Get to Know Us

We’re here to teach your child about God’s expansive love for all.

Looking for a place where your child’s faith can come to life?

At Living Stones, your child will be in a learning community that is centered on Christian faith, critical thinking, and servant leadership. That means your child will grow as a maturing believer, curious thinker, and citizen of the world.

Mission

We’re a neighborhood Christian school (PK-6th grade) committed to inspiring the minds and hearts of our students; equipping them to embrace cultural, economic, and racial diversity; and empowering them to love and serve in community.

Values

Unwaveringly Christ-centered
Teaching, learning, communal worship — and our life together — all revolve around Christ.

Academically Rigorous
Students are well prepared by our diverse and caring staff to succeed academically.

Radically Inclusive
God calls us to something big: to be a community where people from all nations, tribes, and tongues can learn and worship together.

Absolutely Accessible
Families from a variety of economic situations are able to choose Living Stones Academy because of our unique tuition model.

Learning Hallmarks

Six Hallmarks of a Living Stones graduate:

  • Maturing Believers
  • Engaged Learners
  • Critical Thinkers
  • Justice Seekers
  • Servant Leaders
  • Community Investors

These six hallmarks are nurtured and taught at each grade level so that from preschool on up, kids are challenged and empowered in age-appropriate ways to live these out.

Our Staff

Learning at Living Stones Academy

Learning at Living Stones happens everywhere — in the classroom, in art class, on a field trip to an apple orchard, on a service project, in the hallways. We’re thoughtful about what habits we’re cultivating in students, and how they will carry their LSA education with them for the rest of their lives.

The School Day

The school day is from 8:05-3:05. Our kindergarten is an all-day, every day program. 

Our Preschool

Our preschool is open to three, four, and five-year-olds. Children that turn three in the middle of the school year are accepted after their birthday if there is space in the class. Children must be potty trained to attend preschool.

Frequently Asked Questions

We welcome your questions! The best way to answer all of your questions is to schedule a visit. Below we’ve answered some of most commonly asked questions.

Do students wear uniforms?

Yes. Kindergarten-6th grade students at LSA wear uniforms that parents can buy at any store. We require light blue, navy blue, white, or pink collared shirts on top; khaki or navy pants, shorts, or skirts on bottom.

How many students do you have?

Our class sizes are capped at 22 students with one class per grade. We intentionally keep our class sizes small to ensure good relationships are built between every student and between each student and the teacher.

Can I apply online?

Yes. Applying is easy using our online application. We encourage families to apply online as it simplifies submission and provides parents a tool for tracking online the status of their admission after their application has been submitted. A non-refundable fee of $30 must be submitted with each application. You can also receive a paper application when you come for a visit to our school.

Do you have scholarships?

We strongly believe that a quality Christian education should be available to all – it’s one of our core values. The best way to learn about our school and what the options for tuition are is to come for a visit.

Additional Services

Transportation

Free busing every day

Living Stones Academy offers bus transportation to students living within the Grand Rapids public school system boundaries. Students must also live more than a mile from LSA. There is no transportation fee.

Lunch program

Full kitchen and staff

Starting August 2017, we have a food program serving both breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is free for all students. Lunch is available for all at affordable prices and at no cost for families who qualify.

Accessibility

Removing barriers for learning

Our building is accessible to those in wheelchairs. During the summer of 2017, we created a wheelchair accessible bathroom and rebuilt indoor ramps.

After school care

Low-cost quality care

Through our partnership with The Salvation Army, located just blocks from the school, LSA students have the opportunity to participate in their after school program. Students are bussed from school to The Salvation Army location, located at 1235 E. Fulton St. Parents can pick them up as late as 6:00 p.m. 

Our Staff

You can’t have a school like Living Stones without an exceptional staff, and yes, we have one. Our staff are brilliant, creative, and innovative, but ask any student at LSA about our teachers, and they’ll tell you this — our staff know Jesus and share His love with our students every school day.

