West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Archive for February 2020

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with New Era Christian’s Courtney Wolffis

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!

Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Courtney Wolffis of New Era Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Phil Morse, NEC’s Administrator shares his thoughts about Courtney:

There isn’t a teacher more centered than Mrs. Wolffis – centered on Christ and student learning while letting kids be kids.

Mrs. Courtney Wolffis – NEC Kindergarten Teacher

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: This is my sixth year teaching at New Era Christian School! My husband David also taught at NEC (3rd/4th) for two years but is now a full-time firefighter for Holland city.

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: Kindergarten. I did teach a Kindergarten/1st Grade split one year and it was fun to have some of my students back again.

Q: Do you have kids there? Graduated from there?

A: My kids are not in school yet. I have a 20-month-old daughter and I am due with my son in June. I did graduate from two member schools, though — Grand Haven Christian School and Western Michigan Christian High School (2007).

A Mackinac get-away in Fall of 2019 with Courtney’s husband David.

Q: What’s your favorite teaching moment(s) to date?

A: I couldn’t possibly pick just one moment. Although, I look forward to Kindergarten graduation every year. It is such a wonderful display of all the work my students and I have accomplished together over the year. While it is incredibly hard to say goodbye, my heart always wells with pride for them while they sing and share moments of our year together.

Q: What’s your favorite memory of a student who came back after graduation and contacted you?

A: At this point, I haven’t taught long enough for one of my students to graduate from 8th Grade. I do love seeing them in the hall every year though! I still have many students who give me weekly hugs and bring me presents. Last year’s Kindergarten class has been especially thoughtful. They love leaving me surprise notes and drawings!

Exploring Acadia Park in Maine in 2019 with David and little Charlotte.

Q: What do you love most about your job and why?

A: By far, the thing I love most about my job is seeing students grow. In their faith, in their social abilities, and academically. The depth of their ability to think and learn grows tremendously during the Kindergarten year. I’m totally biased but I think I teach the best grade!

My daughter Charlotte is 21 months old.
She’ll turn two in June 2020, the same week our son is due!

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: The best part of my day (currently) is teaching Science. It’s not something I’ve totally loved in the past but with a small class, we’ve really been able to dig deeper into lessons. My students and I have a fun routine where we pretend to get on our science gear before every lesson.

We are also connecting our learning to one of the Teaching for Transformation through lines, being Creation Enjoyers. They ask me every day now, “When do we get to be creation enjoyers again?! Is it science time yet?” I love that!

Q: How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher? 

A: I believe the Lord has gifted me with the ability to be flexible. In my teaching, that allows me to look at certain situations through a variety of lenses.

I’m not afraid to try something new if it’s not working for my class or even just for one student. I get excited about individualizing my teaching whenever I can.

Q: If there was anything you could change about your job, what would it be? 

A: I’d love to be closer to the school. I currently live in Grand Haven and drive about 50 minutes one way to get to NECS! It can be difficult to be that far away from the school community.

David, Charlotte and Courtney Wolffis.

Q: What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

A: Well-water from her home.“Ice cold is the best”

Q: What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job? 

A: Good leadership and an extremely tight-knit school community. I feel so supported by everyone! I’ve truly become friends with a lot of the parents in our school over the years too. That makes a huge difference in their ability to trust me and my ability to successfully teach their children.

As a beloved faculty member, Courtney is a part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  

A Small Token of Appreciation

Thank you Courtney, from all of your colleagues and school families at WMCS!

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you!

It’s two $10 gifts from our two WMCS retail fundraising partners, DIBS! on Resale and B2 Outlet Store Muskegon.

To redeem, please check-in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this token of appreciation — $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop, Robin!

To redeem your $10 off at our B2 Outlet Store, go shopping and then submit your B2 sales receipt to your school principal and we’ll send you a check to reimburse you!

Relocated to a new store in Muskegon in January of 2019, DIBS! On Resale proceeds benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS). In the fall of the same year, we also celebrated the opening of our second retail fundraising partner, B2 Outlet Store. Both stores exist to help raise funds for all five of our schools including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

Curious if you should switch your kids to WMC or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner.

LEARN MORE about partnering with WMCS for PK-12 Christian education!

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Western Michigan Christian’s Robin Tyink

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!

Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Robin Tyink of Western Michigan Christian School (7-12th grade)

Pastor Samuel Greer, WMC’s Administrator shares his thoughts about Robin:

The department of English and Language Arts is led by one of WMC’s finest — Mrs. Robin Tyink.  Robin is an outstanding member of the teaching staff here at Western Michigan Christian Middle & High School.  Robin’s commitment to the art of instruction from a Christian perspective is a bright and shining light in the lives of our students.  

