List of Principals

photo taken on July 23, 2014 (touring the school, viewing the campus upgrades)
pictured left to right: Harley Ver Beek, Randy Moes, Ryan Groen, Don Woo - representing 45+ years of Principal leadership!

 

 

Calvin Christian School Former Principals - Where Are They Now?

(see below the FULL article featured in our Fall 2014 CCS Spectrum)

 

 

Principals who have served our school:

 

  1. Jacob Van Der Ark ... 1912/13 - 1917/18  (6 years)
  2. Gerrit Nightingale ... 1918/19 - 1919/20  (2 years)
  3. C. John Bosma ... 1920/21 - 1921/22  (2 years)
  4. Alyda E. (Eylander) Van Kalker ... 1922/23 - 1925/26  (4 years)
  5. John C. Lobbes ... 1926/1927  (1 year)
  6. Casper Offringa ... 1927/28 - 1930/31  (4 years)
  7. Herman Ballast ... 1931/32 - 1935/36  (5 years)
  8. Theodore Van Der Ark ... 1936/1937  (1 year)
  9. Nellie Schelling ... 1937/38 - 1938/39  (2 years)
  10. Anthony De Groot ... 1939/40 - 1948/49  (10 years)
  11. William Vander Vliet ... 1949/50 - 1962/63  (14 years)
  12. Robert Vogel ... 1963/64 - 1964/65  (2 years)
  13. Alvin Vanden Bosch ... 1965/66 - 1968/69  (4 years)
  14. Harley Ver Beek ... 1969/70 - 1988/89  (20 years)
  15. Don Woo ... 1989/90 - 2002/03  (14 years)
  16. Staci Ritsema ... 2003/2004  (1 year)
  17. Ryan Groen ... 2004/05 - 2010/11  (7 years)
  18. Randy Moes ... 2011/12 - 2015/current  (4+ years)

 

Calvin Christian School Former Principals - Where Are They Now?

(updated August 2014)

 

Question #1  - Briefly describe your journey on when and how the Lord led you to Calvin Christian School

Al Vanden Bosch - We moved from Orange city, Iowa in 1965.  At that time Calvin Christian presented some pretty significant challenges.  The school was growing rather rapidly and eventually reached an enrollment of some 480 students.  It was also in need of some institutional revamping which I felt the Lord have given me the ability to do.

 

Harley Ver Beek – In the Spring of 1969, I responded to an ad in the Banner.  I was interviewed, offered the position of Principal ship and accepted the offer in the Spring of 1969.

 

Don Woo – Midway through my junior year in college, I felt that God was calling me to become a teacher. Many of the most influential people in my life, including my wife, were teachers who genuinely cared about their students. They were people who served to meet not only academic needs, but also spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and psychological needs as well.  After student teaching and graduation my wife, Kay, and I prayed that God would bring me to a school where I would be able to make a difference in the lives of students. I soon learned about a 5th grade opening at Calvin Christian School (CCS), and because I believe that God was calling me to Christian education, I applied and was hired.  Although I didn’t attend one of the Reformed Liberal Arts colleges typically associated with Christian schools, I found Calvin Christian to be a great fit for me and my family for 33 years! I taught for 18 years (mostly in junior high).  From 1983 to 1989, I also was the half-time assistant principal. In1989 I became principal where I served until 2003, when I became the executive director.

 

Staci (Ritsema) Dies - I was teaching at North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw, Georgia after graduating from Calvin College in 1996.  I came to chat with Don Woo while I was visiting family in the area for spring break in 1999.  He encouraged me to apply for an opening in the Junior High for the coming school year.  The opportunity to return to the community I grew up in and be closer to my family excited me.  I moved to an apartment above Brouwer's Hardware store and began teaching that fall with so many faculty members that were my teachers in the past.  It was an amazing opportunity to grow in my career as I started taking classes for my Master's Degree in School Administration.  Upon completion of my degree I searched for job opportunities when I was approached by the board to consider a "Teaching Principal" position at Calvin.  I divided my time between the classroom and new administrator duties. Don Woo became the Executive Director and mentored me through this process as he took on new aspects in his role as well.   It was a challenge to juggle that time and I stayed in the office full-time the following year.  Things changed quickly in the fall of 2003 as I met my husband and became engaged.  His career and family lived in Central IL and I made the move to that area after we were married.  Although my time as Principal at Calvin was short in comparison to my predecessors, I know that the Lord had a plan for the future of Calvin Christian.  Ryan Groen stepped in during the summer of 2004. 

