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WMCS Says Goodbye to Two of the Fab Five Administrators

FCS’s John Barkel and GHC’s James Onderlinde Continue Their Christian Education Careers in GR

The end of the 2018-19 schools year brought a new beginning for two of our own.

John Barkel of Fremont Christian School will be starting as Head of School for Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School and James Onderlinde of Grand Haven Christian School will take on the new role of administrator for Byron Center Christian Elementary.

James Onderlinde's Family portrait

The Onderlinde family.

WMCS Collab Exec Director Dan DeKam and principal of Muskegon Christian School said this of his colleagues, “John is one of the great ones. His heart for his students was evident in how he genuinely delighted in his work. He will be missed and I wish him well on his new journey. Since 2014, James has tirelessly and virtuously led his staff, community, faculty. and students of GHC. His forward-thinking choice to launch Spanish Immersion marked GHC as the first and only school in the Tri-cities area to teach language immersion and it raised GHC’s enrollment exponentially. We’re grateful for his service and better for it. My fellow administrators, Samuel Greer (WMC), Phil Morse (NEC) and I will miss them both!”

John Barkel and his Family

The Barkel family.

We will all dearly miss John and James. Always moving forward, we are EXCITED to see how God will work these departures for the WMCS good—starting with the promotion of FCS’s own Nick Donkersloot, who is following in the footsteps of his own father and achieving a lifetime career goal with this new appointment. WMCS will announce the replacement for James once that has been determined.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28.

All of us at West Michigan Christian Schools wish many blessings to both John and James in their Kingdom work ahead. Please join us in saying a prayer for a smooth transition for each of these great men in their Christian education careers!

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West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS), is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6), New Era Christian (PK-8), and Western Michigan Christian (7-12). 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.

Fremont Christian School Says Goodbye to Principal John Barkel

To my FCS and WMCS family;

It is with excitement, but also sadness that I say farewell to Fremont Christian School and the WMCS Collaborative.

The Lord has opened a new door for my family and I and we’ll be moving to Grand Rapids where I will be the new principal of Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School.

In this process of change, I have done much reflecting on my time at FCS, and ultimately, my calling as a Christian school principal. This is a special role to play. We principals have signed up for and are given a great responsibility. The students, parent relationships, teachers, the buildings, and our school boards are all components that require our attention and love.

By letting God into our schools, we get to see first-hand His amazing work being done in the lives of students and families. As time goes on, this love grows for the people and the place. Our relationships with people grow, and we care more and more about the future of our schools. Our love grows and care deepens because we principals see the Kingdom need for these places. Our work is not a job, but a mission to fulfill our calling in God’s Kingdom. What an amazing opportunity and responsibility we have! 

Our work is not a job, but a mission to fulfill our calling in God’s Kingdom.

So saying goodbye to Fremont Christian School has been an emotional challenge as I have embraced this school as a member of my family. I think I speak for Samuel, Phil, James, and Dan (my fellow WMCS Administrators) when I say that we love our Christian schools and they hold a very special place in our hearts.

I pray for God’s richest blessings on you all and on our WMCS schools who are carrying out God’s work for His Kingdom.

Farewell, for now, and God bless!

John Barkel, FCS Principal

Fremont Christian School was blessed to have John Barkel on staff since 2000. He started as a math and science teacher and taught for six years before he moved into the administrator position in 2012. His stellar leadership has been appreciated by many and his immense contribution is priceless. WMCS Collab Exec Director Dan DeKam and principal of Muskegon Christian School said this of his colleague, “John is one of the great ones. His heart for his students was evident in how he genuinely delighted in his work. He will be missed and I wish him well on his new journey.”

Nick Donkersloot will be assuming the role of the FCS principal. Nick has served as a 5th-grade teacher for three years at FCS and Barkel shared, “Nick has Christian School leadership in his blood. He loves FCS and is eager to take the helm.” All of us at West Michigan Christian Schools wish many blessings to both John and Nick in their Kingdom work ahead. Please join us in saying a prayer for a smooth transition for each of these great men in their Christian education careers!

About FCS

Located in Fremont, Michigan, Fremont Christian School (PK-8th) is a place where you will experience love, family, Jesus, and joy.  We have been serving the greater Fremont community for 100+ years  Our teaching is rooted in the Word of God.  Our faculty strive to help students reach their fullest potential as Children of God. Whether you choose our outdoor program or our Spanish Immersion, we ensure you that your child will receive a rich experience learning about God’s world and how to live in it. For more information about FCS contact us! 
Fremon 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!

Why Enroll Your Child at West Michigan Christian Schools? Part 2 – Testimonial

This Parent is New to it all But Certain that Christian Education is the Right Choice for His Family

My oldest is just beyond her first year at Fremont Christian School, so for my wife and I, the journey of Christian education is just beginning.

I wonder what will her favorite Bible story or who her favorite character will be? How will her experience in Spanish Immersion go? How will chapel, Bible class, and Christian teachers influence her in her walk with Jesus? How will God use this unique experience of Christian education to make her into the person He desires her to be?

Being a parent of a student in our Christian schools family brings a fresh perspective on Christian education. I am beyond thankful for this opportunity for my child, and, soon enough, all my three children. I’m excited for them to be at Fremont Christian School! I’m pumped knowing they will get into God’s Word, and learn how it applies to life! They’ll learn how to rely on Jesus when tough times come their way. They’ll know how to rejoice when they see God’s work being done.

 

I’m pumped knowing they will get into God’s Word, and learn how it applies to life!

The unknowns of what lies ahead for my children can, at times, be both exciting and frightening. It is a blessing to have them be part of Fremont Christian School. I’m thrilled that the school my children are attending is being creative and opportunistic in being part of a collaborative of Christian schools, WMCS. These schools care about kids. Period.

These schools care about kids. Period.

If you’re like us, and just starting this journey of Christian education, whether you’re in Fremont, Grand Haven, Muskegon, New Era or WMC, you are not alone.

It’s a commitment, a blessing, and a sacrifice.

Get excited about what God is about to do in your kid’s lives!

It’s a commitment, a blessing, and a sacrifice.

WMCS is ENROLLING NOW for the 2018-19 school year.

Please CLICK HERE >> to GET MORE INFO about Christian education options for children preschool through 12th grade.

West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS), is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including 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.

Better together,

John Barkel

Fremont Christian School, Principal (and proud dad of 3)

Feature Photo caption: Barkel’s Family includes (from left to right) John’s wife Ruth, Piper, Allison, James, and John.