The staff of Messiah Lutheran Preschool takes our mission to heart:

 To know Christ and to make Him known by providing young children with learning experiences within a Christ-centered environment.


Vonda Smestad

Mrs. Smestad has a passion for working with young children.  She earned her bachelors degree in education from Calvin College and her Early Childhood Endorsement from GVSU.  Vonda is currently in her 14th year working within a Preschool program.  She and her husband have raised four children ranging in age from 20 to 26.  Vonda enjoys family time, camping, softball, reading and walking her dog.  She is loving her time here at Messiah as our Fantastic Fours Teacher and Director.


Kensy Kaelin

Ms. Kensy, our Terrific Threes teacher, is a graduate of Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska where she majored in Early Childhood Education. This is her 9th year working in the Early Childhood field. She moved to Grand Rapids from Nebraska in the spring of 2018. Kensy says, “I absolutely love children, especially the relationships and bonds that are built between the children, myself and their parents. I feel it is the most rewarding field of work.” Her favorite hobbies include; attending Contemporary Christian music concerts, cooking, baking and attending bible study!


Sharon Winkel

Mrs. Winkel is our Fabulous Fours aide. She attended Calvin College and has been working in preschool and elementary classrooms for over 20 years. She loves bringing out the best in each child while exploring the amazing world God has created. Sharon’s bright smile and warm personality are a huge asset to our program. She and her husband enjoy traveling and have four children and 2 grandchildren.


Jessica Santa Clara

Ms. Jessica is our Terrific Threes Aide. She is a familiar face around Messiah as she has been a member here since childhood. Jessica says, “I believe that children are so precious and not only can they teach you many valuable lessons just by being themselves, they can also bless your life in many ways. I am thankful for the opportunity of being apart of their lives and watching them grow. It is an absolute treasure to love, laugh, and learn with the kids.” Some other things she loves to do when not working is taking care of her little cousins, traveling, meeting new people, playing her guitar or violin, skateboarding, playing video games, reading, and finding ways to be creative through drawing or writing.