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WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with New Era Christian School’s Paula DeRoos

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one 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 Paula DeRoos of New Era Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Paule and her white Bichon Grace.

Paula and her best buddy Gracie.

The 2018-19 school year was Paula’s first year teaching at New Era Christian School. She teaches 3rd and 4th-grade. Being that she is from the Holland/Zeeland area, her children attended Borculo Christian and Zeeland West High School.

Paula graduated from Northwestern College with a B.A. in Education and English. After that, she attended Western Michigan University for her counseling masters and to Grand Valley State University for a masters in Educational Leadership.

In public education, Paula worked as a middle school teacher, high school teacher and counselor, reading coach, a district union president, and a high school principal.  In Christian education, she currently works at Cornerstone University as a part-time professor and has been a middle school teacher and principal. Paula retired from public school education as a high school principal in 2015.

She and her husband Kevin DeRoos plan to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in Germany this summer.

Kevin and Paula and Lucy an infant

Kevin and Paula and their great-niece Lucy.

They have two grown daughters: Lindsey Castro and her husband Carlos who live in Harper Creek, MI and Kelsey DeRoos, who just graduated from GVSU. Animal lovers, they have three-quarter horses and two dogs.

Paula and Horse in pasture.

Paula and Hot Rod, one of her quarter horses, in the pasture.

Paula brings a vast amount of expertise to NEC and we are so grateful!

Q & A w/ Paula:

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

A: The lesson of tithing first gifts to God had been our focus in the day’s Bible lesson.  For science, students brought in many types of rocks and I had ordered Geodes for all of them.

That day, we had fun cracking the rocks open and learning what caused the crystal formation. A fellow teacher came out of her room hysterically laughing. She heard this conversation with two of my boys.

One boy said, “Those aren’t just crystals. Mrs. DeRoos is wrong. They’re diamonds! I’m going to sell mine and make a lot of money. What are you going to  do?”New Era Christian School Store

The other boy said, “I’m going to sell mine too, and buy a new Xbox with my money.  What are you going to do with yours?”

The first young man said, “Wait a minute.  We’d better give some to the school, you know the first gift goes to God. They gave us the rocks. They are going to do an addition.  We can really make it really cool! Then I’ll buy my PS 4.”

We’d better give some to the school, you know the first gift goes to God. They gave us the rocks. They are going to do an addition.  We can really make it really cool! Then I’ll buy my PS 4.

2.   Q: What is the best part of your day? 

A: I love our opening day devotions.  The children pick two praise songs they love and sing their hearts out. The students create choreography for each song. We say the memory verse together, read a devotion, talk about praises and prayer requests in our life and pray.  It is such a special time for us with God and each other.

Daughters Lindsey and Kelsey take a selfie with Kevin and Paula.

Daughters Lindsey and Kelsey take a selfie with Kevin and Paula.

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

A: Phil Morse (NEC principal) and I met through our common mentor, Jack Postma.  I am thankful for both of them! Jack connected me to Phil when he needed a teacher, and I wanted to continue teaching little kids.  

I had been a principal for several years but wanted the joy of being with the kids again. Jack told me, “You will know you are in the right place to which God has called you when the deepest gladness of your heart meets the deep hunger of the world.” I feel that every day at New Era Christian.

You will know you are in the right place to which God has called you when the deepest gladness of your heart meets the deep hunger of the world.

Jack passed away after his fifth victory with cancer on October 26th, 2018. He would have loved to see God’s continued work at New Era Christian School, a place he loved, the right place to which God has called us!

Paula fishing in Colorado

Paula fishing in Colorado.

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

A: Diet Cherry Coke with a bit of fizz and a cherry on top!

diet cherry coke

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

Paula, 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.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Lizzie Van Wyk

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one 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 Lizzie van Wyk of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Preschool teacher Lizzie Van Wyk works with preschoolers that are all in the age range of 3-5 years old! Currently, in the 2018-19 school year,  she has thirty-four students that bring so much happiness and joy to her life!
 
Lizzie is a FCS alum too! She grew up in Fremont, and attended Fremont Christian School from PreK through 8th grade! She loves to interact with those who poured so much time into helping her grow to be a follower of Christ when she was a young student! Now, she gets the honor of teaching the children & grandchildren of her former instructors! To that point, Lizzie strongly feels that there is nothing that speaks more to her than this verse:  “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4) “I had so many teachers throughout my time as a student at FCS that really declared the Lord’s mighty acts to me. I will forever be grateful for the time I spent here as a student, and I will continue to share with the next generation!” declared Lizzie.
 
