Wendy Baldwin – Principal Baldwin

My name is Wendy Baldwin and I serve as the Village School Principal.

I graduated from Andrews University in 1993 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Elementary Education and two minors, Science and Reading. My graduate work was completed in 2004 with a General Masters in Education from Capella University.

I have been involved in several professional activities throughout my years of service in Adventist Education. My experience ranges from small schools to K-10 Junior Academy facilities. 

I was extended the offer to come to the Village Adventist Elementary School in June of 2010 as the new principal. My family relocated to Berrien Springs in July of 2010 from Charlotte, NC, where I was serving as a full time principal of a K-10 school. Prior to Charlotte, I served as a principal/teacher in the Wisconsin Conference.

I enjoy spending time with kids, working passionately to promote Adventist Education, reading, speaking, spending time with family and friends, fishing, and camping.

It is my greatest desire to see each student we serve at the Village School in heaven someday.

Phone: 269.473.5121 x12


Sarah Kurtz – Treasurer Sarah

I attended SWMC and have a background in accounting. I have worked as manager of a large styling salon and for a local physician.

I was married in 1990  to Marty Kurtz and we are blessed with 3 daughters, Katie, Mollie and Emilie. We live in Eau Claire.

I’m very excited to be working here, the dedication of the staff in providing a quality Christian education for our kids is something that I’m very thrilled to be a part of.

I’m also involved with the Home and School committee and look forward to seeing you at the many fun events we have through out the year!

Please stop in my office or call with any questions or concerns you might have.

My hours are generally:

MONDAY – THURSDAY: 7:45 to 3:15
FRIDAY: 7:45-3:15

I do step out to the bank from time to time or sometimes leave at 3:00 to make that stop on my way home. If you have a very specific time you plan to stop by, call ahead and I will be sure to be here if I possibly can. I also try to leave any changes in my hours on both my answering machine and on my door

Have a great school year!

Phone: 269.473.5121 x11


Cheryl Finkbeiner – Kindergarten Teacher Finkbeiner

I graduated from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education. I have taught 2nd grade in Phoenix, Arizona and 3rd grade ESL in Palmdale, California.

I feel privileged to be part of the Village Adventist Elementary School family. I have been teaching here at Village since 2009 although I have taught for many years prior in public school.. I currently teach in the Kindergarten classroom. It is such a blessing to work in a Christian environment where God’s presence is felt. It is my prayer that each student in my class will grow in their relationship with Jesus and know that they are “precious in His sight.”

My hobbies include spending time with family and friends, walking, reading, and cooking. My family includes my husband Barry and our 6 children – Rodney, Will, Megan, Corey, Chelsea, and Zack. We also have 2 very spoiled and loved cats named Tiger and Callie.

Phone: 269.473.5121


Beth Stevenson – First Grade Teacher Stevenson

By the time I graduated from Andrews University with my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education in 1990, God had already placed me in the 1st grade classroom at Village School. Little did I know back then how much I would fall in love with the wonder, excitement and growth that first grade embodies. The Masters of English degree that I completed in 2000, further developed my love for teaching reading, writing and literature which comprise the lion’s share of the first grade curriculum and form the foundation for success at every successive level. I am currently enjoying the personalities and successes of my group of first graders.

Since studying Spanish in Spain in 1998, I have enjoyed introducing my students to Spanish in first grade. Last year, Lina Gorris and I developed and piloted a semester long Spanish curriculum in first grade. I’m not sure whether the kids had more fun with it or I did! I’m thrilled that this has led to a formal Spanish program for the lower grades with a Spanish teacher. I continue to provide extra Spanish instruction and practice to first graders so that they establish a strong vocabulary and pronunciation skills to boost their fluency.

God has planted in me a passion for health ministry which led me to write a hands-on nutrition curriculum for elementary schools. Doors have opened for me to train teachers and church health ministry leaders from across the U.S. and around the world over the past several years. Information is power and that is seen clearly every time a child learns to make informed choices about eating for optimal health.

I enjoy travel and cultures more than almost anything else. My husband and I love to use scuba diving to explore the hidden world beneath the waves. We also have a passion for missions and often participate in church and orphanage building projects. Our hearts are forever intertwined with the children of Hope Village in Tanzania which we helped build and which has become a sister school, of sorts, for Village School as we’ve raised money to build the dorms and supply food, clothing and care. We most recently furnished them basic school equipment so that children who have never before held a pencil, can someday soon write their stories as well.

Each morning I look forward to greeting the line of smiling faces outside the classroom door. It is an immense privilege and responsibility to spend my days with precious hearts and minds that Jesus died for and will soon return to claim as his own. As partners for eternity, I am blessed to work with parents on behalf of their children. When your play is your work, you are truly blessed. And so it is that I consider myself ultimately blessed!

Phone: 269.473.5121


Wendy Wineland-Pherson – Second Grade Teacher Wineland

It is a privilege for me to introduce myself as the second grade teacher at the Village Adventist Elementary School!  I am a Michigan girl through and through as I was born and raised in the beautiful lake town of Grand Haven, Michigan. This is the area I still claim as “home” and dream about returning to someday!

