Meet Mr. Westa
Family: Joel and Deborah: 4 kids, 8 grandkids
Education and Previous Teaching: Served for 25 years in the USAF and retired as a Colonel. He has a bachelor's degree in music education from The King’s College, a Master of Music from Penn State University, a Masters in Operational Planning from the US Army Command and Staff College and a Masters in National Security Strategy from the Naval War College, He is a graduate of the Harvard Senior Executive Fellows program, the Van Lunen Fellows program, and holds three executive certificates from Notre Dame in Non-Profit Leadership and Management and Advanced Negotiation, and a certificate from Cornell University in Business Strategy. He also pursued his EdD in Human and Organizational Learning from George Washington University.
-Naval War College, Taught risk assessment, and decision making and implementation.
-USAF Weapons School: Advanced Weapons Employment
-Superintendent, NorthPointe Christian School Grand Rapids MI
-President/CEO Christian Schools International
Favorites: Hunting, gardening, cooking, the outdoors. Love hunting in Canada and traveling in Europe. I love great food, a good cup of coffee, a great book, sitting in front of the fireplace, and Fall and Winter.
What I love about MCS: I love the community that makes up this school, from the students, parents, faculty, staff and Board. We're united in carrying out the mission of the school!
Meet Mr. Hope
Family: Heather Hope, Judah, Nora, Téa, Micah, Ezra, Dog - Soldotna the Siberian Husky
Education and Previous Teaching: B.S. in Music Education from Pensacola Christian College, M.A.T. in Secondary Education from Liberty University, M.Ed. from Dordt University in Educational Leadership and Administration. I spent 23 years teaching music, math, and Bible in Christian Schools in Anchorage AK, Austin TX, and Salt Lake City UT before coming to MCS. During my last few years in Salt Lake I was also the Middle School dean. Was also on church staff in Salt Lake as the minister of music for 14 years.
Favorites: Love outdoor activities including riding motorcycles, camping, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding.Restaurant: Montana Aleworks, Coffee: yes, Candy: chocolate (Butterfinger), Stores: whatever my wife likes...
What I love about MCS: I love the community that exists at MCS. There is something uniquely special that comes from a school with such a long and rich history. As an administrator, I deeply desire to come alongside teachers in order to help them grow as professional educators.
Meet Mrs. Venhuizen
Family: Husband, Tim and kids, Brenna, Beau, Avery, Elliot
Education and Work History: Dordt University - Associate Degree in Administrative Assistance, Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. This is my fourth school year working at the front office.
Favorites: Spending time with family and friends and reading.
What I love about MCS: My favorite thing about working at MCS is getting to know the awesome students, staff, and parents here. I love being a little part of the big picture!
Meet Mr. Glaus
Family: Wife, Lexi and son, Grady
Education and Previous Teaching: I got my bachelor's degree in biology at the University of Montana-Western while playing basketball. Then I finished my master's in athletic training at Montana State Univeristy-Billings. I was the athletic trainer at Park High for seven years and their head basketball coach for five. This is my third year at MCS. I have been the head boys basketball coach for three years, the athletic director for two, and this is my second year teaching the strength and conditioning elective.
Favorites: I love to be outside hunting, fishing, hiking, and golfing. I still love to play basketball and watch as many college games as I can. I'm a big fan of the Jayhawks, rib eyes, and spending time with my family.
What I love about MCS: I love being able to put a focus on Jesus in athletics.
Meet Ms. Val
Family: Husband ,Reuben; daughter Zoe; dogs, Elly & Minnie
Education and Previous Teaching: Elementary Education from Dordt College. Previous teaching history: 2 Years Preschool at Rock Rapids Daycare, 3 years Middle school in Hills Christian, Kindergarten/Middle School Math & Science Hills Christian, 1 year One-on-One student aide Pella Christian, 2 years 5th grade Edgerton Christian School, 1 year Middle School and High School Math at Southwest Minnesota Christian, 1 year 1st Grade at Heritage Christian, 2nd year of Preschool at Manhattan Christian
Favorites: Like to read, I like plants, crocheting, art, cooking, and baking. My favorite stores and restaurants are Amazon, Texas Road House, Pickle Barrel, Genuine Ice Cream
What I love about MCS: I love the community we have at school. The greater community and also the staff community feel like family.
