West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Archive for January 2020

Western Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative Staff Spotlight Fall 2019

The Power of Teamwork

The “Collaborative” or West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS), is a non-profit organization formed in 2012 with the goal of creating a seamless, exemplary preschool through high school Christian educational experience for local families. Together, FCS, GHC, NEC, MCS, and WMC provide excellent Christian education rooted in the Gospel to all who desire it.

This “better together” teamwork is personified by a growing staff that works behind-the-scenes to help fulfill the goal and mission of WMCS while adding a professional level of support to each school.

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions were their own, but they shared everything they had. – Acts 4:32

Introducing, TEAM WMCS, the Collaborative Support Staff for all Five Schools

WMCS Collaborative staff (pictured above) includes (top, left to right:) Larry Schutt, Mary Workman, Cathy Schaaf, Kimberlee Mitchell, (bottom row) Whitney Piersma, Dan DeKam, and Jennifer Van Hekken.

LARRY SCHUTT, WMCS CFO, joined in 2018.

“I love supporting the WMCS principals on the business side of school operations as much as they love supporting the teachers who are on the frontline of Christian education.”

WHITNEY JACKSON, Director of Educational Support Services, since 2016.

“Working with the WMCS collaborative allows me to create procedures system-wide to ensure all schools share the same vision for supporting students with diverse learning needs. This helps create consistency and build a community of collaboration between teams at each school that allows us to use each other as resources!”

KIMBERLEE MITCHELL, Director of Marketing Communications, since 2016.

“I enjoy working with the ‘Fab Five” principals, their support staff and the managers of DIBS! and B2 to sustain and raise the bar for excellence of transformative Christian education! It’s true Kingdom work!”

JENN VANHEKKEN, Director of TfT since 2017 and K-8 Curriculum Development, since 2015.

“What I love most about what I do is having the ability to walk alongside our teachers to help them strengthen their understanding of integrating faith and learning in a way that is meaningful and intentional while also
strengthening their curriculum and their use of best practices for learning in the classroom.”

CATHY SCHAAF, WMCS Accountant, since May 2019.

“I am very excited to be working with the WMCS collaborative! It’s an excellent idea for all of the schools to work together to provide the best Christian education. I’ve been involved in Christian education for most of my life as a student and now as a parent with sons who were blessed by the K-12 WMCS system.”

MARY WORKMAN, DIBS! On Resale Store Manager since early 2017.

“Working with the WMCS collaborative board for DIBS! has given me the opportunity to give back to the schools that have supported me and my family.”

DAN DEKAM, WMCS Collaborative Director since 2014

“It has been gratifying to see how the collaborative model has strengthened our Christian Schools in West Michigan.”

A Testimony By Nick Donkersloot, of FCS

A Man After His Father’s Own Heart

By Nick Donkersloot, Fremont Christian School Principal

Every boy grows up wanting to be like their hero and I was no exception. A childhood hero is usually a superhero or an all-star athlete. My hero, however, was a Christian school principal named Mr. Donkersloot;
he also happened to be my father.

My hero, however, was a Christian school principal named Mr. Donkersloot; he also happened to be my father.

I have known I wanted to be in education my whole life, and after thirteen years of teaching, I have finally been able to realize that dream by becoming the principal at Fremont Christian.

I know that I am a fallen man; we are all fallen. I also know the joy of God’s never-ending grace and love for us. A love that meant he sent his son to die on the cross for us ensuring our salvation. I know that in all things I am in
God’s hands and no matter what I do he will never let go of me. This is the foundation of who I am, and it is truly a joy to share that with all around me. I try to shine God’s light in all that I do. One thing that I have loved about being a principal is being able to pop into the classroom and celebrate with them in whatever they are learning.

I try to shine God’s light in all that I do. Hopefully, God’s light is as evident in me as it is in them (students).

Hopefully, God’s light is as evident in me as it is in them. My whole childhood was centered around Christian education. My education from kindergarten through high school was at a Christian school. My father was my principal for elementary school, middle school and first two years of high school. I also spent the first two years of my undergrad at Calvin College. I have always been thankful for the foundation in my background in Christian education. I not only learned the importance of a quality education where Christ is at the center of all things, but I experienced it. It is a foundation that carried me through to my teaching career. I have seen the value and benefits of having my faith and the faith of my staff and students woven throughout every aspect of FCS. This is why I am so excited that we are implementing Teaching for Transformation. TFT will help staff make sure that God’s story and our part in that story is at the foundation of all we teach.

