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Grand Rapids Christian Middle School

Denise VanderLaan, Middle School Inclusion Coordinator

Where did you begin your career in education?
In 1980 I began my career in Special Education at Elim Christian School in Palos Heights, IL where I worked for 3 years.

How many years have you been working at Grand Rapids Christian Schools? 
25 years

What schools/buildings have worked at either before coming to GRCS or while at GRCS?
In 1983 we moved to Columbus, OH where I worked at Franklin County Board of MR/DD for 13 years.  We moved to Grand Rapids in 1996 and I began working at Creston Christian School in 1997 where I was employed by the Christian Learning Center.

In 2004, I moved with the consolidation of grades 7/8 to the Sylvan building.  When GRCMS moved to the Shawnee building, I moved there.  God has blessed me with 38 years of working in the field of Special Education.  I have worked 25 years in the Christian schools and 13 years in the public schools.

Do you have a favorite year that you worked? What made that year stand out in your mind?
I do not have one year that stands out.  I have been forever touched by so many students and families and colleagues for which I am very thankful.

What are you looking forward to or what is your next adventure?
I am looking forward to more time with family and friends, neighbors and strangers, God and nature.  I am looking forward to taking time to feel the sand in my toes, stare at the stars, and smell the flowers.  I am looking forward to climbing mountains, hiking canyons, fording streams, swimming in lakes and oceans and doing whatever God has planned for me next.