God has been good to Pella Christian and we have exciting news to share with you!

Growth at Pella Christian

Earlier this month, the Board of Trustees at Pella Christian Grade School decided to add additional sections to our 1st and 2nd grades for the 23/24 school year due to enrollment numbers! Our Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades will all be three sections!

  • Our Kindergarten students will be taught by Carrie Veenstra, Lauren Kahl, and Kristin Bierma who will be moving into our Spanish Immersion Kindergarten position.
  • Our 1st Grade students will be taught by Sonya Natelborg alongside our new hires of Brittany Bowers and Carolina Galdámez. Read more about them below!
  • Our 2nd Grade students will be taught by Anna Dykstra with Tara Fransman and Giandra Gutierrez moving from their previous positions into our second grade classrooms.

Spanish Immersion Program Update

The Spanish Immersion program will have a new Lead Teacher next year as well. We’d like to thank Lilly Lehr for serving alongside us this school year and wish her well in her next chapter. Lucy Prado, will be moving out of her 4th grade classroom and will be Leading our Spanish Immersion program as the Lead Teacher in August. Lucy, along side Instructional Coach, Ani Martinez, will provide students and teachers with support and coaching in our Spanish Immersion program. Here is our Spanish Immersion Teaching Structure for next year:

  • Karem Carballo – Preschool and Support Service
  • Kristin Bierma – Kindergarten
  • Carolina Galdámez – 1st Grade
  • Giandra Gutierrez – 2nd Grade
  • Ani Martinez – 3rd Grade
  • Esmirna Rodriguez – 4th Grade
  • Alma Mendez – 5th Grade
  • Andriz Melenciano – Middle School
  • Yanela Cordero – Middle School
  • Lorenzo Escalante – High School
  • Belkys Gil – High School and Grade School Support Services

New Hires for 23/24

We thank God for His faithfulness through the hiring of the following individuals for the 23/24 school year. Here are our future teachers/staff members that we are celebrating! Welcome to Pella Christian Schools:

  • Mrs. Brittany Bowers, PCGS 1st Grade
  • Mtro. Lorenzo Escalante, PCHS Spanish Immersion
  • Mstra. Carolina Galdámez, PCGS 1st Grade Spanish Immersion
  • Mstra. Belkys Gil, PC Spanish Immersion
  • Mr. Jeff Lenderink, PCGS Custodian
  • Mstra. Esmirna Rodriguez, PCGS 4th Grade Spanish Immersion
  • Mr. Michael Turnley, PCHS Social Studies
  • Ms. Jordan Van Maanen, PCGS Middle School ELA and History
  • Mr. Bradley Westervelt, PCHS/PCGS Band Director
  • Mrs. Sue Brouwer, PCGS Finance office
  • Ms. Rebekah Cashen, PCHS World Languages
  • Mrs. Allison TerLouw, PCGS 4 year old Preschool Teacher

Please read a short bio of each new staff member below and join us in praising the Lord for bring these individuals to Pella Christian! It is a joy to welcome them to the PC community and we look forward to living God’s Story with them in 2023/2024.

We ask for your continued prayers throughout the ongoing hiring season. For a list of open positions, visit our website at: https://www.pceagles.org/about/employment/

Dan Zylstra
Pella Christian Head of Schools

Meet our New Staff

Ms. Cashen

We are pleased to announce Ms. Rebekah Cashen as Pella Christian High School’s new world language teacher. Ms. Cashen will graduate from Central College this Spring. She has been a member of the women’s basketball team and has served in various student tutor roles while at Central College. She shares that “education is an extension of the home. My job is to guide students to use language to learn about the world and people around them. I am creating independent thinkers who can use this knowledge to learn about God’s creation and about his Word.” Please join us in welcoming Ms. Cashen to the Pella Christian community, her email is cashenr@pceagles.org.

