Speakers and 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
Susan Allen grew up as a missionary kid in SE Asia and attended Christian schools from PK-12. She has worked at Dalat International School in Penang, Malaysia since 2010, where she is High School Curriculum Coordinator and chair of the Bible Department. From her experience as a Bible teacher and student mentor, she could see a disturbing trend of disconnection between professed beliefs and real-life practices. She worked with a team to lead the school through a multi-year process of research, development, and innovation in the area of biblical instruction and spiritual formation, and the results have been transformational. She speaks from both her own experiences and a wealth of research.
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 Edvance Christian Schools Association 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.
Darryl DeBoer is the K-12 Director of Learning for Surrey Christian School in Surrey, British Columbia, a Senior Fellow for the Center for Advancement of Christian Education (CACE), and a Teaching for Transformation co-creator and school designer through the Prairie Center for Christian Education and CACE. He is most passionate about designing "real work, real need, real people" learning experiences that invite, nurture and empower students to play their part within God's story.
Laszlo Demeter is passionate about identifying, equipping, and empowering young leaders to reach their full potential in life, that is, to fullfil their God-given calling. Laszlo holds three university degrees: MSc in Engineering, MA in teaching EFL, and MEd in Christian school education. He is currently working on his PhD degree in Christian school leadership at Columbia International University. Laszlo has been with ACSI Europe since 1995 and has served in various positions. He was appointed as Regional Director in 2011.
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.
David I. Smith has an international reputation as a thinker and practitioner at the intersection of faith and teaching. He began his career teaching French, German, and Russian in public secondary schools in the United Kingdom, where he became fascinated by the question of how our beliefs, values, and commitments can shape and guide our approaches to teaching and learning. After graduate work in philosophical theology, philosophy of education, and curriculum studies he moved to Calvin College, where he has received the College’s Award for Innovative Teaching. He is the founding Director of the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning and Editor of the International Journal of Christianity and Education. In recent years he has traveled widely as a speaker and consultant to schools, universities, and conferences in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Various of his writings are widely used in teacher education and faculty development contexts. His most recent book is On Christian Teaching: Practicing Faith in the Classroom.
Dr. Barbara Sorrels is the Executive Director of The Institute for Childhood Education and author of the award-winning book, Reaching and Teaching Children Exposed to Trauma. She currently directs a therapeutic preschool program for children with a history of trauma. She travels nationally, training teachers, childcare providers, caseworkers, mental health professionals and foster parents on trauma informed practices. Dr. Sorrels is a certified expert witness in child development and trauma in the state of Oklahoma, advocating for the well-being of vulnerable children. She has worked in the field of early childhood education for over 40 years serving as a teacher, program director, and university professor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood from the University of Maryland, a master’s in education from Southwestern Seminary, and a doctorate in early childhood from Oklahoma State University.
Darren Spyksma is the Director of Learning at the Society of Christian Schools in British Columbia. He works with schools to intentionally develop learning experiences that are transformational and built on students participating as faithful followers of Christ. In his leadership roles, he seeks to challenge educators to explore ideas that bring schools closer to best practice within a framework that is distinctly Christian. Prior to his role at SCSBC, Darren worked at four schools in various positions including administration. In two of those schools, he built middle schools programs that are responsive to the developmental needs of adolescents.
Diane Stronks has recently joined EduDeo Ministries as a co-leader of the Walking Together program, which helps indigenous Christian school associations/organizations in Central America and Africa grow in their knowledge and application of Christian learning, leadership and organizational health. She has worked for four decades in Christian education. After 27 years in high school education which included being a vice-principal, caring for the school culture and the discipleship of students, Diane became the Executive Director at the Ontario Christian School Teachers Association (later Edifide Christian Educators Association). She is a trainer for the International Institute of Restorative Practice and a Level 1 Mediator for the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Commission of Ontario. Her focus lately has been on how leaders develop healthy cultures for their staff and faculty to thrive and grow, encourage others to give critique and feedback, and create the right conditions for a workplace or an institution to embrace change.
Dr. Milt Uecker, professor emeritus at Columbia International University, has been involved in Christian Early Education for over 45 years. He is currently serving as Director of the Lowrie Center for Christian School Education at CIU and director of the International Institute for Christian School Education. Throughout his career he has been an advocate for appropriate instructional practices within the classroom and curriculum related to spiritual formation, early literacy, and mathematical thinking. Dr. Uecker has recently completed a book, awaiting publication, on spiritual and worldview development during early childhood. He received his graduate training from the University of Texas and The University of Virginia.
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
David Fyfe is the Group CEO of Australian Christian College. He is responsible for the strategic direction of nine schools and Australia's largest non-government, K–12 online school. David has had the opportunity to discuss the emergence of online education with federal and state education ministers and state regulatory bodies. He believes that online education will continue to be a disruptive force in the educational landscape. Prior to his role in education, David has owned and operated businesses in the area of property development, commercial security, and publishing.
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.
