Head of School
BA, Psychology, The University of Texas at Dallas
MA, Biblical Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
MA, Counseling, Denver Seminary
My wife, Becky, and I have been married for thirty-four years, and we have four children: Alex, Ethan, Audrey, and Eliot.
Early on, I felt called to serve in some form of full-time ministry, so I pursued an MA in Biblical Studies as a foundation for ministerial work. I then pursued study and training as a counselor and earned an MA in Counseling. Upon completion of my formal education, I knew I wanted to work with children and families. I took a job as a fifth grade teacher believing it would be temporary and allow me to establish a counseling practice. One year of teaching led to two, and then I was asked to take on administrative duties; I became the headmaster of grammar school at The Covenant School in Dallas. After a few years, I was asked to be the head of school. I took the same role when we moved from Dallas to Boerne, Texas, in 2006. Next came my call to The Geneva School here in Winter Park where I started in 2020.
Looking back, I can clearly see how God was preparing me for my work in education; I can also see how he guided me to this school, in this city, at this time. While it is a challenging season, it is also a time to be grateful and full of wonder at what God is doing at our school and through our students, faculty and staff. I’m excited to witness all that God will accomplish. A Christian classical education sets Geneva students apart and provides them with an educational experience that not only informs but also shapes them for the rest of their lives.
I consider myself blessed to be able to lead as well as serve the teachers and coaches. It is my job to set them up for success: to ensure they have the necessary resources, to guard and honor their time so that they can commit themselves to their students, and to foster a culture that values learning and hard work while recognizing that students need to be enticed and encouraged rather than driven into becoming exemplary scholars, artists, and athletes. This is why I love the TGS tagline: “Inspiring students to love beauty, think deeply, and pursue Christ’s calling.”
Michael S. Beates
Chaplain and Director of Student Formation
BA, Clemson University
MDiv; STM., Biblical Theological Seminary
DMin, Reformed Theological Seminary Orlando
I remember when The Geneva School was an idea in the minds of the founding board of governors. It was a big idea, a God-sized vision far greater than the capabilities of that fledgling group. My family got involved that first year, and our eldest son Jeb entered third grade as a charter student. In fact, we had children at Geneva straight through the first fifteen years until our daughter, Abbie, graduated in 2008. Over the years, my wife Mary and I have served as custodians, curricular consultants, soccer coach, field trip drivers, substitute teachers, lunchtime aid, and more. Suffice it to say, the “Big Idea” of Christian classical education has left an indelible impact on my family. So it was with deep gratitude to God’s kind providence, I began to teach at Geneva in 2008 and began assisting with the administration of the school as dean of students in 2011.
Our family’s journey over the last thirty-some years has included serving with Young Life in Buffalo, NY, adult Christian education at Ligonier Ministries, college and seminary teaching (at Belhaven University in Orlando, Florida Southern College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and most recently Reformation Bible College in Sanford) and of course parenting numerous children (natural, adopted, and foster). I believe all these experiences have equipped me well to serve Christ and Geneva’s student community. I have watched with deep appreciation Geneva’s journey toward maturity and consider it a privilege to serve here. In the classroom it is my great joy to teach the truths of the Christian faith to seventh and eighth grade students. I strive as dean of students to mentor students toward resting in the hope I have in Christ and toward the passion for truth that I have received from so many others over the years (2 Tim. 2:2).
Peter Vande Brake
Director of the Upper School
BA, Calvin College
MDiv, Union Theological Seminary (Richmond, VA)
PhD, Calvin Theological Seminary
Although I am new to The Geneva School this year, I have known about it for the last fifteen years and consider it to be one of the best Christian classical schools in the country. I am excited to join the school and work with the excellent faculty that has been assembled here. The aim of Christian classical education is not merely to give a student knowledge, but to teach young people to act in accordance with the good that they know. The Geneva School is in the business of nurturing souls and cultivating virtue within the broader context of the Christian faith. This is an extraordinary calling, and one that I am happy to embrace.
I have served in several positions of leadership over the last twenty years, both in Christian classical schools and within national organizations that have been formed to promote the movement. I have worked with thought leaders on the board of the Society for Classical Learning as well as the CiRCE Institute. I have also consulted with several heads of school in the United States and Canada to encourage them and to offer them ideas, systems, and practices to make their schools better and stronger. I look forward to serving The Geneva School this year as director of the upper school.
Director of Grammar School
BS, Social Science Education, University of Central Florida
MA, Elementary Education, University of Central Florida
When I arrived at Geneva in 2015, it was clear that God had set me on a path so that this school would be my ultimate teaching destination. Teaching is a passion of mine and I longed for a place where I could teach to both hearts and minds in an environment full of God’s love and grace. I found that at Geneva.
Our classrooms are full of singing, chanting, discussing, problem-solving, reading, and wondering. Our teachers’ knowledge of the curriculum, enthusiastic storytelling abilities, and the capacity they have to speak love and truth into children is truly inspiring.
Every single night before we go to sleep, my family gives thanks to the Lord for how Geneva impacts our lives: our dinner-time conversations are transformed into meaningful dialogues, the songs we sing together are truly excellent, our hearts have been tuned to what is good and true and beautiful, and we are daily challenged to love God with all of our hearts and our neighbor as ourselves.