 

Ryan Groen - Erin and I clearly felt the Lord’s leading to Calvin Christian in 2004.  We had been serving at Pan American Christian Academy in Sao Paulo, Brazil, since 2000 where I was K-8 Principal and Erin was in the Learning Lab.  After four years there, we believed it was time to return to the United States.  Among other reasons, our grandparents were aging and our siblings were getting close to getting married (we did want to miss weddings and other events by being overseas). We had originally decided to look for a Christian school principal position somewhere between the Mississippi and the Pacific probably somewhat close to a diagonal line between San Diego and Des Moines, but my father-in-law encouraged us to include Illinois in our search. I had studied for a semester in Chicago when at Dordt College, and we loved the city, so we decided that was a good idea to revise our search to something between San Diego and Chicago. After interviewing in four schools that spring, I was offered principal positions in California, Colorado, Idaho, and at Calvin Christian. When the offers came in, God made it abundantly clear to us that He was calling us to Chicago to serve at Calvin Christian. After living overseas for four years, we loved the diversity at Calvin. We also fell in love with the community of South Holland and the people at Calvin Christian ever since the first time that I visited for the interview. 

 

 

Question #2 – Briefly list some of the biggest memories of your time at Calvin and how you witnessed the Lord moving in mighty ways (both big and small).  List any major events of that time during the school's historical timeline.

Al & Rose Vanden Bosch, celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary! (July 2014)

Al Vanden Bosch - During our brief stay at Calvin one of the pleasant memories we have is the number of highly skilled and motivated teachers.  Some of those people were the best I have ever seen.  At Christmas time we had some wonderful Christmas faculty parties.  It also became necessary to use classroom space in both Calvary Reformed Church and Bethany Christian Reformed Church to accommodate increasing enrollment.  Eventually a portable classroom was purchased and used.  During our tenure at Calvin the Board considered purchasing some property near the Calvary Reformed Church.  An architect presented the Board with sketches for an entirely new school building.  However, about that time changes in American society were becoming apparent which indicated that parents were having smaller families.  This eventually resulted in

reduced school enrollment at Calvin too.

 

Harley Ver Beek – Having the distinction of serving the longest tenure as principal of Calvin Christian School is very special.  My wife and I had the privilege of all of our children graduating from Calvin Christian School.  There were several major events during my 20 wonderful years as Principal.  In 1972, the school added the addition to the original building - before that addition we had classes in the “portables” (Calvary and First Reformed Churches).  Calvin accepted the first African American family – The Rev Goodwin family.  The preschool program began.  We accepted the offer from Elim Christian School to start the “Discovery” program.  We expanded the office area – what used to be a classroom just east of the small main office was turned into a teacher’s workroom, health office, filing, and two offices (including the Principal’s office) – a much needed change to provide more work space.  I received my Doctorate from Nova University in 1982. The Calvin Christian School Foundation was established in 1983.

 

Don Woo – I have many wonderful memories of CCS. The entire school community has been a great witness and blessing to me. My years at CCS were very fulfilling, and I am thankful that God called me to Christian education. Some of my favorite memories include getting to know students and families: working with amazing teachers; Grandparent’s Days; new parent interviews; the 90th anniversary; seeing our two sons attend CCS from grades K-8; and seeing so many former students come back to CCS to support Christian education.  I am also particularly thankful that the school board made the decision to remain in South Holland to serve local Christian families and to embrace the changing demographics of the area. This was a time that CCS became intentional about committing to diversity, while maintaining a Reformed biblical perspective. These years were both challenging and rewarding, as our school became richer in culture and community. I can say that my time at CCS prepared me for my years at Trinity Christian College.

