Great Aunt Nora, who earned her degree in primary education in 1923, was Elaine's first inspiration to enter the teaching
profession. As a child Elaine can remember sitting in Aunt Nora's kitchen witnessing her passion for teaching
and learning. The first stirrings of vocation were awakened (although, one has to admit that career paths for girls
were considerably more limited then than now).
After having been trained to teach secondary Math and German and sent on to her first job with the advice - "Don't smile until Christmas",
Elaine found herself teaching Math and German, yes, but also advising cheerleaders (an ill fit for those of you who know Elaine!) and
coaching girls basketball. It took all of one practice session to realize that while Iowa girls basketball played half
court, girls basketball in Washington was full court. So began a long history in Christian education.
Elaine's work in Christian education, be that in the classroom or teaching teachers, can be strung together with one
persistent question - "What would Christian schooling look like if it were radically biblical?" That question took her down many
paths including earning a Masters of Education Degree at Seattle Pacific University, which included 5 Alta Vista courses
organized by Dr. Al Greene, and the founding of Covenant Christian School, a small "alternative" school that served many young
people over a 10 year period.
Peace, justice and creation care, passions that shape her work in Christian education, are also passions in her daily
life leading to organic gardening, food composting with wormbins, rain water catchment, volunteerism, and film and
food-fueled discussion groups.
When asked to introduce her self, Elaine minimizes other descriptors in favor of "a grandmother of nine wonderful grandchildren".
|JOHN VAN DYK, Senior Member Emeritus|
In August, 1963 John Van Dyk moved from being a logger in BC to teaching ancient history, German and English in Ripon Christian High.
How did this happen?
While visiting his brother, a pastor on Vancouver Island, John read an article bewailing the shortage of teachers in Christian schools.
He took a hard look at his life: high school dropout, college in three years, MA leading to loss of his faith. And now, logging
with a rough bunch. Was this the Lord's call for his life?
As a Gideon's fleece, he contacted three Christian high schools still looking for teachers. Within a week he was called
from "the bush" and standing in front of a Freshman English class for non-college track students. He was a natural. Besides
discovering his vocation at Ripon, John also met his future wife Susan who became his faithful partner in his service to
Christian education. Together John and Sue make choices for their life's journey, strongly aware of implications these choices
have for persons suffering from poverty and injustice around the world.
John earned a doctorate at Cornell University, and served Dordt College for many years, both as a professor and as Director of the
Dordt College Center for Educational Services. John has since retired from Dordt College and has joined Alta Vista. John has
written numerous articles and several books.
When John is not globe-trotting helping Christian schools, he enjoys identifying wildflowers and trees, visiting children
and grandchildren, and helping Sue garden. Conversations are often interrupted as John identifies a kinglet or wren.