2019 SUMMIT STRANDS
Christian schools in the 21st century face complex challenges and opportunities. GCSLS 2019 will focus on innovation—or developing adaptive solutions to these challenges and opportunities. The goal of innovation in Christian schools is a dynamic and excellent education for students, that is aligned with the way they are created—in God’s image, uniquely fashioned, and called to good works (Ephesians 2:10)—and that prepares them for God’s restorative work in their generation.
Christian education is in need of innovation in the areas of teaching, learning, and spiritual formation; the missional use of technology; engaging the culture for good; diversity and inclusion; and next generation leadership. Along with catalyzing innovation, these areas form the themes of the Summit. Each them is described below in terms of a central question, in order to invite Summit participants to explore ideas, share best practices, and generate solutions for the Christian school of today—and tomorrow.
- How can innovation catalyze the growth of human and resource potential, to allow Christian schools to grow and excel around the world?
Speakers and Facilitators
21st Century Teaching, Learning, and Spiritual Formation
- How can Christian educators:
- Help students to understand their role in God’s story?
- Develop curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices that reflect biblical principles, promote deep student engagement, and encourage faith development?
- Equip students to think and act biblically, pursue beautiful work for real needs, and reflect Christ’s redeeming work for neighbor and creation?
Speakers and Facilitators
Dan Beerens is an educational consultant, author, international speaker, and educational leader. Before starting Dan Beerens Consulting in May 2010, he served as Vice President of Learning Services and Director of Instructional Improvement at Christian Schools International. Prior to that, he was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Holland Christian Schools. Dan has also worked as teacher and principal in urban and suburban public and Christian schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. He serves as a Senior Fellow at CACE (Center for the Advancement of Christian Education), as an adjunct professor at Dordt College, and represents Curriculum Trak sales and professional development. He blogs regularly for CACE and is the author of Evaluating Teachers for Professional Growth: Creating a Culture of Motivation and Learning (Corwin Press).
After teaching in British Columbia, Toronto, and at his alma mater Hamilton District Christian High School, Justin is now with the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools as the Director of Learning, where he partners with 70 member schools in a vision of learning for flourishing communities. At home, Justin and his wife Rachel (and their three beautiful children!) love trying to live intentionally in their neighborhood: sharing and restoring a multi-unit house, practicing hospitality, walking to church, feasting with friends. Justin attended Redeemer University College and Calvin College, and is currently an M.A. candidate at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, ON.
Dr. Roger Erdvig is the headmaster at Wilmington Christian School in northern Delaware. With a doctorate in education from Liberty University, Roger also serves as an adjunct professor in the Church Leadership and Theology Department at the University of Valley Forge and speaks and consults on the topics of leadership, worldview development, and effective pedagogy. Roger is a co-author of Bring It to Life: Christian Education and the Transformative Power of Service-Learning (forthcoming 2018).
Steven Levy has spent 27 years in the classroom and 20 consulting for Expeditionary Learning. He is now a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Christian Education (CACE), offering independent consulting to Christian schools. He has been honored with numerous awards, including the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and Disney National Elementary Teacher of the Year. He has written various articles for educational journals, and his book, Starting From Scratch, tells stories of his classroom adventures.
Technology and the Christian School Mission
- How can the implementation and use of technology be redemptive and restorative?
- How is technology a means for Christian schools to actuate their missions more effectively?
Speakers and Facilitators
Tia Gaines has been teaching for 16 years, with 11 of those years spent in online education. She has taught as a middle school English teacher at Agora Cyber Charter School, where she also served as a Family Coach (helping students assimilate into online education) and then moved into the role of enrollment administrator (working with marketing, enrollment and retention). She currently is part of a start-up online school, Insight PA Cyber Charter School, where she is the English department chair and serves on the strategic planning committee. In addition to working in every aspect of online education— from academic, to student support, to enrollment—she has also taught in the SAIL (School for Applied and Innovative Learning) program at Delaware County Christian School in Newtown Square, PA.
Dr. Keri Ingraham has served in Christian education the past 16 years in both the on-campus and online learning environments. Her experience includes head of school, administration, curriculum development, Biblical integration, teaching, coaching, spiritual life leading, program development, and technology implementation. Currently, Dr. Ingraham is in her 3rd year as the Director of PCAplus at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas where she is responsible for all aspects of the virtual academy, part-time on-campus program, and hybrid program. Her focus includes ensuring that PCAplus operates fully integrated with a Kingdom education philosophy, while moving PCAplus toward higher levels of unprecedented excellence and innovation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Educational Ministries from George Fox University, a Master of Education in Christian School Administration from Regent University, and a Doctor of Education in Christian Education Leadership from Regent University.
