Chandler, AZ – Valley Christian Schools’ Head of School, Dan Kuiper, has announced his retirement after 41 years of serving VCS, effective June 30, 2024. Troy Thelen ’03 has been unanimously selected by the Board of Directors to be Valley Christian Schools’ 10th leader and 2nd Head of School, effective July 1, 2024. Thelen, a VCS graduate (Class of 2003) with extensive leadership experience in the private sector and at Valley Christian, has been serving as the Assistant Head of School since 2020 after serving for six years as the school’s Director of Development.

As part of a long-planned succession strategy, Mr. Kuiper will continue to serve through the 2023-24 school year, working hand in hand with Mr. Thelen, the Board of Directors, and other VCS leaders to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. Mr. Kuiper informed the Board of his retirement plans more than two years ago, and it is with deep appreciation and boundless respect that the Board has affirmed his retirement following the 2023-24 academic year. Mr. Kuiper’s dedicated service at Valley Christian Schools across 41 years is unmatched in the school’s 42-year history.

During the 2022-23 academic year, the Board began an evaluation and verification process of Mr. Thelen, with agreement that an external search would commence if the Board was not able to enthusiastically appoint an internal candidate. Across numerous interviews, Mr. Thelen received staunch support as the next Head of School from every group that provided feedback, including current school leadership, department directors, teachers, parents, alumni, donors, and more. After much prayer, deliberation, and discussion, the Board prudently recognized that the most capable, qualified, and visionary successor to guide Valley Christian’s strong trajectory is a long-time servant and highly skilled leader within our own community. Growing leadership from within the school is an established best practice for private and Christian schools, and the unanimous approval of Mr. Thelen as the next Head of School is a definitive statement of the Board’s conviction of his ability to lead VCS.

Please join us in praising God for all that He has done at VCS in the past, all that He is doing today, and His provision in providing for what He will do in our future. And please join us in congratulating Mr. Kuiper, Mr. Thelen, and their families. Go, Trojans!

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