Faculty & Staff: Partners in Your Child's Education
Walk into any classroom at Ann Arbor Christian School, and you will find outstanding teachers who spark curiosity about God’s world and genuinely love their students.
Working as a committed team who is deeply devoted to God’s call to excellence and love to permeate through all areas of our school’s life, 30 skilled and passionate teachers and staff members create a vibrant, nurturing learning environment in Grades Preschool-8, art, music, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and physical education and are committed to a high standards of excellence in their teaching. Our current staffing includes a Head of School, a curriculum director, a student support coordinator, three administrative personnel, a childcare director, 12 classroom teachers, an athletic director, a part-time learning specialist, a spiritual life coordinator, after school program coordinators, and five specialists in Arts, Music, Spanish, Chinese, and physical education.
All faculty members are experienced teachers at the elementary or middle school level and possess exemplary educational and professional backgrounds. Opportunities for professional growth are offered throughout the year.
Wayne SitHead of School
BA, Psychology, Harvard University
M.Ed., Elementary Education, Lesley University
Van Lunen Center for Executive Management at Calvin College
Wayne Sit joined the school in 2009 as a parent, but became its Head of School the following year. He and his family moved from Boston, MA to Howell in 2009. He fell in love with teaching during his junior year at Harvard. While in Boston, he taught at the well-known Buckingham Browne & Nichols School and was later part of the starting of Boston Trinity Academy in 2002, the only evangelical middle/high school in the city of Boston. During this 25 years in education, he has been a middle school teacher, as well as the academic dean and director of technology at Boston Trinity. Wayne loves the AACS community and its desire to continue being an excellent school for Christ in the greater Ann Arbor area. He and his wife have five children, three who currently attend AACS, and are members of Knox Presbyterian Church.
BA, Psychology; Calvin College
MA, Social Work; Michigan State University
One of the key drivers of our preschool program, Jennifer became its first teacher in 2009 and has seen the program grow over the past years. Jennifer has been involved in early childhood for over 15 years and previously taught preschool for seven years at Sonshine Nursery School, a cooperative preschool in Ann Arbor. Her extensive experience and training as a social work has equipped Jennifer to be aware of adoption-related issues with children. Jennifer enjoys the wonder that comes with teaching young children and watching their excitement as they learn more about the world that God created. As a parent, she is reminded of the importance of school in teaching children the same Christian truths. Residing in Dexter, Jennifer and her husband attends Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church. Her two children are both graduates of AACS.
Dawn GeldermansTeacher Aide
Dawn Geldermans was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI where she went to Christian schools and attended Calvin College. She has a heart for Christian education and has been involved with AACS since it was founded. She has a passion for working with children, seeing their creativity, experiencing their zest for life, and watching them learn new things and how they develop into the person God created them to be. She served in numerous roles during the years that her four children attended AACS, such as helping in the class room, various committees, working in the library, and preparing and serving lunch. She enjoys working with children as evidenced by over 30 years of involvement in Sunshine Nursery School, teaching Story Hour, and serving as a youth group leader and a Sunday School teacher. "As a founding member of the school, I have seen and experienced God's faithfulness at AACS. I'm excited and filled with joy at being back at AACS working with the children in the preschool class. I look forward to working with the children, families, and staff as we grow together experiencing God's love and continued faithfulness." Dawn and her husband Arnie attend the Ann Arbor Christian Reform church and have four adult children, all of whom are AACS alumni.
B.S. Elementary Education; Northern Illinois University
M.A. Education: Curriculum & Instruction; Cornerstone University
Keri Louwerse comes to AACS with 10 years of teaching experience in international and Christian schools. She has taught in Michigan, in Florida, and in the Cayman Islands. Since moving back to Michigan, she has remained active in children's ministry at her church serving on the Children and Family Ministry cell, teaching Sunday School, and leading a ministry for children experiencing divorce. She recently completed her master's degree and is excited to be teaching again at a school where she can share her passion for learning and for Christ with her students. Keri and her husband live in Webster Township with their three children. They are members of the conservative Dexter United Methodist Church.
