Fall 2015 Update

The mission of the Christian Educators Association is to inspire and support Christian educators and encourage community by providing opportunities for spiritual and professional growth based on God’s Word.

The Convention Planning Committee is finalizing plans for the 2015 CEA Convention, which will be held October 22 and 23 at the Century Center and South Bend Doubletree Hotel in South Bend, Indiana. We hope this convention will provide professional stimulation and challenge each one of you!

  • Theme: Uniquely HIS
  • Verse: I John 4:12, Ephesians 2:1
  • Thursday
    • Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jeff Myers (Summit Ministries)
    • Opening Worship begins at 9:00 a.m.
    • “What Does it Mean to Be a Reformed Educator”: Rod Brandsen
  • Friday
    • Capstone Speaker: Father Joseph Krupp
    • Closing Worship begins at 11:30 a.m. (Convention begins at 9:00 a.m.)
    • “What Does it Mean to Be a Reformed Educator”: Mariano Avila

All of the 2015 CEA Sectionals can soon be viewed at www.ceateachers.org. Click on SCHED on the homepage.

The delegates are invited to attend an important Delegates’ Meeting on Thursday at 10:15 a.m., immediately following the Opening Worship, in the Recital Hall on the lower level of the Century Center.

2015 CEA Convention Theme: Uniquely HIS

As children of God, we have been created in His image, each of us reflecting a unique part of His character.  As educators, we need to recognize, celebrate, and cultivate our students’ unique, God-given gifts.  He has equipped us, teachers and students alike, to be kingdom builders in this world.  Alone we do not reflect the full image of God, but together we can accomplish the good works for which He has prepared us.

Out of respect to speakers and fellow teachers, the Planning Committee requests that those in attendance at meetings not leave until the chairperson indicates the close of the session.

Children and infants may not attend any CEA session or opening or closing worship.  We ask for your cooperation so someone from the Planning Committee will not be forced to ask you to leave.  Contact your hotel for babysitting services or make other arrangements for your children if you choose to take them along to the convention. 

An instrumental ensemble will be formed to assist at the Opening Worship on Thursday.  If you are interested, please bring your instrument and a music stand and plan on participating.

A hotel reservation form was sent to you in the spring and you have hopefully already made your hotel/motel arrangements directly with the hotel/motel.  Another copy is included below. 

On Thursday there will be a lunch break in the schedule. There will be no sessions scheduled. The exhibit hall will be open. There will be snacks and sandwiches available on the lower level and in the snack shop (in the brick entryway) of the Century Center and in the restaurants in the South Bend Doubletree, and area restaurants.  A list of additional eating places close to the Century Center will be available at Convention Headquarters. The list of restaurants is also available online atwww.sjchamber.org  

The following Loaves and Fishes will be meeting in a room during a session time.

Thursday from 11:00 – 12:00 noon

  • L+F for band, called “Something Bold, Something True”
  • L+F for Theatre Directors

Remember that retired Christian school teachers and administrators may attend the convention free of the normal registration charges.  Contact the Executive Secretary, Brenda VanderPloeg, for details.  (cea@ceateachers.org)

Spouse passes may be obtained at Convention Headquarters for $5 and guest passes for educators who are not CEA members are $100. 

Student Teachers may attend the convention for free, if they send in a Student Teacher Voucher to Brenda VanderPloeg. Contact Brenda VanderPloeg (cea@ceateachers.org) for a Student Teacher Voucher.

CEA dues for this year will be $80 per member.  These dues cover your convention registration, a subscription to the Christian Educators Journal, and committee expenses.  Your delegate will be collecting dues in September.

River City Improv is coming to 2015 CEA! Admission is free! River City Improv begins at 8:00 pm, Thursday night in the Bendix Theatre on the lower level of the Century Center.  Come with your colleagues to laugh and enjoy!

Gather by CEA headquarters at the Century Center for our 2015 CEA 5K Walk/Run. The event begins at 7:00 am, Friday morning. Follow the St. Joseph River for a beautiful morning walk or run. This will be an un-chipped event. There is no cost for this event.

Twitter – Use #CEA2015 to get connected and share your experience.

Two name badges will be sent to each teacher this year for use at the convention.  Those who are being honored for 25 or 35 years of service will receive a special set of name badges. Your delegate will have those for you.

Calvin’s Graduate Education Department will offer SCECH’s (State Continuing Education Clock Hours) through the State of Michigan. Educators may earn Michigan SCECH’s for attending selected sessions. Specific directions may be obtained from your CEA delegate. You may also stop at Convention Headquarters before the convention starts to pick up a registration form.

If you have any questions please stop by headquarters to speak with a Graduate Program representative or stop by the Calvin College display booth in the Exhibits Hall.

CONVENTION HEADQUARTERS will be located on the Street Level of the Century Center.  This is very important for you to remember if you are a session chairperson or need to buy additional passes to the convention.

Back by popular demand, our very own CEA Book Club! Read, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and come discuss this book at book club on Thursday, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

As of April, 2006 South Bend has participated in Daylight Savings Time. South Bend is now in the Eastern Time zone, rather than the Eastern Standard Time Zone. That means that South Bend is now on “Michigan Time.”

The CEA would like to express our deep appreciation to Jim Kamphuis from Illiana Christian High School for designing the 2015 CEA Banner.

The exhibits will be in Convention Hall C on the Street Level of the Century Center.  Our Chairperson of Exhibits is Jerry Mastenbrook (Kalamazoo Christian Middle School).  He has worked very hard at obtaining vendors to come to our convention.  Please be sure to visit the exhibits and order materials right at the convention whenever possible.  Even when placing an order later in the year, be sure to mention the convention exhibit.  Since the exhibits are an important source of CEA income, we urge your cooperation. 

