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Dordt College News

Dordt College hires new faculty for upcoming year

May 21, 2009

Several new professors will join the faculty at Dordt College for the start of the 2009-2010 academic year.

Dr. Jeff Ploegstra will teach in the biology department. He has a Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Iowa, where he also earned his M.S. in biology. Ploegstra graduated with a B.A. in biology from Dordt College in 1999.

Dr. Ploegstra has been teaching science at Kennedy Senior High School in Cedar Rapids, as well as working as a research assistant at the University of Iowa on a National Science Foundation (NSF) project. He and his wife, Sara (Dordt Class of 2000) have one son, Benjamin.

Professor Bobbi Sutherland will teach in the history department. She has been a teaching fellow at Yale University while working on her Ph.D. degree in Medieval Studies. She has also been a lecturer at Southern Connecticut University.

Sutherland also earned a M.A and a M.Phil. at Yale University, and a B.A. from Calvin College, with majors in European history, English, and Latin, a minor in philosophy, and honors in history and Latin.

Dr. Kathleen Van Tol will teach in the education department. She has a Ph.D. in special education from Western Michigan University; a M.A. in teaching and a B.S. in biology from Calvin College; and an endorsement in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from Grand Valley State University. She was the educational support services coordinator, taught English language learners, and served as curriculum director at Holland Christian High School in Holland, MI.

Professor Dawn Wolthuis will teach computer science half-time at the college. She has a M.S. in mathematics from Michigan State and a B.A. in math from Calvin College. Wolthuis is the Managing Partner of Snupnow LLC, a dot com start-up in Sioux Center that is owned in part by her consulting company, Tincat Group, Inc. She was previously a director of software development for Datatel and director of computer services at Calvin College.

In 2004, Wolthuis also filled in for one year in Dordt’s math and computer science department. The wife of Thomas Wolthuis, a theology professor at Dordt, the couple has two daughters, Hope (Meador) and Shanna.

Valorie Zonnefeld will be an instructor of mathematics next year at Dordt. She has a Master of Education degree from Dordt, and earned her B.A. in math education at Dordt in ’97, with an endorsement in K-12 athletic coaching. She also has a middle school endorsement from the University of Sioux Falls.

Zonnefeld has most recently taught algebra and coached volleyball and soccer at Western Christian High School in Hull, and served as an adjunct instructor in mathematics and volleyball coach at Dordt. She’s also taught at Sanborn Christian and Calvin Christian School in Escondido, CA. She and her husband, Ryan, have three children and live in Sioux Center.

Dr. Ryan Zonnefeld will teach in the education department. He recently earned his Ph.D. from Iowa State University with a major in education and specialization in educational leadership. He earned his M.A. in educational administration at the University of South Dakota., and his B.A. at Dordt (’97) majoring in education and K-12 music education, with a K-12 athletic coaching endorsement. He also received a middle school endorsement at the University of Sioux Falls.

Zonnefeld was the Director of Assessment and Learning Enhancement and an instructor of education at Northwestern College in Orange City. He has been an administrator at Hull Christian and Sanborn Christian schools, and a teacher at Sheldon Christian, Sanborn Christian, and Calvin Christian in Escondido, CA.

The fall semester begins on Wednesday, August 26, at Dordt College.

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