Jeanne PalmbosTeacher Aide
BA, Spanish; Grand Valley State University
Jeanne was born and raised in Holland, MI and attended public schools her whole life. After moving to Ann Arbor, she worked in the Ann Arbor Public Schools as an aide in a Special Education class for 4 years. So, when she and her husband decided to send their 3 children to AACS, Christian education was a brand new experience for her. Now, she can't imagine sending her kids anywhere else! Her entire family fell in love with the school, its teachers, and the Christian environment they get to live and learn in each and every day. Jeanne has been a parent in the school for 7 years and was happy to join in a new capacity as a part-time aide in the aftercare program in 2015. On her days "off," she has co-directed a women's Bible study program (Coffee Break), taught Sunday School with her husband, and is currently the GEMS coordinator for 2nd to 5th grade girls at the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church. She has a love of children and of all things fun and imaginative, so being an aide is a perfect way to use her God-given gifts!
Margaret MayorosSecond Grade & Elementary Lead Teacher
BA, English Literature and Education
Digby Stuart College, University of Surrey
Post Graduate Certificate of Education, Elementary Education; Digby Stuart College, University of Surrey
With over 30 years of teaching experience, Maggie hails from Wimbledon, England and began her teaching career in England before moved to the United States in 1991 with her American husband. Since her move to Michigan, Maggie has taught in Christian schools, homeschooled her own children through middle school, taught in homeschool co-ops, substitute taught, and taught classes from her home. She is excited to see how the Lord has led her to AACS, where she can share both her love for teaching and her love for Christ with the students and excellent staff. She and her husband are members of Christ the King Church in Ann Arbor.
Claire WardThird Grade
BA, Elementary Education; Calvin College
Claire is excited to be joining the AACS community and staff this year. Last year, she taught fourth grade at the highly regarded Holland Christian Schools system in Holland, MI. She is originally from Pella, Iowa. In July, she got married and moved in August to the area with her husband Caleb. Claire has always wanted to be a teacher and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Calvin College. She is excited to build a Christ-centered community in her classroom this year where her students learn more about the love of the Lord, each other, and the world. When Claire is not at school, she enjoys traveling, exploring Ann Arbor, and playing tennis with her husband. Previously attending a Christian Reformed Church, Claire and her husband are currently searching for their new church home as they settled into the area.
Michelle HarrisFOURTH GRADE
BA, ELEMENTARY EDUCATION AND SPECIAL EDUCATION; LEWIS CLARK STATE COLLEGE
Michelle is very excited to be joining the AACS community this year! Michelle feels that teaching is her specific call from God. She especially cares about helping children grow deep in their walk with the Lord as they learn about His created world around them. She is looking forward to becoming part of the great community here at AACS. Most recently, Michelle taught at Washtenaw Christian Academy and has also taught in other private Christian and public schools. Michelle grew up in Idaho and has taught in Washington and Oregon. She and her family moved to Michigan in 2005. Her husband, Philip, is the pastor at Canton Calvary Assembly of God and their son, Austin, attends North Point Bible College in Grand Rapids.
Timothy SliekersFIFTH GRADE
BA, ELEMENTARY EDUCATION; TRINITY CHRISTIAN COLLEGE
M.Ed.; LAKELAND COLLEGE
With two decades of teaching experience, mainly with upper elementary and middle school at Christian schools, Timothy and wife Ardith are coming to AACS from Illinois. Timothy earned his bachelor's in elementary education from Trinity Christian College and his M.Ed. from Lakeland College in Plymouth, WI. In fact, his Master's thesis topic was on the transition from fifth grade to sixth grade in small private schools. He fell in love with teaching between semesters in his freshman year of college when he worked with second graders in a Christian school in downtown Chicago and felt called to Christian education to hopefully help his students grow in their personal faith. Timothy's faith background is in the Christian Reformed Church, but he most recently attended a Lutheran church where he assisted with worship with his wife. Timothy and his wife have been busy driving between Illinois and Michigan as they move into a new house and are currently looking for their new church. They are looking forward to growing and learning about the AACS community
Mary AdmiraalFirst Grade
BA, Elementary Education; Taylor University
With 14 years of teaching experience with lower elementary classrooms at public and Christian schools in Michigan and Indiana, Mary is a seasoned and certified teacher with excellent credentials and references. A member of the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church, she is known by many staff members and families who speak highly about her skills with and love of children and her faith in Christ. In the past, she has also served as her church’s children’s ministry director, youth director, church camp counselor, VBS director/craft team leader/recreation team leader/small group leader, Sunday school teacher, and church nursery caregiver. She is passionate about faith formation in the lives of children. As a teacher at AACS, she is thankful for the opportunity to be a person of influence on her student's journeys of faith. She has a degree in Elementary Education from Taylor University.