  • Aaron Winkle
    Aaron WinkleHead of School

    As Head of School, Aaron sees his role as partnering with the teachers, staff, volunteers, parents and friends to respond to God’s call for our school. “As educators, our role is to shape the environment and curriculum that will fully engage the hearts, minds, and imaginations of curious students.”

  • Jessica Frederick
      Jessica FrederickPreschool Director

      Jessica attended Calvin College with a degree in elementary education with specialties in early childhood, Spanish, and language arts. When Jessica learned about the mission of LSA and its desire to provide Christian education to all and to teach children how to serve in their community, she knew God was calling her to teach here.

    • Kassy Gutierrez
        Kassy GutierrezPreschool teacher

        Ms. Gutierrez graduated Spring 2018 from Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, AZ) with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She comes to LSA with glowing recommendations from her supervising teachers and the faculty of Grand Canyon. In fact, Kassy was selected by the faculty to represent her class by speaking at commencement. Those who know Kassy well describe her mature, positive, thoughtful, and passionate about kids.

      • Mary Cole
          Mary ColePreschool aide

          Mary Cole is our preschool aide. Mary started at Living Stones Academy in August 2016 and quickly became a part of our team. Mary’s warmth, humor, and ability to connect with young children are very evident.

        • Kelsey Merz
            Kelsey MerzKindergarten

            Fall 2018 will be Ms. Merz first year at LSA. She has spent the past six years teaching at Kigali International Community School in Rwanda, where she was the kindergarten teacher and Department Head of the lower elementary school. Ms. Merz has a special passion for students with disabilities, especially in the classroom, where she works toward creating an atmosphere where all students feel loved, safe, and encouraged. Her unique global perspective, committed and lively personality, and blend of heart and skills makes her an ideal fit for LSA.

          • Carlie Shults
              Carlie ShultsFirst grade

              Carlie has her undergraduate degree in Language Arts and Elementary Education, and her master’s degree from Michigan State in Teaching and Curriculum.  Those who know Carlie well describe her as a master teacher. We are excited to welcome her to our community!

            • Joy (Sohee) Oh
                Joy (Sohee) OhFirst grade

                Joy graduated from Calvin College with a major in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and minor in ESL. Joy brings a rich and varied background that makes her uniquely equipped to serve at LSA. Beyond her education and experience, Joy brings a deep love for Jesus, a strong sense of calling to serve in an urban setting, and a strong work ethic.

              • Rebekah Muller
                  Rebekah MullerSecond Grade

                  Rebekah graduated from Calvin College in 2004 with a BA in elementary education with minors in Spanish and science. Rebekah is deeply rooted in Christian Education and appreciates LSA’s mission to be a community school and offer quality faith-based education.

                • Ashley Copier
                    Ashley CopierThird Grade

                    Ashley grew up in Holland, MI and attended Grand Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and education. While in school, she worked with youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids. The mission and vision of Living Stones perfectly aligns with Ashley’s vision for the Grand Rapids area and for a community in which she belongs.

                  • David Wainer
                      David WainerFourth Grade

                      David grew up in Holland, MI and attended Toccoa Falls College, a small Christian school in North Georgia, where he graduated with a BA in literature and minor in ESL. David has seen God’s hand at work in his life—from bringing him to Toccoa Falls College and giving him a desire to work with other cultures.

                    • Dawn Plescher
                        Dawn PlescherFifth & Sixth Grade

                        Dawn earned her BA in Elementary Education from Calvin College and is currently pursuing a MA in Curriculum and Instruction at Grand Valley State University. Dawn considers it a privilege to help students to discover and delight in the way God created this world and works in it.

                      • Gary Warners
                          Gary WarnersFifth & Sixth grade

                          As the new 5th/6th grade teacher, Gary Warners comes to LSA with considerable experience, wisdom, and gifts. Over the course of 30+ years, he has taught at several Christian schools and has served in various leadership roles.  In the classroom, he values community built on trust and care, the richness of diversity in God’s kingdom, and creating a safe and compassionate learning environment. 

