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Ashley Kooistra


I knew I wanted to be an orchestra teacher since 7th grade, because of the influence of my alma master’s incredible orchestra director. Though I was brought up in the public schools, through God’s hand I found my way to Christian education, and I began the orchestra program at Byron Center Christian School in 2019. I have been privileged to also serve SCHS and Dutton Christian School since 2021. When not in the classroom, I’m a freelance violinist and violist, performing and helping administratively with Hark Up Music, playing wedding ceremonies and church services, performing in pit orchestras in the community theatre scene, and fiddling in my new Irish band called Firish. Outside of orchestral things, I can also be found serving backstage in the theatre, hiking or kayaking, practicing the accordion, and spending time with my equally musical fiancé Geoffrey Hansen.

Faith Statement

My faith journey didn’t begin in the most traditional of ways; it actually started when I was sixteen and my best friend passed away. When I was going through the most difficult time of my life, a dear friend’s mom became my spiritual mentor, and she walked with me as I wrestled with the difficult questions surrounding faith, while also revealing the many ways God has been faithful, even in the silent moments. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support and guidance of those who helped me to understand and truly feel God’s love. I was finally ready to wholeheartedly commit to my faith and got baptized at my church on November 19, 2023, and I’m humbled to be in this position to encourage and serve the students of South Christian as they navigate their own stories of faith, too.