Not only is Robin excellent in the classroom, but she is also actively involved in the social and spiritual culture of our school.  She is the current winner of the Project Grace award, an early adopter of Teaching for Transformation and often leads in chapel presentations to share with us her excitement concerning the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  

It is my honor and privilege to proclaim Robin Tyink, this week’s WMCS Teacher Tuesday feature!  

Q: How many years have you taught at WMC?

A: This is my sixth year at WMC, but my 18th year teaching. 

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: I teach English 9, AP Language & Composition, and AP Literature and Composition

Q: Do you have kids?

A: I have a kindergartner, Isaac, and sixth-grader, Natalee, at Fremont Christian School (PK-8th), one of the feeders schools to WMC.

Q. What’s your favorite teaching moment(s) to date? 

A: Project Grace this year (2019) was just awesome.  To see how God moved through my group of seniors was truly awe-inspiring.  They worked together in order to meet their goal and did so by organizing pop can drives, bake sales and more.  They were able to raise over $6000. It was such a blessing to deliver gifts with them this year. 

Q: What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

A: I love theatre.  As a family, we love to go to plays and musicals. Also, my family lives at a summer camp all year long.  My husband, Scott, is the Facilities Director at Camp Echo. This means we get to live at camp! I work at the camp store during the summer and literally sell thousands of ice cream cookie sandwiches!

Q: What do you love most about your job and why? 

A: I love building relationships with my students.  I love to know what is going on in their lives and being able to share what is going on in mine with them. 

Q: How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher? 

A: I am a voracious reader.  God has instilled this joy in me, and I love to share my enthusiasm for books with my students. 

Q: What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage? 

A: Coke! 

Q: What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

A: I am so grateful for the caring community at WMC.  The students and staff truly form a family here. 

Q: As we enter year two in Teaching for Transformation, what are your thoughts on TfT?

A: I am so excited about TfT.  As an early adopter, I have been on the ground floor with this project.  I am excited about how TfT allows us as teachers to authentically show our students how faith connects with their academic learning.  TfT allows us to fill a real need, for real people by doing real work! As AP Lit beings Frankenstein in March, we will be discussing what people and events influence our personal stories.  These students will then be teaming up with a WMC middle school classroom to help them write their own stories. 

As a beloved faculty member, Robin is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  

A Small Token of Appreciation

Thank you Robin, from all of your colleagues and school families at WMCS!

We have a couple small tokens of appreciation for you, Robin! It’s two $10 gifts from our two WMCS retail fundraising partners, DIBS! on Resale and B2 Outlet Store Muskegon.

To redeem, please check-in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this token of appreciation — $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop, Robin!

To redeem your $10 off at our B2 Outlet Store, go shopping and then submit your B2 sales receipt to your school principal and we’ll send you a check to reimburse you!

Relocated to a new store in Muskegon in January of 2019, DIBS! On Resale proceeds benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS). In the fall of the same year, we also celebrated the opening of our second retail fundraising partner, B2 Outlet Store. Both stores exist to help raise funds for all five of our schools including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

Curious if you should switch your kids to WMC or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner.

LEARN MORE about partnering with WMCS for PK-12 Christian education!

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Wailand Groenendyk

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!

Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Wailand Groenendyk of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

In the words of GHC Principal Tim Annema:

Wailand has had a tremendous impact on my life, as a colleague and also as a husband and father of four boys. Wailand is calm, quiet, and soft-spoken outside of the classroom, but when the room fills with students his passion for kids, specifically middle school students, and God’s Word is evident. I have marveled over the years at his ability to teach Scripture while also speaking to the hearts of those in his classroom. Wailand is creative and a great leader of the middle school team at GHC.

Q & A with Wailand Groenendyk:

Q: How many years have you taught at GHC?

A: I have been a teacher at Grand Haven Christian School for 40 years.

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: My first class was 5/6 grade, split class. For several years I taught 6th grade as a self-contained classroom. When GHCS transitioned from a K-9  to PS-8, I began teaching in the Middle School. I have taught 6th grade Bible and Social Studies, 7th grade Bible and Social Studies, 8th grade Bible and History and 9th grade Bible.  Currently, I am the Sixth Grade homeroom teacher and am teaching 6th Bible, 7th Bible, and 8th Bible & American History.

Q: Do you have kids there? Graduated from there? 

