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Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Muskegon Christian School’s Liz Morrison

WMCS Teachers are the BEST!

Teacher Tuesday Spotlights Extraordinary Faculty

CONGRATULATIONS Liz!

Every Tuesday throughout the school year, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight some of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and 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 Liz Morrison of Muskegon Christian School (PK-6)

Elizabeth Morrison has been an educator at Muskegon Christian School since 2002, mostly teaching English Language Arts and Computers, but also helping with paraprofessional work and the onset of the childcare program.
Liz attended Hastings High School and in 2001, she graduated with a B.A. in Education from Western Michigan University with a triple major in Science, English, and Elementary Education. She has since earned her professional certification and is close to acquiring endorsements in Math, Social Studies, and Writing. She has had the “privilege,” as she warmly explains it, of coaching Cheerleading, Girls Basketball, Girls on the Run, Middle School Track and Field, and Destination Imagination.She enjoys her sixth-grade students, especially when they expose their varied personalities and togetherness as a family, realizing the need to work hard to include everyone–even their teacher! “Talk about representing the Fellowship of Saints!” warmheartedly explains Liz.

She can her husband Brandon have a mini Dauschound named Peanut.

Weiner dog

Liz’s Sweet Dog Peanut

Enjoy getting to know Liz a little better in this Q&Q below:

Q & A w/ Liz

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

A: The Lord has gifted me to form relationships with my students in order to form a comfortable, consistent, reliable place to learn about God and His world. I try to provide non-verbal and verbal opportunities for students to tell me their likes, dislikes, struggles, strengths, hopes, prayers and anything else so they feel valued and important…which they certainly all are. Students need opportunities for me to learn as much from them as they learn from me and Project Based Learning really opens a lot of exploration/expression opportunities and discovery. Whether it is a painful or a celebratory situation, my students know they don’t need to go through it alone as I am a Servant of Christ here to show His Love and Joy and experience life as a collaboration.

Lis and her MCS Students.

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

A: If I could change one thing about my job it would be upgrades to the building in which I work, specifically, making it more sustainable and usable for the community. Upgrades such as:  1) energy efficient windows 2) wind turbine and/or solar panels to cut our energy costs and reliance on gas/fossil fuels 3) organic, farm-fresh local food in our hot lunches or food grown in our own raised garden beds at school once established 4) reduction in plastic and styrofoam waste in our lunch program 5) motion-sensor lights in community areas such as the bathrooms, hallways, lobby, outdoor parking. Also, incentives for staff to be eco-friendly such as: rewards for carpooling/biking/walking to work, packing your own cold lunch in reusable containers, a perk for going 100 days without calling in a sub due to illness, gift cards from the script office to staff who use the least amount of papers for copies per week. 6) MCS could be a community safe haven for the surrounding neighborhoods in the event of power outage: if we have power, we could open our doors as a place to keep warm and freshen up; even show a free movie or provide food that our food-service program might have as extra or that will expire due to cancellations. If we DON’T have power, purchase a generator in order to keep the lunch area powered and heated to welcome the community for a meal/chance to use the restroom or eat a simple dinner. A “Hospitality Committee” could be formed to implement this should needs arise. It would increase our outreach and constituents. 

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

A: Grateful!? Let me count the ways:

*An administrator who: clears the snow off our cars in the parking lot, shovels the snow off the porches, calls the single teachers when they’re ill and not at school to make sure they’re okay, backs up his staff sacrificially, jump-starts cars, checks tire pressures,  makes the tough phone calls, runs the dynamic meetings…Christ is His center. Trust in God trickles down to trust in his staff he believes were chosen by God.
*The teachers and other staff that: gather to pray for each other twice-weekly, will do anything for each other, aren’t afraid to hold each other accountable, will instantly apologize, give gifts or the occasional fun-prank, they love the Lord and express it in multiple languages which is beautiful to hear.
*The parents and students when: you experience an academic breakthrough or huge answer to prayer with them, they throw you a surprise birthday party, come on field trips when you know it cost them an arm and a leg to take the day(s) off AND they’re paying tuition on top of it, make little posters/pictures/signs out of the blue that you know you won’t ever be able to throw away, invite you to dinner + concerts + athletic games, show up to parent-teacher conferences which begin and end with a hug like I’m part of a family…their family.
*The Alumni continue: to recruit, serve, support, volunteer, be involved, tutor, donate, and spread the word about MCS and create a legacy with Christian Education as the center.

