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In 1994 I was asked to serve on the board of Worldwide Christian Schools (WWCS). Shortly after joining the board, I met Dale Dieleman, who had joined just before I had. My wife and I had known of Dale through our work with church youth groups, and I was grateful for the opportunity to meet him personally.
Eventually we both joined the staff of WWCS, Dale in 1997 and I in 2001. Now, 25 years later, I’m writing to you on the occasion of Dale’s retirement from Tent Schools International (TSI), formerly Worldwide Christian Schools, due to health reasons.
I’ve had some time to think about what Dale has meant to TSI over all these years, but I had always hoped I wouldn’t have to address the subject of his retirement from the organization.
Perhaps the best way I can explain what Dale was and is to those who worked with him is the word “friend.” Dale is first and foremost a true friend, not only of mine and other staff, but a friend of our Board of Directors and our other partners around the world. In Dale’s case, being a friend wasn’t about being acquainted or corresponding once in a while. Dale makes a point of spending time with his friends, listening to them, and sharing helpful insights. When Dale says he is going to pray for you, he really does. There is no stronger legacy at TSI than the one left by Dale Dieleman.
Of course, I could fill many pages writing about Dale. He has a sense of humor that always makes us laugh. Dale loves God’s creation and marvels at the diversity within it. His life and work has been a consistent reflection of the fact that humans are much more alike than different, yet Dale loves the fact that each person is unique.
Dale is first and foremost a true friend. When he says he is going to pray for you, he really does.
He is a fantastic travel partner, a gifted speaker and writer, an intuitive organizational leader, a loving and proud husband, father of five, brother, uncle, and son. But to me and to the rest of us here at TSI, Dale is first and foremost a one-of-a-kind, God-given, friend.
We love you brother. We thank God for you.
One of the most significant things Dale and I spoke of as 2018 came to a close was who would replace him as Executive Director. We didn’t have to talk about the issue for long. For the last 14 years, Dale and I have had the privilege of working closely with Emily Klooster. You know Emily as our Director of Communications and the Editor of our newsletter. The staff at TSI know Emily as a highly committed co-worker who is a joy to be around. Dale and I know Emily as a skilled administrator with keen instincts relating to the message and mission of this organization. Emily will be a fantastic Executive Director of TSI.
The TSI staff under Emily’s operational leadership will ensure that your support for the education of refugees and displaced people achieves lasting impact in their lives. Congratulations Emily on your new role!
Scott Vander Kooy, President