I had so many teachers throughout my time as a student at FCS that really declared the Lord’s mighty acts to me. I will forever be grateful for the time I spent here as a student, and I will continue to share with the next generation!
 
Volleyball team selfie

I have loved coaching middle school volleyball with my co-coach Kaitlyn Arendsen!

 
She graduated from Calvin College with a BA in Early Childhood Education and began teaching at FCS in 2016.
 
Lizzie and 3 other YL leaders

In my free time, I spend a lot of time with high school students from Fremont High School through Fremont Young Life! We have a great time learning about Jesus, telling stories, playing crazy games and building relationships! This picture is of the 4 Fremont YL leaders and was taken up at Timberwolf Lake, a Young Life camp!

 
When she is not at school, Lizzie spends time on the lake with her extended family, she coaches middle school volleyball and ministers to high schoolers through Fremont Young Life!
Lizzie and friends on a boat

Spending time out on Fremont Lake with some friends from college!

 
Lizzie loves her job, and coming to work is so life-giving that most days she says that it doesn’t feel like “work.” Her favorite part about teaching at FCS is being able to show children the ways God blesses us each day, through the small things like learning how to snap, to the big things like reading your first book! 
 
Lizzie loves her job, and coming to work is so life-giving that most days she says that it doesn’t feel like work.
 
Lizzie and her husband Zach

My husband Zach is a youth director at 2nd CRC in Fremont. He is also a Young Life church partner! We’ve been married since 2016, and love living and working in Fremont together!

 
Lizzie shared that “God has richly blessed Fremont Christian Preschool, and I continue to learn new things about the Lord and the intricate human beings he created.”
 
God has richly blessed Fremont Christian Preschool, and I continue to learn new things about the Lord and the intricate human beings he created.

Everyone at FCS and all of us at WMCS are grateful for her wonderful contribution!

Q & A with Lizzie

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

A: Every year I challenge myself to try three new things throughout the year. This year my 3 things have been:

  • Start a garden at my house! It has been SO fun to research, plan out, plant, and tend to! 
  • My sister and I started a small business together this year, and it has given me GREAT JOY and time to try new projects as well as spend time with her! JoyJane Designs is a shop of recycled/refurbished Christmas handmade products. (When the website or social media accounts launch, we’ll add a link. Stay tuned!)
  • Playing the Piano! I took lessons for eight years when I was in elementary/middle school, but really hadn’t played for the last nine years! I picked it back up this year when I got a second-hand piano from some church friends, and I LOVE it!
2.   Q: How specifically has the Lord gifted you?

A:  I love trying new things! I also love a good challenge. Teaching can be a great challenge, and every day in preschool is a new, unique, and challenging day so that seems to be a great combination! 

I love trying new things! I also love a good challenge. Teaching can be a great challenge, and every day in preschool is a new, unique, and challenging day so that seems to be a great combination! 

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

A: I am most grateful for the families that entrust us with their kids! I’m thankful for the partnerships that we have and that we can all see them as children of God, who are unique and growing in Christ! 

Classroom shot of kids dresses in Seuss costumes

The preschoolers enjoyed dressing up as the Cat in the Hat this year! One of my preschool aides, Gail Wagenmaker jumped right in on the fun of being Thing 1 & Thing 2!

I am most grateful for the families that entrust us with their kids! I’m thankful for the partnerships that we have and that we can all see them as children of God, who are unique and growing in Christ! 

 
4. Q: What’s your favorite drink?

A: Some of our family friends own a farm in Hudsonville that produces ginger soda & Elderflower soda! That has definitely been my beverage of choice for the past few years!

Cans of Ginger & Elderflower Soda

Ginger & Elderflower Craft Soda are Lizzie’s faves!

I’m also an avid coffee drinker, but I can NOT handle it black! Pass the flavored creamer, please! 

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

A: We were learning about animal habitats and traits. I asked my students if anyone knew what the word nocturnal means, and a little boy raised his hand and ever so enthusiastically said: “ When you knock on a turtle shell!”

Another favorite moment happened this year. We have been learning the song “Great are You, Lord” by All Sons & Daughters. We were learning the part where it says, “we pour out our praise to YOU only.” Every line we learned, we discussed what it meant, and one of my youngest students ever so sweetly said, “I wish I could pour out my praise to Jesus all the time.” It was such a sweet reminder for me! 
 
6. Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: The thing I love the most about my job is that I get to see first hand how God is working in the lives of small children. This is most prominent in how they relate with each other, how they explore HIS creation, and how their curiosity about Jesus gives me great opportunities to talk about how much HE loves them!

The thing I love the most about my job is that I get to see first hand how God is working in the lives of small children. This is most prominent in how they relate with each other, how they explore HIS creation, and how their curiosity about Jesus gives me great opportunities to talk about how much HE loves them!

Lizzie on living room floor reading to her nieces and nephew

Altogether, I have 6 nieces and 1 nephew that live in Fremont, Muskegon, and Iowa! They know that every time they ask me to read a book, that I simply can’t say no to them!

7. Q: What’s the best part of your day?

A: The best part of my day is our morning meeting! I get to hear what is on the hearts of the littles in my room, who they want to pray for, what fun things they did this weekend, and what they are looking forward to learning more about!

3-shot of Lizzie and her mom and sister

Thrift shopping is the name of the game – and a large part of the small business that my sister and I have!

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

Join us all in celebrating Lizzie and the amazing Kingdom work she does at FCS.

Lizzie, 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.

 

 

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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.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Western Michigan Christian School’s Audrey Markel

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

Every Tuesday during the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative highlights a teacher from one of our five schools.

We have 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 Audrey Markel of Western Michigan Christian School (7-12th grade)

Western Michigan Christian Junior High and High School

Ashely Markel grew up in Texas and then graduated from Ouachita Baptist University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and in Secondary Education. She went on to earn a Master’s of Science Degree in Educational Theory and Practice from Arkansas State University.

In 2017, Audrey completed her National Board Certification in Grades 6-12 Mathematics. She coached soccer and taught mathematics for five years in West Memphis, Arkansas before getting married to her husband Kyle and moving to Muskegon in 2017 where she taught at Muskegon High School.

Bride flanked by 16 bridesmaids in pastel dresses of blue, pinks and purple

Some of Audrey’s friends in her wedding in August 2017!

The 2017-18 school year was Audrey’s first year teaching at Western Michigan Christian. She teaches middle school math and basic algebra and coaches WMC’s middle school girls soccer team.

WMC MS soccer team and Coach Audrey having an after game snack

Audrey Coaches WMC’s middle school girl’s soccer team.

Enjoy getting to know her a bit more!

Q & A with Audrey

1.  What’s your favorite teaching moment to date?

My most favorite teaching moment to date was probably on the Thursday before Easter 2019. I placed math problems in Easter eggs and hid them around the room. It was so fun to watch them get more excited about doing math problems just because they found them in an easter egg!

I placed math problems in Easter eggs and hid them around the room. It was so fun to watch them get more excited about doing math problems just because they found them in an easter egg!

Math is a content area that requires practice so I always love when students are able to still enjoy their time practicing even if it’s something as simple as doing an easter egg hunt. I especially love it here at WMC because so many of the students will even say “thank you” as they leave class. That means the world to me.

We’ve had long talks about how not everything is always going to go your way, and when it doesn’t, to always try to learn what can be improved upon. From this experience, the students learned that failures and mistakes are excellent teaching moments.

We’ve had long talks about how not everything is always going to go your way, and when it doesn’t, to always try to learn what can be improved upon.

Group pic of Audrey and her students having fun.

6th and 7th-grade lock-in at WMC!

2.   What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

Most people here don’t know that my favorite food is Indian.

Sampler plate of Indian food.

Audrey’s favorite food is Indian cuisine!

3. What do you love about your job and why?

I LOVE getting to build relationships with people. I love getting to see these students and the staff every single day.

God has blessed us by allowing us to do life with others who are also uniquely created in his image. By seeing each other every single day, we have the opportunity to see so much more of God as we build relationships!

There are many trials that we go through in life and we are not meant to go through them alone.

There are many trials that we go through in life and we are not meant to go through them alone. It is such a gift to walk alongside students and staff and encourage each other to throw off everything that pulls us away from Christ and to continue to run the race of life with perseverance as we near the day of redemption (Hebrews 12:1-3)!

It is such a gift to walk alongside students and staff and encourage each other to throw off everything that pulls us away from Christ and to continue to run the race of life with perseverance as we near the day of redemption (Hebrews 12:1-3)!

Audrey dressed as a hamburger with french fry hat and Ms. Lile a princess in purple holding a toad.

Hanging out with Ms. Lile, a colleague at WMC, at a high school dance.