Janet ChenMandarin Chinese
BA, Asian Studies and Economics; University of California, Berkeley
Janet comes to AACS with over 15 years of homeschooling experience at various homeschool co-ops throughout Ann Arbor. Motivated by Jesus’ command to “Love your neighbor as yourself” and to “go and make disciples of all nations”, Janet is instructing our youngest students in the most widely spoken language in the world. As our neighbors are increasingly global and our children interact with people from various cultural heritages (whether here in America or someday in another part of the world), she is delighted to give our students an introduction to language and culture acquisition. She wants them to feel comfortable learning new languages and to experience how fun it is to learn about other people’s languages and cultures. Janet and her family attend Knox Presbyterian Church.
Tami MicheleMathematics & Bible
BA: Secondary Education Mathematics and Economics, Calvin College
Tami was first part of AACS as a parent. Through the years, Tami served on the education committee and the board. She also worked for AACS as a substitute teacher and taught a math elective program. Tami’s love and dedication to AACS lead to her joining the middle school team. Tami has been teaching math in some capacity for the last 20 years. She loves the challenge of teaching a subject that can be some students least favorite and most challenging class. She loves to see a student grow and learn to love math. She first began her teaching career teaching middle and high school at Franklin Roach Christian School. When her first child was born, she left the classroom and did contract work for the ACT testing company and started a tutoring business tutoring middle school, high school, and college mathematics. She continues to run her tutoring business as she works at AACS. Tami and her husband have two sons and attend Knox Presbyterian Church.
Kirstin BoettcherLanguage & Social Studies
BA, History; Eastern Michigan University
MA, History; Eastern Michigan University
With over 20 years of teaching experience and degrees in history and literature, Kirstin brings a wealth of experience, a love of all things middle school (particularly the students), her energetic personality, her passion for developing excellent reading and writing skills, new technology skills in digital teaching, and a passion for high-quality Christian education to our middle school community. She believes that history allows students to see how God has worked throughout the development of civilization, to examine examples of those who changed the world, and to be inspired to make a difference. With English, students have the opportunity to strengthen their ability to communicate and express themselves both creatively and analytically. Above that is her passion for learning about God and teaching students about God’s truths in the classroom. She and her husband live in Ann Arbor, attend the Ann Arbor Assembly of God, and have one child in high school and two in college.
Julie StraightBible, History & Language Arts
BA: English and Secondary Education, James Madison University
Julie fell in love with teaching during her senior year of college. During her student teaching experience, she realized that her love for literature and writing-and her love for teenagers-combined perfectly for a career in teaching. Over the next eight years, Julie taught a variety of high school English classes ranging from American Literature to SAT prep. She also sponsored the Student Government Association and created a class to help students develop their leadership skills. During her last four years of teaching high school, she got to participate in an interdisciplinary teaching cohort where she fell in love with American History. Julie had to leave this teaching job in Virginia when her husband accepted a job in Michigan. Shortly after their move to Michigan, Julie had their first child. Two more children came along over the next five years, and Julie enjoyed volunteering and substitute teaching as her children grew. When her youngest child was in middle school, Julie took a position as the 8th grade LA teacher at her son’s school. When she heard about an opening at AACS, though, she felt the Lord moving her to apply for that position. She is confident that the Lord brought her to AACS, and she is excited to be able to share her faith as she teaches LA and history. Her desire for all students is that they develop a love for reading, and more importantly, that they grow in their love and knowledge of God. She knows that God has exciting things in store for her time at AACS! Julie, her husband, and her three young-adult children live in Ypsilanti and attend Knox Presbyterian Church.
BS, Business Administration (Marketing); Miami University and
Secondary Mathematics Education; Xavier University
Tama first began her teaching career teaching middle school mathematics and language arts at Winthrop Harbor Public Schools while her husband, Mike, was attending seminary. After his graduation they moved to Ann Arbor at which time they were expecting their first child and decided to leave the classroom and stay at home with their six children. During those years at home she remained active in the classroom by providing teacher support and started a ministry to mothers with young children which is still thriving. Tama and Mike are the parents of six children, all of whom graduated from AACS. She has coached 5-8 volleyball as both an assistant coach and head coach at AACS. Tama has also tutored middle school mathematics for five years at AACS. Her other experiences have included providing Title I tutoring services for students in grades K-8 in both math and reading at both public and charter schools. Tama loves seeing students’ progress in their problem-solving skills and use of various strategies to tackle challenging math problems. She also enjoys watching students’ analytical and reasoning skills evolve into better problem-solvers. Tama currently attends Knox Presbyterian Church with her husband (who is an Associate Pastor) and family.