The following have donated either products or cash for us to provide exhibitor prizes. Visit the exhibit hall and receive a ticket from the vendors, Drop your ticket off in the prize bowl at the CEA headquarters. We will be drawing prizes each hour.

Many thanks to:

Distinguished Donor.................................. ANDY STEENSMA INSURANCE AGENCY

Serving the Michigan Educational Community since 1950


Outstanding Donor.................................... Providence Bank



Christian Educators Association 2015 Election Ballot


Elections for new officers will be held at your school sometime before the convention.  Your CEA delegate will be in charge of the procedure.  The candidates are as follows:

Vice President Elect (vote for 1)

Myron Bolkema:  M.A. – University of South Dakota

Myron is in his fifteenth year at Sheboygan County Christian High School in Sheboygan, WI as a high school math teacher. Previously, Myron taught at Oostburg Christian School (5 years), Hollandale Christian School in MN (6 years) and Calvin Christian School in Sioux Falls, SD (10 years). Myron serves on the technology committee, as well as being an elder at his church.


Mary Jo Staal:  B.A. – Calvin College

Mary Jo taught in the classroom for sixteen years and is now serving in the Media Center at Hudsonville Christian School. Previously, she has served on the CEA Convention Planning Committee. Mary Jo spent a week studying at the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy and is part of various professional teacher associations. She directs the 8th grade play at Hudsonville Christian Middle School. Outside of school, Mary Jo is very involved with her church, Niekerk CRC, as a member of the praise team, a Sunday School teacher, and a Youth Group Leader. You can find her Dutch Dancing in Holland during Tulip Time.


Melissa VanTil:  B.A. – Calvin College

Melissa is in her ninth year teaching at West Side Christian School in Grand Rapids. She has taught kindergarten, middle school and is currently teaching 3rd grade. Previously, Melissa has taught at Vista Charter Academy and five years for the Christian Learning Center. Melissa is pursuing her Masters in Education at Calvin College. She serves as the President of Faculty Council and on the school leadership team at West Side Christian School. Melissa enjoys being a coach for girls on the run and worships at Madison Square’s North Campus.


Treasurer Elect (vote for 1)

Mark Buteyn:  B.A. Calvin College

Mark served as a grades 9-12 Social Studies Teacher for twenty five years at Central Wisconsin Christian High School and now is in his ninth year as the administrator for CWC. Mark has served twice before for the CEA, both on the Convention Planning Committee and on the Professional Standards Committee. He is currently on the WCRIS Board in WI. Mark is also part of various other professional teacher and coach organizations. Mark has served his local congregation as a Sunday School Superintendent, Deacon, Elder and Teacher. He serves on the Waupun Educational Foundation Board and on a local community committee (REACH) addressing poverty in his community.


Sue DeZeeuw: M.A. – Eastern Michigan University

Sue is beginning her seventeenth year of teaching at Ann Arbor Christian School. Sue also taught for one year at Lansing Christian School in MI. Sue is involved with 4th graders, 6th graders and 8th graders at Ann Arbor Christian as well as serving as a part time administrator. Sue is a member of various professional teaching organizations. She worships at Ann Arbor CRC and serves as a Nursery Angel and a Worship Team Member.


Renee Nieuwsma: M.A. – Calvin College

Renee is starting year number eighteen at Dutton Christian School. Previously, Renee taught at John Knox Christian School in Woodstock, ON (1 year), and Caledonia Community School (6 years). Renee is a member of IRA and is presently the lead teacher at Dutton Christian School, a role she has fulfilled for six years. At church, Renee has served as an Elder and the chairperson of the Missions Team as well as a teacher in Worship Centers. She volunteers at the local public library and at the W.A.R. (Women At Risk) International Store. 





From:  Brenda VanderPloeg, Executive Secretary

            Christian Educators Association

            Phone:  616.669.3497   Fax: 616.662.0484

email:  cea@ceateachers.org

Date:   MAY, 2015


This important housing/lodging information is being sent to you in preparation for our fall 2015 CEA Convention which will be held in South Bend, Indiana on October 22 and 23.  (More convention information and a request for dues will be sent to you in the fall.)    EACH CEA MEMBER WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING HIS/HER OWN HOUSING/LODGING RESERVATIONS.

  • You must tell the hotels that you are with CEA to receive these rates.
  • Remember to reserve the correct dates.  The actual CEA Convention is Thursday and Friday, October 22 and 23, 2015.  You will most likely need lodging for Wednesday, October 21 and/or Thursday, October 22. 
  • You will need a credit card number to make a reservation.
  • You will be dealing directly with the hotel/motel for ALL arrangements and will receive a confirmation directly from that hotel/motel.
  • Hotel/motel names, rates, etc. are listed below.

South Bend DoubleTree Hotel (formerly Marriott)  •  123 North St. Joseph Street,  South Bend, IN 46601 (connected to the Century Center with a skywalk)

PH:  574-234-2000 

Rooms = $125.00


Waterford Estates Lodge  •  52890 SR 933 North,  South Bend, IN 46637(1/4 mile west from the Century Center)

PH: 574-272-5220

2 Double or 1 Quees = $90.00 (includes continental breakfast)


Comfort Suites  •  60971 US 31 South, South Bend, IN 46614 (5 miles north of the Century Center)

PH: 574-291-3100

2 Queens, non-smoking suite = $90.00


Hampton Inn & Suites  •  52709 US 31 North, South Bend. IN 46637 (4 miles south of the Centery Center)

PH:  574-277-9373

Double/Double Suite=$105.00 (includes complimentary breakfast buffet, free wifi, indoor pool, fitness center)