Staff

Muskegon Christian School Principal Dan DeKam
Administrator
Abe Lincoln after being asked whether he thought God was on the side of the North or the South...  "Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."

Since 2000 I have been blessed to be the Administrator of Muskegon Christian School. In addition to working at the school, my wife, Arlene, and I have also been blessed to have our 5 children attend MCS and WMCHS, where they have been the recipients of a wonderful education and where they have grown in their understanding of and appreciation for how the Christian faith affects the entirety of their everyday lives.

I was born and raised in Fremont, Michigan and received my BA in Secondary Education from Calvin College and my Masters in Education Leadership from Covenant College.   Before returning to our home state, Arlene and I lived and worked in North Carolina, California and Minnesota.  While we enjoyed our time in each of these states, living close to our families in West Michigan has been a blessing.

Scripture Verse: :  If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Philippians 2:1-2

SKILLS

I can get a sunburn on the top of my head

INTERESTS

Reading about historical figures Running Hiking Fishing Deer hunting Spending time with family
Mrs. Westra Muskegon Christian School Preschool Director
Preschool Director

I am so excited to be teaching Preschool here at MCS!  I grew up in the Chicago Land area before going to college in Iowa.  In Iowa I played Division II soccer and participated in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

I earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education in 2012 and have earned endorsements in Reading, Early Childhood, Emotional Impairment, and Coaching. I am married to Brett Westra (a graduate of MCS). I currently live in Muskegon with my husband and giant dog.
Scripture Verse:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

SKILLS

I can balance ten pencils on my nose!!

INTERESTS

Soccer Going for Walks Bike Rides Hanging out with Family
Mrs. Bonnema Muskegon Christian School Kindergarten Teacher
KE & Kindergarten Teacher

Welcome to MCS!  I am SO excited to be teaching the 5 day Kindergarten classes this year.  I thoroughly enjoy teaching young children who are enthusiastic about life and learning.  I love being able to share my love for the Lord and explore His creation with my students every day.  My hope and prayer is that they would feel God’s love through me and want to live for Him, too.

I earned my B.A. in Elementary Education from Dordt College and my M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University.  In the past, I have taught in Bradenton, FL (Bradenton Christian School) and in Spring Lake, MI (West Michigan Academy of Arts & Academics).  I am thankful to be at Muskegon Christian School, where I have taught since 2006.

When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my husband (Mr. Bonnema- the 5th grade teacher) and our 4 children. Our children attend MCS and WMCHS, where they are learning each day to love and serve the Lord.

Favorite Verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

SKILLS

I get "sweaty eyebrows" when I eat pineapple and
I can hoola-hoop REALLY well!

INTERESTS

Reading playing tennis being outdoors scrapbooking travel
Mrs. deEsteva Muskegon Christian School , Spanish Immersion Kindergarten Teacher
Kindergarten Teacher Spanish Immersion

I was raised in the Dominican Republic and have served over the years as the principal of 3 different schools in the Dominican, first at the International School of Santo Domingo, then at the Cap Cana Heritage School, and most recently at the Maximo Potencial School in Punta Cana.  While I’ve spent most of my life in the Dominican Republic, I was actually born in Kalamazoo, Michigan and moved back to Michigan with my husband and 4 children in the summer of 2016. I love having some family close by and enjoying the outdoors in Michigan!


Scripture Verse:
”Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  John 15:5

SKILLS

I once swam 4 kms across the Bahia de las Aguilas

INTERESTS

Enjoying the Outdoors Training for Triathlons Attending Musicals and Ballet Performances
Mrs. Datema Muskegon Christian School First Grade Teacher
1st Grade Teacher

I have been teaching for 12 years, all of which have been at Muskegon Christian School in our First Grade classroom.  I hold a B.A. in English and Fine Arts from Calvin College and my M.Ed. with a specialty in Reading/Language Arts from Grand Valley State University. I like the excitement my first grade students have for learning, and enjoy sharing my love of reading with them. I love to sing both praise and silly songs with my students.


Scripture Verse:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4: 4-7

SKILLS

I can use a mouse with either hand!

INTERESTS

Spending Time with Family Reading Camping Going to the Beach in the Summer
Mrs. Vanderstelt Muskegon Christian School Spanish Immersion First Grade Teacher
1st Grade Spanish Immersion

My name is Maria del Pilar Vanderstelt.  I was born in Reynosa, Mexico.  Reynosa is across the border from McAllen, Texas.  I grew up in Reynosa and I had a nice childhood there.  I discovered during my childhood that I would like to be a teacher.  I played “school” with my two brothers, my sister and some neighbors during the summer.