Dr. Robert Loe is the Founder and Director of the Relational Schools Foundation. Having studied Education at Cambridge University, he pursued areas of specialism such as schooling and exclusion, the family and community dimensions of social exclusion, and school improvement and effectiveness. A former teacher and senior leader, Robert now researches, writes and speaks on the importance of fostering positive relationships between key stakeholders in schools.
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
Adun Akinyemiju, with a career spanning 40 years in the Nigeria University and School Administration, worked in the University of Ife Administration, Bayero University Kano and the Joint Admission & Matriculation Board (JAMB) from 1972 to 2015. She is the President of Dansol Christian Mission, a mission dedicated to raising Godly children through schools (Dansol High School and Dansol Nursery and Primary School) with the vision of educating children to stand out and be different to make a difference in their generation (the name Dansol is a combination of two Bible names, Daniel & Solomon, connoting “Wisdom & Excellence” in young people). She is the Chairperson of Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Africa, and founded and runs the Kingdom Women Fellowship which seeks to draw women to a deep and meaningful relationship with God.
Jake Becker began serving as Head of School at The City School in 2011, where he first became involved as a parent. Jake Becker grew up as the son of a pastor and a teacher living and serving in the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia. Jake earned both a bachelor's degree in Urban Studies and a master's degree in education at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as a Christian school teacher after college and earned his master's degree in business administration at Eastern University shortly thereafter. Jake served at Esperanza Health Center, a Christian health care ministry in North Philadelphia for nearly six years, first as director of HIV/AIDS services, then as the Finance Director. In addition to serving currently at The City School, Jake is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and Eastern University.
Karen J. Bradberry, Ph.D. is the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Greenhill School, a PK-12, co-ed independent school in the Dallas area. While Greenhill began its diversity work when it was founded, Karen became the school’s first, full-time director in 2004. She is charged with leading and managing the School’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and to develop and institutionalize programs, policies, and procedures that advance the school’s equity and inclusion goals. A former co-chair of the National Association of Independent School’s (NAIS) People of Color Conference, she has served as a member of NAIS’s Call-to-Action Committee and currently works as a faculty member with NAIS’s Diversity Leadership Institute, where she has taught courses focused on multicultural education, power, privilege and difference, educational leadership, and systems theory, particularly as it relates to organizational culture and change.
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 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.
Cynthia (Cindy) de León has taught history and government for 19 years in diverse classrooms. She currently teaches U.S. history at Prestonwood Christian Academy, along with electives on the Holocaust and an elective with emphasis on the various cultures and ethnicities which have contributed to the making of the United States. Her greatest joy as a teacher is to help students discover three things: God has a plan for each individual one of His children; God’s hand is evident throughout history (i.e. our lives); and history, if learned as an interconnected story, is never boring. In addition to teaching, Cindy has helped lead mission trips to Cuba, part of her cultural heritage.
Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski is the executive director of CLC Network, where she serves as a champion for ability inclusion in schools and churches. She has a background in fundraising and nonprofit administration, serving at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago for nine years, and at CLC Network since 2012. Her calling to CLC Network and lifelong advocacy for places of belonging for persons with varied abilities are the backbone to her thoughtful and creative leadership of an organization that is transforming communities nationwide. Elizabeth received her bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University and is currently studying for her master’s degree at Grand Valley State University.
Joel R. Gaines serves as the 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.
Linda Harrelson came into the field of education as a business owner. In 1999, she couldn’t shake the calling to apply as head of school to Summit Christian Academy (SCA) located in the Kansas City, MO area. She sold her businesses, earned her master’s in educational administration and began her tenure at SCA. Under her leadership, the school has established partnerships with 180 churches, has grown from 200 to over 800 students, purchased land and built a 36-acre campus, and added a comprehensive high school program offering 70 dual credit hours. Modeling the SCA core value of igniting leadership, Linda serves on several boards, including ACSI, and as a leader in civic organizations. Last February, she was named a 2018 Icon of Education, a prestigious award honoring Kansas and Missouri leaders from colleges, universities, and K-12 school districts.
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.
Daniel Hill is the Author of White Awake and 10:10: Life to the Fullest, and is the Founding and Senior Pastor of River City Community Church, located in the west Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. The vision of River City is centered on the core values of worship, reconciliation, and neighborhood development. Formed in 2003, River City longs to see increased spiritual renewal as well as social and economic justice in the Humboldt Park neighborhood and entire city, demonstrating compassion and alleviating poverty as tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God. Prior to starting River City, Daniel was part of a series of dot.com startups in the 90s before serving 5 years on the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in the suburbs of Chicago. Daniel has his B.S. in Business from Purdue University, his M.A. in Theology from Moody Bible Institute, his certificate in Church-based Community and Economic Development from Harvard Divinity School, and his D.Min. from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Aileen H. Riady is the Associate Head of School, Sekolah Felita Harapan Lippo Village Campus (Jakarta), Coordinator of Pelita Harapan Schools System, and board member, Light and Hope Educational Foundation. Actively involved in Christian Education for 25 years, she has a heart and passion to take part in developing education for children in Indonesia. As one of the founders of Light and Hope Educational Foundation that serves Christian schools in Indonesia with more than 20,000 students from K-12, Aileen continues to work in implementing the mission of the foundation: proclaiming the preeminence of Christ and engaging in the redemptive restoration of all things in Him through holistic education.