Meet Ms. Janes
Education and Previous Teaching: Oklahoma State University, Bachelors of Science, Elementary Education. Student teaching: Stillwater, OK 5th grade (7 months); Long-term substitute position: Stillwater, OK 4th grade (3 months)
Favorites: Some of my favorite things to do include Antiquing, Thrifting, Country Swing Dance, and going on Outdoor adventures. I love travelling to learn about historical places and people. Especially learning about historical towns, different cultures, and history of buildings etc.
Favorites: Drink: Coke Zero with a Lime / Coffee: Iced Americanos with Cream, Shaken Espressos / Restaurants: Revelry, Sidewinders, Texas Roadhouse / Candies: Smart Sweets
What I love about MCS: My favorite thing about teaching at MCS is the community. I love the community that I have found here, the welcoming atmosphere and smiling faces. I love the joy and excitement that surrounds this school. I also love that we get to live out and express our faith daily in our learning environment.
Meet Mrs. Freed
Family: Aaron Freed, Henry 4, Leo 1, Dogs-Seeley and Onyx
Education and Previous Teaching: Undergrad: Bachelors- Elementary Education Bachelors- Bible Study from Trinity Bible School in North Dakota. Graduate: Masters- Reading PreK-6th Reading Literacy from Walden University. I spent nine years in West Yellowstone teaching Kindergarten, then three years in Manhattan Christian: one year in 4th grade and two years in Kindergarten.
Favorites: Reading / Fly Fishing / Running /Hiking /Kayaking; Traveling: Italy- I loved the food / Japan- Loved the people, culture, and food / England- Did not love the food...but the Jurassic Coast was beautiful; Favorite Treats: White Mochas / Caramels / Bread /Maple Donuts; Favorite Stores: TJ Maxx / Target / Country Bookshelf / Heyday; Favorite Restuarants and Food: Rise and Shine / Sophie's / Los Jarochos / Sushi / Ramen; Most Locally Roasted Coffee (Morning Glory, Ghost Town, Yellowstone, Treeline, etc.); Other Favorites: Glacier Lilies / Sunflowers /Trees
What I love about MCS: My favorite thing about teaching at MCS is the culture we have of being a family in Christ.
Meet Mrs. VanGelder
Husband: Dallas Van Gelder--married for 5 years; Daughter: Ada Van Gelder--18 months old; Pets: a border collie named Grace
Education and Previous Teaching: I graduated from high school in Belgrade in 2013. I then pursued my college career at Montana State University and graduated in 2017 with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood Development. I have been at MCS for seven years. Of those seven, I spent one year as a Resource Room aide, one year as a 2nd grade teacher, and five years as a 1st grade teacher.
Favorites: My favorite hobbies include reading, running, helping my husband on the ranch or my dad on his farm, and spending time with my family and friends.Some of my favorite things include...Drink: Iced Coffee / Food: Pasta / Season: Fall / Stores: Murdoch's & Hobby Lobby / Restaurants: Willow Creek Cafe, Rib & Chop House, & Mackenzie River
What I love about MCS: I love building relationships with all of my students and instilling a life-long love of learning into them! I also feel so thankful that I get to be a part of these students' faith journeys at MCS and that I get to help them grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ.
Meet Mrs. Hope
Family: Nathanael is my husband of sixteen years; Judah, Nora, Téa, Micah, and Ezra are our Eagles from 9th grade down to 4th; Soldotna is our favorite crazy Siberian Husky
Education and Previous Teaching: B.S. in Elementary Education and M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning. 14 years teaching in Christian schools, from Pre-K to 5th grade, this year being my third at MCS in the third grade
Favorites: spending time with my family and my fur-babe, of course; visiting beUTAHful places coffee, sweet tea, tacos, nachos - food is my love language
What I love about MCS: living faith out loud in the classroom; growing together a love for learning about God's creation and our place in it as His uniquely created children.