4.   What’s the best part of your day?

I LOVE morning devotionals with my first-hour class. I have spent my teaching career in the public school setting. It is so freeing to get to openly talk about the light of the world and the LIFE that only Jesus can offer and the relationship that we get to have with God the Father through the gift of Christ and his Spirit!

I LOVE morning devotionals with my first-hour class. I have spent my teaching career in the public school setting. It is so freeing to get to openly talk about the light of the world and the LIFE that only Jesus can offer and the relationship that we get to have with God the Father through the gift of Christ and his Spirit!

I love getting to hear from my students during this time. They are so courageous as they choose to be vulnerable and share with the class how they relate to the devotional, and how they are being challenged and encouraged. Many of them have chosen to share a devotional as well.

It is so cool to have space set aside each day to intentionally encourage each other to connect with our Creator and Savior. I love hearing them pray. I love hearing them share how God impacts their lives and changes their hearts.

I love hearing them pray. I love hearing them share how God impacts their lives and changes their hearts.

After spending time in the Word together, it is such a blessing to then get to see how the Word of God shapes their lives. During this time they have written encouraging notes to staff and family and they seem to really enjoy it.

Class group photo on Pi Day.

Pi Day celebration with 4th hour!

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

The Lord has gifted me with a love of “story.” This has helped me develop relationships with students as I genuinely care about and want to know what God is doing in their lives. 

As relationships are built, it helps me to better understand how to help motivate each student. Having a relationship with students through an appreciation of their story also helps me towards empathy when a student is having a tough day. If a student is acting out it is typically because they are hurting.

As relationships are built, it helps me to better understand how to help motivate each student. Having a relationship with students through an appreciation of their story also helps me towards empathy when a student is having a tough day. If a student is acting out it is typically because they are hurting.

If they have let us into part of their story, it is easier to identify this and then know how to encourage and challenge them.

6. What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

I love spending time with my husband and other family and friends. I also love getting to know more of Jesus by being outdoors in his creation, especially when I get to do that with people I love.

Audrey's husband takes a group selfie while traveling in Scotland with family with ocean view in background

Audrey’s husband takes a group selfie while traveling in Scotland with family in July 2018.

I love learning and I love creating various forms of art. I love being active and working out and doing as many adventures as possible!

Audrey and Kyle sitting in full snowboard gear on a snowy slope with ski lift in background.

Audrey’s snowboarding adventure with fiance Kyle just after he proposed on the top of the mountain. Friends and family were waiting to surprise her at the bottom!

I love to travel and meet new people and try new things and eating all types of food. I love sloths and dolphins and piglets and dogs.

Audrey hugging a sloth in Roatan with hubby behind her.

A dream come true for Audrey! Holding a sloth during Spring Break in Roatan 2019.

7. What’s your specific favorite beverage?

I love coffee! Peet’s is my all time favorite.

Peet's coffee cup

Audrey’s favorite coffee is Peet’s!

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

Audrey, 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.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Tyler Ray

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one 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 Tyler Ray of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Grand Haven Christian School Store

The 208-19 school year marks Tyler’s third year at Grand Haven Christian School where he teaches physical education and technology to young fives all the way up to 8th-grade teens.

He attended New Era Christian School as a child went on to graduate high school from Western Michigan Christian. He is a WMCS alum through and through! 

Tyler and his wife Breanna met as juniors at WMC in high school.

Tyler and Bre on their wedding day on a bridge outside

Tyler and his wife Breanna met as juniors at WMC in high school.

They have been married for almost three years and are the proud parents of two golden retriever puppies!

two golden retrievers on a couch

Tyler and Breanna’s fur babies, Opie and Piper.

After WMC, Tyler headed to college and received his teaching degree from Cornerstone University. When he enrolled I was taking macroeconomics and finance courses, but God had other plans! (See question #7 below to learn more about his journey into education.)

 Enjoy getting to know him a bit more!

Q & A with Tyler

1.  What is your favorite memory of a student who came back after graduation and contacted you?

In addition to teaching at GHC, I have the great opportunity of coaching the WMC boys junior varsity basketball team. That’s where I get to see a few players that I had in class at Grand Haven Christian! It is fun to be in a teaching environment that is different from a traditional school setting. We get to spend A LOT of time together, which just makes the relationship we built at GHC even stronger.  

It is fun to be in a teaching environment that is different from a traditional school setting.

Coach Ray and the JV basketball team on the sideline

Coach Ray giving his WMC JV boys basketball team direction during a timeout.