 

Staci (Ritsema) Dies - My memories of Calvin span from 1981 when I walked into Sheila Otte's classroom as a first grader through 1988 when I graduated with Sheryl (Klunder) York as my homeroom teacher.  I can think of a special memory from each teacher throughout my years there and it was an amazing blessing to return to those same hallways as a teacher and administrator.  While I was there we celebrated 90 years of God's faithfulness at a special Evening for Calvin with Steve Green.  It was exciting to sing with other faculty and parents as his "back up singers"!  The faces of students, teachers, staff and administrators may change, but the Christ-centered education that makes Calvin so unique remains the same.

 

Ryan Groen - My best memory of Calvin Christian was the tradition of starting each day praying with teachers and students.  Faculty members were gracious enough to invite me into their rooms at 8:00 am each morning (each teacher had a day set aside each month to pray with me).  We would pray together, then I would go outside and greet students.  When the bell rang, I had the privilege of praying with a different classroom of students each morning. Another great memory is the Christian Character Awards. I remember when the concept was introduced at a faculty meeting and every teacher received a character award. It was a tremendous blessing to see the strong relationships between faculty and students as these awards were given at the end of each school year. In terms of facilities, it was a remarkable improvement when we replaced the roof over the gym and installed the new gym floor. I also remember the first year we received the matching gift for the Evening for Calvin which allowed us to double the proceeds for that year and for subsequent years.

 

 

Question #3 - What have you been up to since the time your role as Principal at Calvin expired?

Al Vanden Bosch – After health issues dictated it was best for me to leave full time school administration, I served Illiana Christian High as librarian for four years.  After that I accepted an Assistant Principal role at Illiana responsible for curriculum and teacher supervision.  This was to take one-half of my time: the other half of the time was as Executive Secretary of District 3 of Christian Schools International.  The main focus was to represent all of the non-public schools in both Illinois and Indiana in building and maintaining positive relationships with State and Federal Education Agencies.  To do this, I worked to establish Committees representing all types of non-public schools in both Illinois and Indiana.  We served in those capacities for 24 years retiring in 1994.  During this time Rose gave numerous piano lessons to many students.  She also was frequently asked to be a substitute teacher for long periods of time sometimes for a half year or more.  One of her favorite assignments was teaching eighth grade Bible.

 

Harley Ver Beek – For five years I served as the principal of Kellogsville Christian School located in Kentwood, Michigan.  In 1989, I began work as the District 3 representative for Christian School International and served the schools in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  Also, I served as development director for Lansing Christian and Illiana Christian High School and retired from that work in 1999.  Since then, I have done Bible studies at the Cook County jail in conjunction with Chicago land Prison Outreach, have served in various capacities at the Peace CRC of South Holland, IL, and my wife Arlene and I went to Alaska for our 50th wedding anniversary!

 

Don Woo – After leaving CCS, I joined the faculty at Trinity Christian College (TCC) in Palos Heights, IL. In my first year at TCC, I taught full-time in the Education Department. In my second year, I began administering a grant program and divided my time between teaching and administration. Since that time, I continue to be involved in both teaching and administration. I am currently the Dean for Ethnic Diversity and Multicultural Programs and an Assistant Professor of Education. I’m in my 11th year at TCC, and I enjoy both my administrative and teaching duties. One thing I’ve learned is that I need to stay in touch with students through teaching. When I began teaching as an adjunct professor in 2001, I was amazed to learn how much I missed being in the classroom, spending time with students, getting to know them and learning from them. Kay and I attend Faith Church in Dyer, IN. She and I have served together as mini-church leaders and greeters. I currently serve as a community care elder and liaison to our Fresh Hope Ministry to those with emotional needs. I have also been privileged to serve on the Christian Schools International Accreditation Commission for 7 years. I will remain connected with CSI in the future as I become an accreditation regional coordinator for the Western Great Lakes area.

