Tempe Campus (K-8)

September 25, 2023: Junior High Building Progress

September 25, 2023

The construction on the junior high building on the Tempe campus is nearing completion! This $2.0 million renovation – funded as part of the purchase of this property – transformed this 23,000 square-foot building from 22 Sunday school rooms to 14 well-equipped school classrooms. The walls are built, the flooring is in, the paint is dry, the sprinkler system is fully operational, and the final cabinets are being installed, and we can’t wait for you to see it!

Please join us Thursday night at 6:00pm for the Tempe Campus Dedication, right before Night of Worship at 7:00pm. We intentionally left the hallway floors unfinished so you can join hundreds of others in the VCS community in writing our names, favorite Scripture verses, and prayers for VCS in the hallway during this event. Please join us for a special time!

July 14, 2023: Junior High Building Progress

July 14, 2023

Construction on interior walls of the junior high classroom building began just a few days after we officially acquired our new Tempe Campus. The shell of this building will remain completely intact, as no supporting walls needed to be moved, meaning construction on these 14 classrooms is moving very quickly! As a reminder, the plan is for 7th and 8th grade to meet in alternate classrooms for Q1, but to move into this newly renovated building on Monday, October 16.

June 22, 2023: Sun Valley Acquisition

June 22, 2023

Yesterday (June 21, 2023) was a historic day in VCS history.

When VCS announced we’d be expanding to grades 6-8 on April 20, 2017, we knew immediately that, before long, we’d need to find a permanent home for these grade levels. The junior high campus was launched the following year, in the fall of 2018, and God was gracious in blessing us with a wonderful partner and landlord, Gethsemane Church, which housed our junior high for five years.

Later that school year, we were unexpectedly presented with the opportunity to expand to elementary grades, and in the fall of 2019, VCS began serving grades K-12 across three separate campuses.

God was also gracious in providing a beautiful campus to own immediately for grades K-6. Within three years, we outgrew the elementary campus, and this past year, we began partnering more significantly with Sun Valley Community Church to host our upper elementary grades, 5-6, on their campus.

As we announced this past September, VCS was then presented with the opportunity to purchase the entire 16-acre Sun Valley campus in Tempe, which will now serve as our permanent K-8 campus.

Today, it is with great anticipation for our future and praise to our God that we announce to you that, as of yesterday… VCS now officially owns this campus!

Since September, we have been working diligently with Sun Valley Community Church, Maricopa County, the City of Tempe, and numerous other entities to finance this purchase, along with the school’s other existing financial commitments, through a municipal bond. Our leadership team, alongside our Board of Directors, has worked tirelessly to pull together this complex, but mission-critical transaction, all so that we can do one thing: equip students to be culture changers for Christ.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”
Psalm 127:1a

May 31, 2023: Almost there - Tempe Campus Acquisition Nearing Completion

May 31, 2023VCS Fencing to be installed on the new campus. Pictured in the back of a truck waiting to be unloaded.

Earlier this past school year, we announced the acquisition of the 16-acre Sun Valley Church Campus in Tempe and are thrilled to announce that we are in the homestretch of the acquisition. We are filled with thankfulness as Sun Valley Community Church has been great to work with throughout the process. Please continue to join us in prayer over the final details for a smooth and swift closure on the property.

As we look forward, we are similarly excited that the security fence for the Tempe campus is already in the process of being fabricated and will be installed as soon as we officially own the property. In fact, some of the pieces have already arrived and are awaiting installation. THANK YOU to all of our donors at the 2022 Legacy Auction and during the 2022 Year-End Campaign for supporting this vital element of security for the new campus.

We will be sharing more details on the new Tempe campus and plans for next school year as soon as we are able. In the meantime, please continue to pray and to praise God for this great opportunity!

September 25, 2022: Future of Valley Christian’s Elementary and Junior High Campuses

September 25, 2022

Dear VCS family,

It is with great excitement that we share the future of Valley Christian’s elementary and junior high campuses with you.

A spirit of collaboration and support is a hallmark of our Christian faith. For five years, our junior high grade levels have been meeting at one of our longtime feeder schools and now a partner church, Gethsemane Church. And four years ago, we were able to purchase our elementary campus from one of our other longtime feeder schools, Bethany Christian School. Today, we could not be more excited to tell you about the next phase of collaboration and support with another Christian ministry.

