Faculty, board, and committees

Reformed Heritage is a success because of the excellence of our faculty and volunteers. Our teachers love what they do: teaching standard curriculum to our covenant youth from a Reformed worldview. Learn more about them below!

Faculty

Gayle

Gayle Esman, 1st–3rd Grades Teacher
BA, Calvin College; MA, South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary
Teaching experience: 39 years

I am Gayle Esman, and I have been teaching for 30+ years. Anyone who does something that long must really love it, and I do! God has given me the gift of loving other people’s children, and because of this, my life has been richly blessed.

As a child I attended the Kalamazoo Christian Schools and then went on to Calvin College. In 2001, I received my master’s degree in Religious Education in south Florida. I met and married John Corrigan in 1978. He passed away in 1993, and I have been married to John Esman since 2008. It was then that I moved back to the most beautiful state in the union – Michigan. In my spare time, I like to scrapbook, write, read, and play with my puppy, Lindy.

A Bible verse that God called to my attention while teaching in south Florida is Isaiah 30:23: “Then He will give you the seed which you will sow in the ground and bread from the yield of the ground and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture.” May this be a rich and plenteous year for us all!

 

Sarah

Sarah Gunst, Kindergarten
BA, Dordt College
Teaching experience: 13 years—elementary level; 5 years—preschool level

I was born and raised near Seattle, Washington. I graduated from Dordt College (Sioux Center, IA) with a B.A. in elementary education and minors in English and reading/language arts. My first teaching experience was at a Christian school in Walnut Creek, California where I taught 3rd grade for 7 years. I then returned to Washington and taught for 10 years at Rainier Christian School—the school I attended growing up. I taught Kindergarten there for 3 years, but I also taught 1st grade, 4th grade, and for 5 years in the preschool department.

I recently moved to Michigan to be close to family. I’m excited to be teaching at RHCS where I get to explain all the subjects from a worldview that understands that God is in charge of all creation. It’s wonderful to be a part of the joy that my Kindergarten students have in learning.

I enjoy reading and being part of a book club. I also like to spend time being involved with different church activities such as Vacation Bible School, a Bible club for refugee children, and Bible study.

 

Luann

Luann LaRoy, Elementary Music, Choir Director
Associate's Degree, Kellogg Community College
Teaching experience: 20 years

My objective in teaching at Reformed Heritage Christian School is to broaden my experience and desire to teach music. In so doing, I also hope to give praise to my Lord and Savior. My goal is to teach the fundamentals of music theory, voice and a variety of instruments to help children learn and appreciate God's design in music and to develop skills in using them to the best of their ability. I also hope to instill an appreciation for well-written, Biblically-based sacred music with reverent tunes and meaningful lyrics, realizing that God can use His Word in music to enrich the lives of Christians as well as bring unbelievers to Himself.

I am a graduate of Kalamazoo Christian High School and Kellogg Community College. I have an Associate's Degree in Nursing. My husband Jim and I were married in 1972. I left the field of nursing to raise our four sons. I homeschooled them for 13 years.

At an early age I showed an interest in playing the piano. Even though my parents had no musical training, they realized my desire to learn this instrument and acquired a teacher for me when I was four years old. I took lessons for 10 years. My musical experiences include being an elementary and high school pianist, choir pianist, piano teacher, and choir member. It also was my pleasure to provide dinner music at a local restaurant for one year. I have co-chaired VBS programs, Christmas programs, and choir camps. My greatest joy was to teach my sons to sing parts. I accompanied them when they sang as a quartet with their father at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, in church services, and at weddings.

What a privilege to sing a joyful new song, for "He has put a new song in my mouth – praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord." –Psalm 40:3

 

Lynelle

Lynelle Schreuder, Junior High & High School Math
BA from Calvin College in elementary education with minors in math and social studies
Teaching experience: 10 years of classroom teaching experience, 8 of which were at RHCS. Various other teaching experience includes individual tutoring and student mentoring through Kids Hope USA

I have always wanted to teach, but it was one of my high school math teachers who encouraged me to specialize in math. Now as a math teacher at RHCS I hope to encourage my students to use their gifts to serve the Lord.

I grew up in the Chicago area, but going to and graduating from Calvin College brought me to Michigan. I graduated from Calvin with a teaching degree with both a math and social studies minor. After college I did some substitute teaching, worked as a 4th and 5th grade teacher, and taught the 7th and 8th grade class here at RHCS for close to 8 years. For the past 11 years I have been a full time stay at home mom as well as a part time volunteer both here at school and at my church. So even though I never left the RHCS community it is wonderful to be part of the Reformed Heritage staff once again!

As a teacher at RHCS, I have always appreciated the opportunities that a small class size affords. It has been a blessing to “really” get to know my students and also see (as my former student are now adults) how they have been able to serve God in their own households, careers and churches. I look forward to once again working with God’s children and, as God wills, seeing this new set of students develop in their knowledge and personal relationship with Christ.

 

Luann

Billie Snieder, High School English and Bible, Jr. High English and Science
BA from Providence Christian College with concentrations in secondary education and english
Teaching experience: 1 year

Originally from the small town of Orange City, Iowa, I grew up in a large family with two brothers, three sisters, and a love for learning and reading. After graduating from Unity Christian High School I left on my first adventure to attend a liberal arts college on the west coast, Providence Christian College. There I found my calling to teach.

After graduating in 2016 I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to serve as a Resident Advocate for a low income tax credit apartment complex. While I loved serving God in this community, I knew he was calling me to teach. I embraced the next adventure and moved to Kalamazoo this summer, and am excited to be at RHCS teaching English, Bible, and science classes. As we explore how God has revealed himself to us, I think of Colossians 2:2–3, “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

I enjoy exploring new places like book stores, beaches, and city attractions. I also love reading, making puzzles, discovering new hobbies, and baking.

