West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Archive for Middle School Teacher

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with New Era Christian School’s Chris Kelley

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

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

New Era Christian School

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

CELEBRATING CHRIS KELLEY OF NEW ERA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL (PK-8th):

In the words of Phil Morse, NEC Administrator:

Mrs. Kelley’s classroom is a model for an authentic, caring community where every student feels like they belong.

Q: How many years have you taught there? 

A: I am in my fifth year teaching at NECS

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: I teach 7th/8th grade, all subjects.

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

A: Three of my four sons have attended NECS.  One graduated from here in 2016 and my youngest son is currently in the 6th grade.

Lucky mom of 4 boys: Jonah (21), Ben (18), Andrew (15) and Eli (12)


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

A: Last year one of my students prayed to receive Christ as her personal Savior.  When asked what led her to choose Christ, she cited conversations with her dad, Mr. Morse and a presentation of the Spirit-Filled life we had in class. The transformation in her attitude, work ethic and general outlook on life have been significant and a joy to watch.

A wall of books behind me and great kids alongside me-I love learning, growing and pursuing Jesus with my amazing students.

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

A: I was a member of the University of Michigan Synchronized Swim Team for a year.

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

A: Hands down the best part of my job is doing life together with the students in my classroom.  Growing together as compassionate Christ Followers, sharing each others’ burdens and learning alongside one another gives purpose and meaning to my days.

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: Prayer time in the morning and math block are my favorites.  My students share real struggles and praises and it serves as a time of connection for all of us.  Even though my major in college was English, math is my favorite subject because I love problem-solving.

Time with friends is my favorite hobby.


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

A: The Lord has allowed me the privilege of many life experiences that help in my teaching.  Academically, I have taught in the public school, I have homeschooled my own kids and now I teach at NECS.  My teaching position is also unique because I teach all subjects in middle school. I am a curious learner so I feel fortunate to be diving into subjects that may not be my “specialty”.  Divorce, foster care, and special needs parenting have all played a significant role in my life, as well, and help me in understanding people. Personally, discipleship was transformational in my own life and spiritual formation, so my heart is bent toward seeing the hand of God in people’s lives.   

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

A: Without a doubt, I would outsource GRADING!

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

A: I am most grateful that in my current position I have the freedom to address issues in the classroom and with students from a spiritual perspective.  On a practical level, I enjoy my co-workers, the school is close to my home and the work is flexible and family-friendly.

My husband of 25 years, Duane and me, enjoying gaining a daughter-in-law at our oldest son’s wedding in August 2019.

AS A BELOVED FACULTY MEMBER, CHRIS IS PART OF THE HEART OF WMCS. WE ARE BLESSED AND FAVORED TO HAVE HER AS PART OF OUR SCHOOL FAMILY!  

A SMALL TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

A heartfelt THANK YOU, from all of your colleagues at WMCS and the school families!

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

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

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

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

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

Curious about starting your child at NEC or any of our 5 schools?

LEARN MORE.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Western Michigan Christian School’s Mark Hill

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

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

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

In the words of Pastor Samuel Greer, WMC Administrator:

Our WMC middle school students know that they are in for a special treat under the leadership of Mr. Hill. Mark is a treasure of wisdom and knowledge. He is able to adapt to any and every situation. Science and the principles of this universe come alive under the instruction of Mr. Mark Hill.

Celebrating Mark Hill of Western Michigan Christian School (7-12th grade)

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: I have nearly completed my first year of teaching at WMC.  Prior to coming to WMC, I taught for 21 years in the public school system.

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: I teach 7th and 8th-grade science, language arts, and STEM.

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

A: I have two boys.  Andrew graduated from WMC last year and is currently attending Calvin University.  Ethan is in 10th grade at WMC.

Me with my sons Andrew (left) and Ethan (right).

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

A: This is going to sound weird but, the day classes resumed after finding out that Mr. Vredevoogd had passed away.  It was one of the hardest teaching days in my life. However, what turned it into a favorite moment is that we had an opportunity to come together as a community of believers and discuss our faith and how Christ has overcome death.  I have never felt so supported as a teacher than I had that day and I could feel the Holy Spirit working among us.

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

A: My wife Rhonda (DeBoer) (WMC class of ‘92) who teaches at Muskegon Christian School, and her two sisters, Gina (WMC class of ‘86) and Marla (WMC class of ‘89) are also alumni of WMC.  Small world!

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

A: I love coming to work every day to be with the kids- hearing their stories and connecting with them on a more personal level.  It is why I chose the profession I did.

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: Starting our day with a word of prayer.  It gives us a moment to pause and focus and thank God for the day he has set forth before us.

John 9:4, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (NIV)

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

A: Most people would agree that you have to be a little “different” to teach middle school students.  I LOVE working with this age group! They are so full of life, energy, and questions that you have to be on your toes and ready for anything to happen during the day.

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

A: Vernors!

Q:    How do you feel Teaching for Transformation will augment or re-shape your tactics/approach/perspective as a Christian educator?

A: I am excited to be an early adopter for TfT.  The ability for kids to tie their academic work to their faith is what is truly exciting.  I have been trained in Project-Based Learning (PBL) and TfT gives students the “Greater Why”- we are Servants Called to Serve! 

