Our Staff

Hank de Jong

Hank de Jong Executive Director

This amazing organization has been a part of my life since 2003. Initially I worked 15 hours a week from my basement while maintaining full-time employment at Mission Services in downtown Hamilton. This lasted a short period of time before funding was available for my position to be full-time.  I have seen the results of our organization first-hand by personally meeting many students in developing countries who have been touched by the Gospel through Christ-centred education. I am increasingly convinced that Christ-centred education is an incredible tool for transformation. 

Our vision is to see communities transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our mission (how we work towards that vision) is to advance Christ-centred education.  I appreciate this sharp focus.  We don't dig wells, or train Pastors, or get involved in micro-finance initiatives.  We leave that important work for others.  We desire to be experts in global Christ-centred education…and then partner with others who are also working towards the transformation of communities, both locally and globally.  

My primary role is to lead the staff in the direction that the Board of Directors has prayerfully set forward. I love working with the staff in an effective team context.  Building on my undergraduate degree from Redeemer University College, I completed my Master of Arts in Leadership from Trinity Western University in 2013.  These educational pursuits have been valuable building blocks for my leadership of this organization.  

Apart from my role at EduDeo Ministries, I serve as elder in my local church. I love my church.  I also serve as a Board member for the Canadian Christian Relief and Development Association (CCRDA) and am a member of the Board for the Foster Parents Association of the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society.  

My wife Michelle and I are blessed with four children and we have also been actively involved in fostering young children in our city for the past three years. For fun, I enjoy hockey and running…and watching the Leafs.  #nextyear

Email: hdejong@edudeo.com

Back to top

Phil Beck

Phil Beck Operations Director

I joined EduDeo Ministries in August 2012.  My wife, Stephanie, and I have a son: Elijah. Prior to joining EduDeo, my wife and I served as missionaries with Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) in Jos, Nigeria for seven years. For our first year in Nigeria, I taught Social Studies and Bible to middle school students at Hillcrest School and then transitioned into an administrative role as the CRWM Nigeria Team Leader. Prior to our time in Nigeria, I taught middle school for two years at John Knox Memorial Christian School in Fruitland, Ontario.

I am excited by the numerous opportunities to serve the Christian school community throughout Canada and also support the development of Christian schools globally. I see this role as a perfect blend of my teaching and mission experiences and desire to engage and walk alongside Christian school communities in Canada as we jointly learn about and promote Christian education throughout Christ’s kingdom.

If you are a Christian School teacher, administrator and/or parent in Canada who desires to learn more or become more fully engaged in Christian education globally in unique and meaningful ways through EduDeo Ministries, please feel free to contact me!

Email: pbeck@edudeo.com

Back to top

Uche Nweke

Uche Nweke International Partnership Director

I believe that education is one of the best gifts a society and the church can give to children, especially those children who are faced with a bleak future both spiritually and materially because of where they were born.  And when it is rooted in a biblical worldview, then, we are passing on to the next generation, the best gift that we can give and are contributing in the best way possible to the redemption of all things for God’s glory.

My desire is to contribute to EduDeo's mission of advancing Christ-centered education for Children worldwide, especially, vulnerable children. One of the things that increased my desire to serve at EduDeo is the sincere desire by EduDeo to do international ministry well; in ways that bring honour to God and with a posture of service to partners.

I joined EduDeo in January 2019 after eight years in sociolinguistic research, advocacy, and organizational relationship building in the bible translation ministry with SIL Nigeria, a partner organization of Wycliffe Bible Translators. I just completed an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, Scotland. I am from Nigeria but reside in Canada. I am married to Rachel and we have a daughter. For fun, I play ultimate frisbee and board games.

Email: unweke@edudeo.com

Back to top

Jonathan Horlings

Jonathan Horlings Innovation Director

As someone who has a passion for learning and the Gospel – I’m thrilled to join the EduDeo team as the Innovation Director. I’ve attended Christian schools my whole life, getting my B.A. in Theatre Arts and English Literature at Dordt College. I love storytelling in all its forms and look forward to exploring God’s world with you, the EduDeo community! God has great things in store for us, I’m sure, and I can’t wait to discover His plans.

I’m married to the beautiful Kimberley (yes, that one) and am proud father to four curious children, Sofie, Hallelujah, Melanie and Simon. If you have any brave new ideas for fundraising – feel free to call or email me (see below).

