West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

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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.

Muskegon Christian School Teaches Love and Respect

We Are All God’s Children

Visit Muskegon Christian School and you’ll quickly see the variety of people that we serve including single parents who work long shifts; large families struggling to get kids to every activity while balancing school and home life; families where grandparents often step into the gap to help support their grandkids.

Being a part of the MCS community means learning to relate to others and learn from one another across color, wealth and a breadth of life situations.

Being a part of the MCS community means learning to relate to others and learn from one another across color, wealth and a breadth of life situations.

In today’s world, we need to learn how to communicate with others with respect and love. Throughout this school year, our students have been challenged by biblical examples of how we can use our gifts to “Model Christ as Servants.”  Our teachers are committed to modeling Christ-like behavior to our students and expecting it from them as well.

Our teachers are committed to modeling Christ-like behavior to our students and expecting it from them as well.

When Kimora joined our school in 4th grade, she noticed a big difference compared to her former school.  “Miss Potts was the first teacher that I really liked. She wouldn’t show anger or yell at students – she’d just calmly talk.  I wasn’t used to kindness like that from a teacher.” 

Miss Potts was the first teacher that I really liked. She wouldn’t show anger or yell at students – she’d just calmly talk.  I wasn’t used to kindness like that from a teacher.

Now a soon-to-graduate sixth grader, Kimora says “I’m going to miss this school – especially Miss Potts”.  

About MCS

Located in Muskegon, Michigan, Muskegon Christian School’s mission is to provide academic excellence with a Christian worldview to engage each student in a lifetime of Christian discipleship. Each day we are looking for new and better ways to integrate the Christian faith into every aspect of the curriculum. At every level and in each area, your children will be challenged academically and encouraged spiritually to fulfill their God-given purpose.  We are focused on building character by creating opportunities for each child to deepen their commitment to Christ through service projects, praise services, family groups and more.  Scripture guides how we treat each other and know God’s world.

Please contact us to schedule a tour to learn more about MCS and our Spanish Immersion program.

Muskegon Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

Muskegon Christian School’s Spanish Immersion Program Prepared Her for a Mission

How This Student Learned to Love, Learn & Lead in Mexico!

The Spanish immersion program at Muskegon Christian School afforded Sydney the gift of sharing the love of Christ in Mexico — and she is forever changed!

In January 2019, the recent MCS Spanish Immersion graduate had the opportunity to use her gifts and share God’s love as her family served in Matamoros, Mexico.  Among a group of 16 volunteers, Sydney was the only one who spoke Spanish. She was able to pray for families in the squatters camp and share God’s love.

Among a group of 16 volunteers, Sydney was the only one who spoke Spanish. She was able to pray for families in the squatters camp and share God’s love.

But don’t just take our word for it.

See what Sydney (and her mom) have to say about what happened in their unique ‘cardboard diary’ video below: 

About MCS

Located in Muskegon, Michigan, Muskegon Christian School’s mission is to provide academic excellence with a Christian worldview to engage each student in a lifetime of Christian discipleship. Each day we are looking for new and better ways to integrate the Christian faith into every aspect of the curriculum. At every level and in each area, your children will be challenged academically and encouraged spiritually to fulfill their God-given purpose.  We are focused on building character by creating opportunities for each child to deepen their commitment to Christ through service projects, praise services, family groups and more.  Scripture guides how we treat each other and know God’s world.

Please contact us to schedule a tour to learn more about MCS and our Spanish Immersion program.

Muskegon Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

God’s Kingdom is Colorful and Muskegon Christian School Intentionally Celebrates that

Embracing Cultural and Racial Diversity

By MCS parent, Ryan Dubois

My wife and I both grew up in big cities and have lived abroad.  We wanted to be intentional about raising our kids to see that there are many cultures and perspectives in the world.  

My wife and I both grew up in big cities and have lived abroad.  We wanted to be intentional about raising our kids to see that there are many cultures and perspectives in the world.  