I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was 17 years old.  I have been involved since that time in church leadership as an elder, teacher, cell group leader, Sunday school director, VBS coordinator, and missionary ministry.
I earned a bachelor’s degree in Pedagogy (the teaching/learning process) and a Master’s degree in Human Development with an emphasis in family education and orientation.  I worked for ten years in a Christian school: (Integrity School) as a founder, teacher, Vice-principal and Principal. I was also a professor at Universidad Tecnologica de Tamaulipas Norte for four years.  I taught Spanish and Ethics and I tutored students earning their Technical Associate’s Degrees.  I feel blessed to be part of Muskegon Christian School as a Spanish Immersion teacher.

Scripture Verse: I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  Isaiah 61:10

 

INTERESTS

Walking Reading Ballet Mexican Folk Dancing
Mrs. Menefee Muskegon Christian School Second Grade Teacher
2nd Grade Teacher
Faith makes things possible, not easy.

Greetings from the 2nd Grade classroom at MCS!  My name is Jennifer Menefee and I teach 2nd Grade.  I grew up in Muskegon and attended both MCS and WMCHS.  I earned my elementary education degree from Calvin College and obtained my Master’s Degree in Learning Disabilities from Grand Valley State University.  I also have Special Education Endorsements in Learning Disabilities and Emotional Impairments.  I have 16 years of experience in Christian Education.

I believe that having the opportunity to teach 2nd grade at MCS is providential since this was my first year at MCS when I was a child. I love teaching second grade. Second graders are such eager learners.  What joy it brings me to watch my students grow and discover the things God is showing and teaching them. Sharing my faith with my students and watching them grow in their personal relationship with God is a privilege.  I am eager to explore God’s wonderful world with MCS Second Graders.

Special Skills:  A student’s quote for my special skill: “You use your brain, keep your voice calm, do not yell, and you have a good smile.”

Scripture Verse: The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17

SKILLS

I make a ‘mean’ chocolate chip cookie!

INTERESTS

Spending Time with Family Outdoor activities Coffee Children’s books
Maestra Studer
3rd Grade Spanish Immersion

Hola! I am excited to join the staff here as a third generation alum of MCS.  I attended Calvin College as an Education and Spanish major and met my husband Nathan there as well.   In the summer before my senior year at Calvin, I lived with a host family in Argentina for a month.  We took several excursions including to Uruguay.  I would love to someday travel with my husband to other countries to get more stamps in my passport!  I have 4 children, two of whom attend MCS currently (and 2 more who can’t wait to be old enough to join their siblings).
I love to dance!  Before we had children, my husband and I took ballroom dancing lessons for 2 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!

Scripture Verse: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 

SKILLS

I can wiggle my ears without touching them with my hands.

INTERESTS

Baking scrapbooking anything involving crafts listening to music and just being with my children.
Mrs. Sandoval Muskegon Christian School Spanish Immersion Second Grade Teacher
3rd & 4th Grade Spanish Immersion
Sólo una cosa vuelve un sueño imposible: el miedo a fracasar.” (Only one thing makes a dream impossible: the fear of failure.) - Paulo Coelho

Hello my name is Ximena Sandoval and I am from Ecuador, South America. I am very excited to be a part of Muskegon Christian School!

This is my third year here and I am thrilled to be working in this community. I recently moved here with my family from Ecuador. Prior to moving to Michigan I was a teacher in an elementary school for 18 years. I enjoy teaching as well learning from the children. I love their innocence and the spontaneous love they share with me.

By the grace and blessing of God I have had the wonderful experience of working with third and fourth grade Spanish immersion students at Muskegon Christian School. I am still in the process of learning English and I thank all the people who have supported me in this. I am excited to be a part of the SI program and share with each of the children this exciting yet challenging stage of their education.

Scripture Verse:
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:5

 

SKILLS

Spanish
Art

INTERESTS

Reading Theater Musicals Movies Adventure
Miss Hall Muskegon Christian School Third Grade Teacher
3rd Grade Teacher
I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.

Hi, my name is Erika Hall.  I grew up in Muskegon and attended both MCS and WMCHS.  I have a B.A. in Elementary Education and Reading and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Dordt College.  Before moving back to Muskegon, I taught for eight years in an inner city school in Chicago.

I am excited to be teaching Third Grade!  I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to work with the students at MCS and enjoy sharing in the excitement they have for learning. I look forward to taking a closer look at God’s magnificent world with my third grade students.

Scripture Verse: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.   Proverbs 3: 5-6

 

SKILLS

I once whispered for a whole year! I can brush my teeth using my foot to hold the toothbrush.