Since opening the elementary campus in 2019, Sun Valley Community Church has been a wonderful partner to us. We use their entrance and parking lot for pickup and dropoff, their chapel building for our weekly chapels, and their worship center for our Christmas and spring plays. For this school year, they have even been generous in allowing us to rent additional space to house our 5th and 6th grade classrooms as we continue to serve more families. And now, we are excited to tell you about the ultimate example of collaboration between Valley Christian Schools and Sun Valley Community Church.

Valley Christian Schools is purchasing the 16-acre Sun Valley campus in Tempe, which will serve as our permanent K-8 campus, effective next school year (2023-24).

As many of you know, Valley Christian Schools started on Sun Valley’s Tempe campus in 1982 when it was known as Bethany Community Church. We couldn’t be more thrilled that grades K-8 will now call this campus their permanent home. We are also grateful that Sun Valley will continue to serve the Tempe area; visit their website to read more from SVCC.

Please join us in praising God for His provision, for SVCC’s partnership, and for the students, families, faculty, staff, administration, and board at Valley Christian Schools, that we may all work together to equip students to be culture changers for Christ.

1st Quarter 5-8 Campus Map

Tempe Campus Announcement

September 2022

Meet the K-8 Leadership Team for 2023-24

Dan Johnson

K-8 Principal

Sarah Snedeker

5-8 Vice Principal

Charmain Thorneycroft

K-4 Vice Principal

Dan Johnson Bio

Dan Johnson was born and raised in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. After high school, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps as an infantryman with the 1st Marine Division in California (Camp Pendleton), which included deployments around the globe. These years provided challenges that strengthened leadership, pride in his country, and most importantly, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Post Marine Corps, Dan traded the sub-zero Wisconsin winters for sunny Arizona, graduating from Arizona State (B.A.History/Sociology, MA in Secondary Ed.) and Northern Arizona (MA Ed. Leadership). He began a career in education, teaching U.S. history and government, while also coaching athletes for over a decade in football, wrestling and track & field. This was followed by 11 years as a school administrator in Gilbert. First, as an Assistant Principal/Athletic Director, then eight years as a Junior High Principal. Dan was blessed to join the VCS community this year, where he currently serves as a high school US history teacher.

He is married to his wife, Nicole, and has two sons who attend Valley Christian’s elementary campus. Outside of campus, Dan enjoys being active, reading, watching football/baseball, and attending church services with his family. A great many evenings (and weekends!) are lovingly spent both coaching and watching his competitive sons, who are competing in athletics every season of the year.

Dan and his family are blessed beyond measure by the Lord’s path in bringing them to the VCS family. He is committed to working with the VCS community in continuing our mission of delivering academic excellence, facilitating spiritual growth, and building lifelong community, as we equip our students to serve as culture changers for Christ.

Dan Johnson will serve under the leadership of VCS Head of School, Dan Kuiper.

Sarah Snedeker Bio

Sarah Snedeker has worked in both private and public Education for 25 years. Having grown up in Upstate New York, Sarah attended Houghton College to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She and her family lived in Boston for several years before moving to Arizona seven years ago, where she attended ASU, receiving a Graduate Degree in Educational Leadership. She has a wide range of experiences; after starting her career teaching in both elementary and middle school classrooms, she gained further experience as a Director of Education in a tutoring center, a Director of Childcare at a large church in Boston, and then a Dean of Students for a K-8 school in the Kyrene school district. She is passionate about building strong relationships with families and creating a school environment that is both unapologetically Christian and academically rigorous.

Sarah and her husband, Benjamin, met in high school and have been married for 22 years. They have one daughter, Julia, and two sons, Owen and Wil. The Snedekers are avid Red Sox fans and love playing games, traveling, camping and watching movies together. They have two dogs, one bird, one tortoise, and five chickens. They love gardening and also enjoy hiking together, so you might see them on South Mountain if you are ever there yourself. They are very grateful to be part of the Valley family. Go Trojans!

Sarah will serve under the leadership of Principal Dan Johnson.

Charmain Thorneycroft Bio

Charmain Thorneycroft followed her grandmother’s footsteps into education, knowing from an early age she would someday become an educator just like her.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at the University of Minnesota at Mankato and soon started her teaching career in Christian schools. For more than 20 years, Charmain has made it her passion to point young minds to Jesus while teaching them both academic and life lessons in the classroom.

While raising her three children, Mrs. Thorneycroft stepped away from teaching and was able to participate in their education by serving on the governing board at their Christian school. Years later, that same school board appointed her as an interim principal during a time of leadership transition.

Charmain has served on several ACSI accreditation teams offering support to local Christian schools working through the accreditation process. The reward for helping schools work through this process is one that she believes to be extremely valuable.

