National Principals Month

Thank you to our middle school Digital Arts Team for photographing, designing, and interviewing our principals!
Thank you to our middle school Digital Arts Team for photographing, designing, and interviewing our principals!

Meet Our Principals!

Alicia Zandstra, Preschool Director
Betsy Koop, Elementary Principal
Tim Paauw, Middle School Principal

  1.  What made you decide to become a principal (or go into education)?

KOOP - I've loved working with kids for as long as I can remember. I absolutely loved teaching, especially as a second-grade teacher at ZCS. As the years went by, I had opportunities to develop curriculum and facilitate professional learning opportunities for teachers. I found such joy in working alongside teachers and doing what I could to support them in their important work! This led me to the role of serving teachers, students, and families as a principal and I can't imagine a more incredible job! I am grateful every single day for this opportunity! 

ZANDSTRA - I love seeing daily life through the lens of a small child!

PAAUW -When I was growing up, I wasn't sure what I wanted to be professionally. While I was at Calvin College, I worked summers as a camp counselor. Those summers shaped my faith and prepared my heart and life, understanding that I was being called and equipped to go into education. 

Since that time, I have been a professional educator for 21 years and have served in three schools over that span. I became a principal specifically because I wanted to have a role where I could still be directly involved in the fun aspects of day-to-day life in the middle school, like teaching classes, attending sports games, celebrating student accomplishments, and participating in things like chapels and small groups WHILE having the opportunity to look for and partner with other leaders, teachers, and parents to find new offerings in middle school to keep expanding what we can do for student interests and passions. For example, in the three years I have been at ZCS, I have seen God work through this community to now offer these new things and more:

  •  BOTH a musical and a play on a rotating basis, which includes more students within 7th and 8th grade instead of just an 8th grade play each year
  • Golden Hour Bible Study 
  • Servant Leadership Team and service opportunities
  • Destination Innovation in the Middle School
  • Robotics now in 4th & 5th grade
  • An after-school Ladies' Chorus
  • Student Digital Arts Team 
  • After-School Art Club experiences
  • An advanced Art option for 8th grade
  • Instructional Technology classes in Middle Schoo
  1. What is your favorite part of being a principal?

KOOP - I love supporting teachers and students! Teachers go above and beyond for their students and families, and I love to do whatever I can to support them so that they can be their best for the kids. 

ZANDSTRA - Building a relationship with a child and parents. 

PAAUW - For me, there is nothing sweeter than seeing students following Jesus and leading for Him. I LOVE moments like middle school chapel when we have a worship team of 8th graders and a chapel planning team of 7th and 8th graders guiding our hearts to God and connecting with each other. That is definitely my favorite part of being a principal. However, I enjoy any time I pause and realize I am seeing a student using their talent or skill (scoring in a sports game, winning a Spelling Bee, growing in MAP scores, completing a race, and so much more) and knowing it is a step in time of greatness in God's kingdom AND wondering where it will lead in great ways for their steps in the future.

  1. Favorite part of your day?

KOOP - My favorite part of the day is when I get to spend time in classrooms. 

ZANDSTRA - Greeting preschoolers in the morning and participating in their worship/singing time!

PAAUW -My favorite part of my day at school is working in the middle school Commons and getting to hear what students are doing and learning each day. My favorite part of my day at home is walking into the door when I get home and hearing how my own kids' day was so far.


Here are some fun questions:  

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

KOOP - Cookie dough

ZANDSTRA -  Chocolate with rainbow sprinkles

PAAUW - My new favorite ice cream flavor is Aldi's Salted Caramel Gelato

  1. Do you have a special talent? If so, what is it?

KOOP - Hmm... I learned to swirl the baton in middle school and still have a few tricks up my sleeve. 🙂 

 ZANDSTRA - Nope, I don't think I do... I can't even whistle! Haha! I wish I could sing really well!

PAAUW - I can move one of my eyes without the other! I can also stand on my head.

  1. Favorite thing you do in your free time?

KOOP - Going to the beach with my family and all swimming in Lake Michigan.

ZANDSTRA -There are SO many great things to do, but I love planning vacations and reading!

PAAUW -I love to go for a hike with my family or take a car ride together and enjoy different parts of God's creation around West Michigan.