INTERESTS

Spending Time with friends and family outdoor activities exploring new places Traveling Reading Playing Tennis
Miss Potts 4th Grade Teacher Muskegon Christian School
4th Grade Teacher
“The Lord of Heaven changes not, and even when our view’s most dark, he’s there above us fair and golden as the sun. God’s never gone…It’s only men go blind.” - Frederick Buechner

Hi! My name is Lis Potts and I graduated from Wheaton College in 2012 with a BA in Elementary Education and Spanish. Prior to Muskegon; Holland, MI; Wheaton, IL; and Managua, Nicaragua have held special places in my heart and have been a form of home to me. After graduating, I worked for three months with a ministry called Villa Esperanza teaching English and tutoring girls who grew up in their city garbage dump. I came back to the states in December and taught Spanish for a semester in my hometown of Holland. Since then, I have been teaching 4th grade at MCS. I absolutely love kids and love watching and helping them learn and grow. It is truly a joy to work in a Christian school; I feel blessed being able to talk openly about Christ with my students, pray with them, help them walk closer to the Lord each day, and learn what it means to bring shalom to the chaos in our world. Working in a classroom is an amazing gift; I feel called to teach, but I learn so much from my students in return.

Some special Bible verses to me are Philippians 4:6-7, Jeremiah 29:13, and Psalm 62: 1-2.
Scripture verse:  “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”  Psalm 62:1-2

SKILLS

I can sit on the ground and jump over a jump rope.

INTERESTS

Hanging with family and friends laughing reading writing ice cream Lake Michigan basketball running crafting cooking baking traveling spending time in God's beautiful creation
Mr Bonnema Muskegon Christian School Fifth Grade Teacher
5th Grade Teacher

Hello!  My name is Chad Bonnema and I am the 5th grade teacher here at Muskegon Christian School.  I have been at MCS since 2011. Previously, I have taught at Bradenton Christian School (Bradenton, FL) and Lamont Christian School (Coopersville, MI).  I have earned my B.A. in Elementary Education at Western Michigan University (go Broncos!) and my M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Grand Valley State University.  I love having the opportunity to help students learn and watching them “grow” in their learning.  I also love having fun in learning.  In my classroom, don’t be surprised to see a guitar being played and balloon animals being made, all in the name of learning, of course!     In addition to teaching, I am also a husband and a father of four children, whom keep him very busy!

Scripture Verse: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”   Galatians 2:20 

 

I can make balloon animals with my eyes closed.

INTERESTS

Fishing Traveling Playing tennis spending time with my family
Miss Verwolf Muskegon Christian School Spanish Immersion Fifth Grade Teacher
4th & 5th Grade Spanish Immersion

Hola! My name is Keri Verwolf, and I’m excited to be teaching 5th grade Spanish Immersion at MCS! I grew up in Michigan and earned a Spanish Education degree at Calvin College. After graduating Calvin, I taught in Tegucigalpa, Honduras for 5 years in a Christian bilingual school. While I was living in Honduras, I taught first grade during the school months and spent the summers volunteering in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and the States. I am thrilled to learn more about the Muskegon community and spend each day growing and learning in God’s grace with the students, families, and faculty.

Scripture Verse: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

SKILLS

Can catch up to 25 quarters off of elbow in one motion! 

INTERESTS

Tennis Volleyball Exploring new places Reading Playing the guitar Being with Family and Friends Traveling
Mrs. Morrison 6th grade teacher Muskegon Christian School, Muskegon Michigan
6th Grade Teacher
I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true...I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have." - Abraham Lincoln

Hello, my name is Elizabeth Morrison. For 14 years I have been an educator at Muskegon Christian School, mostly teaching English Language Arts and Computers, but also helping with paraprofessional work and the onset of the childcare program. In 2001, I graduated with a B.A. in Education from Western Michigan University with a triple major in Science, English, and Elementary Education. I have since earned my professional certification and am close to acquiring endorsements in Math, Social Studies, and Writing. Fortunately, I have also had the privilege of coaching Cheerleading, Girls Basketball, Girls on the Run, Middle School Track and Field, and Destination Imagination.

This is my fourth year as the sixth grade teacher. Currently, I enjoy my 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!

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.

Scripture verse:  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God “.  Romans 12:2

SKILLS

I can predict what a 12 year old will do and say before they do or say it.

INTERESTS

Hockey! Reading Spending time with Family Traveling Hanging out with friends
6th Grade Teacher

I’m excited to join the staff at MCS!  I am a recent graduate of Calvin College with my Bachelors in Elementary Education.  My subject focuses were Spanish and math.  I studied abroad in Spain and Mexico during college and I also worked as an intern at a Young Life camp in Nicaragua in the summer of 2016.  The camp was on a coffee plantation so I got to learn a bit about their growing and roasting process.

Growing up, I attended a small Christian school near Akron, OH that was very similar to MCS.  My Spanish teacher there sparked my interest in learning the language and opened my eyes to the ways it can connect us to the Kingdom.  I have always wanted to teach middle school aged students.  During my time at Calvin I realized that I love 6th grade!  I’m thrilled to be teaching students that are at such a formative point in their lives.

I love to explore new cities and places and really enjoy checking out Muskegon!

Scripture Verse:  “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

SKILLS

I can blow one bubblegum bubble bigger than my head!

Exploring the outdoors travel baking reading spending time with family friends coffee tea Young Life