2.   What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

During my college summers and leading up to my first teaching opportunity, I worked on a farm for five years.

Our largest crops were apples, cherries asparagus, but we also grew strawberries, peaches, and blueberries. I loved being out in God’s creation, driving tractors and sprayers, and being able to literally harvest the fruits of our labor.

I loved being out in God’s creation, driving tractors and sprayers, and being able to literally harvest the fruits of our labor.

3.  What do you love most about your job and why?

What I love most about my job is the opportunity to connect and build relationships with students. I do enjoy the craziness of running around, playing games, and teaching new sports. However, being able to sit down and have a conversation about what’s going on in their life, how their day is going or leading a short devotion is what makes all of this so awesome.

I grew up with great mentors because of Christian education and if I can be that same person who can share my faith and be a role model than I believe I have done my job as an educator in a Christian school.

I grew up with great mentors because of Christian education and if I can be that same person who can share my faith and be a role model than I believe I have done my job as an educator in a Christian school.

4.   What’s the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is about fifteen minutes before the first bell rings. Usually consisting of middle schoolers, anywhere from 2 – 12 students come into my office just to hang out and talk. Some of them bring in some last minute homework but others just stop by to tell me about their weekend or day, ask me about how I fit on the moped I drive to school, or to grab a kickball and just bounce it off the wall. To the passers-by, it may seem like chaos at times but to me, it is a place of joy, smiles, and laughter.

The best part of my day is about fifteen minutes before the first bell rings.. students come into my office just to hang out and talk…To the passers-by, it may seem like chaos at times but to me, it is a place of joy, smiles, and laughter.

Group photo of Tyler and some early elementary students outside

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

The Lord has gifted me with patience for both Kindergartners and Middle Schoolers. He has blessed me with a large presence that I can use to motivate and encourage physical activity and exercise as well as a passion to be a leader. I love to teach and coach and with that, I can share my experiences to help others in their academics, faith, and everyday life.

I love to teach and coach and with that, I can share my experiences to help others in their academics, faith, and everyday life.

6. What’s your specific favorite beverage?Can of Arizona Tea Arnold Palmer

I try to limit myself to just drinking water, but on a hot summer day, my favorite would be an Arnold Palmer. I usually try to sneak that large Arizona jug onto the grocery list.

 

7. What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have taught at New Era Christian where I attended K – 8th,  but also for my current position at Grand Haven Christian.

When I enrolled in college I was taking macroeconomics and finance. I had zero intentions of being a teacher. Then I realized God had different plans and a passion for Physical Education blossomed!

Every day I am so grateful to be able to share the love of Christ and spend time with these students.

When I enrolled in college I was taking macroeconomics and finance. I had zero intentions of being a teacher. Then I realized God had different plans and a passion for Physical Education blossomed. Every day I am so grateful to be able to share the love of Christ and spend time with these students.

Tyler and Bre holding massive iguana

Tyler and his bride Bre enjoying the Mayan Riviera.

 

As a beloved faculty member, Tyler is a special part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have him as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating him and the amazing Kingdom work he does at GHC.

Tyler and his lovely wife in a flower field

Tyler and Breanna Ray

Tyler, 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.

 

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Pedro Chuchoque

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one 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 Pedro Chuchoque of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Pedro Chuchoque became part of the FCS faculty in 2017 and teaches all subjects of second-grade Spanish Immersion. 

He studied graphic design in college in Bogota, Colombia before moving to Costa Rica for two years, where he met his Michigander wife. 
 
Pedro relocated to Michigan and attended Eastern Gateway Community College. Before coming to FCS, he worked as a paraprofessional at Rockford Public Schools.  He plans to continue his education in the future.
Pedro and Amanda smiling selfie with bandanas on their heads

Pedro and his lovely bride Amanda!

Pedro explains his journey into Christian education as divine. He shares that he was “guided by God” who led him to FCS when he was at a public school in a different position.  He followed a prompting to contact the principal at FCS, and after talking with him, he was curious to learn more. 

Pedro visited FCS, saw a lot of great things but specifically loved how students had the opportunity to learn more about the Bible in the classroom.  He made the transition and “feels really blessed to be part of this great school.” 

Pedro and his wife Amanda have four children; Giovanni 4, Malekai 8, Zahara 10, and Camryn 16.

Family selfie in front of forest

Giovanni, 4, wife Amanda, Pedro, Malekai, 8, Zahara, 10, and Camryn, 16, (pictured right to left).