Email: jhorlings@edudeo.com

Back to top

Amy Hoogstad

Amy Hoogstad Controller (Part Time)

I joined EduDeo's Operations Team in March 2016. EduDeo has been a mainstay in my community for the past decade and as I was already somewhat acquainted with the work and mission, I was delighted to be able to join the team. Being able to work together with a close-knit team of skilled people with whom I share a worldview is very fulfilling. God is doing great things here!

I earned an Honours B.A. in Business from Redeemer University College in 2003.  While there, I also earned my MRS degree.  My husband Kevin and I live in the great city of Hamilton with our three children, a set of twins and a singleton, all born within 16 months.  I enjoy playing music with my children, growing food in our backyard A.K.A. urban homestead, and experimenting with traditional cooking. 

Email: ahoogstad@edudeo.com

Back to top

Ryan Geleynse

Ryan Geleynse Key Relationship Manager

I'm one of two Key Relationship Managers at EduDeo Ministries.  I love connecting with people and this role gives me the chance to listen and invest in our support community. 

I was first introduced to EduDeo in 2013, when I was hired for a two-week freelance videographer stint, visiting EduDeo partners in Ethiopia and South Sudan. Inspired by the work witnessed and the people met, I went back to school to shore up my education with an undergrad in International Development.  After a broad set of international and community development experiences, things came full circle and I found myself at EduDeo in 2017!

Outside of work, my wife, Amanda, our son, Oliver, and I love life in the city of Hamilton. Many of our close friends live here, meaning there is always a group around to hang - that's my all-time favourite thing. I love most any recreational sport, watching my Leafs and sharing about new spots in the city to eat. Talk bike riding, pizza, pop culture, board games, books, and extroversion with me. 

Email: rgeleynse@edudeo.com

Back to top

Hannah Moerman

Hannah Moerman Key Relationship Manager

I joined the EduDeo team as the Western Canada Key Relationship Manager in June 2017, thrilled to be a part of a team that desires to see transformation in all communities through the advancement of Christ-centred education. It’s an honour to work for an organization that works wholeheartedly, every day, to make that vision a reality. I’m privileged to be able to grow deeper in relationships with our donors, churches, and schools in Western Canada!

Before EduDeo, I went to Ryerson University, and graduated in April 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts and a minor in non-profit management. During that time, I travelled to Honduras twice and fell in love with the Honduran people, the Honduran coffee, and good, intentional international development as a whole. After graduating, I moved to Edmonton, where I worked for a local Christian social service agency. My husband and I love getting to call Edmonton home! (Go Oilers!)

In my spare time, I love exploring coffee shops, visiting the Edmonton Public Library, asking people about their morning routines, learning to design, and appreciating well placed semi-colons.

Email: hmoerman@edudeo.com

Back to top

John Huizinga

John Huizinga HANDS Coordinator

Coming to join the EduDeo Ministries Team has been an incredible opportunity to continue passionately in that which I strongly believe! After previously serving over 10 years in the Dominican Republic with another Christian organization, I can continue my desire in making a sustainable difference in people’s lives. Watching children grow to embrace education, taught through a Christ-centred perspective and then to radiate this comprehension within their families and communities, is inspiring! Better yet is when we can see so many of these precious creations, sharing this new found educational knowledge and experience with others. I first personally witnessed a child from an early primary class teaching her mother, who was illiterate, how to read. This in and of itself is truly a reason to be a part of the HANDS Team and subsequently the HANDS Team family. Making a lasting difference, one life, one family and one community at a time.

Being the HANDS Coordinator gives me, and all of us united, the ability to spread these lifechanging educational opportunities to people on both sides of the social and economic divide. As HANDS Team participants, we can all assist in making a lasting difference in these present lives that will span for this and generations yet to come. Instilling into these children of God, the ability to see past todays challenges, into tomorrows possibilities with a Christian perspective.

If this doesn’t seem rewarding enough, I enjoy this life adventure while spending time with my incredible wife Jane, our grown and growing children along with our 10 grandchildren. Life is good and our God is lovingly awesome!

Email: jhuizinga@edudeo.com

Back to top

Diane Stronks

Diane Stronks Walking Together Co-Leader (Part Time)

I am pleased to be part of EduDeo Ministries as a joint partner in the Walking Together program. My career has included being a high school educator, vice-principal, principal and Special Education liaison at Woodland Christian High School, Breslau, Ontario. I began my career as a Mathematics and Science teacher but after completing a Masters in Christian Education with a focus on Worldview, taught Media and Family Studies as well. After 27 years of teaching, I worked as the Executive Director of Edifide Christian Educators Association in Ancaster, Ontario. At Edifide, I served the Christian educators of Ontario and honed skills in Human Resources, Conflict Resolution and Restorative Practices.