                        • Lauren Newhuis
                            Lauren NewhuisEducational Support Services

                            Lauren is a graduate of Calvin College with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. Lauren has a passion for cultivating student’s strengths. She believes that all children have been made in the image of God and is excited to become a part of the inclusive environment of Living Stones Academy.

                          • Jo Vanderploeg
                              Jo VanderploegOffice Administrator

                              Jo grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and moved to Grand Rapids, MI to attend Calvin College where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation. The enrollment of her daughters as students brought her to the LSA community in 2010. Jo feels most blessed that she is able to work in a school environment that is committed to its challenging mission for Christian education.

                            • Lisa Spoelhof Schra
                                Lisa Spoelhof SchraAdvancement Director

                                For six years, Lisa and her family served at an international Christian day-school in Vienna, Austria. Previously, Lisa worked in the development office at Grand Rapids Christian Schools. Lisa and her husband Jeffrey have two sons, Willem and Xander, live in Eastown, and are active members of Sherman Street Church.

                              • Zahra Mobinikesheh
                                  Zahra MobinikeshehEducational Support Services Para-Professional

                                  Zahra Mobinikesheh was born and raised in Iran where she spent more than a decade teaching kindergarten and 1st grade. In 2008, she immigrated to the United States. Soon after, she converted to Christianity from Islam, was baptized, and is now a member of Church of the Servant. Those who know Zahra well describe her as joyful, hardworking, and resilient. She too has a deep love for children.

                                • Janet Potter
                                    Janet PotterEducational Support Services Para-Professional

                                    Mrs. Potter joined Living Stones in 2017 after serving in Grand Rapids Public Schools for 23 years.  She brings a deep love for children to her work, particularly children who face significant challenges. Before coming to LSA Janet worked with students who have moderate to severe disabilities at Ken-O-Sha.

                                  • Kandace Williams
                                      Kandace WilliamsEducational Support Services Para-Professional

                                      Ms. Williams began her work on the educational support team at LSA in 2017. She provides both behavioral/emotional support and academic support for students with identified needs. Kandace recently completed her undergraduate degree at GVSU. Her research focused on how poverty impacts the educational outcomes of children.

                                    • Lynn Mudde
                                        Lynn MuddeAcademic Tutor

                                        Lynn Mudde served for the first seven years as our kindergarten teacher and now is taking on a new role at LSA as our Academic Tutor. A love for learning, and the impact of seeing all she learned through the lens of God’s love, grace, and sovereignty, planted the seeds of desire to become a teacher who could share in the wonder of God’s amazing creation and love for us with future students.

                                      • George Jeffries
                                          George JeffriesCustodian

                                          After his retirement, Mr. George found that he needed more to do to keep busy. His son-in-law, who was on the LSA board at the time, encouraged him to consider working at LSA as the custodian. That was November 2014 and Mr. George says he has loved every minute of it. He loves the smiles and handshakes he receives from the kids. It is a great way to start the day! He comes early in the morning to get things ready and again late in the afternoon to do the cleaning. His ready service, gentle spirit and love are evident to all.

                                        Board of directors

                                        Liz Brown, Co-chair
                                        Former LSA Staff member and LSA parent

                                        Jeremy DeRoo, Co-chair
                                        Co-executive Director, LINC Up and LSA Parent

                                        Brian Krosschell, Treasurer
                                        Finance Director, Fairlife

                                        Dr. Peter Boumgarden
                                        Professor of Management, Economics and Business, Hope College

                                        Lillian Tchuente
                                        Nurse, Porter Hills Retirement Community & Services and LSA parent

                                        Sara Sherry Knoester
                                        President/Owner, Mixed Staffing and Recruiting

                                        There’s more to see!

                                        Check out what it looks like at Living Stones Academy.