Bethel Lutheran Church and School


Bethel’s Teaching Staff

  • Proclaim God’s Word as the source of wisdom and knowledge.
  • Proclaim God’s Word as the source of wisdom and knowledge.
  • Portray teaching as a God given calling and ministry.
  • Promote educational excellence as an expression of Christian commitment.
  • Preserve our Christian heritage and values through education.
  • Partner with church and parents.
Degrees: Bachelor of Science majoring in Elementary Education and Secondary Social Studies Education from Martin Luther College (2016) Teaching Experience: 2016-2022 - Bethel Lutheran School grades 3-5 2022-Present - Bethel Lutheran School principal & grades 6-8   Background: Mr. Thooft was born in Marshall, Minnesota. He attended Samuel Lutheran School from Kindergarten through 8th grade and Marshall Senior High School for grades 9-12. Mr. Thooft studied to be a teacher at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota graduating in 2016 with a double major in Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Education. Mr. Thooft met his wife, Kathryn (Marquardt) while at MLC and were married in the summer of 2016. Upon graduation, Mr. Thooft was assigned to Bethel. Mr. Thooft has two children, his son Elisha and daughter Lydia. He enjoys sports (cheering for his Minnesota teams) and spending time outside when he can.
Degrees: Bachelor of Science in Education
  • Silver Lake College 1989
  • Dr. Martin Luther College 1990
Mastor of Arts in Learning Disabilities from Madonna University 1998     Teaching Experience:  1991 Hope Lutheran Church and Nursery School  Ontario, Cnanada Childcare 1991-2002 Lola ParkLutheran School  Redford, MI; K-4 2002-2009 Trinity Lutheran School, Caledonia,WI Grades 2-4 2009 Gloria Dei Lutheran Preschool, Grand Blanc, MI Pre K3/Pre K4 2010-2011 Great Beginnings Christian Child Care and Kindergarten Saginaw, MI  Young Infant, Pre K3, and school age 2011- Present Bethel Lutheran School Bay City, MI  Director and Pre K3/Pre K4   Background: Mrs. Virant was born and raised in Wisconsin.  Her teaching experiences have taken her to Canada, Michigan, and Wisconsin. She is married to Mark.  Activities Mrs. Virant enjoys, include walking with her husband and golden retriever, spending time with family, playing piano, reading, home decorating,and lawncare.  

Degrees/Education: Bachelor of Science majoring in Elementary Education and emphasis in Early Childhood from Martin Luther College (2004)

Background: After completing my degree I married Pastor Killinger. We raised our four children for nine years out in Martin, SD. While raising my family in South Dakota, I also worked as lead teacher at Little Lambs Daycare, volunteered at the public school as remedial and classroom aide, and taught Sunday School. The Lord lead our family to Gibbon, MN where I where I taught as a 3 and 4 year old preschool teacher, main sub for the Martin Lutheran College Early Learning Center ages between infant to 5, emergency taught kindergarten, and assisted in coaching cheerleading. Now my family has moved back to Michigan where my husband (from Sebewaing) and I (from Hemlock) grew up. I am assistant coach to girls basketball, coach cheerleading, and helped in the preschool room prior to completing my first full year as kindergarten teacher at Bethel Lutheran School. 

I enjoy: 
  • Being a helper
  • Activities with family/friends
  • Cookies and ice cream 
Hello, Bethel Lutheran! My name is Kaitlyn Rodmyre, and I am so excited to have the blessing of serving your school as the 1st and 2nd grade teacher. My family lives in Washington state, where I attended Holy Trinity Lutheran for grade school and Evergreen Lutheran High School in Tacoma, WA. During early schooling, I was involved with volleyball, cheerleading, and track for sports, journalism and yearbook.When in Washington, I enjoy spending time at home with my family and friends, including my four siblings (Lucas, Sam, Levi, Hannah) parents Jennifer and Eric, 3 grandparents, and other family members. For the past 4 years, I have been studying Elementary Education at Martin Luther College, with a minor in English. In my free time, I enjoy being by the ocean, viewing or hiking on the nearby Mountains, crocheting, watching movies, reading and writing.

Degrees/Education: B.S. Elementary Education, Martin Luther College, 2002 M.A. Applied Linguistics, Old Dominion University, 2005

Teaching Experience: 2005-2016 Newport News Public Schools in Virginia 2016-Present at Bethel Lutheran School

Background: Mrs. Friske is the third and fourth grade teacher at Bethel. Prior to this year, she has been teaching first and second grade at Bethel since 2016. Before that she lived in Newport News, VA where she taught in the public school for 11 years. She attended Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN for her undergraduate studies and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA for her graduate studies. She is married to Nick Friske and has three sons, Connor, Ian, and Gavin. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, camping, gardening, crocheting and playing piano and organ. She also directs the adult choir at Bethel.

Degrees:  Bachelor of Science majoring in Elementary Education and Secondary Physical Education with a Minor in Coaching from Martin Luther College (2018) Teaching Experience:
  • 2018-2022: Divine Savior Academy, Doral, FL 4th Grade
  • 2022- Present: 3-5th Grade at Bethel
Background: Mr. Peterson was born in Sioux Falls, SD and lived there most of his childhood. He attended Great Plains Lutheran High School in Watertown, SD. After being inspired by many of his former teachers, he decided to go to Martin Luther College to have the same impact on students that they did on him. During his college years, he worked for Roese’s contracting out of Kawkawlin in the summer, taking him all over the state installing natural gas lines in rural communities. Mr. Peterson met his wife, Mackenzie Rothfuss, at MLC where they both graduated in 2018 and were married that summer. They both served at Divine Savior Academy in Doral, Florida, just outside of Miami, where Mr. Peterson taught fourth grade and coached the varsity tennis teams. During that time, they had 2 children. Addison was born in 2020, and Jackson in 2022.