aide for 13 years at West Side Christian; Coached softball at West Side Side Christian for several years I find joy at West Side Christian the second I walk through the door. West Side is so precious to me. My kids are the 5th generation on my husband's side and 4th generation on my side of the family. Words can't describe how much joy I have been blessed with by my kids attending this school, and I am lucky enough to work there. I see and experience God all around this school. I am so thankful for this community. I love walking down the hallways hearing children praising God by singing some of the same songs I sang years ago when I attended WSCS. God is so good! I enjoy vacations with my family. We are Disney fanatics and have great love for not only the "happiest place on Earth", but the entire state of Florida. We also greatly enjoy exploring our beautiful state of Michigan.

KYRA SHORT

PARAPROFESSIONAL


Bio
Additional Experience: BA in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University I recently moved back to the West Michigan area to pursue my Master's of Education in School Counseling from Grand Valley State University. I grew up in Hudsonville, and I received my B.A. in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University. I have experience working with students in the classroom, in small groups, and in one-on-one settings, and I’m looking forward to working as a paraprofessional in the Educational Support Services program at WSCS! My goal is to help all students achieve their best academically, socially, and spiritually.

JANET STAAL

DIRECTOR OF NATURE-BASED/OUTDOOR EDUCATION


Bio
Additional Experience: BA Calvin College in Education K-8 Math and Science; Michigan State University - Master Naturalist Certification; 14 years teaching experience As a young girl, I explored the woods of West Michigan, curious about all the creatures and plants that lived there, fueling my passion for learning and my love for my Creator and Savior. That love of learning translated into a lifelong dedication to teaching. Equipped with my K-8 teaching certification, I began my adventures as an educator, first as a K-8 science teacher and then a 7th and 8th grade Science, Math and Bible teacher. After a few years home with my girls, I began exploring outdoor education through Blandford Nature Center, growing into a position as an Environmental Education Consultant, which God used to equip me for my role at West Side Christian as the Director of Nature-based/Outdoor Education. I praise God for how I have the opportunity to daily work in collaboration with grade level teachers to develop West Side Christian's Pre-K - 8th grade nature-based/outdoor educational experiences. As an educator, I get to join in with where God is at work in students' lives. His spirit fuels my passion to make learning coming alive through engaging, multi-sensory experiences that equip students to live as followers of Christ, growing spiritually and academically, while fanning their flame for a lifelong love of learning. I look forward to each and every moment we as a staff get to together as we walk alongside the students at West Side Christian. Together we daily discover more about God’s creation and the gifts He has given us to use for His glory, pointing others to Him.