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Local teachers recognized for excellence

by Ashlee De Wit

CHICAGO, Ill. (March 27, 2019) — Local educators were among those honored with Teacher Excellence Awards from the Center for Christian Urban Educators (C-CUE). The awards were presented at C-CUE’s second annual iTeach Celebration last week.

Among the recipients were two Lansing Christian School (LCS) teachers and two teachers from the brand-new Unity Christian Academy (UCA) in South Holland:

  • Hannah Schaap of LCS and Gabriel Kong of UCA each received the “I See You” award, recognizing teachers who “are exceptionally good at getting to know their students’ skills, needs, cultures, interests, families, and personalities in order to teach, support, and mentor them.”
  • C-CUE presented Joy Krygsheld of LCS with the Teacher Leadership Award, for those who “serve as leaders in their respective school community by supporting, assisting, mentoring, and encouraging their colleagues.”
  • Charis Bootsma of UCA was given the Pedagogy Award, which acknowledges the efforts of teachers who “search out and construct meaningful educational experiences that allow students to solve real-world problems.”

Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues or by families at the school.

Lansing Christian School’s Joy Krygsheld was recognized with the Teacher Leadership Award. (Photo: Zachary Cordes)
Charis Bootsma (left) and Gabriel Kong of Unity Christian Academy received the Pedagogy Award and an “I See You” Award, respectively. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
Hannah Schaap of Lansing Christian School received an “I See You” Award. The award ceremony was held at Daystar Christian School in Chicago. (Photo: Zachary Cordes)

“It is the most gratifying feeling to have our faculty recognized when we’ve only been open a couple of months,” said UCA Head of School Loukisha Smart-Pennix. “It makes me proud to be a part of this team that’s doing exceptional work in the lives of students. It is awesome for both of them [Kong and Bootsma] to be recognized. It is a testament to the mission and vision of UCA—high school redefined and redesigned. These two have been instrumental in what that means.”

Approximately 70 people attended the 3-hour event and awards ceremony, held at Daystar Christian School in Chicago. Teachers who had reached career milestones were also recognized for years of service.

“Each of our teachers at Lansing Christian puts so much heart, time, and effort into their students and classrooms,” said Jon Postma, the school’s principal. “They don’t do it for awards or recognition. They do it for the benefit of our kids and for the glory of God. But these simple recognitions certainly give a boost to our teachers. To hear, ‘Well done’—that’s a powerful phrase.”

C-CUE provides a professional and support network for Christians serving in private and/or public schools in urban environments. It is a joint venture of Trinity Christian College, located in Palos Heights, and Bright Promise Fund for Christian Urban Education, a nonprofit charitable organization that supports Christian schools located in the Chicago area.

Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit is a freelance writer and a Lansing native. After starting her career covering high school sports in Iowa, she's excited to be back in her hometown, reporting the stories of her local community — such as the opening of Troost, the informal Lansing pickleball club, a TF South Homecoming game, and Common Ground, Lansing's experiment with healthy race relations.


  1. Congratulations Mrs. Krygsheld!
    You were an amazing friend to our nephew Ryan. Even though he didn’t have you for a class, you reached out to him and became an encourager to Ryan and us.

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