 

Staci (Ritsema) Dies - My husband, Darrell, and I established our home in the small community of Eureka, IL.  We are centrally located between Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, IL just 2 hours from South Holland.  I spent some time substitute teaching, assisting with my husband's business and watching children before we began our family in 2006 with the birth of our daughter, Cheridan.  Then, I taught an entry level English class at Illinois Central College before our son, Warren, was born in 2009.  Since that time I have been staying at home with our children.  We are actively involved in our community church and I help with the AWANA program and women's ministry.

 

Ryan Groen - In 2011, God called me to serve as Superintendent at Ontario Christian Schools located in the greater Los Angeles area. Ontario Christian is blessed with a wonderful faculty, staff, and administration. Ontario Christian is a preschool through high school system on two campuses serving over 1,250 students. Ontario Christian serves students in any combination of on campus, online, and homeschool, although the vast majority of our students are on campus.  Ontario Christian also has over 40 International students mostly from China, Taiwan, and South Korea. The motto at Ontario Christian is Growing Christian Leaders, and it is incredible to see how God is using this school to shape young people. It has been particularly amazing to hear the stories of International students who have become Christians while at our school. Like Chicagoland, churches are plentiful and there are many, many Christian people here in Southern California. We have blessed to become members at CrossPoint Christian Reformed Church were one of the pastors is actually the son-in-law of Calvin Christian’s former principal, Harley Verbeek. It truly is a small world.  

 

 

Question #4 - What are some exciting things or events happening in your life as of late?

Al Vanden Bosch - We moved from South Holland to Edgerton, Minnesota in 2000.  Both Rose and I were born and raised in Edgerton and by moving back here we returned to our “roots”.  We built a duplex for us and our daughter Laurie who had retired from her position as School Psychologist.    During our stay in South Holland, I had the privilege of serving on Church Councils and being a delegate to Synod on two occasions.  Here in Edgerton both Rose and I are Bible study leaders for women’s and men’s groups.  We are in comparatively good health.  We just celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary this past July (2014)!  We have three daughters.  Our eldest – Lynn – lives in Palos Park with her husband Russ Hollender.  Russ is a banker.  Lynn has been the director of a pre-school in Palos for some 20 years.  Our second daughter Laurie lives here with us.  Our youngest – LeAnn-- lives with her husband Nico Cheston in Winona, Minnesota. They are the parents of three children.  She is a Certified Nurse Midwife and has her own midwife practice.  An exciting event in our family’s life was when our granddaughter Emily gave birth to triplets in January 2014.  She and her husband Dennis Brumirski are also the parents of a 5 year old daughter. We are grateful that God has blessed our family with such an event which has changed life for many people!! 

 

Harley Ver Beek – On January 1, 2014, all of our five children, their spouses, and 16 grandchildren, were together and had a family picture taken.  God has been faithful to us for 53 years of our married life and has given us a wonderful family.

 

Don Woo – There are so many ways in which we see God’s faithfulness to us. We thank God for our Christian home and family, and, although we are not without some challenges, Kay and I are blessed in many ways. Kay shares, “I feel one of my/our greatest joys is to see God's faithfulness in that our children are trying to raise their families in Christian homes. We are so blessed to see our grandchildren grow spiritually.” We try not to take our blessings for granted, and we look for opportunities to celebrate and give thanks for them. As grandparents, we find much joy as we spend time with or grandchildren. We are blessed by a church that challenges and nurtures us, allowing us to use our particular gifts to serve and be served. And, we are thankful for Christian friends who have travelled with us throughout joys and challenges.