A: While attending Calvin College, I met my wife Jean (GHC co-worker Mr. Mark Brondyke’s sister). We have four sons and three daughters-in-law as well as seven grandchildren.  All of our sons (Tad, Casey, Will & Tully) attended GHCS K-8th grade and each also graduated from Western Michigan Christian High School. Tad attended Mid America Seminary and hopes to be a pastor,  Casey works for Bekins Appliances, Will is a web designer, and Tully teaches 5th Grade at Grand Rapids Christian School.  


Q: What’s your favorite teaching moment(s) to date?

A: Leading the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders through the Bible over three years is an absolute delight. To take them from Genesis to Revelation on a journey that helps them see the beautiful design of our Sovereign God opens up opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and lives. 

Teaching Living Through History is also a fabulous experience. When the kids connect their emotions to the content of American History and “feel” what it was like to have a tyrant King, crops destroyed, investments flourish, and gold fever they connect with those who paved the way before them.  There have been so many “Ah-ha” moments over the years like when I (as King G) was taxing the daylights out of the student colonies, they got so fed up they actually stood up in class and began singing the Star Spangled Banner, after which they promptly declared their independence! 

Q: What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

C:\Users\Wailand\Desktop\20190317_145549.jpg

A1: Last year’s Winterim, I “taught” the Bob Ross method of oil painting for a group of middle schoolers. It was a blast!  I have been dabbling with the oil paints since and have had some success in producing “art” that actually looks like art.

Maranda visits with “Bob Ross” (AKA Wailand Groenendyk)

A2: For twenty-three years I have taught “summer school” at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids. I am technically a Title I tutor and I work with the adolescent boys in the Residential Treatment program.

Q: What do you love most about your job and why? 

A: The thing about my job I love the most are the middle school kids. They are so multifaceted; walking with them is like walking through a field of diamonds.  They gleam, beam, reflect, can be rough, can be tough, can be a solitaire, perhaps shine best in a bunch or just need a little polishing. There’s a part of kids that is so predictable that you can use that predictability to make successful teaching moments. Then there’s that unpredictability where a kid will come up with a “new” insight that also makes for a great learning experience.

Isaiah makes a visit to Mr. G’s classroom!

Kids are fun and funny. Nearly every day the students will provide an opportunity to experience joy, Sometimes it’s a muffled chuckled; other times the laughter can’t be contained. Kids are a challenge. They make you think. They keep you on your toes. They figure out new angles just when you think you have all the angles covered.  Middle School kids have a keen sense of justice and will hold teachers to high standards for fairness. While middle schoolers can be brutally honest, they are also quick to forgive and forget. What a blessing!

Q: How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher? 

A: The older I get the more I can see the evidence of God’s providence.  My fifth-grade science teacher was Mr. Ron Zoet at West Side Christian School (Walker Building). Ron inspired me to be a teacher. Twelve years later, God, in His providence, brought me to a teaching position in the school where Ron Zoet was the principal. That was 40 years ago. My story has been unfolding in marvelous ways that I could not even have begun to imagine. God has taught me the patience needed to be a teacher, given me a measure of wisdom, and a love for learning.

King G of Blue Island also shows up once in a while.

Q: What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage?


A: Vernors!

Image result for vernors

Q: What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

A: I am grateful for the people I work with. We truly are like family. I genuinely enjoy being a part of the staff and family of Grand Haven Christian School.  Our parents are supportive and caring. The school climate at GHC is “WE” not us and them.

My colleagues and me on “Dress Like Your Grandparent Day.”
A proud grandpa and three of his grandsons.
My wife, kids, and grandkids on Memorial Day. “I am a blessed man.”

As a beloved faculty member, Wailand is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have him as part of our school family!  

A Small Token of Appreciation

Thank you Wailand, from all of your colleagues and school families at WMCS!

We have a couple small tokens of appreciation for you, Wailand! It’s two $10 gifts from our two WMCS retail fundraising partners, DIBS! on Resale and B2 Outlet Store Muskegon.

To redeem, please check-in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this token of appreciation — $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop, Wailand!

To redeem your $10 off at our B2 Outlet Store, go shopping and then submit your B2 sales receipt to your school principal and we’ll send you a check to reimburse you!

Relocated to a new store in Muskegon in January of 2019, DIBS! On Resale proceeds benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS). In the fall of the same year, we also celebrated the opening of our second retail fundraising partner, B2 Outlet Store. Both stores exist to help raise funds for all five of our schools including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

Curious if you should switch your kids to GHC or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner.

LEARN MORE about us!