Currently, Charmain is serving VCS as the K-6 Vice Principal overseeing the middle school expansion to the Sun Valley campus. Daily she enjoys multiple opportunities to encourage and support the teachers as well as the students.

Charmain and her husband, Lee, have three grown children and enjoy frequent visits to California where their children all currently live.

Charmain will serve under the leadership of Principal Dan Johnson.

Learn more about this news

FAQs: Big Picture

What is happening with the 14 acres south of the high school campus?

Originally, we believed the purchase of this 14-acre land worked out perfectly so that we could build our K-8 on this campus, and we closed on this land in April of 2019. Since then, we’ve been able to lease this property to another organization for more than we pay for it each month, allowing us to be good stewards in the meantime. After learning that building on this land would ultimately be cost-prohibitive, we pivoted to purchasing the new Tempe campus. The sale of this 14 acres is being used to acquire the SVCC Tempe property. 

Will Sun Valley continue to meet on this campus?

Yes. Sun Valley has been a great landlord to us, and now we expect them to be a great tenant, as well. SVCC will be leasing space back from VCS until they are ready to move to their new campus. This timeline will be shared once it is identified.

What is going to happen to the current elementary building?

We will continue utilizing the well-equipped K-4 side of campus. We continue to assess how each current and potential building fits into the master plan of both the Chandler and Tempe campuses.

What is the current capacity for K-8, and what is the long-term enrollment goal?
For 2023-24, VCS will not be expanding our capacity. Instead, we will continue offering three sections of each grade level, K-8; this is a capacity of 75 students (3 sections, 25 students/section) per grade. The long-term plan of the school is to serve four sections of each grade level, or 100 students per grade. We are currently evaluating our campus capacity and demand for a 4th and final section of each grade.
Please note that four sections per grade level is the maximum number of students we intend to admit. The long-term vision of VCS is to educate 100 students in each grade K-8, along with approximately 600 students at the high school, for a total K-12 student population of 1,500 on our current campuses.
How large is the new campus?

The current elementary campus is 3.4 acres and 31,000 square feet of building space. The newly acquired campus is 16.4 acres and more than 91,000 square feet of building space. Collectively, the K-8 will sit on ~20 acres with ~122,000 square feet of building space.

What did the process of finding a new property entail?

Finding a permanent home for our K-8 grade levels has been a long but obviously fruitful process. Praise be to God! When we signed our initial lease with Gethsemane Church for five years, we knew that we’d need to find a permanent home in 2023. A year later, in 2019, we were able to purchase the 14-acre property just south of the high school campus, and we had initial visions of a 33-acre campus in Chandler that would house our entire K-12. Since that time, we worked diligently on a master plan alongside architects, general contractors, the City of Chandler, and more, before finally coming to the realization that building on the 14 acres in Chandler would be more than a bit cost-prohibitive at more than $60 million. As we strive to be good stewards of God’s blessings on VCS, and armed with that information, we began pursuing other options in early 2021. A team made up of Board members, administration, parents, and friends of VCS spent 18 months searching for a new property that would best help us to equip students to be culture changers for Christ, with long-term sustainability in mind. In 2022, God presented us with the opportunity to purchase the Sun Valley Tempe property, and we praise God that we’ll be able to move our K-8 grades to this sprawling campus for half the expected price of building on the 14 acres in Chandler.

What if we have additional questions for or about Sun Valley Community Church?

Sun Valley shared their campus announcement simultaneously, and has shared occasional updates since then. Visit their website or any of their social channels at the links below.


Will VCS begin to offer preschool?

We are not currently planning to open a preschool. That said, with this newly acquired land, we are assessing our entire academic program and are open to God’s leading.

How does this change the Impact Fund announced at the 40th Anniversary?

Very little, if any. In fact, part of the Impact Fund includes funds for future expansion and kickstarting the new K-8 campus. We encourage interested donors to give to the VCS Impact Fund as a whole, and donors with a specific interest in supporting this K-8 campus have the ability to do so at valleychristianaz.org/Impact.

What if I bought a brick during the Buy-A-Brick Campaign?

When we were running the Buy-A-Brick Campaign in 2021, we fully anticipated building the 14-acre campus south of the high school. This is why we “pitched” this campaign as “paving the way to the future home of the elementary and junior high campuses.” That said, we are committed to honoring the spirit of this campaign, which is why we are going to be duplicating every brick that was purchased during this campaign and installing this second set of bricks on our new K-8 campus. We will likely end up running a second Buy-A-Brick Campaign for those who want to participate in this opportunity on the new campus, but if you purchased a brick during the 2021 campaign, you will have your specialized brick installed both on our high school campus (the final location is still being determined) and on our new K-8 campus (location TBD).

