Meet the Staff

Amy Zwiep
School Director
Over thirteen years ago, God placed a call on Amy’s life to start a school. She did not know where, how, or when. All she knew was that it would look different from a traditional school, and more importantly, each facet of it would be rooted in Christ!
 
Amy experienced the power of Christian education for the first time as a Kindergarten student teacher at Dutton Christian School (DCS). Since then, she fell in love with Christian education and served in that environment as a classroom teacher, curriculum developer for early childhood, paraeducator, lead teacher, discipleship leader, and Assistant Principal. She has worked with a wide range of learners both in age and ability from preschool through eighth grade. In 2019, Amy felt called to return to Calvin University where she earned her Masters in Educational Leadership. 
 
In Mary of 2016 and November of 2020, God stopped Amy in her tracks when she experienced a spontaneous carotid artery dissection – left side in 2016 and right side in 2020. These experiences have been life transforming for her, her husband, Matt, and her children. God continues to teach them to trust Him daily and often, moment by moment. It is her deep desire in life and at Bethel to follow God’s will in bold faith and obedience for His glory. 

Amy enjoys spending time with her husband, Matt, and their children, Micah, Kylie, and Ellie. One of their favorite things to do as a family is explore God’s creation.

Julie Donegan
preschool GUIDE

Julie has years of experience working with young learners as a mother, a volunteer at her church, and in her previous work experiences. She is thrilled to use her love for God and his children each day she comes to guide her preschool learners. She loves coming to know each preschool learner as she shares God’s love with them. 

Away from school, Julie enjoys spending time with her two amazing children, Melanie and Carter, alongside her husband, Jeff. They attend Hillside Community Church where Julie regularly volunteers in their children’s ministry. It is a joy to serve at Bethel and watch these learners grow in awe of our God as they learn more about themselves, each other, and the world around them.

Anne vanderwell
Kindergarten - 2nd grade Guide
Anne is eager to encourage and empower all kinds of students to grow as learners and as Christ’s disciples at Bethel Community Education.
 
Anne graduated from Calvin University in 2021 with a degree in Elementary Education and Language Arts. Along with her student teacher internship and Calvin education, her background as a summer camp counselor and special program coordinator, her experience mentoring spiritual leaders with Calvin’s Campus Ministries program, and her role as her church’s GEMS Girls’ Club Director shape her as an educator. 
 
Anne’s passion for Bethel’s mission to empower learners to use their God-given talents to join in Christ’s work is supported by her personal mission of loving people in all circumstances in order to build relationships and evoke questions providing opportunities to share God’s love story. She eagerly lives into the beautiful overlap of these callings each day at Bethel and is always excited to celebrate the ways God is working in and through each person in this community. 

Anne gets excited about lots of things including, but not limited to, good books, exploring with her friends, learning more about outer space, any kind of celebration, and all things yellow.

Elena Groenenboom
3rd - 5th Grade Guide

Elena comes to Bethel with numerous years of experience working with people of varied ages and abilities, and she is thrilled to continue this passion of meeting people where they are at as she comes alongside each one of her learners in our 3rd-5th grade program at BCE!

Elena graduated from Calvin University in 2019 with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Psychology. While working towards her degree, she thrived in her internships as she worked closely with children with autism, students with cognitive impairments, neurodiverse learners, and adults with dementia. 

She has spent the last 8 years at Camp Roger. The past 5 years she has taken on the role of coaching the staff in how best to care for and respond to each camper and their individual needs and behaviors. In each of these experiences, Elena’s passion for loving and serving all of God’s children continued to grow deeper. 

She has spent the past six summers pouring God’s love into the hearts of kids as a camp counselor, head counselor, and most recently, the Summer Director. One of her greatest passions is sharing God’s deep love with everyone around her! 

While looking for jobs as a certified recreational therapist, Bethel’s mission was brought to Elena. Her passion for loving and serving all of God’s children while them in their individuality seemed to align seamlessly with the mission of Bethel. It is Elena’s desire to carry out Bethel’s vision to equip our learners to thrive as individuals created by God in order to develop their gifts and passions to become lifelong learners and disciples for his glory.

In Elena’s free time, you can find her running races, biking, and coaching dive at a few local schools and clubs. 

femke veldhuijzen
6th - 8th Grade Guide

Femke grew up traveling often with her family on mission trips, mostly visiting Nigeria. From these unique experiences, she felt a call to teaching. She studied education in college at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. In 2020, Femke graduated with a degree in Teaching and Learning, along with Interdisciplinary Studies. 

For the past two years, Femke has taught middle school learners in Jos, Nigeria at a Christian school, Hillcrest International Schools. It brings her great joy to see kids engaged and empowered in their learning as they broaden their understanding of the world and discover their call as disciples to actively participate in it. 

Femke is thrilled to move back to Michigan and work in the middle school program at Bethel! She looks forward to working with other staff and members of Bethel’s community in encouraging all learners to use their gifts to be disciples of Christ in their own communities and around the world. It is her desire to serve other and love one another as Christ has done for us, and help all of her learners to the same.

Jamie O'Connell
Paraeducator Director & Parent Partnership Coordinator

Jamie O’Connell has known Bethel from its beginnings. She has been Bethel’s photographer for school pictures each year and is now working with Bethel’s learners, families and staff.

Her background goes beyond photography and includes special education, personalized tutoring and behavioral therapy. She has a passion for Bethel’s nontraditional approach to providing an education rooted in Christ, bridging the gap between home life and school life and loves being a part of such a unique learning model that is desperately needed for learners and families. 

Jamie graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, CA in 2011, which is also where she met her husband, Arek. Arek and Jamie moved from California to Michigan in 2013 where Arek accepted his job at Hillside Community Church. He is now the Young Adult Pastor and one of the teaching pastors. Arek and Jamie have been blessed with two precious daughters, Kaia and Leighton, and love to spend as much time with them as they can.