Meet Ms. Anderson
Pet: labradoodle named Keiva
Education and Previous Teaching: Graduated from Montana State University in 2022 with Elementary Ed. This is my second year teaching, but my first year teaching fourth grade. I taught first grade at MCS last year.
Favorites: I love to read, spend time outside and hang out with my family! I also love to travel, especially roadtripping! It is so fun to discover different parts of the world. This past summer I went on a 25-state roadtrip across the North East with a couple of my friends. My favorite things include Sidewinders, Sidewall, Oat milk lattes, chocolate candies, nerd clusters,chips and salsa, Target and Amazon.
What I love about MCS: I love getting to talk about Jesus with my students everyday and being part of a community that boldly shines the light of Jesus.
Meet Mrs. Kukes
Family: Husband, Kolter Kukes
Education and Previous Teaching: Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education (George Fox University), Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Concordia University). I taught 1st grade for 6 years in Oregon, 3rd grade for 2 years in Belgrade, and this is my first year teaching 5th grade at MCS :)
Favorites: I love to crochet, cook, camp, hunt, fish, and hangout with my family! Sushi and Thai food are my favorite! I love anything chocolate! Costco is the best store!
What I love about MCS: My favorite thing about MCS is that we get to openly worship God, talk about Him and come together as a body of Christ in all that we do!
Meet Mrs. Sytsma
Family: Husband, Joel, Ethan, Jonas, Gabby, three dogs-a great Dane and two mutts, five cats, a rabbit, three goats, lots of chickens
Education and Previous Teaching: I went to MCS for 13 years, then attended Calvin College (now University) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My degree is in secondary education with a double major in English and U.S. History. My first job was in Michigan for three years teaching middle school language arts and history, and now I have been at MCS going on 17 years teaching ELA and history to middle school.
Favorites: Reading, knitting, writing, camping, hiking, counted cross stitch, love traveling to the east coast with students and going to battlefields of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. I love Olive Garden, Super Chix, Sidewinders, coffee-dark roasts, chips and salsa, popcorn, Target, Michael's, and Hobby Lobby.
What I love about MCS: I love getting to share my faith with my students and form relationships with them that allow me to be there for them and encourage them in their Christian walk. I always learn with them, and we have a lot of fun together.
Meet Mrs. Brown
Family: Married to Jacob Brown this July!
Education and Previous Teaching: Graduated from MSU with a degree in English Education. This is year 2.5 at MCS for me. I did my student teaching at MCS with Kim Adams, taught 5th grade last year, and am now teaching middle school!
Favorites: I love anything outdoors whether its backpacking, skiing, or running. My favorite stores are Hobby Lobby and Barnes and Noble, my favorite restaurant is Stuffed, and I love any coffee but especially mochas.
What I love about MCS: My favorite thing about MCS is the sweet and welcoming community and people.
Meet Mrs. Adams
Family: Thane Adams, Nathan (19), Emma Lehr (24) spouse Tanner, Dogs: Tod & Milo, Cats: Owen & Tiger Lilly
Education and Previous Teaching: BA from Concordia College Moorhead, MN, and Library Endorsement from MSU. Two years in Three Forks 97-99, 10 years at MCS: Elementary library for three years, HS English, and electives
Favorites: Reading, Crocheting, the Oregon coast, Mountains Walking, Americanos
What I love about MCS: Teaching students to explore how God has written their story.