Miss Allison

We are pleased to announce Mrs. Allison Ter Louw as Pella Christian Grade School’s new 4 year old Preschool teacher. Miss Allison shared, “I’m excited to teach four year old preschool at Pella Christian this upcoming school year! I’m a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with majors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. I’ve taught for 8 years in 1st grade, Pre-K, and STEM. The last 6 years I’ve taught here in Pella at Lincoln Elementary and Madison Elementary. My husband, Andrew, and I have three children; Ava (7), Anderson (4), and Archer (5 months). Our older two children are excited to attend PC together next year! I’ve always been passionate about teaching, loving, and leading children! I’m looking forward to continuing that work in a Christ-centered environment with the shared mission of loving God and others through a biblical perspective.” Please join us in welcoming Miss Allison to the Pella Christian community. Her email is terlouwa@pceagles.org.

Mrs. Bowers

We are pleased to announce Mrs. Brittany Bowers as Pella Christian Grade School’s new first grade teacher. Mrs. Bowers shared, “I have a B.S. in Elementary Education and a M.S. in Teacher Effectiveness and Professional Development with a concentration in K-12 reading. I have 7 years of teaching experience, the last two years serving as a K-3 Reading Resource teacher at Hillside Elementary School in West Des Moines. I have primarily taught lower elementary and have a huge passion for teaching kids how to read and to cultivate a love of reading and learning. It is my professional passion to see children learn and grow individually and within their communities. There is no better teacher than our Lord Jesus Christ and what could be better than creating an academic environment that incorporates the teachings of Christ and the truth of the Bible. I absolutely love the community that develops within a Christian school setting and I feel so blessed to be part of your child’s academic and faith journey! I am originally from Stafford, Virginia. I have lived in the midwest for 13 years and I have been in Pella for almost two years. My husband, Blane, and I have two daughters, Charlotte (8) and Ruthie (5). I enjoy cooking and baking, spending time outdoors with my family, exercising, gathering with my church small group, and, of course, reading!” Please join us in welcoming Mrs. Bowers to the Pella Christian community, her email address is bowersb@pceagles.org.

Mtro. Escalante

We are pleased to announce Mtro. Lorenzo Escalante as Pella Christian High School’s new Spanish Immersion teacher. Mtro. Escalante is a graduate of Universidad Autonoma de Yucatán and has taught at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels in the Yucatán, México area. He shares that the “Lord Jesus is Sovereign over all the aspects of my life, and this means that whatever I do, I do it as for the Lord and not for men, including the practice of my profession. One of the things I like to say to my students is that they have a unique role to play in this life, something that nobody else is going to do because God made us part of His story to carry out that specific task. I believe Christian education has the potential to change the world and to redeem concepts that have been distorted from the original God’s design.” Please join us in welcoming Mtro. Escalante to the Pella Christian community, his email is escalantel@pceagles.org.

Mtra. Galdámez

For the 2023-24 school year, Maestra Carolina Galdámez will serve as PCGS’s 1st grade Spanish Immersion teacher. Maestra Galdámez is from is from Chiapas, México and holds a BA from the Universidad Autonoma de Chiapas. She has taught English as a world language to students in middle school, as well as teaching Kindergarten at a bilingual school. She also taught one summer at a language camp in the United States. Maestra Galdámez shares that “The Lord Jesus is everything to me. I cannot make any decisions before telling Him. Children need to know and learn subjects taking into consideration that the Bible is our handbook so everything they learn should start from the Bible” She is involved in her church by serving on the worship team; she loves to sing and play her guitar and hopes to use these skills in her classroom. Her email address is galdamezc@pceagles.org if you would like to welcome her to the PC community.

Mtra. Gil

Maestra Belkys Gil will serve as one of Pella Christian’s High school Spanish Immersion teachers. Maestra Gil, like Maestra Rodríguez, has a BA in Education with a specialty in teaching English from the Universidad Dominico-Americano and a MA in School Management from the Universidad Iberoamericana. She has taught 5th grade at the elementary school level and also taught a variety of subjects in the middle and high school levels including: Math, Life and Earth Science and currently History. Maestra Gil shares for her teaching in a Christian manner is expressed by “…a very famous ACSI [Association of Christian Schools International] phrase “All truth is God’s truth” definitely we can prove that all knowledge comes from and through Him. Leading our students with God’s truth will help them develop four fundamental aspects for their lives: knowing the truth, knowing God, understanding the role that God gave to man, and His design for the social order.” Maestra Gil will be moving to Pella from the Dominican Republic with her husband Damaso Ureña. We are excited to have the Ureña Gil family join the Pella Christian community. Her email address is gilb@pceagles.org if you would like to welcome Maestra Gil to Pella Christian Schools.