Laura McMahonScience & Bible
BS, Science; Eastern Michigan University
MA, Science Education; University of Michigan-Dearborn
Laura has enjoyed teaching for 13 years in various positions from first grade through 8th grade. Laura has previously taught elementary grades in a Christian school in Northville, MI, middle school science and English in North Carolina, and elementary school at a Spanish-dominant southwest Detroit charter school. Science education has been a long-time passion of Laura’s, and she brings a great deal of current knowledge in science curriculum to the school. Above that is her passion for learning about God and teaching students about God’s truths in the classroom. She believes that the purpose of school is to equip children to understand the truths about life. Without Christ as the center of their education, the truth gets lost and muddied up. For her, Christian schools help equip students to recognize the Kingship of Christ in all areas of learning and to respond in obedience to Christ. She and her husband live in Canton, attend Trinity Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and have three children, two of whom are at AACS.
Laurie Campbell-NunezPR/DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT
BM, Music; Western Michigan University
Laurie is thrilled to join the Ann Arbor Christian School community. She has a passion for Christian education and how it is essential as we equip our students with a solid foundation for the kingdom and their future endeavors. Laurie has 20+ years of experience in various settings, spanning academic, corporate, and graphic design/marketing communications. Laurie grew up in Saline, but spent over 25 years in Chicago before moving back in 2011 to assist with her father after the passing of her mother. Her husband, Jorge, is a Firefighter/EMT, and their daughter, Isabel, currently attends Calvin University in Grand Rapids. They attend Cornerstone Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brighton.
Antoinette NaabLEARNING SPECIALIST
BA, Elementary Education; Michigan State University
MA, Teaching & Curriculum, Reading Specialist; Michigan State University
Antoinette has aspired to be a teacher since first grade. She now has 10 years of teaching experience, ranging from pre-k through eighth grade in both public and charter schools. She is very excited to be able to teach in a Christ-centered environment. In the past, she has also served at her church as a coordinator for Children's Ministery and a Sunday school teacher. Since each child is uniquely made by God, she utilizes students' strengths to motivate and encourage students to create individualized plans for them to reach their full potential. She, along with her husband and two children, attend University Lutheran Chapel in Ann Arbor.
Kellie SteenElementary Academic Support
BA, Elementary Education, Calvin University (formerly Calvin College)
Lisa HawleyElementary Academic Support
Becca ArnoldElementary & Middle School Academic Support
Lauren TharpElementary & Middle School Academic Support
Magaly NagpalMiddle School Spanish
University of San Carlos de Guatemala
Magaly is a native Spanish teacher from Guatemala. She has a background in Psychology and Child Development and is a certified vocational and educational counselor from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala. In addition, she worked as a Montessori Master teacher for ten years, as well as a Spanish teacher at the Rudolf Steiner High School in Ann Arbor for ten years. She loves teaching Spanish and sharing the Latin American history, culture, and Christian values through the diversity and richness of Hispanic traditions. She and her husband Mohit are members of Saint Francis of Assisi in Ann Arbor, and she has been a member of the Coffee Break Ministry at the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church for nine years. Magaly enjoys volunteering and is an avid gardener. She also enjoys singing, dancing, pottery, and handiwork.
Sue De ZeeuwAccreditation Team Co-Chair
BA, Social Studies; Calvin College
MA, Educational Leadership; Eastern Michigan University
While Sue is currently assisting AACS as the school’s accreditation co-chair. Her time at AACS began before our doors even opened. She was among the first group of men and women who heard God’s calling to start AACS and has part its planning in the late 1980’s and has worn countless hats at our school, including part-time administrator, art and music teacher, Education Committee member, and substitute teacher. She taught fourth grade math at AACS in 2001, moved to middle school math in 2002, and now teaches history, Bible, computers, math, and economics in the middle school. Sue loves her students and enjoys being able to talk freely about God and His plan for the students. She feels loved and supported by the school community and encouraged to grow professionally and spiritually. She and her husband have three children, all of whom have graduated from AACS. They are members of Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church and live in Dexter.
