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Staff Celebration Heidi Zylstra


Today we shine the spotlight on Grand Rapids Christian Middle School Art Teacher, Heidi Zylstra

Thank you for all that you do, Heidi!

NAME: Heidi Zylstra
CAMPUS: Grand Rapids Christian Middle School
ROLE: Middle School Art Teacher

How long have you been working at GRCS?
7 years

Give a brief overview of your family life, educational and/or career history.
My husband Dave and I have been married for 6 years. I'm a graduate of Grand Rapids Christian ('06), & Calvin College. This is my 8th year teaching art--I have taught every grade level from K through 12th grade! This is my 6th year teaching art at GRCMS.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I love being able to share my love of art with students every day! One of my favorite things is seeing a student succeed & maybe even surprising themselves with the result, but it's just as rewarding for me to see students grow in their abilities and persevere through something challenging! I have learned as I've been teaching that our capacity for growth is limitless.

Of all your time at GRCS, what special projects are you most proud of?
Besides the world of art, one thing I'm particularly proud of is the iXplore class I teach! For the past couple of years, I've taught an Agricultural & Farming class that focuses primarily on the care and raising of various farm animals. Students are able to interact with these animals and learn about what goes into raising livestock for both production and a hobby. As a former farm girl myself, I love being able to expose my students to farm life! 

Are there any extracurricular activities you lead or assist with?
This is the 4th year I have led the design team for the GRCMS yearbook.

Anything silly or interesting you would like to share?
I have a long-standing debate with Eric Burgess regarding whether or not I will own a minivan someday, dating back to a paper I wrote in his class at GRCHS.

Which Portrait of a Graduate characteristic do you relate to most within your role, and why? Or, which characteristic do you try and exemplify most and why? 
I think as an art educator, most of the characteristics of the Portrait of a Graduate resonate with what I teach, but one that stands out to me is Justice Seekers. There is great value in using art as a means to communicate messages or viewpoints which can be powerful in bringing about restorative justice.