Executive Staff


Rev. Keith Ratliff, Executive Director & Elementary Principal

Reverend Keith Ratliff, Executive Director

Pastor of Maple Street Baptist Church

Email: keith.ratliff@gotjosh.org


Dr. Stuart Juarez, Secondary Principal

I believe in education and have been a life-long student, (currently enrolled at Norwest Missouri State Master in Education Administration program), and have taught youth and adults since 1986, and have taught many different types of courses: from Cub Scout knot tying to college level courses.  I am an ordained minister and have served my Lord Jesus Christ as church administrator/youth pastor of Amazing Grace Ministries since 1998, where I serve under Sr. Pastor George Shade.  I believe in the healing sciences and a Healing God, I understand GOD created us in His likeness and has given us a mind to understand many things and to paraphrase Genesis 11:6 KJV “we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to”.  I have suffered and recovered from a shattered spine, a result of combat during the Persian Gulf War, where I learned to walk again both physically and spiritually.  So when I help others to understand their potential and to believe in the impossible, according to Matthew 19:26, I speak from experience.  I have served Des Moines for many years from minister, public health, human rights commissioner, and as a Des Moines reserve police officer, I believe in community and that is takes a village to raise children.  I welcome this opportunity to educate young people both spiritually and intellectually to achieve above and beyond their imagination can even think. I believe Philippians 4:13 KJV, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”, and will do my best to help every young person to believe this as well and accordingly Proverbs 22:6 KJVTrain up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”, will be written on my office door, which is always open to student and parent alike.

It is my privilege to serve JCA families as principal and your prayers are greatly appreciated.








Sheryl Van Weelden, Administrative Assistant, Registrar, & Curriculum Director

Sheryl Van Weelden graduated from Central College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary

education.  She began her teaching career at Stowe Elementary in East Des Moines.  Next she became a full time mother to five and returned to teaching in 1982.  God called her to full time ministry at Des Moines Christian School where she served as Director of Early Education for over 25 years. Upon her retirement, she was drawn to the planning table for Joshua Christian Academy where the team designed a school to provide affordable faith-based education for families in urban Des Moines.  She remains here serving every day in many capacities.   Her background includes public, private and mission schools.

Her personal philosophy is that each child deserves a clean slate.

She is a child of God, a disciple of Christ, mother of many, grandmother to more and faithful servant in ministry.



Claudia Young

A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men (Proverbs 18:16) 

Greetings! Claudia is a native of Des Moines, married and a grateful mother of 3. she is a proud member of Elpis Christian Fellowship where she serves in the youth department. 

She’s worked in the Des Moines community as a food and nutrition specialist, a juvenile tracker, and a community organizer for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. she resigned from being a classroom teacher of 7 years with Des Moines Public Schools and now currently pursuing her Doctorate in Social and Cultural Education with a Social Justice emphasis at Iowa State University. 

She’s been a professor at ISU for the teacher preparation program and also worked as a retention specialist for students of color in agriculture. Claudia gives back to the community as a board member and banquet chair for Iowa Juneteenth, consult for the Urban Experience Magazine, a committee planner for I’ll Make Me A World in Iowa, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and working with the Sisters 4 Success Program.

Claudia holds a Master of Science degree in Teacher Effectiveness and Professional Development with a Middle School endorsement in Global Studies and Language Arts, from Drake University. Her undergraduate degrees are in Elementary Education from Drake University and also Child and Family Services from Iowa State University.

“I thank God for opening this door to become part of the JCA family and the opportunity to share my love of education and youth!”