Arienne ZimmermanK-8 Art & Virtual Learning Coordinator
BA, Fine Art and Education; University of Toledo
Arienne aspired to become an art teacher at a very young age, as her mother is also an art teacher. She attended the University of Toledo and graduated at the top of her class. Arienne moved to Milan, Michigan in the summer of 2009 when she married her husband and opened up the Tree of Life Art Studio where Arienne created, displayed, and sold her artwork. A year later, Arienne assisted in the opening of the Milan Art Center by working as the director of children’s programming and as an instructor. Previously, Arienne was a substitute teacher for Washtenaw county schools and volunteered as an art instructor at the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living. Her own personal artwork was recently accepted into Eastern Michigan University Student Art Exhibition 2016. Her experience has allowed her to teach and work with students displaying a full spectrum of ability levels. For Arienne, Christian education is important because it strengthens students’ faith and understanding of how God plays a crucial role in all things that we do and in all subject areas. School not only has the ability to shape a child’s mind, but also their heart. She and her husband live in Ypsilanti and attend NorthRidge Church.
Jan MuschFinance Manager
BA, Music; Calvin College
Among the founders of AACS, Jan and her husband have been involved with the school since 1986. She formally joined the staff of AACS in 1994 as Administrative Assistant and made the transition to Finance Manager when the school occupied its new building in 2003. In addition, Jan also regularly helps the school as a piano accompanist for various school events. Jan and her husband have three adult sons, the youngest of whom attended AACS and are members of Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church, where Jan is on staff as the organist. She and Dave are thankful to God for His faithful prospering of AACS for nearly 30 years. They live in Ypsilanti.
Renee McKeoneCurriculum Director & Student Support Coordinator
BS, Elementary Science; Eastern University Michigan
MA, Education; Spring Arbor University
Involved in education for over 30 years including public school teaching, private school teaching, reading intervention, and university level teaching, Renee joined the staff of AACS as the fourth grade teacher in 2009. Renee recently assumed the new role of Curriculum Director and will oversee the school’s efforts to grow and improves its curricular offerings and academic programs. In her work with shaping the school’s academics, she uses the founding assumption that Christian education is the most authentic education. In recognizing God as creator and source of wisdom, students are able to grow in knowledge of the world as created by Him, knowledge of self, and in understanding of the call to serve God through the use of each individual's gifts and talents. She and her husband are members of Christ the King Church and have four children, all of whom attended AACS at some point.
Cheri LubbersAdministrative Manager
BA, Business Administration, Calvin College
Cheri Lubbers has been a part of the AACS community since its organization back in 1986. In the school’s early years, she was involved in a variety of volunteer positions, inside and outside of the classroom. One of her favorite things to do was to listen from the hallway as each class began with morning devotion time. She was hired to staff the main office in January 2003, the year the school moved to the current building. She still loves listening to the students during chapel time. She is blessed by the school families and feels privileged to be a part of their lives. Cheri and her husband Mark are the parents of three adult daughters, all of whom graduated from AACS. She and her husband are members of Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church.
Bryan DiemerK-8 Physical Education & Health, Athletic Director
BS, Elementary Education, Dordt College
Bryan brings his love of physical health and athletics to AACS. Prior to moving back to Michigan, he spent two years teaching in K-12 physical education and 7th grade Bible at Miami Christian School. He attended Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, where he played baseball for four years. At Dordt, he earned his B.A. in Elementary Education with a minor in Physical Education. He also has certification in middle school mathematics and social studies. In addition to teaching, Bryan has also enjoyed coaching. Over the past eight years, he has coached football, basketball, cross country, baseball, and softball. He loves watching students use their God-given athletic gifts and developing them over the span of their school careers. Furthermore, he enjoys the enthusiasm that elementary and middle school students have for the world of athletics and the excitement that they show when they come to P.E. class. Bryan and his wife attend Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church and live in Pinckney.
Mary CuperyK-8 Music
BA, Biology, Hope College
MA, Education, Spring Arbor University
A seasoned educator who has worked in various school settings and all age levels, Mary is certified in multiple areas (including music), but her passions lie in music education and using it to honor God with her students through a variety of means. Mary brings great enthusiasm, a commitment to excellence, a passion for getting children excited about music, and a desire to engage the students’ faith through music. She and her husband, who is a pastor, have four adult children and moved recently from the thumb of Michigan to help grow Hope Alive Church in Chelsea.
Becky JohnsonSpiritual Life Coordinator & Teacher Mentor/Coach
BS, Elementary Education; Eastern Michigan University
Teaching has been a life-long goal for Becky, who does not remember a time when she did not want to be a teacher. With over 22 years of teaching at AACS, Becky’s enthusiasm for the teaching profession and teaching at Ann Arbor Christian has only increased. The Christ-centered, denominationally diverse environment, the integrated, hands-on curriculum, and the loving, nurturing climate of Ann Arbor Christian are all reasons why she loves her job and can not imagine teaching at another school. She is a long-time member of St. Luke Lutheran Church.