4. Q: We’re wrapping up year one with Teaching for Transformation. What has struck you most about TfT so far?

A: Ten years ago at a church service, the sermon my husband and I attended spoken by Bill Rudd of the Cycle of God’s Creation: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Renewal. The listeners were encouraged to think of everyone and everything as having a spot/purpose along this cycle in their own story. From then on, I started viewing the students God placed in my classroom as someone along this spectrum and it was my “Ah Hah” moment at TFT training:

*Is God Creating a new atmosphere/opportunity for this student here at MCS?
*Are they in the midst of a Fall or about to be victim of one and how do I meet their restoration needs either academically, emotionally, or spiritually?
*Are they Redemptive agents and how do I enable/equip them to do so? Am I supposed to be this role in their lives? Parent? Administrator? Pastor? Sometimes it takes the whole team.
*Renewal: all the planning, meetings, inservices, classes, studies, staff changes, life changes…God is making me new in preparation for what comes next, whatever that may be….just around the corner or 10 years from now. All I know is the last 17 years at MCS has made me who I am. A disciple who hopes to produce other disciples….’for a lifetime of Christian Discipleship.”

Liz and her husband dressed up for vintage tiki night with their camper club.

5. Q: What’s your favorite beverage?

A: My specific, favorite non-alcoholic beverage would be in a 16 oz glass: 5 ice cubes, then fill the glass half full of no-pulp, Tropicana Orange Juice, the other half with Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail, topped with a splash of Dole 100 % White Grapefruit Juice (no sugar added). Drink through a straw so the amino acids only deplete the enamel on the back molars, not the front teeth.

Feel free to show Liz LOVE & APPRECIATION by treating her! 😉

6. Q: What are some unique blessings on your life?

A. Blessings of my life are being married and involved in the happenings and growth of Nelson Neighborhood. In the past 3 years, owning a large historical home has allowed us to host 8 Muskegon Lumberjack hockey players and 3 German exchange students through Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Besides these (BIG) kids filling the house, I also enjoy keeping up with two miniature dachshunds who seem to bark at anything, even their own reflection at times! By far, the months of year that MCS is in session are my favorite times since God’s presence can be seen, heard, and felt through this wonderful community of learners, faculty, and parents.

Egor, (from Russia) Michael, (from Finland) me, and Alex (from Russia) The are Muskegon Lumberjacks who’ve lived me.

As a beloved faculty member, Liz is part of the heart of WMCS. We are so BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Erin and the amazing Kingdom work she does at MCS.

Liz, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars! Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) 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.

Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Muskegon Christian School’s Erin Studer

WMCS Teachers are the BEST!

Teacher Tuesday Spotlights Extraordinary Faculty

CONGRATULATIONS Erin!

Every Tuesday throughout the school year, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight some of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and 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 Erin Studer of Muskegon Christian School (PK-6)

The 2018-19 school year marked Erin Studer’s second year at Muskegon Christian School as a 3rd grade Spanish Immersion teacher. She is a third generation graduate of MCS and attended MCS as a child from Pre-K through the 8th grade (before the school shifted to a PK-6th-grade model). After MCS she attended and graduated from Western Michigan Christian (WMC) High School.

She attended Calvin College as an Education and Spanish major and met her husband Nathan there as well.   In the summer before her senior year at Calvin, she lived abroad with a host family in Argentina for a month and took several excursions including one to Uruguay.  She hopes to someday travel with her husband to other countries to get more stamps in her passport!

Erin and Nathan have 4 children, three of whom attend MCS currently. Her son Kyler is in SI 4th grade, daughter Lena is in SI 1st grade, son Westin is in SI PreK and son Jax will be starting MCS preschool when he is old enough!

Q & A w/ Erin

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

A: The thing that I LOVE the MOST about my job is being able to teach through my Christian worldview!  Something that I tended to shy away from in school was talking about “my faith.” I always wanted to teach in a public school to show my student’s Christ’s love not necessarily teach it!

two-shot of Erin and her husband

Erin and her husband Nathan.

MCS-Spanish-Immersion-logo

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: The absolute BEST part of my day is who I get to share it with!  I was blessed in coming to MCS (after almost giving up teaching all together) and having my oldest son in my class.  This year though I don’t have any of my own children in my class but I can still check up on them throughout the day!

Erin's-four-kids

Kari’s kids: Kyler, Jax, Lena and Westin.

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

A: The LORD has gifted me as an individual with the gift of creativity. Sometimes I have to think of on-the-spot lessons that will make connections for students, other times I spend months planning and preparing to help lead the whole school in a praise service!

The LORD has gifted me as an individual with the gift of creativity. Sometimes I have to think of on-the-spot lessons that will make connections for students, other times I spend months planning and preparing to help lead the whole school in a praise service!

Erin-and-her-son-holding-a-teddy-bear.

Erin and Westin, who is in SI Pre-K at MCS.

Q: What’s something most people don’t know about you? 

A: I love to dance!  Before we had children, my husband and I took ballroom dancing lessons for two years where we learned the tango, salsa, foxtrot, swing, waltz, rumba, bachata, cha-cha, merengue, and disco.  I would love to pick up ballroom dancing with my husband again–although that probably won’t happen for at least another 17 years!

Erin-and-her-daughter-in-matching-outfits.

Erin and her daughter Lena twinning!

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

A: Some of my most favorite teaching moments are in closing our morning/day/year in a circle prayer–it is just so powerful!  Also being able to start each day off in devotions with my students has proven pretty powerful too!