Meet Mrs. Ayers
Family: Brian, Sydni, Kyli, Brody, Quinn - Horse
Education and Previous Teaching: BA in Business Education, minor in Physical Education Trinity Christian College. I've taught at Lake Worth Christian, Lantana, FL - 2 years; Hays-Lodgepole High School, Hays, MT - 1 year; South Fremont High School, St. Anthony, ID - 9 years; Manhattan Christian High School - 16 years
Favorites: Coffee, nachos, cowgirl boots! I also love horses, baseball, good books, MT hot springs, back roads, & mountain views!
What I love about MCS: Who I get to work with!
Meet Mrs. Leep
Family: Husband, Shane and kids, Dylan, Sam, & Jackson
Education and Previous Teaching: Montana State Secondary Education. I've taught at MCS in the middle and high school for 23 years.
Favorites: Spending time outside in the yard or on the farm.
What I love about MCS: Interacting with the students
Meet Mrs. Taber
Family: Husband, Jesse Taber, dog is Riggins
Education and Previous Teaching: I have a Bachelors Degree in English Teaching from Montana State University. I started my collegiate career at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, PA where I played volleyball for 2 years. I am in year 3 of teaching English at MCS.
Favorites: I love to read, watch movies, travel to anywhere, drink coffee, play board games with my husband. Restaurant- Seven Sushi, Coffee- Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha, Candy- Dark Chocolate, Treats- Cinnamon Rolls, Store- Hobby Lobby
What I love about MCS: My students!
Meet Mr. TeSlaa
Family: Wife, Kristin; Kids, Simon, Daniel, Louise
Education and Previous Teaching: Broad Field Social Studies from Montana State University. I have taught US History, World History, Principles of Democracy, Economics, World Issues, Psychology, Geography, Media Tech, Bible 9, Bible 10, Bible 11, Bible 12, PE, Weight Training.
Favorites: Wood working, I love to go to Yellowstone. Texas Road House, Burger Bob's, anywhere with a good steak.
What I love about MCS: I love the community of the school. It feels like a family here.
Meet Mrs. TeSlaa
Family: Spouse, Nate; children, Simon, Daniel & Louise
Education and Previous Teaching: Bachelors degree in Physics Education from Calvin University, Masters in Science Education from Western Governors University, Certified in MT to teach Mathematics and Physics 5-12. Teaching history: 2006-2014 (8 years) - Math & Science at Central Valley Christian School in Visalia, CA, 2014-2016 (2 years) - Math & Science at Western Michigan Christian High School in Muskegon, MI, 2016-2020 (4 years) - Math & Science at Petra Academy in Bozeman, MT, 2020-present Math & Science at MCS.
Favorites: Enjoy traveling to Michigan to see family, taking pictures, and enjoying God's creation. White Mochas, Peanut butter m & m's, Bar 3 BBQ
What I love about MCS: The community is my favorite thing about MCS. We support each other like family.
Meet Mrs. Brewer
Family: Married to my fabulous husband of 4 years, Alex Brewer. We have 2 fur babies -- Henry and Rosie. They are spoiled rotten and the apples to our eyes.
Education and Previous Teaching: I have a bachelor's degree in Instrumental/Choral Music Education and a minor in English Education from Dordt University. I have taught English and 5-12 music all at MCS!
Favorites: Music making is my passion and I love sharing it at my church and by being an active member of the Montana Chamber Music board of directors. I love to garden and enjoy caring for my perennials. Also, enjoy being in the kitchen cooking and baking -- my husband is my favorite food taster. Favorite Foods/Treats/Coffees -- I am a farm girl at heart -- meat! I grew up having dessert with every meal, so I am not known to turn down a sweet.
What I love about MCS: I am excited to be back in this amazing community and sharing my love for Christ and music with the students.
Meet Mrs. VanDam
Family: Jake Van Dam, James, Nadine, Noah & the fluffiest most adorable cat Isabelle
Education and Previous Teaching: Dordt College - Elementary Education Degree. I have taught for 8 years, both overseas and here at MCS. I have taught 1st grade and music as well as substitute teacher.
Favorites: Hobbies include playing music & singing, drinking coffee, being with my family both near and far! Some of my favorite things include the ocean, earrings, bright colors, coffee, music and sushi!