I am so excited that we are implementing Teaching for Transformation. TFT will help staff make sure that God’s story and our part in that story is at the foundation of all we teach.

We are part of God’s story and because of His redemption, we get to be a part of the restoration story. I take pride and joy in working on bringing restoration to God’s world.

Interested in more INFORMATION about Fremont Christian School’s PK-8th grade?

This testimony was part of the WMCS Faith Matter’s Fall 2019 Newsletter. DOWNLOAD a PDF copy of the newsletter.

A Testimony by Phil Morse, NEC Principal

An Example in Word and Action

By Phil Morse, New Era Christian School Principal

I have a strong desire and hope for my students to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Because of that love, I pray that they live in a way that brings Him glory according to the ways God has called them. There are two ways I know to do that best.

The first way is to teach our students about this world through their academic studies about the past, the present, how it was intended to be, and how it could be in the future. The Teaching for Transformation training is a
highly valuable tool for my faculty in making that happen and my staff is embracing this both spiritually and professionally. The second way is to model the life of a genuine follower of Jesus.

I’ve made it a priority to invest my time impacting others in my community outside of New Era Christian School while bringing dedicated servant leadership to the students, staff, and families within.

I’ve made it a priority to invest my time impacting others in my community outside of New Era Christian School while bringing dedicated servant leadership to the students, staff, and families within.

My goal?

To be the hands and feet of Christ inside and out of my immediate sphere of influence.

Whether I am coming alongside people at Love Inc. as an intake officer or pursuing efforts to decrease illiteracy in impoverished areas via themotorforliteracy.org, the ultimate goal is to help people keep their eyes on living for a higher purpose rather than for what this world has to offer.
That is particularly important to me for my students because serving helps to transform hearts in our community. This fall, our students reached outside of their own sphere of influence by delivering apple pies and grape jam that they made to our local neighborhood. Simply put, they shared the wide and long and high and deep love of Christ which is
transforming them, and others around them, for Christ.

Simply put, they (NEC students) shared the wide and long and high and deep love of Christ which is transforming them, and others around them, for Christ.

I am grateful for the opportunities my students and I have to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Interested in more INFORMATION about New Era Christian School’s PK-8th grade?

This testimony was part of the WMCS Faith Matter’s Fall 2019 Newsletter. DOWNLOAD a PDF copy of the newsletter.

A Testimony by Pastor Samuel Greer, WMC Principal

He is Faithful at Every Turn

by Pastor Samuel Greer, Principal of Western Michigan Christian High Scholl and Middle School

I am often asked for a statement that reflects my testimony to the power and authority of Jesus Christ. This past summer has brought me to a place of absolute trust and confidence in Christ as Master of the universe. Our family was ready to embrace the joys of summer break when, suddenly, life took an unpredictable turn. Instead, our summer was spent with daily visits to the intensive care unit of our local hospital and the Traumatic Brain Unit of Spectrum Health. Since June, my family has wrestled with the challenges of life and the daily struggles of human frailty in the wake of my wife Judy’s fall at home.

Remarkably, we’ve also experienced great blessings and even clarity in this trial. The power of prayer and the strength of the Christian community has been the stabilizing foundation over the last several months. Working and worshipping with individuals that share the hope we have in Jesus Christ has strengthened me for the journey that is ahead.

I am left with a strengthened conviction that living with purpose and using our individual and collective God-given gifts to further His Kingdom is a privilege and a blessed opportunity that we all have daily; one that should be rejoiced, leveraged and surely not squandered.

I praise God for the Christian community of both Western Michigan Christian School and the lakeshore. I am left with a strengthened conviction that living with purpose and using our individual and collective
God-given gifts to further His Kingdom is a privilege and a blessed opportunity that we all have daily; one that should be rejoiced, leveraged and surely not squandered. My hope, for those who will read this statement, is that you will sense the need, mirror my conviction, and join as one school family in support of Christian education to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

I believe, with all of my heart, that God’s plan and purpose are being lived out in the classrooms and hallways at WMC and at all four feeder schools. It is my prayer that you will participate in the mission of sharing Jesus Christ and providing Christian education to every family.

I believe, with all of my heart, that God’s plan and purpose are being lived out in the classrooms and hallways at WMC and at all four feeder schools.

Interested in more INFORMATION about Western Michigan Christian School’s 7-12th grade?

This testimony was part of the WMCS Faith Matter’s Fall 2019 Newsletter. DOWNLOAD a PDF copy of the newsletter.