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. Walter R. Strickland II is the Assistant Professor of Systematic and Contextual Theology and Associate Vice President for Diversity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Born in Chicago and raised in Southern California, Walter’s passion is to equip people to flourish in their context from a deep commitment to God’s design. Prof. Strickland’s interests include contextual and systematic theology, African American religious history, multicultural studies, education theory, and theology of work. Along with being a diversity consultant, frequent conference speaker, and itinerant preacher, Walter contributes to Canon & Culture as an associate Research Fellow of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Gospel Project, and the Biblical Recorder (the North Carolina Baptist state newspaper). Walter’s work has also appeared in Christianity Today, Baptist Press, World Magazine and his first book entitled Every Waking Hour: An Introduction to Work and Vocation for Christians was released in March of 2016. He holds a B.A. from Cedarville University, M.Div. and Th.M. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland).
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
Julia Ellis is currently the Principal of Alpha Omega Academy, a K–12 online private Christian school that is based in Rock Rapids, Iowa. Her goal as principal is to help create an environment where students have the opportunity to receive a rich, Christ-centered educational experience. Prior to her role as principal, she worked as a science teacher for Alpha Omega Academy, teaching primarily chemistry, physics, and engineering. She also has worked in public education as a high school teacher and as a teaching assistant at the university level. Julia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with a minor in Secondary Education from the University of Tennessee. She also holds a master of arts degree in curriculum and instruction with a minor in educational administration.
Jay Ferguson, J.D., PhD is the Head of School of Grace Community School in Tyler, Texas. Jay is in his 16th year as head of Grace. Since that time, Jay has worked to build a flourishing culture at Grace, a vibrant educational community that has been awarded Blue Ribbon Exemplary status by the U.S. Department of Education in 2015 and 2017. He is an adjunct professor at Covenant College and at Gordon College, and recently served on the adjunct faculties of the Van Lunen Center at Calvin College and at Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University. Jay is currently President of the Board of the Texas Private School Association, the Chair of the Board of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability, and serves on the executive board of the Association of Christian Schools International.
Dr. Darren Iselin is currently Executive Officer, National Tertiary Partnerships and Research, at Christian Schools Australia. Darren has over 25 years leadership experience within Christian education, serving in a range of principal, CEO and executive leadership roles and responsibilities within both K–12 schooling and higher education sectors, in Australian and international contexts. Darren’s award-winning doctoral research explored the sustainability of Christian school cultures in an era of change.
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.
Carl Martinez has both a B.S. in Marketing and a Masters’ of Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University. After a successful business career with employment at Dun & Bradstreet and Republic Industries, in 1999 he stepped into education becoming the Director of Athletics and Marketing at Whittier Christian High School in Southern California. Subsequently, he also served as Director of Advancement. In 2011 Carl Martinez became Head of School at Whittier Christian High School, where his focus is to advance Christian education locally and nationally.
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.
With 17 years of professional experience, Josh Patterson, PhD is principal of Sterling School, a K–8 public school of choice in Greenville, South Carolina. A graduate of Furman University (B.A. & M.A.) and the University of South Carolina (Ed.S. & Ph.D.), Dr. Patterson is the immediate past president of South Carolina ASCD. He is also an adjunct professor at Anderson University (S.C.) and frequently writes and speaks, both locally and nationally, on topics related to inquiry/instruction, school culture, and school leadership.
Dr. Joel Uecker has served as a teacher, coach, and administrator in both CSI and ACSI Christian schools for 19 years. He is currently the high school principal at Covenant Day School, a TK–12th grade Presbyterian (P.C.A.) college preparatory school in the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina. He holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College (IL) and earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Leadership from Columbia International University (SC). Joel also serves as the vice chair of the Board of Directors for the National Institute of Learning Development (NILD). Joel and his wife, Caron, have two daughters.
Deani Van Pelt is the founding President of Edvance Christian Schools Association in Canada. She is a CARDUS Senior Fellow and former education policy director at the Fraser Institute where she is now a Senior Fellow. Previously Associate Professor of Education and Director of Teacher Education at Redeemer University College, and formerly a secondary school teacher in both Christian and public schools, she has a B.Commerce (McMaster University), B.Ed. (University of Toronto), and M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Education (Western University) where she received a medal for excellence in graduate studies. Van Pelt, an Ontario Certified Teacher, has researched and published frequently on aspects of school choice in Canada (including home schooling, charter schools, religious schools, and independent schools), on education spending, and school sector enrolments. She has initiated and led international research collaborations (funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada) and recently received the Charlotte Mason Institute’s Charlotte Mason Tribute award for doing so. She has served as an expert witness and presented at numerous academic and education conferences across North America. Her work has been regularly featured in Canadian print and broadcast media.
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.