 

Staci (Ritsema) Dies - I will send you a picture of my kids  :)  One of our surrounding towns was directly hit by a tornado last fall.  It is difficult to describe the total devastation as we drove into the affected area for the first time.  Our children asked a lot of questions about the power of God and his control of our lives.  We shared Psalm 147 : 5 with them : Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.  What a comfort to know that He is all powerful and that he freely gives his gift of salvation to us!

 

Ryan Groen - Within the first couple months of our arrival in California, my wife and I heard about the need for foster-adopt parents here in Southern California. We went through classes with a local agency and then in January of 2013 my family had the privilege of welcoming two little foster girls into our home age four and almost two from nearby Los Angeles County. Our biological children, Elise and William, were nine and five at the time. We were open to adopting these two precious little girls, but after 18 months in our home they went back to their biological mom in July 2014. We have been praying that they would find a church since their mom had not previously been involved in church, and amazingly the two girls and their mom have now been going to church every week. It is wonderful to see God’s faithfulness in the lives of these two sweet little girls, and we praise God from whom all blessings flow. We are now praying for God’s leading regarding if and when we should take in more foster kids – the social workers have been asking us already.

 

 

Question #5 - Where are areas in which you have witnessed God's faithfulness, and the Holy Spirit working through his people here at Calvin Christian School?

Harley Ver Beek – Calvin is, and always has been, a solid school with many great faculty, staff, families, and a supportive community.  It has a rich history of people who love the school and built Calvin into the place it is today – thank you for everyone for your labor of love and for your dedication to Christ.  God has been faithful and allowed Calvin to celebrate over 100 years of existence.  I have enjoyed seeing it become a beautiful more diverse school – ethnic wise.  Continue to not be discouraged during “tough times” as God will see the school through those times.  He has proved this before, and can do so again.  I am thankful to see first-hand all the beautiful things currently happening at Calvin Christian School and the areas of growth it is experiencing through its solid team of leadership and its beautiful community of Christ followers.

 

Don Woo – I am thankful for the opportunity to reflect on the past 43 ½ years and see how God has had his hand on CCS and TCC. As a teacher and principal, I have spent countless hours with parents and students, working through challenges and celebrating successes. In the past 10 ½ years at TCC, I have seen many CCS graduates come to college to pursue God’s call for their lives. When I see these students, I’m again reminded of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Seeing these students causes me to have an even greater appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice of Christian families who believe in Christian education. Of course, I only see a small fraction of CCS graduates at Trinity Christian College, but I am confident that all the students who attend CCS are receiving a Christ-centered, richly diverse, excellent education which will prepare them for continued academic achievement. More importantly, these students will be prepared to spend their lives glorifying God while leading and serving others wherever they may be called. In Ephesians, 6:4, Paul writes, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” I believe that God, through Paul, is telling us that education needs to be suitable for the individual gifts and talents of each child. Be assured that the children who come to CCS will receive the kind of education which will not exasperate them, but will rather encourage, support and help them become the people that God has created them to be.

 

Staci (Ritsema) Dies - There is nothing more important that investing in our children through Christian education!  Now that I am a parent I believe this statement more than ever.  Our children are a blessing as stated in Psalm 127: 3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.  My parents blessed me with the opportunity to attend Christian schools and I am grateful for the opportunity to have served my students as a teacher.  Now, I am blessed by the Godly influences of Christian teachers and friends in the lives of my own children.  I encourage you to remain faithful to your calling.  The Lord has blessed Calvin for over 100 years, and he will continue to be glorified through your good works!

 

Ryan Groen - The Calvin Christian School community has been greatly blessed by God. Calvin has a wonderful faculty and staff along with an excellent Principal, Randy Moes. It was a joy to be a part of the Calvin community between 2004 and 2011, and we continue to enjoy reading the publications and seeing the posts on Facebook. My family and I also greatly enjoyed visiting Calvin this past summer.  It was wonderful to see friends and see the improvements to the facilities. May the parents, board, faculty, and staff of Calvin Christian continue to follow God’s call to disciple young people in Faith & Learning, for Life. 

 

 

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