Prior to the years I’ve enjoyed teaching second grade here at the Village school, I spent 9 years 
teaching k, 3rd, and 4th grades for the Edwardsburg Public Schools. My passion is kids, which is the reason I am a teacher! In my classroom my greatest desire is for students to know without a doubt that I love them, but more importantly that Jesus loves them. I want my classroom to be a place where students feel good about being and learning. A place where learning goes beyond just the academics to encompass spiritual, emotional, physical, and social.

My educational background includes attending the Grand Haven SDA elementary, Cedar Lake Academy, and Andrews University where I received my B.S. in Elementary Education with a major in Language Arts. I also hold a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading from Grand Canyon University.

Along with my passion for my teaching career, I am passionate about my husband Brett and my beautiful daughters Serena and Brenna. My greatest joy comes from spending time with my family. My personal time is spent running/walking with my pup Sasha, reading, learning about computers, being at the beach, and enjoying time with family and friends.

Phone: 269.473.5121


Ann-Marie Reichert – Third Grade Teacher Reichert

I was born in Colchester, England. My mum was a teacher and vice-principal at the boarding academy that my sister and I attended. My dad was the youth director for the South England Conference. When I was 14 years old my family moved to Sri Lanka as missionaries. I completed my academy years there at the English Overseas Children’s School in the city of Colombo. It was in Sri Lanka that I also gained an invaluable insight into another way of life. I then came to Andrews University where I completed my B.A. in Elementary Education and English.

I began my teaching career in the fifth and sixth grade room at South Bay Jr. Academy in Torrance, California before returning to Berrien Springs to teach third grade at the Village School. Third grade was my home for seven years, at which point I completed my MA in school counseling and became Village School counselor and vice-principal. I held this position for seven years. The Lord then led me back to the third grade classroom here at the Village school.

I married my husband John in 1986.  We have a son, Nic, living in Arizona, and pursuing his own career in education. My free time is spent traveling, reading, and spending time with my family. We enjoy looking back over our lives to see where the Lord has been at work, blessing our lives as we serve Him.

I love seeing the smile on a child’s face when they master something that they have been struggling with for a long time. Even more exciting is seeing a student’s friendship with Jesus develop and grow. Watching the Holy Spirit at work in my room as the children learn that their friend Jesus loves them, He is leading in their lives, and they can trust Him with everything, is priceless! It is why I walk into my classroom every day.

Phone: 269.473.5121


Linda Burke  – Fourth Grade Teacher 


I graduated from Andrews University with a BS in Elementary Education in 1987 and a Masters in Special Education in 2013.

I have been blessed beyond measure working at Village School the past 10 years as the Administrative Assistant.  I look forward to continuing my service here at Village School as the 4th grade teacher.  It is very exciting to watch all the children grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I have a great passion for Adventist education and providing our children with the tools they need to be successful here on earth and in heaven.

I am blessed to be married to my husband Nathaniel.  We have five wonderful children.  Two daughters, Tiffany and Jessica, and three sons, Patrick, Andrew, and Logan

Outside of work I enjoy walking, reading, animals, watching sports on TV, and spending time with my kids, family, and friends.

Phone: 269.473.5121 x10

   Seana Dent-Krick – Fifth Grade Teacher Dent-Krick

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Andrews University as well as a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Loma Linda University.

While I have been teaching at Village school since 2010, I have previously taught 6th grade in California and in multi-grade classrooms in Michigan and Illinois.

It is my strong desire to encourage each student to collaborate with others and to be lifelong learners who are building a lasting friendship with God.

My husband Edwin and I enjoy the adventures of our three children – Sophia , Harrison, and Ava. Our family has fun with our energetic dogs Biscuit and Dolly, many amazing cats and a pony. I love to read, ride horses, bake treats to share and to spend time outdoors experiencing the beauty of God’s design in nature..

Phone: 269.240.7512


Jess Swackhamer – Sixth Grade Homeroom / Upper Grade Math Swack

My name is Jess Swackhamer, more commonly known around VAES as Mr. Swack, and I am the 6th grade homeroom teacher.  My other responsibilities include 5th grade Math, 7th/8th grade P.E., and upper grades assistant principal.  I have been teaching here at the Village SDA School since 2001.

I graduated with my BA in History with Elementary teaching certification. I completed a Master’s degree in Educational Administration in the spring of 2001. My beautiful wife, Rachelle, and I have been married since 1999, and we have been blessed with two awesome children, Kayleigh and Carson.

I enjoy watching sports on television, playing golf, playing basketball, reading, and going to baseball and football games. Along with a few friends, I am involved in the slow but sure journey of touring all of the Major League Baseball stadiums. Looking forward to a great year here at Village School!

Phone: 269.473.5121


Aaron Koleda – Seventh Grade Homeroom / Technology Teacher / Upper Grade Science

KoledaMy name is Aaron Koleda, and I am the technology director and teacher here at VAES. I teach technology to a lively group of 5th – 8th grade students. I graduated in May of 2009 from Andrews University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. I plan to begin my masters degree in educational technology this fall.

