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.


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.


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! Below we’ve answered some of most commonly asked questions. However, the best way answer all of your questions is to schedule a phone or video conference with our staff. Contact us at 616-803-9654 or to set up a time.

Do students wear uniforms?

Yes. Preschool-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. 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.

If you need help completing the online application, contact Living Stones at 616-803-9654. We would be happy to help!

Do you have scholarships?

We strongly believe that a quality Christian education should be available to and finaically feasible for 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.

Do you have Young 5’s?

One of our preschool classrooms is specifically for four and five year-olds and is geared to helping each child be ready for kindergarten the next year. You can choose half-day or full day Mondays through Fridays. This provides a great option for families who want to ensure their child is ready for kindergarten the following year.

I know you have a preschool. Can my child start in kindergarten or will he/she feel behind?

No, not at all. Kindergarten is an excellent place to start. We have had many children who have joined us for the first time in kindergarten and have thrived at LSA. Our staff is committed to making sure that your child quickly feels at home and ready to learn. 

Additional Services


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.


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. During the summer of 2018, we refurbished our driveway, added a new roll up curb giving better access to the front door and created accessible entry ways for each exterior door in our building. 

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, 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.”

  • Liz Brown
    Liz BrownAssistant Principal

    We are excited to welcome back to the staff Mrs. Liz Brown. She is a former LSA teacher and served as our board co-chair this school year. Mrs. Brown has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Grand Valley State University (GVSU).  In addition, in 2017 she completed her Master of Education with an emphasis in Elementary Education and Instruction and Curriculum, also from GVSU. Mrs. Brown has also taught as an adjunct professor in the School of Education at Aquinas College, teaching Curriculum Development for Early Childhood Education. Liz and her husband Justin have two children; Veronica and Vanessa.

  • 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.

  • Jessica Gamble
    Jessica GambleKindergarten

    Mrs. Gamble is familiar face to Living Stones as she taught in our lower elementary from 2010-2014. She’s a terrific teacher who not only understands and appreciates our mission, but she also helped shape it during those critical first few years of our existence. She’s also known for having a special knack for building relationships with those in her classroom. Welcome back, Mrs. Gamble!

  • Katie Grasmeyer
    Katie GrasmeyerFirst Grade

    Mrs. Katie Grasmeyer is new to LSA this year. She hails from San Antonio, TX and moved this summer to Grand Rapids. We are excited to welcome Mrs. Grasmeyer to LSA!  Katie graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA degree in Elementary Education. She has taught in San Antonio, Zambia, and Washington, DC and has spent time in Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Ethiopia. Mrs. Grasmeyer has a vibrant Christian faith and deep love for students and their learning. She also has broad experience with people from many different backgrounds. Please warmly welcome Mrs. Grasmeyer!

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Lauren Buffum
    Lauren BuffumEducational 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.

  • Polly DeStigter
    Polly DeStigterEducational Support Services Para-Professional
    Polly DeStigter joins the Living Stones educational support staff team with more than a decade of experience working with young children.  Most recently Polly has served as a paraprofessional at Townline Elementary (Kentwood Public).  Those who know her well describe her as caring, passionate, persistent, and relentlessly positive :).  We are thrilled to have “Miss D” on our team here at LSA!
  • Cindy Bylsma
    Cindy BylsmaEducational Support Services Para-Professional

    Cindy is an LSA parent turned paraprofessional. She attended Calvin College and has a background in psychology. Her main passion is our lower elementary, especially kindergarten where she actively works to support our mission of inclusivity.

  • 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.

  • Lynn Mudde
    Lynn MuddeTitle 1 Teacher

    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.

  • Kaitlyn VanHaren
    Kaitlyn VanHarenTitle 1 Teacher

    Kaitlyn graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Special Education. Later she received her Masters of Education as a K-12 Reading Specialist and has additional certifications in teaching language arts and early childhood education. Kaitlyn is also an LSA mom with her oldest son in preschool. Her passion for working with diverse groups of students in urban settings and creating a space that welcomes students of all abilities makes her a great fit for the LSA community.

  • Montoya Winters
      Montoya WintersFood Service Manager
      Montoya joined Living Stones first as a parent. She was looking for a school where her two boys would feel safe, loved and included in every aspect and is happy to have found just the place for them. When Living Stones added a Food Program, she was quick to jump at the opportunity to work at LSA. She loves working at LSA because of the great students.
    • George Jeffries
        George JeffriesEmeritus and Honorary Staff Member

        After his first 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.

        In June 2019 George retired again, a second time. We miss having here every day, but he and his wife Bertha remain connected to our staff and students.

      Board of directors

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

      Brian Krosschell, Treasurer
      Finance Director, fairlife

      Dr. Peter Boumgarden
      Professor of Strategy & Organizations at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis

      Sai-Quan Jackson
      CEO/Founder, Techfit, LLC &
      Director of Technology, William C. Abney Academy

      Sara Sherry Knoester
      President/Owner, Mixed Staffing and Recruiting

      Michelle Large
      Career Readiness Consultant, Kent ISD

      Dr. Mark Mulder 
      Professor of Sociology, Calvin University and LSA parent

      Rev. Sarah Roelofs
      Director of Chaplaincy and Care, Christian Reformed Church of North America and LSA Parent

      There’s more to see!

      Check out what it looks like at Living Stones Academy.