What I love about MCS: I love teaching music at MCS because I love to share God's Joy and Love in music, in the beauty that surrounds music and the ability to learn it and share in it together!
Meet Mrs. Glaus
Family: My husband, Layne, and I have been married for four years and we just had our first child. Grady John is four months old!
Education and Previous Teaching: I have my bachelor's degree in secondary English education from Montana State, a master's degree in brand communication from Drake University, and a library certification from MSU as well. After graduating college, I taught 6th and 7th grade English in Shepherd, MT for four years. Then for one year I taught High School Business at Manhattan Public School before coming to MCS. I have been here for four years teaching elementary library, elementary technology, and being the Communications Director running our website, publications, and social medias.
Favorites: I love all things cozy: fall, coffee, reading, and comfy clothes. My husband and I love to golf (Grady does too; he strolled eight courses by the time he was three months old). I also love to play and watch basketball, coach and play volleyball, and shop!
What I love about MCS: I love the culture here with a like-minded community rooted in faith. Sports here are next level too-- I love the kids' passion to play and the community's support.
Meet Mrs. Brouwer
Family: My name is Hannah Brouwer. I have been married to my husband, Neil, since 2016. We have two daughters and another arriving soon!
Education and Previous Teaching: I graduated from Dordt College in 2018 with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education with a specialty in Reading. I have taught at Manhattan Christian for 6 years now, all of those in the Resource Room. I so enjoy Special Education and getting to know students in a one-on-one setting!
Favorites: I enjoy hobbies such as crafting, quilting, and calligraphy. As a family, we spend time together hiking, gardening, and other outdoor activities. We also enjoy making several trips "home" to Minnesota each year to see our families. Yellow is my favorite color and I love the sunshine in the summer! I also love Christmas and the songs, smells, and tastes that come with it!
What I love about MCS: My favorite thing about teaching at MCS is being a part of our community. I feel so blessed to work with the team of aides in the Resource Room, as they have become like family. I also enjoy the students and parents I work with each year and the care that is demonstrated for the staff at this school. I love the people here!
Meet Mrs. Hoekema
Family: Husband - Darin. Children - Kyanna (12th), Isaac (11th)
Education and Previous Teaching: Elementary education degree with minors in math and psychology; 19th year (all but 4 in special education)
Favorites: I love the Lake and Hawaii. My favorites are fancy coffees and Crumbl cookies.
What I love about MCS: Teaching children that Jesus loves them as well as teaching with Christian co-workers.
Meet Mrs. Rudd
Education and Previous Teaching: Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University, Master of Science in School Counseling from Capella University, Member of Montana School Counselor Association, Member of the American School Counselor Association. I have spent 4 years as a K-12 School Counselor at MCS, 1.5 years as a high school counselor at Belgrade High School, and Interim High School counselor at Manhattan High School for 0.5 years during a transitional period.
Favorites: Volleyball, Basketball, Track, Line Dancing, Country Swing, board games, movies, love to travel! Mexico, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, California are my top favorites. Thai food is my favorite. I also love coffee, banket, black licorice, and all sweets.
What I love about MCS: Supportive staff & coworkers, being able to talk openly about faith, watching students grow into the person God has designed them to be, and the community.
Meet Mrs. Cok
Family: Wife to Shaun Cok and Mom to Ezra (5) and Theo (1)
Education and Previous Teaching: I taught Preschool at MCS for 3 years and then Kindergarten for 3 years at MCS. I stayed home with Ezra. Then, I taught Special Education PreK-3rd grade at Monforton for one year. I stayed home with Ezra and Theo while completing my Master's in Special Education.
Favorites: I love camping, shopping, and reading. I also love to cook and bake. Cheesecake and lattes are my favorites.
What I love about MCS: I am thrilled to begin this new position as curriculum coordinator where I will be able to develop relationships with teachers and staff. I am also excited to be at MCS while Ezra begins his school journey.