Dear Christian Life Family,

After a nationwide search for a Head of School, and much prayer and discussion, it is my pleasure to announce on behalf of the church’s leadership and the board of directors, that Dr. Judith Bethge has been named our next Head of School, with a start date of June 13, 2022. Along with her role as Head of School, Judy will sit on the Pastoral Team of City First Church, as she is also a credentialed minister.

Dr. Bethge comes to us with nearly twenty years of experience in leadership, teaching, law, coaching, and school administration. Most recently, she served as the Upper School Principal at Harvest Christian Academy in Elgin, IL., focusing on leadership and supervision of upper school faculty, staff, and students, staff and culture development, parent relations, development of programming, budget oversight, staffing, accountability and recruitment, school security planning and oversight, theater department leadership, data evaluation, and policy development.  She is also an adjunct instructor for Louisiana State University – National Center for Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT) and a member of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) re-accreditation team.

Judy is a Kingdom-minded leader on a mission for Jesus Christ. Her vision is to build teams of like-minded educators to be effective, empowered, and impactful in their classrooms. As an educational leader, she purposes to live by three core values: integrity, courage, and character. Integrity—to keep her words and actions in alignment. Courage—to take bold and decisive action for what’s right, regardless of personal cost. Character—to consistently be who she appears to be and say, regardless of the circumstance or situation. 

Originally educated as a lawyer, Dr. Bethge became passionate about seeing young people discover who they are in Christ and be prepared for a life of success and living in His purpose.

She decided to pursue a career in education and eventually achieved her Master of Arts in Teaching and a Doctorate in Education.

Serving as a Christian educator is her heart’s passion.

“I find fulfillment not only in helping students understand and master their academic studies, but also in helping them gain a vision for who God is calling them to be.”
 – Dr. Judith Bethge

Judy is married to Roy Bethge, Chief of Police for Cherry Valley Police Department. Together, they have two amazing boys, Gunther and Dietrich. 

Jen and I, along with the board of directors, are excited and confident that Dr. Bethge will help lead our school into the next phase of our journey with a renewed commitment to providing the best Christ-centered education in the Rockford region.

Judy looks forward to the opportunity of meeting you and, together, discovering God’s bright future for your student.

Allow me to introduce you to Dr. Judith “Judy” Bethge:

Doctor of Education, Liberty University (April 2018)
Curriculum and Instruction, Administrator Licensure
Research Interest—”Transformative Learning and Growth Mindset”

Master of Arts in Teaching, National-Louis University (April 2013)

Juris Doctor, University of Illinois College of Law (May 2004)

B.A. Political Science, Wheaton College (May 2000)


Jeremy DeWeerdt
Senior Pastor
City First Church