It was an honor to serve both students and parents over the past few years as a teacher, and my heart is full of gratitude to be able to continue those relationships as director of grammar school.
Director of Early Childhood
BA, Elementary Education/Psychology, Bethel University
My childhood was spent in Minnesota before planting a church in 1984 in Hudson, WI with my pastor/husband, Gregg Heinsch. We were high school sweethearts who married in 1981 and have three grown and married children (Luke, Leah, and Taylor). Moving from the snow to the sun in 2005, I continued my teaching career at TGS in kindergarten. Two of our children graduated from The Geneva School (2006/2010), and each of our children and their spouses are involved in full-time ministry. In 2011, I became Geneva’s director of early childhood. Spending free time building family memories as a mom and grandma brings me much joy.
I believe that the effectiveness of Geneva’s early childhood program lies in the blended strengths of the entire team of dedicated and gifted professionals who love Jesus Christ and children. God always prepares and assembles complementary groups of his servants when he intends to do something extraordinary. Evidence of his working here is the source of my optimism about this shared adventure of learning.
The Irish poet William Butler Yeats tells us that, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” In the early childhood program at The Geneva School, we seek to fan the flickers of those incipient yearnings to learn. A lifelong love of learning is most likely to develop when the earliest experiences of a child’s education are positive, rewarding and accentuated with wonder. Therefore we are committed to a curriculum that is intricately woven and integrated across all subject areas while being careful to interject fun in the process of personal growth. After all, we are not merely dispensing knowledge, but helping to develop children who taste the joys of being the object of God’s love in Christ, residents in a world resounding with his glory, and partners in the advance of his kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria
Director of Advancement
BA, Furman University
My husband and I have known about The Geneva School from the beginning, supported from a distance while watching the school establish deep roots, and joined the community as parents in 2010. The evidences of God’s hand of provision upholding the school are numerous; it is an honor to be used as an instrument to help accomplish the work that he has called the school to do.
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea… – Antoine de Saint Exupery
The role of the advancement office is, as its name suggests, to press an idea forward. So, we want to teach everyone we meet to yearn for (and understand) Christian classical education. I love the opportunities I have to introduce new people to the school, grow our own community’s understanding and love for the mission of the school, and increase the support that brings The Geneva School’s mission to fruition. God has called each of us to steward the resources that he has given to us—time, talent, and treasure. The Geneva School has also been called to steward the resources entrusted to it—financial and human. The joy produced from giving of my own resources and watching others do the same so that students might benefit from an education that strives to produce virtuous scholars cannot be underestimated.
As the school matures and grows, the need for garnering support has also grown. Seven years as a development officer at Rollins College provided excellent experiences to learn the tools of philanthropy, marketing, and communications.
Director of Admission
BSM, Tulane University
MBA, Rollins College
My husband and I have been a part of the Geneva community since our oldest Emily (’20) started kindergarten in 2007. Since then, her three siblings (Kate ’22, Caroline ’26, and Baker ’27) have joined her. As a member of the board of governors since 2014, I have seen firsthand the passion and energy each faculty and staff member has in assuring that the students learn to love beauty, think deeply, and pursue Christ’s calling.
With over twenty years of experience working in sales in the pharmaceutical industry with Merck, Boston Scientific and Amgen, one of my true joys is meeting new people and developing relationships. As the director of admission at Geneva, I love getting to know each family and helping them on their journey to select a school that will instill their children with a love of learning and a knowledge of Christ. Aristotle states “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Geneva’s focus on the heart and the mind is what drew me to Geneva in 2007, and it is what keeps me here.
Chief Business Officer
BS, Finance and Management, University of Florida
MAcc, Florida Atlantic University
I joined Geneva’s administration team in May 2019 and am delighted to serve this organization by applying my 20+ years of finance and accounting experience. My career first began in the banking industry where I analyzed various financial reports of publicly traded corporations, private for-profit businesses, not-for-profit agencies, as well as individuals to develop lending, cash management, and investment solutions. I later joined a church extension fund to manage the daily financial operations of the organization as well as prepare financial information for internal and external users. The greatest joy was helping this non-profit financial ministry achieve greater efficiencies by leveraging technology to streamline financial processes and provide investors with online banking options.
As Geneva’s chief business officer, I’m able to apply my experience in financial management, internal controls, and lean business operations to an organization that is committed to being good stewards of its resources. It’s an honor to partner with an organization coram Deo whereby all that is given in the presence of God is wisely managed for the glory of God. Sound fiscal policies and procedures coupled with humbled gratefulness for God’s resources will provide The Geneva School sustainability for generations to come. The sustainability of The Geneva School is important to me not just from a professional standpoint but as a mom who desires to pass down her love of learning to her two boys.
The Geneva School is a tremendous blessing both professionally and personally. It’s an honor to serve aside such talented and accomplished faculty and staff and to offer my experience in business to help the school make decisions that will have a positive effect for years to come. Personally, my husband and I are delighted to be a part of the Geneva family. We’re able to watch our boys be surrounded by faculty and staff who pour into them the love of learning. I believe that providing children with a love of learning rooted in Truth is the best inheritance they could ever receive for it gives them the tools to understand, discern, and choose wisely.