Get to Know Us
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.
MissionWe’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.
Teaching, learning, communal worship — and our life together — all revolve around Christ.
Students are well prepared by our diverse and caring staff to succeed academically.
God calls us to something big: to be a community where people from all nations, tribes, and tongues can learn and worship together.
Families from a variety of economic situations are able to choose Living Stones Academy because of our unique tuition model.
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.
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 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. 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.
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.
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.
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 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 BrownLiz Brown
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 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 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.
- 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 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 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!
- 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
- Polly DeStigterEducational Support Services Para-ProfessionalPolly 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!
- 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.
- Kandace WilliamsBehavioral Interventionist
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 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 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.
- 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
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 Strategy & Organizations at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis
Nurse, Porter Hills Retirement Community & Services and LSA parent
Sara Sherry Knoester
President/Owner, Mixed Staffing and Recruiting