Mrs. Gail Marten has been serving as Principal of Cornerstone Christian Schools Online based in San Antonio, Texas, since June 2012 and works remotely from her home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Previous to working for CCS, Mrs. Marten was the Head Administrator from 2006 to 2012 for the ORU eAcademy, an online school for grades 3 thru 12 at Oral Roberts University. Gail has two Bachelor of Science degrees and a Master’s degree, all from Oral Roberts University. She has served in Education since 1985 as a high school teacher and/or administrator in these past 33 years.
Elena V. Solodyankin has more than 30 years of experience in the field of education. She founded an online Christian school in 2003, which is now Enlightium Academy. Since then, she guided the development of 7 brick and mortar private schools along the west coast within Slavic churches. Mrs. Solodyankin has spoken at numerous educational conferences about the need for personalized Christian education and how she applied it to raising her three biological and five adopted children. She holds an M.Ed. in K-12 Guidance & Counseling from Whitworth University and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Leadership at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Elena is ACSI and state certified. Throughout her career, she has been devoted to preparing the next generation of godly leaders by making a difference in their hearts and minds.
Dr. Erin Wilcox is the Assistant Vice President for Academic Services at ACSI, where she is responsible for accreditation, certification, and international student programs. Before coming to ACSI, she served as the Associate Superintendent at Colorado Springs Christian Schools, where she oversaw the instructional program at four campuses as well as developed a hybrid program and online courses. She has also taught computers and special education at the Alliance Academy in Quito, Ecuador, as well as the Dalat School in Penang, Malaysia. She holds an Ed.D. in educational administration from Bethel University in St. Paul, an M.A. in instructional leadership from the University of Alabama, and a B.S. in special education from Illinois State University.
Engaging the Culture for Good
- How will Christian schools practice love and tell stories of hope to culture?
Speakers and Facilitators
Adrienne Castellon, EdD, is Assistant Professor and Stream Director of Masters of Educational Leadership, at Trinity Western University, British Columbia, Canada. She is the primary investigator for the project Exploring Excellent Practice in K-12 Christian Education in Canada. Adrienne has worked as a secondary teacher, elementary principal and education consultant. In addition to teaching numerous graduate level courses for educators, she enjoys teaching undergraduates in the School of Education and stays current in the K-12 system through consulting and school-related projects. Her research interests include social justice issues particularly Indigenous, Women in Leadership and Special Education.
Christina Crook's book, The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World, has made her leading voice on technology and human flourishing. Through her writing and speaking she reveals how key shifts in our thinking can enable us to draw closer to one another, taking up the good burdens of local work and responsibilities. She writes about the value of focus, making space to create, and the meaning we find in more limited connections. She challenges the Western values of power, control, and success, revealing how wonder, trust, and discipline are central to the experience of being human and the keys to our joy. Learn more about Christina at www.christinacrook.com.
Dr. Beth Green, FRSA, is the director of education at the faith-based think tank Cardus. Beth's expertise is in Christian school ethos; leadership and management; teaching and learning and social theory in education. At Cardus Education she is leading a program to enrich the public conversation with credible data on the impact of the religious school sector on graduate outcomes. Dr. Green is a former high school teacher and a graduate of Oxford, Cambridge and London universities.
Doug Sikkema is the managing editor of Comment magazine and a senior researcher for Cardus doing work in the education and health files. Doug is also currently finishing up a dissertation in American literature at the University of Waterloo and helping to establish a Classical Christian school in Ancaster.
Diversity and Inclusion
- How is diversity central to—and enhancing of—the mission of Christian schools?
- What are the best approaches and practices for meaningfully incorporating diversity in the Christian school?
Speakers and Facilitators
Jenny Brady serves as the Director of Diversity at Prestonwood Christian Academy, a position created for the passion and personal experiences she brings to the diversity discussion. Jenny grew up on the mission field in Honduras and returned to the US for college graduating with a BA in Spanish from Stephen F. Austin State University. She is completing her Masters in Sociology in December 2018, while working at PCA as a teacher and administrator. Jenny has a passion for missions and mentoring – taking the gospel to the ends of the earth while training up the next generation of godly young men and women.