We are currently looking at body systems and diseases that might affect these systems. Students are in the process of choosing how we want to serve kids their age who may have a disease or medical condition.  Stay tuned to see what they choose!

AS A BELOVED FACULTY MEMBER, MARK IS PART OF THE HEART OF WMCS. WE ARE BLESSED AND FAVORED TO HAVE HIM AS PART OF OUR SCHOOL FAMILY!  

A SMALL TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

A heartfelt THANK YOU, from all of your colleagues at WMCS and the school families!

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

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

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

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

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

Curious about starting your child in WMC’s Middle School program?

LEARN MORE.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Gladys Pell

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

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

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

Celebrating Gladys Pell of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

A quote from Nick Donkersloot, Fremont Christian School Administrator:

There is no denying the love that Gladys has for music. God has blessed her with a gift that she loves to share with her students. Her passion and joy are evident in how she is able to take our middle school students and turn them into amazing bands and choirs. Gladys is always looking for new and exciting ways to challenge her students. FCS is blessed to have Mrs. Pell. 

Gladys Pell

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: I came to Fremont Christian School in the fall of 1985. I left in 1993 to be home with kids, did some teaching at Fremont Public and Providence Christian HS before coming back to FCS in 2006 and it’s good to be “home.”

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: Currently, I am teaching all bands and choirs in grades 5-8, as well as 7th-grade pre-Algebra. I’ve taught everything from K music to 9th grade German over the years!

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

A: My husband, Dan, and I have 4 kids, all graduates of Fremont Christian School: Michael (FCS ’07, PCHS ‘11) is married to Nicole Ribbens Pell (WMC ’11); Elizabeth (FCS ’10, WMC ’14) is married to Tyler Herlien; Emilee (FCS ’11, WMC ’15) and Hannah (FCS ’14, WMC ’18).

The Pell family celebrated a marriage this past summer.

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

A: In my 2nd year at FCS, I was able to take the Jr. high band to State Festival, where our sight-reading judge was my former 5-12th grade band director, Henry VanderLinde. I had dreamt of being a band director since 6th grade, and to be at Festival with him as our judge, and then to receive a top rating from him was very exciting for me! As a young teacher, it really felt like God was confirming the choices He led me to make for my career!

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

A: I was walking through the Amway Grand Hotel at a recent music teacher convention when a young lady ran out of a business in the hotel and wrapped me in a huge hug! It was a former student who recognized me and wanted me to know how much music class was a positive influence in her life, and the one thing she looked forward to every day in MS and HS. 

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

A: My parents were first-generation immigrants from Germany to the United States. They spoke German at home all the time because they wanted to immerse us in their native language — a great selling point for immersion classes—it works! I can understand almost everything anyone says in German, but please don’t ask me to speak it! Since I don’t use it much, I would most definitely embarrass myself! And…my first trip to Germany was when I was only 18 months old!

The annual TIGER game day!

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

A: The kids. Definitely the kids. And definitely middle school kids. I love being a part of their days, and I love sharing the joy of music with them, even though they don’t always appreciate it. Middle schoolers have so much going on in life, and they have such an excitement for learning. I think Middle school is a time when they have so many opportunities to try new things and I love challenging them to be the best they can be, to the glory of God!

The kids. Definitely the kids. And definitely middle school kids. I love being a part of their days, and I love sharing the joy of music with them, even though they don’t always appreciate it. Middle schoolers have so much going on in life, and they have such an excitement for learning. I think Middle school is a time when they have so many opportunities to try new things and I love challenging them to be the best they can be, to the glory of God!

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: That first cup of hot tea in the morning as I read through my morning devotions and get ready to face the day!

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

A: I have a fairly high tolerance level for noise, which I think is important in what I do. Sometimes musical creativity can be noisy! And, NO…I don’t wear earplugs!

I also feel God has blessed me with an ability to relate to MS kids and love them, even on their difficult days. 

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

A: I would LOVE to get the bands and choirs back into the festival scene, which would give them a greater opportunity to be beauty creators outside of our community. 

Dan & Gladys on an Alaskan vacation celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary!

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

A: My students could answer this one: hot tea! You would be hard-pressed to find me without a cup close by (although often it does get cold….)

I also love a hot cocoa day with my 7/8 Choirs on those cold, Michigan winter days!

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

A: The support of an amazing school community: parents/grandparents, school board, and staff! It is so gratifying to have a team effort in raising kids to understand their role in God’s story!



Q: How do you feel Teaching for Transformation will augment or re-shape your tactics/approach/perspective as a Christian educator?

A: I believe that Teaching for Transformation has been my goal since beginning to teach so many years ago. I love being able to share my faith through music and have always tried to encourage kids to grow in their walk with God through the music we use. I do love the current terminology that reminds us that we are a part of God’s continuing story. It is my prayer that my students will always see the value of music in their lives and how their music choices can impact the world around them. I pray that they will be active participants in worshiping God through music.

Gladys and her husband Dan.

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

A SMALL TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

A heartfelt THANK YOU, Allison, from all of your colleagues at WMCS and the school families!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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