CCS in Metcalfe’s Principal, Rita Bergsma, named Van Lunen Fellow

Seen in images above: (Left) Rita Bergsma (South Dundas resident) Principal of Community Christian School in Metcalfe was recently named Van Lunen Fellow. Courtesy photo. (Right) Photo of Community Christian School. Photo taken from the school's Facebook page.

METCALFE —Rita Bergsma, South Dundas resident and principal at Community Christian School in Metcalfe, has been selected by the Van Lunen Center for Executive Management in Christian Schools at Calvin College for a 2018-2019 fellowship.

The Van Lunen Center’s 2018-2019 cohort of fellows include educators from 20 schools across the United States and Canada, and one from Japan. For JPGS and school affiliations of fellows, see

The Fellows program, now in its 12th year, is designed for school heads who seek professional development in their work as administrators of faith-based schools. The majority of participant expenses are covered by the Van Lunen Center, including cost of instruction, lodging, meals, coaching and access to topic experts.

The Van Lunen Center was established at Calvin in January 2007 with a $2.5 million endowment gift to the college from the Richard D. Van Lunen Foundation. Subsequent gifts from several foundations, individual gifts and Christian school associations support the center. Its purpose is to provide executive management education for senior leaders of schools based on the historic Christian faith.

“The sessions are focused on content with experts in their field, and include collaborative, active-learning workshops and presentations,” according to Yvonne Ferwerda, director of the Van Lunen Center.

“In areas essential to today’s heads of school such as marketing and enrollment, strategic planning, conflict transformation, board governance, sustainability and development,” she said, “participants will deepen their own leadership, develop skills, and create deep relationships with peers and leaders. They will become more prepared to craft and implement a sustainable Christian educational mission with parents, teachers and other supporting communities.”

The program begins with five residential days in July 2018, continues again in January 2019 for five days, and ends with three days in July 2019. Between sessions, faculty coaching and consultant support is available via phone, through online tools and in person to assist fellows with their applied school project.

The Van Lunen Center was established to serve faith-based schools large and small across the U.S. and Canada with a big-tent philosophy, reaching out to schools from a wide range of faith traditions, including Baptist, Catholic, evangelical Protestant, Episcopal, independent Christian, Lutheran, Mennonite and Reformed Christian day schools.


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