I am passionate about young people and their learning, social justice, and the creation of thriving communities of learning. I believe that all of our choices as educators need to reflect our faith commitments and our beliefs about children. 

As my colleague Elco Vandergrift and I work with Christian educational leaders in the majority world, we feel privileged to be able to empower the organizations and leaders and educators of our sister Christian education associations. Creating opportunities for our partners to lead change in Christian education and to witness the power of the gospel as well as the gift of education to transform communities is a powerful vision. I have a dream where international Christian educators and Canadian Christian educators may be mutually blessed by connection and collaboration.

My husband Henry and I greatly enjoy our 4 children and their partners as well as our growing number of grandchildren.

Email: dstronks@edudeo.com

Back to top

Elco Vandergrift

Elco Vandergrift Walking Together Co-Leader (Part Time)

In 2016, I joined EduDeo after 34 years in Canadian Christian Education (21 years as a teacher, vice principal, and principal) in BC and Alberta. Prior to EduDeo I had served as Executive Director for the Prairie Centre for Christian Education (PCCE).

Over the last 2.5 years I have been able to serve as a Walking Together (WT) Program Co-Leader with my colleague Diane Stronks. My work with Diane has allowed the WT program to move into enhancing partner support that builds on the Biblical Worldview Foundations that had been strongly established by previous EduDeo leaders. Using the Biblical Worldview Foundations Model, the WT program now provides support for Partner Organizations (ex. organizational strategic planning) and Partner Leaders (ex. effective leadership strategies for implementing a Biblical Worldview in classrooms).

As this has been a shared position, I have been primarily involved in providing WT support to our partners in Africa. It has been exciting and humbling to work with our partners in Zambia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.

I live in Lacombe, Alberta with my life partner, Joanne. Joanne and I are blessed to have 3 wonderful daughters (Janelle, Justine, and Charissa) and are thankful that Daniel (son in-law) and Johanna (grand daughter) have joined our family.

I continue to be amazed at the people I work with (both our partner countries and the EduDeo staff) in this journey of shared learning. I am also thankful for the incredible support that so many have offered to provide quality education rooted in a Biblical worldview for children in developing countries. Thank you so very much!

Email: evandergrift@edudeo.com

Back to top

Jenna Cottrill

Jenna Cottrill Design & Communications Assistant (Part Time)

I was born and raised in the tiny fishing village of Pugwash, Nova Scotia (it’s a real place, I promise!) and moved to Kitchener to study Advertising and Marketing Communications at Conestoga College. After spending a year with EduDeo covering a maternity leave, I spent six months doing Communications for a malnutrition clinic in Haiti. Upon returning to Canada, I returned to EduDeo part-time, as their new Design & Communications Assistant. 

My life has been greatly impacted by receiving a quality education and even more by receiving the gift of the Gospel. On various trips to Haiti over the past number of years, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the importance of both. It was there that God placed a strong desire in my heart to use my creativity and passion to serve others. 

I enjoy road trips, hand-written notes, The Office, spending time with the people I love, and exploring whatever city I find myself in.

Email: jcottrill@edudeo.com

Back to top

Hannah Vermeer

Hannah Vermeer Administrative Assistant

Quality Christ-centred education has been instrumental in shaping my story, and I'm thrilled to be a part of an organization dedicated to advancing that education around the world. I come to EduDeo with a passion for stories and finding how each of ours fits perfectly into the greater story of the Gospel.

I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario and my love for this city keeps growing. I'm excited to be a part of EduDeo's commitment to see Hamilton's community transformed through local partnerships. I hold a degree in English Writing & Religion/Theology from Redeemer University as well as an Editing Certificate from Simon Fraser University.

I joined EduDeo in May 2017 as the Administrative Assistant, or the resident 'office ninja,' as I'm fondly known. I love serving behind the scenes and providing support for both our staff and international partners. On any given day, you’ll find me writing communications, welcoming visitors to the office, making travel plans, editing publications, applying for grants, and anything else you can imagine.

Outside of work, I enjoy crocheting, grammar, 70's & 80's music, and quoting movies with my family.

Email: hvermeer@edudeo.com

Back to top