ZEELAND, Mich., – Determined to equip their community, Zeeland Christian School (ZCS) leadership recently enlisted the help of a national education consultant, “Through an extensive evaluation, we received insight on the areas where we excel in addition to recommendations that will enable us to impact more families,” said Dr. Tim McAboy, Head of ZCS. These recommendations included expanding the school’s Advancement Team to focus on amplifying the mission of ZCS, which was consistent in the feedback received.
In response, Director of Advancement, Peter Jenkins, was charged with the task of hiring not one, but two new positions to round out the highly-performing department. “The input from our ZCS family was quite clear with the desire to improve our efforts in meeting the needs of our community – both our school community and our West Michigan community.” Jenkins continued, “We believe we’ll be able to reach further, allowing the opportunity for more children to experience a Christian education. We’re thrilled to welcome Natalia McGowen, Director of Admissions and Enrollment, and Tiffany Kraker, Director of Marketing and Communications.“
Natalia McGowen, Director of Admissions and Enrollment
McGowen has spent the last decade in healthcare, primarily connecting families to hospice services. She has her Bachelor’s of Organizational and Corporate Communications/Public Relations from the University of Texas-El Paso. Supporting families through transitions is an area McGowen feels most comfortable in, “Establishing relationships is very important to me. In my previous field, working with families on end-of-life care is very personal, and you have to build trust. “ McGowen explains, “Building that trust with parents as they choose the best educational experience for their children is very important. From my experience, parents want what’s best for their children, including peace of mind when dropping off their children every day.”
“Building that trust with parents as they choose the best educational experience for their children is very important. From my experience, parents want what’s best for their children, including peace of mind when dropping off their children every day.”-Natalia McGowen
“As Director of Admissions and Enrollment, Natalia will prioritize supporting families in the transition from preschool to elementary,” stated Jenkins. “I have already heard from current families how Natalia’s recommendations helped them decide to explore our school. Her passion for ZCS and motivation to guide families to Christian education make her a grand slam hire.”
Her children attending ZCS was a catalyst for her desire to one day be a part of the staff. “We originally had decided on another school when a colleague of my husband’s encouraged us to check out Zeeland Christian. As a native Spanish speaker, I was impressed by the quality of the Spanish Immersion program, so we decided to send our kids to ZCS,” said McGowen.
Tiffany Kraker, Director of Marketing and Communications
Stepping into the Director of Marketing and Communications role is a position Kraker feels confident in. She’s provided creative services to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and the public sector for nearly 15 years through her family-owned business. Most recently, she contributed to the City of Zeeland Marketing Department by providing digital marketing management. She specializes in content creation and strategy, studied Occupational Studies at Washtenaw Community College, and received her certification in Social Media Marketing from Cornell University.
She and her husband, Andrew, have five daughters, four of whom were new students to ZCS this year. Their family founded Michigan Fosters, a nonprofit organization in Holland, which supports the foster care system.
“I believe that cultivating and nurturing a community is vital, especially when working with families,“ Kraker explained. “The opportunity for me to share the testimonies and experiences of ordinary people doing extraordinary work is humbling. In addition to being filled with gratitude, I’m honored to become a part of the ZCS story. “
“I keep pinching myself to make sure that Tiffany joining our team has really happened,” shared Jenkins. “I’m such a fan of Tiffany’s work. Her skill significantly elevates our storytelling ability, and I look forward to her sharing the stories of how God is working at ZCS to positively impact our community. It’s been a joy to add Natalia and Tiffany to our team at such a pivotal time confirming we are on the right track.”
Zeeland Christian School serves over 1,000 students in grades threeschool-8th grade. For 107 years, ZCS has worked to fulfill its mission of partnering with parents to provide a high-quality Christian education.