Earlier this year, I was talking in my devotion time with my students about the feeling of loneliness and how we are never really alone because we have someone who knows our deepest inner thoughts–Jesus! Later that day, I found a notecard written by one of my students that read, “You are NOT alone, you have God with you…ALWAYS!” Even as 3rd graders they just “get it!”

Later that day, I found a notecard written by one of my students that read, ‘You are NOT alone, you have God with you…ALWAYS!” Even as 3rd graders they just get it!’

Erin-and-Westin-on-a-ski-lift.

Erin and her son Westin who is in SI 4th grade at MCS.

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

A: I am MOST grateful to God in bringing me back to MCS. I started out teaching in the public school where as mentioned earlier I almost gave up after eleven years of teaching.  I was frustrated, worn out, run down, and my creativity was lacking. I also did not have as much parental support as I would have liked. God had bigger plans for me and I am just so grateful that the parents at MCS entrust me with their children for seven hours out of each day!

I am MOST grateful to God in bringing me back to MCS. I started out teaching in the public school where as mentioned earlier I almost gave up after eleven years of teaching.  I was frustrated, worn out, run down, and my creativity was lacking.

Jax-smling-for-camera.

Adorable Jax is Erin’s youngest child.

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

A: Well, seeing as how I have only been teaching a total of thirteen years, I don’t really have stories of students coming back after graduation, however students that I did have in the public school I have run into a couple in public places like Meijer or a Chinese food restaurant and they have come up to me and talked with me and reminisced about when they were in my 1st grade class and how they remembered things being fun. They always have smiles on their faces!

Q: What’s your favorite beverage?

A: Coca-Cola…both my students and I would agree I drink entirely WAY TOO MUCH!

coca-cola-can-image

Feel free to show Erin LOVE & APPRECIATION by treating her to a yummy Coke! 😉

As a beloved faculty member, Erin is part of the heart of WMCS. We are so BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Erin and the amazing Kingdom work she does at MCS.

Erin, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars! Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) 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.

Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Muskegon Christian School’s Kari Bonnema

WMCS Teachers are the BEST!

Teacher Tuesday Spotlights Extraordinary Faculty

CONGRATULATIONS Kari!

Every Tuesday throughout the school year, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight some of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and 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 Kari Bonnema of Muskegon Christian School (PK-6)

Kari Bonnema has been at MCS for 13 years. She teaches Kindergarten and Kindergarten Explorers. Her oldest, McKenna, is a senior at WMC. Her daughter Madison is a freshman at WMC and her twins, Meredith and Mason, are 3rd graders at MCS.

FUN FACT: Kari’s husband Chad has worked at MCS teaching 5th grade since 2011 and they created a program that allows their classes to interact. “Every week we get our classes together for Book Buddies, which is where we partner up a 5th-grader and a Kindergartener to read together.  Kindergarteners read their beginning reading books to the 5th graders and then the 5th graders read a book or books to them.  They all love it and look forward to seeing each other,” explains Kari.

Every week we get our classes together for Book Buddies, which is where we partner up a 5th-grader and a Kindergartener to read together.  Kindergarteners read their beginning reading books to the 5th graders and then the 5th graders read a book or books to them.  They all love it and look forward to seeing each other

Q & A w/ Kari

Kari and her daughter McKenna.

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

Kari: I have SO many I can’t decide!!   Some of them include:

1) When a parent emailed me to say that her daughter accepted Jesus as her Savior.  She was so excited to share the news with me!

2) When I hear kids singing and humming praise songs as they work.  3) When I am called “Mom” by students and given multiple hugs daily.  I love it!

4) When I see such AMAZING growth from the beginning of the year to the end… it is a gift to share each day with them.

5) When I am called “Mom” by students and given multiple hugs daily.  I love it!

Kari, her daughter Madison, and Kari’s niece Brooke.

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

Kari: I enjoy welcoming each child back to our class each morning.  I am thankful for another day to spend with them. It makes me happy!

When I see such AMAZING growth from the beginning of the year to the end…it is a gift to share each day with them.

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

Kari: I love to sing and am quite musical.  I enjoy singing each day with the kiddos and we learn many songs to help remember what we’re learning… from Bible stories and memory verses to fun little songs about coins or birds. I also like to be creative and make up songs, too!

McKenna, Chad, Kari, Mason, Madison and Meredith Bonnema

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

Kari: I love the support of families and our fellow MCS staff.  We are all working together for God’s glory and the growth (spiritual, academic, emotional) of the children.  It really is a team approach!

Q: What’s your favorite beverage?

Kari: Chai tea!

 

 

 

 

Feel free to SHOW KARI LOVE & APPRECIATION by treating her to a yummy Chai! 😉

As a beloved faculty member, Kari is part of the heart of WMCS. We are so BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Kari and the amazing Kingdom work she does at MCS.

Kari, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars! Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) 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.