They love to have fun as a family, spend time with each other and do everything together! 

group photo in front of Ark Encounter

The Chochuque’s experience Ark Encounter!

Pedro takes family selfie outside in a wood bridge

Family time in the great outdoors!

family photo in front park sign

More family adventures!

Everyone at FCS and all of us at WMCS are grateful for his wonderful contribution!

Q & A with Pedro

1. What’s something fun that most people do not know about you? 

This year I was nominated for the WGVU Cool Teacher Contest by my 2nd grade Spanish Immersion student Mercedes (pictured below). Last week I found out that I was a “Cool Teacher”  winner! What an honor and what fun for my students! I was really surprised when I received the news about both the nomination and the win — I was deeply touched.

The TV station came to our school to shoot some video and do some interviews, which was exciting for the students to experience. They are also are going to throw our class a congratulatory party so we look forward to the fiesta! It was a great experience, I think they will remember that moment for the rest of their lives.  We can’t wait to see the segment air on TV! 

2.   How specifically has the Lord gifted you?

The Lord helps me in my work by giving me the encouragement, energy and great support from family and friends to make everything possible.  If you believe in yourself, with God by your side everything is possible!

If you believe in yourself, with God by your side everything is possible!

Happy Chochoque faces

Happy Chochoque faces

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

To see the students’ progress is #1.

But the family support and their trust in me to help and teach their children is a very, very close second!

Pedro and students with funny red and link fake lip kazoos in their mouths

Pedro and his students having fun while learning!

4. What’s your favorite drink?

Coca-cola!

 

 
As a beloved faculty member, Pedro is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have him as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Pedro and the amazing Kingdom work he does at FCS.

Pedro, 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.

 

 

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WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with New Era Christian School’s Debbie Braak

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one 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 Debbie Braak of New Era Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Debbie Braak began teaching at New Era Christian School in September of 2015.  She has twenty plus years teaching under her belt with much of it spent at Grand Haven Christian.  To prepare her for her teaching career, she received a B.A. in Elementary Education with a Language Arts composite minor from Hope College.head_shot_Deb_Braak

Deb grew up in Portage and attended Kalamazoo Christian. She has been married to her husband Dan for twenty-five years and they have two children who attended Grand Haven Christian School PK-8th grade. Sam is a freshman at Calvin College and Audrey is a sophomore at Western Michigan Christian High School. 

“I love teaching in a Christian school where God is at the center of everything we do. I love watching these young children grow spiritually as they grow in their faith and love for Jesus and for each other,” shares Deb.

Debbie was made for this role as a Christian education teacher and she is so very gifted! 

Q & A w/ Debbie:

1. What’s your favorite teaching moment(s) to date? Tell us the story.

In my classroom, I use a variety of loose parts from gems and jewels to plank boards. One day a bunch of 3-year-olds were playing with cars and they wanted to make ramps. They got out the wood planks, set them up against the chair and they had a ramp. They happily zoomed their cars down the ramp to see whose car could go the furthest.

One little boy went over to where we keep the loose parts and found an empty tape roll and brought it over to the ramp. He proceeded to roll the tape roll down the ramp and to his amazement it rolled all the way across the room. He came running up and said to me, “ I just had the best idea about how to use the ramp. Come and I will show you my great idea!” He was so proud of himself for figuring out a new use for the ramp. 

This may not seem like a great teaching moment.  In preschool, when children explore and discover how different things work, and figure it out on their own, it is a victory and the overall purpose of loose parts play.

New Era Christian School

 

2. What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

I love to travel!  One of my all-time favorite vacations was taken after college when I went to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. 

3.   What do you love most about your job and why? 

I honestly love everything about my job. The preschoolers are so fun to teach and there are never two days exactly the same. One of my favorite things is my outdoor learning space. Seeing the children play in nature, explore and discover the world that God created is such a blessing. Watching them play in the mud kitchen or working together to figure out how to ride a cable drum like a horse and not fall off is so rewarding. I feel very fortunate to be able to provide this type of education for my preschoolers.

I honestly love everything about my job. The preschoolers are so fun to teach and there are never two days exactly the same.

children_climbing_on_wood_palette_outside

Deb’s students during Outdoor Learning at NEC.

4. What’s the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is our Bible time and the amazing questions these little people ask. They have so much love for Jesus in their hearts.

They have so much love for Jesus in their hearts.