Dr. Michael Chen has been an educator for over 20 years in the San Francisco and Boston areas with experiences in urban education, international education, school leadership, cultural formation, and organizational development. His school leadership experience includes serving as the superintendent at a PK-12 school in CA, dean of faculty at a diverse school in Boston, and the founding director of Trinity Institute for Leadership and Social Justice, an integrative service learning and leadership development program for high school youth in Boston. Recently, he accepted the appointment of the head of school position at Pacific Bay Christian School. For his doctoral work, Michael developed a system-theory of resilience to further understand human development in the context of war-affected widows in Nepal. In addition, he also provided consultative services to schools and organizations in South Korea, Nepal, and India in areas of leadership, monitoring and evaluation, and also managed a tuition-free school for widows and disadvantaged women in Kathmandu, Nepal. He served on the boards of Hope Initiatives in Nepal and Christian Coalition for Educational Innovation in the US.
Elizabeth Dombrowski is the executive director of CLC Network, where she serves as a champion for inclusion in schools and churches. Beginning at a young age, Elizabeth says she experienced the beauty of communities that recognize and celebrate the diverse gifts of all. After serving at the Adler Planetarium for nine years in fundraising and operations, she joined CLC Network in 2012, returning to an organization tied to her own family history. Her calling to CLC Network and lifelong advocacy for places of belonging help her to lead an organization that is transforming school communities across the country.
Joel R. Gaines serves as the assistant head of the Upper School at Delaware County Christian School, and will be transitioning in summer 2018 to the role of high school principal at The City School in Philadelphia. He graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University (Cairn University) with a BS in education and biblical studies, and earned his MEd in education from Cabrini University. Joel has served in multiple roles over the past 10 years in both Christian and public education, and in both urban and suburban settings.
Joel Hazard serves as the assistant head of high school and diversity advisor at Mount Paran Christian School in Kennesaw Georgia. Joel is also a member of the organization Profound Gentlemen, a community of male educators of color that look to serve and impact boys of color. Joel has a heart and passion for doing diversity and inclusion work within the private school sector. His efforts focus on building a learning environment that is inclusive, racially literate, and socially and emotionally proficient in preparing students to thrive in the 21st century.
David Robinson serves as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Grace Community School in Tyler, Texas. David has a BS in Bible from Baptist Bible College (Clarks Summit University) and has spent his entire professional career working in Christian education. This has helped shape his passion of cultivating an environment in which all students have access to a Christ-centered education, while feeling appreciated and celebrated. Along with David’s diversity and inclusion work, he continues to invest in young people through the world of athletics as a basketball and football coach.
Dr. Larry Taylor is in his nineteenth year as the Head of School at Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA) in Plano, Texas. Dr. Taylor co-launched a national training institute for schools, “Becoming a Kingdom School Institute” and developed a training program for parents titled, “Becoming a Kingdom Family.” Dr. Taylor published the book, Running With The Horses, that helps parents raise children to be servant-leaders for Christ and helps to build a family plan.
Next Generation Leadership
- What will the next generation of Christian school leadership look like in Christian schools, and how will leaders structure the future Christian school to attract the next generation of families in a contemporary landscape?
Speakers and Facilitators
Nathan Johnson has studied education throughout his academic career (at Furman, CIU, and Vanderbilt Universities). Based off of his studies, international living, and passion for bridging cultures and sharing the love of God, he founded the Charleston Bilingual Academy as a pilot school for Christian, intercultural, language immersion education. Nathan is also the co-founder of the Clapham Group, an educational think tank and consulting firm.
William R. Mott, Ph.D. is headmaster of Providence Christian Academy in Murfreesboro, TN. He is the author of two books on the topic of school governance: The Board Game and Super Boards. His third book, Healthy Boards – Successful Schools: How Governance Impacts Independent and Faith Based Schools, is forthcoming in Fall 2019.
Dr. Daniel Pampuch was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Christian Schools Australia in January 2017. He was previously the Executive Officer of the Uniting Church Schools Commission, overseeing 18 institutions in Queensland. Daniel has 20 years of experience in Christian Education and most recently served as the Executive Principal of the Crest group of Christian schools and Early Learning Centres. Daniel has a PhD in Next Generation Leadership as well as Masters in both Business and Educational Leadership.
Maria Varlet currently serves as the Head of Research & Innovation at Crest Education in Melbourne and is a Board Member for ACSI - Australia. She has been involved in Christian Education for over 25 years, holding positions of Head of Learning & Teaching, Campus Principal and Executive Officer for Christian Schools Australia. Her doctoral research investigates how professional learning can help teachers navigate tensions between biblical ethos and assessment practices in the Christian school context.