My wife Lyndsay, who works as a Cosmetologist in Stevensville, and I have been married since 2007. We have been blessed with 2 wonderful boys. Kamden and Keaton.

I really feel as though God has lead me and my family here to Village School. I look forward to using my passion for technology to better prepare our students for the future as well as show the teachers new and exciting ways that they can integrate technology into their classrooms. Thank you for all of your support and prayers.

Phone: 269.473.5121

Brittany Bermingham – Eighth Grade Homeroom / Upper Grade Humanities


Barry Marden – Jr High Support StaffMarden

I graduated from Southern College with secondary endorsements in history, physical education and religion. I received my M.A.T. in elementary education from Andrews University. Before coming to Village School, I taught in Grand Rapids and Akron, Ohio.

I enjoy playing golf in my free time. My goal is to shoot consistently in the low 80’s. Unfortunately, that has been my goal for the last decade. My wife, Derise, works in human resources, and we have two daughters.

My prayer is that each student leaving eighth grade has the assurance of salvation, secure in the knowledge that he/she is a child of God. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Phone: 269.313.0690


José Cruz – Music Teacher Cruz

After completing my BA in Music Education at Antillean Adventist University in my home country of Puerto Rico in 1995, I pursued a masters degree in music education from Andrews University, which, of course, brought me to Berrien Springs.

Upon completion of an MA degree in 2000, I joined the VAES staff where I teach, classroom music, beginner and advanced band & guitar, strings and choir.

My beautiful wife, Littney, and I have two children, Daniel and Janielly. My hobbies include basketball, volleyball, and frisbee golf. My daily prayer and desire is to be an instrument in the hands of the Master, Jesus Christ.

Phone: 269.473.5121


Spanish Teacher



Denise Freeman -SecretaryDenise




Nola Host – Secretary


Cheryl Hoover – Food Services Director CherylH

I grew up in Ft Wayne, IN, and came to Michigan to attend Andrews University where I met my husband, Mike. We’ve been married now for 36 years. We have two great kids, Aaron & Rachel, both alumnus of VAES. I got my nursing degree from Southwest Michigan College. I worked in St Joseph for a doctor’s office for a number of years.

After having children I came to work at the Village School. I was part of Home and School and a room-mom the whole time my kids were attending here. I have been the Food Service Director for 20+ years and also work as the school nurse and an Extend Ed supervisor. My hobbies include reading, knitting, watching sports, the great outdoors, and animals of all kinds. I’ve loved my time working at VAES. Especially the kids! It’s a very rewarding job. The students always remember the food they got at the Village, especially the bread!!


Kim Spare – Assistant Cook




Nancy Schmidt – Extend Ed Director Nancy

I’m a Hoosier by birth, but Michigan is my home now for over 30 years. I graduated from Andrews University School of Technology and worked for the Berrien County Courthouse for 20 years. Though my husband David and I both were living in Berrien County, we met at a wedding in central Illinois. David & I have been married for 23 years. When our son, Alex was five, I quit working to home-school. As a family we are passionate about camping, hiking and biking. My hobbies include quilting and knitting, and reading old JMV books.

I spent a couple of school years volunteering in the Kindergarten room. When I needed to return to work, the Lord blessed me with a job as Extend Ed Director, which my friend of 40+ years, Mrs Hoover, got for me. I never knew you could have a job that you love this much! This is my fourth year at VAES. It’s so much fun watching the kids play and grow! They all know me as “Miss Nancy”.


Heidi Segar – Extend Ed Supervisor


Kathy Freeman – Extend Ed Supervisor


Jan Steele steele– Custodial Services Director

My name is Jan Steele and I have been involved with the Village School for many years.  I have had four girls graduate from VAES, and currently have 2 granddaughters in school.  I became involved with the Home and School Association about 12 years ago, and have been the leader off and on.  Right now I co-lead the H&S with Rick and Sharon Moore.  We love to plan school events that bring our families together for fun and fellowship.

I also serve the school as their custodian, and have been doing this for about 6 years.  Keeping the school clean and looking great is my passion!

My career is also a service related field. I am a Medical Social Worker for Lakeland Homecare and have been serving the community for 20 hears in this capacity.


Ron Kelly – Senior Pastor


Bruce Hayward hayward– Pastor

It is a great privilege for me to be a part of the VAES staff by providing its students with insigthful devotionals that get them closer to our Savior and redeemer. I always look forward to Tuesday mornings when I get to share Jesus with the students at VAES. 



 Joseph Reeves – Youth Pastor

My wife Ruthie and I are glad to have arrived at Village where we will spend our 2nd year in marriage and many more to come. I’ve been in pastoral ministry for the past two and a half years ministering at Detroit Metro and South Lyon churches plus the recent Lakes Area plant. I left my home state of Washington in 2006 when I moved to Wisconsin to work as Bible worker and evangelist. After studying Theology and graduating from Southern Adventist University in 2011, I worked for Southern one year as Bible worker instructor and coordinator for SALT (Soul-winning and Leadership Training). So far, God’s people in Michigan have been a greater blessing to me than I’ve been to them. I expect more good times at Village and am eager to see what God has in store for all.