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ISJ Teachers and Staff

Jason Alexander


Mr. Alexander began serving as ISJ Academy's Principal in 2016. Prior to becoming the Principal, he served as the Assistant Principal for seven years and as 5th/6th grades teacher for eight years. In addition to his role as Principal, Mr. Alexander teaches Science and History. Mr. Alexander received his undergraduate degree from SVSU and a Master's Degree in School Administration from Concordia University in Ann Arbor. Mr. Alexander and his wife enjoy spending time with family and friends, golfing, and playing softball. He is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Jennifer Welch

KindergartenTeacher and Early Childhool Center Director

Ms. Welch has been serving as a Lutheran early childhood educator for over 20 years. She has a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. During her career she has taught children from the ages of six weeks to six years old, coached middle school basketball and volleyball.  She serves on the Lutheran Education Association's Early Childhood Educators Network Leadership Team and is currently serving the Michigan District as an Early Childhood Consultant and a member of the Early Childhood Cabinet. Ms. Welch is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Amber Streeter

First and Second Grade Teacher

Amber Streeter teaches the 1st and 2nd grade classes at ISJ. She received her undergraduate degree in English Language Arts and Elementary Education from Concordia University, Ann Arbor. She is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church and enjoys participating in her weekly small group. When not teaching, she can be found hiking, reading, or at the gym. Amber especially loves sharing the joy of reading with her students, and cherishes the insights they share with her during Bible time. 

David Ringel

Third and Fourth Grade Teacher

Mr. Ringel has been involved with Lutheran education for many years. He has taught every age level up to sixth grade. He received his undergraduate degree from Concordia University in Ann Arbor. David can be found climbing a mountain in Colorado during the summer or at the beach in Florida during Christmas break. There is nothing he enjoys more than sharing his love of learning and the Love of Christ with children.


Kelsey Butler

Fifth and Sixth Grade Teacher

Ms. Butler teaches 5th- 8th grade Reading and Language Arts classes at ISJ.  She completed her degree in Special Education and Elementary Education at Aquinas College.  Prior to becoming a teacher, Ms. Butler worked at ISJ Academy as an Early Childhood Aide.  She is an alumnus of West Michigan Lutheran High and ISJ Academy.  Ms. Butler is a member of St. James Lutheran Church.  She enjoys cooking and spending time with her family and friends. She loves being a part of the ISJ team.

Stacey Vree

Seventh and Eighth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Vree has been a teacher at ISJ since 2003. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood Endorsement from Western Michigan University. She has also done graduate work at Grand Valley State University. Stacey and her husband, Steve, live in Rockford with their three children all of whom attended ISJ. She enjoys traveling and reading and is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Jen Laban

Early Childhood Teacher

Faith Morgan

Early Childhood Aide/Aftercare

Lori Spletzer

Early Childhood Aide

Mrs. Spletzer lives in Belmont with her husband, Bruce, and two boys, Nathan and Owen. She is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has worked in ISJ's Early Childhood Program since 2013. She enjoys books and the Detroit Tigers, and hopes to visit every MLB ballpark.

Heather Hall


Kate Ruffini


Mrs. Ruffini has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from GVSU and has worn many hats at ISJ over the last 20 years. She has been a classroom teacher, preschool aide, and substitute teacher. Currently, she is working in the office and tutoring students in math and reading. Mrs. Ruffini loves to drink coffee, read books, play soccer and travel with her husband and two kids. 

Pastor Craig Bickel

Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church

God has been so much better to me than I deserve.  I have been blessed to be the husband to Sharon, we have been blessed with three children who are amazing adults, and I wake up every morning new, forgiven, and loved by Jesus.   I was born and raised in Frankenmuth Michigan, served churches in Pensacola FL, Shelby Twp., MI and currently here in Grand Rapids.  Immanuel is an amazing family of faith, people who want to serve our city in sacrificial ways, and a congregation that wants to see 'God's Kingdom grow' among us.  Immanuel is wonderful also because we can team with St. James in sharing God's word, truth and love through ISJ Academy.  Two churches that know doing one thing, sharing Jesus with children is beautiful, and we do it together.  What are my dreams?  To meditate on scripture in the ancient churches of Ethiopia, to sing praise to God in Taize France, and to see my children committing to love and cherish their spouses.


 Pasor Glenn Schaeffer

 Pastor of St. James Lutheran Church

    Pastor Glenn Schaeffer was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada and has spent most of his ministry serving            God’s church in Canada.


    Pastor Schaeffer has been a child of God since June 18, 1961 when he was baptized as a three-month-old infant in the          name of the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Raised in a Christian home, Dr. Schaeffer has lived each day of          his life in the grace and forgiveness of God and to be able say, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in                  me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians          2:20)

    During Pastor Schaeffer’s years as a called missionary, pastor, or District leader, he has been involved in birthing several        churches; shepherding two congregations; and serving as the Mission Executive and District President of the Alberta-              British Columbia District (ABC District) of Lutheran Church – Canada. He is thrilled to be serving as pastor at St. James          church and school. Pastor Schaeffer enjoys developing, training, and sending Jesus’ followers as God’s missionary people      into their communities. 


    Pastor Schaeffer has a Ph.D. from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, in the field of Missions Studies                     (Missiology).  With this degree He has been privileged to serve the Lord in several ways (in addition to that listed above):

  • Serving as a sessional instructor at Concordia Lutheran Seminary (Edmonton) and at Concordia University College of Alberta (Edmonton) and has led tours (With his wife) to: Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria;

  • Teaching courses and/or leading retreats in Nicaragua, Thailand, Cameroon, and Rwanda;

  • Being a speaker at conferences and seminars; and by

  • Serving on numerous boards, such as, Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada, Lutherans for Life – Canada, and Canadian Lutheran World Relief. 


     His treasure, and the love of his life (aside from Jesus!), is his wife, Sandra. The Lord has granted them four children                (Nathanael, Christina, Joshua and Alicia); one son-in-law (Chris); and two grandchildren.

     Please feel free to contact Pastor Schaeffer if you require the services of a pastor. He can be reached by calling 616-363-        7718 (church) or



Pastor Thomas Gustafson

Discipleship Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church

Pastor Thomas is the Discipleship Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church. He is passionate about God’s people being life-long learners of the Word of God. Pastor Thomas loves seeing other people get excited talking and hearing about Jesus, especially when people learn what Jesus and the Word of God really teach! When He is not teaching Christian Doctrine at ISJ you can find him at a local coffee shop discipling and mentoring other Christians, spending time with his wonderful family, or checking out one of Grand Rapid’s professional sports teams (Go Whitecaps!). He has many, but one of his favorite bible verses comes from 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 – “One God and One Lord.” I can’t wait to see you at ISJ!

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