Mr. Lenderink

We are excited to announce Mr. Jeff Lenderink as Pella Christian Grade School’s new head custodian. Mr. Lenderink shared, “I moved to Pella with my wife in 2016. I am the father of three and grandfather of six, two of which attend PCGS. I love Christian education and am excited to build relationships at PCGS.” Please join us in welcoming Mr. Lenderink to the Pella Christian community, his email address is lenderinkj@pceagles.org.

Mtra. Rodriguez

Maestra Esmirna Rodríguez will serve as Pella Christian’s 4th grade Spanish Immersion teacher. Maestra Rodríguez has a BA in Education with a specialty in teaching English from the Universidad Dominico-Americano and a MA in Applied Linguistics for the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language from the Universidad Autónomia de Santo Domingo. She has taught a variety of grades at the elementary school level and also taught at the university level in a teacher’s training program. Maestra Rodríguez shares that “[Teaching from a Reformed perspective] means to wrap the school curriculum with the Biblical knowledge. We can integrate this perspective by connecting information, history, vocabulary in books with the Truth and wisdom found in the Bible. Also, by modeling direct or indirectly God’s way. [It means] having students not only keep God’s word in their mind and hearts but teaching them to act accordingly.” Although she is from the Dominican Republic, Maestra Rodríguez will be moving to Pella from Jamaica (where her husband Jose Alberto Melo works) with their three children: daughters, Nyah and Paloma and son Itamar. We are excited to have them join the Pella Christian community. Her email address is rodrigueze@pceagles.org if you would like to welcome Maestra Rodríguez to Pella Christian Schools.

Mr. Turnley

We are pleased to announce Mr. Michael Turnley as Pella Christian High School’s new social studies teacher. Mr. Turnley will graduate from Central College this Spring. He is a member of the men’s tennis team and has served as a student ambassador within the Admissions Office at Central College. Mr. Turnley shares that “I am interested in teaching social studies at PC because of the opportunity it presents to integrate faith based lessons.” I am excited about “being able to work with a group of teachers and students who are passionate about learning and growing in God’s world.” Please join us in welcoming Mr. Turnley to the Pella Christian community, his email is turnleym@pceagles.org.

Ms. Van Maanen

We are excited to announce Ms. Jordan Van Maanen as Pella Christian Grade School’s new Middle School Language Arts and History teacher. Ms. Van Maanen shared. “I am super excited to be joining the staff at Pella Christian and am looking forward to meeting the students. I just finished my first year of teaching at Van Allen elementary in Chariton.  I graduated from Pella Christian in 2018 and Central College in 2021. In my free time I enjoy reading, drinking coffee, and playing pickleball with my family. I am very excited about returning to Pella Christian and providing students with the same faith-based quality education that was so impactful to me growing up.” Please join us in welcoming Ms. Van Maanen to Pella Christian community, her email address is vanmaanenj@pceagles.org.

Mr. Westervelt

We are pleased to announce Mr. Bradley Westervelt as Pella Christian’s new instrumental music teacher. Mr. Westervelt recently graduated from State University of New York at Fredonia. Throughout high school and college, Mr. Westervelt has been an active member of various instrumental groups, including orchestra, marching band, concert band, and brass, woodwind, and percussion ensembles. He shares that “I plan to teach and present music as a way of using God-given abilities and talents to serve and worship the Lord. In teaching students, music will be seen as an important avenue that can be used as a way to express admiration and praise to the Lord, as well as being an activity that can be used to encourage fellowship among peers.” He also shares that he is excited about Christian Education “because of the unification that can take place between Christian faith and learning.” Please join us in welcoming Mr. Westervelt to the Pella Christian community, his email is westerveltb@pceagles.org.