Audrey_and_Sam_Braak

Deb’s kids Audrey, a sophomore at WMC and Sam Braak, a freshman at Calvin.

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

God has given me the gift being young at heart and also very patient. I love to play with my preschoolers and get messy right along with them. I also am very understanding of this age group.  I am able to relate to them and comfort them when they are upset and help them make good choices in the room. I always tell my parents that in preschool you never know what will happen and you need to be flexible and be able to change an activity very quickly if something is not working. 

God has given me the gift being young at heart and also very patient. I love to play with my preschoolers and get messy right along with them.

little_girl_in-pink_playing_in_outdoor_kitchen

Outdoor Learning at NEC

6. What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage? 

Cherry Coke. Not just any cherry coke. It has to be coke made with grenadine. That is the best!!

can_of_cherry_coke

7.   What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

One of the things I am most grateful for is the wonderful parents of the students!  They support the things we do in the classroom and do not mind if their child comes home covered in paint or mud. I am also grateful for our principal, Phil Morse, who is super supportive of my passion for outdoor learning and allows me to grow this program. 
 
One of the things I am most grateful for is the wonderful parents of the students!  They support the things we do in the classroom and do not mind if their child comes home covered in paint or mud.
child_playing_in_garden_by _ence

Outdoor Learning in the “Sound Garden.”

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

Deb, 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.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Western Michigan Christian School’s Daniel Garland

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

Every Tuesday during the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative highlights a teacher from one of our five schools.

We have 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 Daniel Garland of Western Michigan Christian School (7-12th grade)

Western Michigan Christian Junior High and High School

Daniel grew up in the mid-west area of the nation, moving around from state to state with most of his time spent here in Michigan. He graduated from Jenison High School in 2009 and received a degree in special education from Grand Valley State University. He originally went to school for video game design, but God had different plans.  After doing some volunteer work with local schools Dan discovered a love for teaching, which led him to WMC in 2018. Daniel is an ESS (Education Support Services) teacher for grades 7-12, which consists of providing students with extra instructional assistance. This help can range from pulling a student from class to re-teach a lesson, to putting interventions in place to help a student learn more effectively, to assisting and co-teaching in classrooms.

Enjoy getting to know him a bit more!

Q & A with Daniel

1.  What’s your favorite teaching moment to date?

My favorite teaching moment would have to be with the school’s robotics team at our first competition.  It was a multi-day competition, and this was our first time doing anything like this. Our first day of competing did not go so well.  Our robot had some bugs in the code and didn’t function exactly how we wanted it to. At the end of our first day, the students were down, and some were questioning why we were even there.

WMC Robotics team group photo at competition.

WMC’s Robotics Team at the first FRC Qualifier in 2019 in Kentwood.

We had long talks about how not everything is always going to go your way, and when it doesn’t, to always try to learn what can be improved upon. From this experience, the students learned that failures and mistakes are excellent teaching moments.

From this experience, the students learned that failures and mistakes are excellent teaching moments. On day two, we bounced back from our initial first-day mistakes and rocked it out, winning all of our matches! 

On day two, we bounced back from our initial first-day mistakes and rocked it out, winning all of our matches!  In the end, we received an award for being the highest ranking rookie team in that competition. The part I love most about this was how the students turned their moods and behaviors around before we even won the award at the end of the day. They learned a valuable lesson that will stick with them–the award was just the cherry on top.

The part I love most about this was how the students turned their moods and behaviors around before we even won the award at the end of the day.

Robot close-up shot

Our robot was designed to extend up to 8 feet tall and had a forklift type mechanism.

2.   What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

I have a weakness for cats and dogs.  I think my cats and dogs are the most adorable animals ever. I may be a little biased though.

Photo of Daniel's black dog and cat snuggling on couch

Daniel’s pets, Ari and Mew, are both a year old, and they are BFFs!

3. What do you love about your job and why?

The part I love most about my job is helping students realize that they are able to do things that they themselves didn’t realize that they were capable of.

close up photo Daniel Garland and a student

4.   What’s the best part of your day?

The best part about my day is when I get to teach concepts and lessons to students in a different way.  Not every student learns the same way, and I love finding the best way for each student individually.

The best part about my day is when I get to teach concepts and lessons to students in a different way.  Not every student learns the same way, and I love finding the best way for each student individually.

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

The Lord has gifted me with a speech impediment in the form of a stutter.  I haven’t always viewed it as a positive thing in my life and it has led to some difficult situations.  While going to school for Special Education I realized that having a stutter makes it so I understand what some students go through on a daily basis with a disability or other hardship.  My stutter is not as severe as it once was, but I know at least a little bit of what some students are going through.

