Erek Kooyman

Photo of Erek Kooyman


  • Michigan K-12 School Administrator Certification, Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, 2016 
  • M.Ed., Aquinas College, 2011 
  • BSW, Calvin University, 2002 


I first experienced teaching when I moved to Honduras and stepped into an eighth grade class room a few years after completing my undergraduate study.  There, I not only became fluent in Spanish, but I discovered a passion for education as a key means of pursuing equity.  

I began teaching in the U.S. as a bilingual math teacher in the Grand Rapids Public Schools, taking classes for teacher certification at the same time. I loved my students, and I loved teaching math. I loved being immersed in a culturally diverse community of dedicated bilingual students. I discovered that using formative assessment was critical to analyze how I was teaching, so that I could continuously adjust to the needs of my students.  

Later, as Principal of Congress Elementary School, I relied on similar student-centered practices to increase enrollment and foster a productive, holistic learning community. This neighborhood school was "diverse" in every way. We served with equal passion multilingual learners, students experiencing housing instability, students living with trauma, and students from generations of wealth. We focused on recruiting and retaining talented educators, forged countless community partnerships, established a robust parent network, and grew into a thriving community school.

What it's like to learn in my classroom

In my courses at Calvin University, my students and I explore the pedagogy of mathematics, general curriculum, instruction, assessment and teaching strategies for multilingual learners, as well as the social context, history, policies and economics of the education system in the United States. My past experiences coupled with students’ lived experiences provide rich and thoughtful discussion that help us to examine topics and identities in education through a critical lens. In addition to examining relevant theories and frameworks, I prioritize equipping teacher candidates with research-based core teaching practices through field instruction in diverse settings.

Professional experience

  • Principal, Congress Elementary School, 2015-2019
  • Dual-Language Math Teacher, Southwest Community Campus, 2006-2015
  • Math Teacher, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 2004-2005

Professional certifications

  • Michigan K-12 School Administrator Certificate 
  • Michigan Professional Teaching Certificate: K-8 All Subjects, 6-8 Mathematics, 7-12 Mathematics, 6-8 Social Studies
  • Michigan K-12 Bilingual Spanish Endorsement 

Professional services

  • KConnect 4-12 Core  Workgroup and Diverse Educators Align and Design Team Member (2021-Present)  
  • Grand Rapids Public Schools Strategic Plan Team Member (2021-2022) 

Learn more about Calvin's excellent faculty and learning environment by scheduling a campus visit.

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