Will this impact the fundraising goal for the Valley Impact Center on the high school campus?

There are currently no plans to change anything that was already planned on the high school campus. We aim to be good stewards of the resources God has provided to us, and we will continue to evaluate the needs on each of our campuses to best support all students.

Will this impact the fundraising goal for the Valley Impact Center on the high school campus?

There are currently no plans to change anything that was already planned on the high school campus. We aim to be good stewards of the resources God has provided to us, and we will continue to evaluate the needs on each of our campuses to best support all students.

Are you building any other buildings on campus?
With nearly 100,000 square feet under roof, we do not need to build any additional buildings on this campus in the short-term.
  • The junior high building is currently organized as 21 smaller classrooms, but will be repurposed to 14 well-equipped classrooms.
  • We will continue to use the “A” building on the south end of campus similarly this year to how we used it this past year, with modifications likely coming in the future.
  • The two buildings on the east side of campus (buildings “F” and “G”) will be renovated to include four well-equipped classrooms in each; these will become the primary classrooms for upper elementary (5th and 6th grade).
  • The smaller chapel building (“H”) will likely be modified in 2024.
More will be shared on all of these plans as they are determined.

FAQs: Day-to-Day

Will the capacity for class sizes increase for grades K-8?
For 2023-24, VCS will not be expanding our capacity. Instead, we will continue offering three sections of each grade level, K-8; this is a capacity of 75 students (3 sections, 25 students/section) per grade. The long-term plan of the school is to serve four sections of each grade level, or 100 students per grade. We are currently evaluating our campus capacity and demand for a 4th and final section of each grade.
Please note that four sections per grade level is the maximum number of students we intend to admit. The long-term vision of VCS is to educate 100 students in each grade K-8, along with approximately 600 students at the high school, for a total K-12 student population of 1,500 on our current campuses.
How will this affect tuition costs?

We do not anticipate this acquisition will impact our tuition costs. A portion of each student’s tuition funds the mortgage or rent on each of our campuses. VCS owns our current elementary campus and will own this expanded campus, and VCS currently pays rent to Gethsemane to use their facilities. Historically, VCS has increased tuition between 3-7% each year in order to compensate our incredible teachers and staff, and to continue funding our outstanding and growing programs, and we anticipate continuing to do so.

Will a playground be created on the new campus?

We are grateful that there are already two existing playgrounds on the K-8 campus (one in our current facility, one in the new facility), and multiple green areas for students.

Will VCS continue to offer transportation to and from the different campuses?

Yes. VCS is grateful to be one of very few Christian schools to offer bus transportation to our families. We are currently evaluating pickup and dropoff times to/from our dropoff location in Gilbert. Any news and updates about our 23-24 transportation will be shared at valleychristianaz.org/transportation.

How will this acquisition impact start and end times and bell schedules?

We are already evaluating start and end times, bell schedules, and any other scheduling impacts. Dropping from three completely separate campuses to two will no doubt be helpful in our goal of aligning schedules as closely as possible.

How do you anticipate addressing security on this larger campus?

Security and safety have been and will always be the highest priorities for VCS. There will be a fence around all of our classroom buildings on both sides of the campus. The K-4 buildings are already fully fenced in, and the 5-8 buildings will be completely fenced in before school begins in August. The grass area on the north side of campus will not be fenced, but security measures will be in place whenever this area is being utilized.

How will VCS provide athletic support for grades 7 and 8?

It’s important for VCS to maintain our high standards for athletics at the 7th and 8th grade level. In the short term, we are currently working with Gethsemane to lease their gymnasium, will continue using outside athletics facilities, and will begin using some of the field space already existing on the SV campus. In the long term, we are beginning to master plan this entire campus and are considering a gymnasium and additional fields on campus.

How much interaction will there be between all the grades at the K-8?

Having all of our K-8 students on one shared campus provides some incredible opportunities. While there are clear benefits to having students separated on the campus based on grades levels for core classes, there will also be great opportunities for older students to engage younger students and for the entire K-8 to spend time together. This may include, but is not limited to, our academic programs (i.e. reading buddies), spirit week, field week, and other areas. We are excited for the great opportunities this will provide!

Where will chapels be held?

All K-8 chapels will be held in the large auditorium on the NE end of campus. As before, parents are encouraged and invited to attend!

VCS 5-8 Campus Preparation Volunteers

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