While going to school for special education I realized that having a stutter makes it so I understand what some students go through on a daily basis with a disability or other hardship.

6. What’s your specific favorite beverage?

Mountain Dew Code Red

As a beloved faculty member, Dan is a very special part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have him as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Dan and the amazing Kingdom work he does at WMC.

Dan, 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.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Mikaela Deur

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one 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 Mikaela Deur of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Grand Haven Christian School Store

Mikaela has been teaching Kindergarten at Grand Haven Christian since the fall of 2017. She attended GHC as a student all the way through, from preschool to 8th-grade graduation. After that, she attended  Western Michigan Christian High School and went on to Calvin College for her education degree. “It feels like coming home to be back here,” explains Mikaela. Having her back is a delightful homecoming for her and the GHC staff alike!

It feels like coming home to be back here (at GHC).

 Enjoy getting to know her a bit more!

Q & A with Mikaela

1.  What’s your favorite teaching moment to date?

One day last winter I was on recess-duty and one of my students ran up to me to hold my hand and walk with me. She looked up at me and said, “Miss D, I always walk next to you at recess because it’s the warmest spot… you know, because love is warmer than everything and you love us so much.”

I’m always overwhelmed by the outpouring of love that comes from kindergartners. I could write a book of all the incredibly sweet and authentic things that these students have said to me. They love so deeply and it’s such a gift to be able to teach them!

I could write a book of all the incredibly sweet and authentic things that these students have said to me. They love so deeply and it’s such a gift to be able to teach them.

Getting ready to sing with GRSC in Carnegie Hall.

2.   What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

I actually sing with the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus.

Last year I had the amazing privilege of singing on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York with them!

Last year I had the amazing privilege of singing on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York with the Grand Rapids Symphony Choir!3.   What do you love most about your job?

3.  What do you love most about your job and why?

There are so many things I could say because kindergarteners might just be the best people in the world! They’re eager and enthusiastic about learning. They’re 100% authentic to themselves. They tell some pretty incredible knock-knock jokes.

But I think what I love most of all is that everything that we do in our classroom can come back to Jesus. Every conversation that we have can be framed around our amazing Savior. It’s a freedom and a privilege that I don’t take for granted to be able to pray, teach the Bible, and talk about Jesus all throughout our day.

I think what I love most of all is that everything that we do in our classroom can come back to Jesus. Every conversation that we have can be framed around our amazing Savior. It’s a freedom and a privilege that I don’t take for granted to be able to pray, teach the Bible, and talk about Jesus all throughout our day.

Celebrating March is Reading Month with favorite book character day in Kindergarten.

4.   What’s the best part of your day?

I love our mornings. I try to make sure every student is greeted by their name and given an uplifting interaction at least twice within the first 10-15 minutes. My students start the day being greeted at the door, then move right into working on their own specific list of sight words. Once they’ve finished this quick activity, everyone gets a high five or a fist bump, and then they get to play with loose parts for a couple of minutes. Almost every student is working on different sight words, so it’s a simple way to differentiate every morning. It also gives me a chance to have a conversation with every student and frame their day for success.

This always leads right into our morning meeting, where my students get to greet their peers, we sing a worship song and pray together. Not to mention, kindergarteners come in with an amazing amount of enthusiasm and so much exciting news to share after 18 hours away from their teacher, so it’s always wonderful for me to hear what is happening in their lives as they come in!

100 days of Kindergarten!

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

I’m pretty much constantly singing, so it was only natural for me to become a kindergarten teacher. We sing about anything and everything. After our morning work and loose parts STEM play, we start every morning with a worship song from there on, our day is packed with songs about finding good fit spots, shapes, counting, days of the week, the weather, letter sounds, Bible stories… you name the topic and I’ve got a song for it!

We start every morning with a worship song from there on, our day is packed with songs about finding good fit spots, shapes, counting, days of the week, the weather, letter sounds, Bible stories… you name the topic and I’ve got a song for it!

Leading with the worship team at her church. When their church building was under renovation they meet in the GHC gym!

6. What’s your specific favorite beverage?

I’ve been known to sip on an iced coffee with cream and vanilla all school day… but I also love Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper.

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

Enjoying a vacation to Gulf Shores, AL with her family.

Mikaela’s sister and brother, Paige Deur and Will Deur.

Mikaela, 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.