And the teachers at MCS have demonstrated such love and care for all of the kids that they teach. I am continually impressed with how they model Christ to the students.

MCS intentionally reflects the racial makeup of the surrounding local community, which means that our kids also have the opportunity to go to school with, become friends with, and learn from many racial minority students.

One of the Dubois boys plays games in Spanish at MCS.

One of the Dubois boys plays games in Spanish at MCS.

MCS intentionally reflects the racial makeup of the surrounding local community

Our kids will know that God’s kingdom is colorful and made up of many languages and cultures and for that, we are incredibly grateful.  

We also appreciate the focus at MCS on the importance of putting God and others first in our lives. In our increasingly independent and self-focused culture, this counter-cultural teaching has the potential to transform a generation of kids into servant-leaders, the future of the church. We are so thankful for the teachers and staff at MCS!

–  Ryan DuBois, MCS parent of SI students

About MCS

Located in Muskegon, Michigan, Muskegon Christian School’s mission is to provide academic excellence with a Christian worldview to engage each student in a lifetime of Christian discipleship. Each day we are looking for new and better ways to integrate the Christian faith into every aspect of the curriculum. At every level and in each area, your children will be challenged academically and encouraged spiritually to fulfill their God-given purpose.  We are focused on building character by creating opportunities for each child to deepen their commitment to Christ through service projects, praise services, family groups and more.  Scripture guides how we treat each other and know God’s world.

Please contact us to schedule a tour so that we can show you what makes Muskegon Christian School unique – and how we offer more.

Muskegon Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

Si at MCS Teaches Kids More Than Words

‘You say Pajita, I say Popote’

By MCS parent, Kelly Dubois

If you took Spanish classes in high school, you probably learned a Spanish word for straw.  Last week, as my two boys were listing all of the different words used for ‘straw’ in all of the different Spanish-speaking countries they could think of (there are at least eleven different words for ‘straw’ in Spanish), this truth struck me: they were learning much more than words.  

The Spanish immersion program at MCS was opening a window for our kids into various Spanish speaking cultures around the world.  My boys talk about what life is like in the Dominican Republic and tell me about Mexican holidays and traditions.  This is developing in them an appreciation for other cultures and ways of life that we as parents never could have instilled in them.

The Spanish immersion program at MCS was opening a window for our kids into various Spanish speaking cultures around the world.

One of the Dubois boys plays games in Spanish at MCS.

One of the Dubois boys plays games in Spanish at MCS.

We didn’t find out that Spanish immersion was available at MCS until a few weeks into our oldest son’s first year.  It’s hard to imagine now, but back then he was painfully shy and it was a big decision to have him change classes. We are so glad we did!  He survived and now thrives and is fluent in Spanish.  We’re getting ready to have our youngest join the ranks of Spanish speakers next year and soon all three of our boys will be able to talk without Daddy understanding, which was a big incentive for them to do well.

The flexibility that MCS offers in scheduling is a big blessing for us, as we both work full time.  Though it’s hard to put a price on Christian education, we appreciate that MCS works hard to keep its costs down and that gets reflected in the tuition.   

Though it’s hard to put a price on Christian education, we appreciate that MCS works hard to keep its costs down and that gets reflected in the tuition.   

–  Kelly DuBois, MCS parent of SI students

About MCS

Located in Muskegon, Michigan, Muskegon Christian School’s mission is to provide academic excellence with a Christian worldview to engage each student in a lifetime of Christian discipleship. Each day we are looking for new and better ways to integrate the Christian faith into every aspect of the curriculum. At every level and in each area, your children will be challenged academically and encouraged spiritually to fulfill their God-given purpose.  We are focused on building character by creating opportunities for each child to deepen their commitment to Christ through service projects, praise services, family groups and more.  Scripture guides how we treat each other and know God’s world.

Please contact us to schedule a tour so that we can show you what makes Muskegon Christian School unique – and how we offer more.

Muskegon Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

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 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.

 

 

e

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.