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Bronsema moving closer to family in Ontario

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Taber Times

Taber Christian Alternative School (TCS) will have at least one new face to go with its new upgrades this fall, as long-serving principal John Bronsema is stepping down after nine years at the helm.

Bronsema started at TCS in the fall of 2005, and said he considers his time in Taber a highlight of his 36-year teaching career. He had previously spent five years in Ontario, seven years in Edmonton, and 15 years in B.C. split between Abbotsford and Smithers. He’s now heading back to Ontario, where he originally hails from.

“I hope to move back to Ontario to slow down and get closer to family,” he said, though he noted he isn’t quite retired yet, as he’s taken a job with Alliston Community Christian School in Alliston, Ont., about 1.5 hours north of Toronto.

“It’s not totally retirement,” he said. “But it’s a chance to slow down a bit more.”

“My wife and I are getting a little older, and it’s time to reconnect with family,” he added.

Having a hand in strengthening the school’s identity in the community has been a highlight of Bronsema’s time here, and he said that growth will continue to be important to both the school and the community in years to come.

“The best way to describe it is that it’s been a joyful experience,” he said.

He indicated a large part of that growth has stemmed from TCS joining the Horizon School Division as an alternate program.

“It has been a privilege, and we really appreciate that opportunity,” he said.

He said joining HSD has made the school more accessible for families looking for an alternative religion-based school program for their children, while also raising the school’s profile in the community.

“We want to be able to offer a program which is founded in biblical principles, and then help our students apply those principles to all areas of life,” he said. “For that reason is why Christian schools even exist. That basic premise that all areas of our life should be affected by what we believe.”

Bronsema said his most memorable moments from the past nine years come from instances when the school was able to celebrate learning.

“Whether it be an individual student who has succeeded in the classroom, or a group of students who have gone to a science fair, that’s good to see,” he said.”

He also said watching students graduate when they come from cultures which don’t traditionally value the education process has also been a highlight for him.

“Especially in southern Alberta,” he said. “That’s been good to see in my time here.”

Hearing about these successes firsthand from the students as they have discovered success is something Bronsema said he has always enjoyed in his career.

“That’s probably the biggest joy any teacher can have,” he said. “When they want to share something and it excites them.”

While Bronsema joked he won’t miss the southern Alberta winds when he moves back to Ontario, he will miss the staff and students, and all the friendships and contacts he’s made over the years, from his time volunteering as a referee for school sports to the students and their families he’s come to know, to personal and professional friendships made as a result of his time in the community.

“It’s a blessing to have those friendships and relationships over the years,” he said.

The new principal for the school will be Klaas Hoekstra, who has been serving for the past two years as an assistant principal. Bronsema said Hoekstra was hired with the hope he would take over the duties as principal.

“We hired him with the idea he could potentially take over as principal,” Bromsema said, adding he has mentored Hoekstra for the past two years.

“I’m a firm believer that a school needs fresh blood in its administration every so often,” he added. “Not too often, because it takes time to build up a program, set a new vision, or re-energize an existing vision.”

Bronsema said he hopes for continued success for TCS in the future, and he is thankful for his time in the community.

“It’s been a privilege to serve in this role,” he said.

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