Our Staff

Monique Vanderwart

Distributed Learning School Principal

My husband, three children and I moved to Smithers in 2015 to have a northern adventure, and have come to love the northern life. I am the principal of Bulkley Valley Christian Distributed Learning, but know that the real work is done by the teachers, resource manager, and most of all, you as parents. I enrolled my own children in DL for a number of years, so understand well what needs to happen on the home front for DL to work. My BA comes from Calvin University and Masters in Educational Leadership from Simon Fraser University. In addition to serving this school, I am currently the Vice Principal at Bulkley Valley Christian School. I have taught for over 20 years in various schools and this is the second Distributed Learning school I’ve been privileged to serve. I have taught almost every grade level at some point in my career and continue to learn more every day. My passion is to see young people grow in faith, love, and knowledge. In my spare time, you’ll find me reading, kayaking, attempting to x-country ski, watching Star Trek The Next Generation, or sitting on the back deck enjoying the view of Hudson Bay Mountain, a view which continues to inspire.

Chris Steenhof

Distributed Learning School Vice-Principal

My name is Chris Steenhof and I serve as the vice-principal of the DL school.  My main job is the principal of our Bricks and Mortar school but I head up the Grade 10-12 section of our DL school.  This includes finding curriculum and teachers for both cross-enrolled and full-time DL students.  DL has always been a passion for me and along with my wife, we spearheaded BVCDL almost a decade ago.  I’m very thankful to the staff who have been with us since the beginning and those who have joined along the way.  My wife and I have 5 children, 2 grandchildren, and although we are supposed to be empty nesters, our house is still really busy.  I love outdoor activities but most of all golf!

Helga Steenhof

Resource Manager, Administrative Assistant

My husband Chris and I moved to Smithers 28 years ago for him to teach at Bulkley Valley Christian School and we have never looked back.  We loved raising our  5 children here and continue to love the Bulkley Valley even though some of our kids have moved on. Three of our children are married and two of them are currently in university. We have identical twin granddaughters who have a sibling on the way!  We homeschooled all of our kids and then had them with a DL program down south.  When we were asked to help develop a DL program for Bulkley Valley Christian School we jumped at the chance and thus began Bulkley Valley Christian Distributed Learning. I love my job which is to help families and teachers develop a program to meet each student’s uniqueness and to find resources that will work for each family. I also work with High School students who are taking a course or two online. I have a passion for math and love that I get to use that too.  When I am not working you will find me enjoying the outdoors or curled up on the couch with a good book or my current knitting project.  I am usually the first point of contact for families inquiring about our program and I love having a discussion and assisting in finding out if our program is the right one for a family.

Natasha Bandstra

Teacher

I started teaching at BVCS and after 3 years I took time off to do my dream job- a Mom! My husband and I have 4 boys and love living in Smithers. Currently this is my 10th year of DL and I love my job! I really enjoy connecting with my DL families  and building relationships with them. I enjoy walking, biking, and spending time with my friends and family.

Tracy Gingras

Teacher

My name is Ms Tracy (Leffers) Gingras. I grew up in Smithers and went to school at Ebenezer Canadian Reformed School. I worked for a couple years after high school, and after doing some basketball and volleyball coaching I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I attended NorthWest Community College here in Smithers, then the University College of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford to get my Bachelor of General Studies in Geography. I then did my Professional Development Program and received my teaching certificate through Simon Fraser University’s North West program in Terrace. I took a break from teaching and had my four kids and have been teaching part-time in Smithers for the last six years. This is my first year teaching at our bricks and mortar campus , where I’m teaching mostly elementary PE as well as one day co-teaching the Gr 6/7 class. This is also my first year in BVCDL and I’m so thankful for such great co-workers who have helped me learn along the way. I enjoy spending time with my 4 kids, camping, skiing, horse-back riding and playing all sorts of sports.

Klaas Kort

Teacher

I started teaching at Bulkley Valley Christian School in 2000 and have been a teacher for more than 40 years. Our family has lived most of this time in the Northwest, and some of my grandchildren now attend BVCS. This is my first year as a DL teacher; a whole new experience.

Annie Vandamme

Teacher

My name is Annie Van Damme. I grew up in Smithers, and wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember! I attended UNBC to get my Bachelor of Arts in English, and received my Bachelor of Education at UBC. After working for Sylvan Learning and then as TOC at Collingwood School in West Vancouver, my husband, Troy, and I moved back to Smithers and I started at BVCS bricks and mortar school. I started by teaching middle school and high school, and am currently in my fourth year of co-teaching grade 4. This is my second year teaching DL, which I do from home on my days off, with my two young boys. When I’m not working I can be found spending time with them, golfing, cross-country skiing, reading, cooking, and drinking coffee.

Aleeda Vis

Teacher

I am Aleeda Vis, a wife, a mom, a Nana, and a DL teacher. I have been married to John for over 40 years, have five children, two children-in-law and four grandchildren.  I love to read a good book and enjoy a walk and talk with friends.

I have been a DL teacher for over 10 years and feel that this is how God has called me to use my teaching skills. I enjoy the diversity of parents and students I am allowed to work with, finding joy in their discoveries and successes and trying my best to help them in areas of struggle.

I enjoy watching my students learn and grow. Some are just learning to read, some have gifts in art, some love math. Students I had in my first years are now in optometry school, flying helicopters, in nurses training, living on the farm with their spouses etc.  God has a plan for each of his children, and I have the privilege of guiding parents as they begin their stories