 

Julie

Julie VandeGiessen, School Secretary
Associate's Degree, Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Experience: 10-1/2 years

“Trust in Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” –Proverbs 3:5–6

I am very blessed to be a part of the faculty here at RHCS. I enjoy my job, and I love the students!

My husband John and I were married in 1995 and have been blessed with two children!
Our son and daughter are both students here at RHCS!

I am a graduate of North Christian Grade School, attended Kalamazoo Christian High School, and graduated from Gull Lake Christian School in 1991. I received an Associates Degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

I am a member at Second Christian Reformed Church. I am/have been involved in Children’s Sunday School, Choir, Song Service, Women’s Bible Study, Vacation Bible School, and Library.

I enjoy reading, gardening, baking, camping, playing games, and being organized.

 

Dave

David Vander Meer, Administrator
BA, Trinity Christian College; MS, Chicago State University
Certifications: State of Illinois Professional Teachers
Teaching experience: 16 years

I was raised in South Holland, Illinois, where I was the youngest of nine. I attended Calvin Christian Grade School and Illiana Christian High School. I then attended Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois. After graduation I started my calling by working with young people as a physical education teacher in Homewood, Illinois. The fall after graduation from Trinity I met my wife Julie who was a student at Trinity.

While I was teaching in Homewood I was coaching both girls’ and boys’ volleyball at Illiana while taking masters courses at Chicago State University. After teaching for six years the Lord called me to be a youth director. I served at Cornerstone United Reformed Church (Hudsonville, MI) for 11 years. During those years I was able to be on the steering committee to form a youth organization called Reformed Youth Services and also to be on the steering committee to start Zion Christian School (Byron Center, MI). Currently, I am working on a masters degree from Reformed Theological Seminary. I believe that the Lord used these experiences in my life to help prepare me for my current calling as Administrator of Reformed Heritage Christian School where I have been serving since 2007.

The Lord has blessed Julie and me with three children. It has been a blessing to serve at Reformed Heritage.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. –Prov 3:5–6

 

Julie

Julie Vander Meer, 1st–3rd Grades Teacher
BA, Trinity Christian College; MA, University of Phoenix
Certifications: State of Illinois Professional Teachers; Michigan Professional Teacher Certification
Endorsements: Learning and Behavioral Disabilities
Teaching experience: 12 years

I graduated from Trinity Christian College with a major in elementary education and minors in special education and theology. I also received two approvals in special education: one for learning disabilities and the other was for social emotional disorders. In the fall of 2008, I completed my Masters in Education from the University of Phoenix in curriculum and instruction. I continue my education through college courses and conferences.

After graduating from college I taught special education for three years and art for a year. When my children were born I took several years off from the classroom. I did however have many opportunities to continue teaching in other areas. I was a youth group leader for about 12 years. I taught a 3–6 year old class for my church’s Wednesday night program and also taught and organized Vacation Bible School. I also taught Sunday school for a few years.

I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, attending both a Christian grade school and high school. I moved to Illinois to attend college and ended up living there for six years. I then moved to Hudsonville, Michigan, and lived there for 12 years. I now live in Kalamazoo. I have been married to Dave for 25 years and have been blessed with three children with ages ranging from 20–15. Two of which have graduated from Reformed Heritage Christian School and are now in college. I am looking forward to a wonderful school year!

But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. –Isa. 40:31

 

Jolene

Jolene Westendorp, 4th–8th Grades Teacher
BA, Providence Christian College, concentrations in elementary education and social science
Teaching experience: 2 years

I was raised in Hopkins, Michigan on my family’s dairy farm. I graduated from Zion Christian School in Byron Center, MI in 2012. I attended Providence Christian College in Pasadena, California. I graduated there in May of 2016 with a degree in liberal arts and concentrations in elementary education and social science. I am currently pursuing my state teacher’s certificate.

My husband is Joel Westendorp and is a cash crop, custom farming, and beef farmer in Martin Michigan. We were married August of 2016.

This is my second year at RHCS and I teach 4th–6th grade in all content areas. I also teach computers to 4th–8th grades, and am involved in the school yearbook. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I have been given at RHCS. I get to share my love for Christ and my love for learning with my students.

I enjoy learning new things, helping on the farm, reading, walking, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5.

 

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2016–17 School Board

Matt Wykstra, President
Justin Kiel, Secretary
Tim Kloosterman, Treasurer
Todd Martin
Doug Vlietstra

If you would be willing to help on any of the committees below, please speak to the chairman of that committee!

Building & Grounds Committee

Todd Martin, Chair
Travis Gernaat
Henry Kalkman
John VandeGiessen (lawn only)
More volunteers needed!

Education Committee

Matt Wykstra, Chair
April Hoeksema
Tim Kloosterman
Dave Vander Meer
Amy Wykstra

Library Committee

Joyce Nagel, Chair
Dawn DeVries, when available
Julie VandeGiessen
Sarah Vlietstra, when available
Amy Wykstra
More volunteers needed!

Hot Lunch Coordinators

Kathy Kloosterman, Menus/Forms
April Hoeksema, Finances
Karen Martin, Kitchen Supplies
Julie VandeGiessen, Intermediary

Fundraising & Promotions Committee

Doug Vlietstra, Chair
Bryan Kiel
Kathy Kloosterman
Karen Martin
Julie VandeGiessen
Amy Wykstra
More volunteers needed!

Other Committees

RHCS has many behind-the-scenes helpers to make the school a special place to be. Volunteer committees include Moms-At-Work, Room Moms, Yearbook, Field Day, and Graduation committees.

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