New Release: September 3rd, 2019

MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education

Edited by: Lynn E. Swaner, Dan Beerens, and Erik Ellefsen

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Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: ACSI
Publish Date: August 26, 2019
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1583315590

Christian education needs a MindShift.

Research demonstrates that Christian education has a positive impact on student outcomes like purpose-driven career choices, community-mindedness, and stronger religious affiliation and practice. And Christian school teachers and leaders know from their own experiences that Christian education does, indeed, make a difference. Yet it is precisely because of Christian education’s impact that we need to be concerned with its future. With Christian schools around the world facing significant threats to sustainability and relevance, thriving into the future will require framing the challenges we face as opportunities.

To this end, a group of 60 leading educators—from diverse backgrounds and walks of life—journeyed together over two years through a MindShift, a transformational process of dialogue and exploration pioneered by futurist Rex Miller. Complete with innovative case stories and discussion questions for reflection, this book shares insights on how Christian schools can provide a more deeply and authentically Christian education, reach our neighbors with Christ’s story of love and hope, and catalyze the growth of the Church and the Kingdom into the future.

About the Editors

Dr Lynn E Swaner

Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer

Dr. Lynn E. Swaner is the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), where she leads initiatives to address compelling questions and challenges facing Christian education. She is also a Senior Fellow at the faith-based think tank Cardus. Prior to joining ACSI she served as a Christian school administrator and a graduate professor of education. A published scholar, noted researcher, and conference speaker, she is the lead editor of the book PIVOT: New Directions for Christian Education, co-author of Bring It to Life: Christian Education and the Transformative Power of Service-Learning, and editor of the ACSI blog. She received her EdD from Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York City.

Lynn E. Swaner

Dr. Lynn E. Swaner is the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).

Dan Beerens

Dan Beerens Consulting

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 the Center for the Advancement of Christian Education (CACE), represents Curriculum Trak sales and professional development, and serves as co-chair of the annual Christian Deeper Learning conference. He blogs regularly for CACE and is the author of Evaluating Teachers for Professional Growth: Creating a Culture of Motivation and Learning (Corwin Press, 1999).

Dan Beerens

Dan Beerens is an educational consultant, author, international speaker, and educational leader.

Erik Ellefsen

Erik Ellefsen has served in education for 21 years as a teacher, coach, consultant, Grievance Chairman for the American Federation of Teachers, Dean of Academics at Boston Trinity Academy, and as Principal at Chicago Christian High School. He currently serves as an Academic and College Counselor at Valley Christian High School (San Jose, CA), a Senior Fellow for CACE, a Senior Fellow for Cardus, podcaster for Digical Education, and as Vice President of the Christian Coalition for Educational Innovation (CCEI). Erik regularly organizes Christian school leadership seminars and speaks on issues pertaining to academic programs, student leadership, and organizational development.

Erik Ellefsen

Erik Ellefsen serves as an Academic and College Counselor at Valley Christian High School (San Jose, CA), as well as Vice President of the Christian Coalition for Educational Innovation (CCEI).

About the Authors

Jenny Brady

Director of Diversity

Jenny Brady brings a unique perspective to the diversity discussion. Jenny is currently serving as the Director of Diversity for Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA), a position created to express her passion for diversity while combining her personal experience growing up on the mission field in Honduras. She holds a Master of Science degree in Sociology and a BA in Spanish. In the educational realm, Jenny has worked as a teacher and administrator, is on the Leadership Team at PCA, and is currently participating in the Colson Fellows Program. She is the co-creator of the Christian School Diversity Symposium and is a speaker, teacher, and trainer on diversity for schools across the country. 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.

Jenny Brady

Jenny Brady serves as the Director of Diversity for Prestonwood Christian Academy (PCA).

Michael Chen

Head of School

Dr. Michael Chen has been an educator for over 20 years in the San Francisco and Boston areas with experiences in urban education, international development, and organizational change. His career has included serving as dean of faculty at Boston Trinity Academy and the founding director of Trinity Institute for Leadership and Social Justice. Currently, he serves as the head of school 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 leadership and program evaluation consultative services to schools and organizations in South Korea, Nepal, and India.

Michael Chen

Dr. Chen serves as the head of school at Pacific Bay Christian School.

Justin Cook

Director of Learning

After teaching in British Columbia, Toronto, and at his alma mater, Hamilton District Christian High School, Justin Cook 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 multiunit house, practicing hospitality, walking to church, and 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.

Justin Cook

Justin Cook works with the Edvance Christian Schools Association as the Director of Learning.

Jay Ferguson

Head of School

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. During 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 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 (CESA), and serves on the executive board of the Association of Christian Schools International.

Jay Ferguson

Dr. Ferguson is the Head of School of Grace Community School in Tyler, Texas.

Joel Gaines

High School Principal

Joel Gaines serves as the high school principal at The City School in Philadelphia. He graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University (now Cairn University) with a BS in education and biblical studies, and he earned his MEd in education from Cabrini University. Joel has served in multiple roles over the past 10 years in both Christian and public schools and in both urban and suburban settings.

Joel Gaines

Joel Gaines serves as the high school principal at The City School in Philadelphia.

Beth Green

Visiting Professor

Dr. Beth Green, FRSA, is Visiting Professor: Research Integration and Educational Formation at Tyndale University College in Toronto. She is also a Senior Fellow 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 led 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.

Beth Green

Dr. Green, FRSA, is Visiting Professor of Research Integration and Educational Formation at Tyndale University College in Toronto.

Keri D. Ingraham

Director of PCAplus

Dr. Keri D. Ingraham has served in Christian education the past 17 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 fourth 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 excellence and innovation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Educational Ministries from George Fox University, a Master of Education degree in Christian School Administration from Regent University, and a Doctor of Education degree in Christian Education Leadership from Regent University.

Keri D. Ingraham

Dr. Ingraham is in her fourth year as the Director of PCAplus at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas.

Darren Iselin

Executive Officer

Dr. Darren Iselin is currently Executive Officer, National Tertiary Partnerships and Research, with Christian Schools Australia (CSA). Darren has over 25 years of leadership experience within Christian education, in Australian and international contexts, and has served in a diverse range of CEO, principal, and executive leadership roles and responsibilities in both K–12 schooling and higher education sectors. He has completed extensive formal study including doctoral work through the University of Queensland. Darren’s award-winning research explored the sustainability of Christian school cultures in an era of change.

Darren Iselin

Dr. Iselin is currently Executive Officer, National Tertiary Partnerships and Research, with Christian Schools Australia (CSA).

Rex Miller

Lead Author

Rex Miller is the lead author for Humanizing the Education Machine, which tells the story of what great 21st-century learning looks like and how to bring that dynamic into schools. His company, MindShift, has tackled numerous large and complex problems, including the waste and adversarial culture of the construction industry and the chronic problem of workplace disengagement. His three books from these projects have won international awards for innovation and excellence. His current project examines ways to create healthy, less stressful, and more engaged schools (www.rexmiller.com).

Rex Miller

Rex Miller is the lead author for Humanizing the Education Machine.

Daniel Pampuch

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Daniel Pampuch is Chief Executive Officer of Christian Schools Australia (CSA) overseeing 150 schools and 60,000 students. He was previously the Executive Officer of the Uniting Church Australia Schools and Residential Colleges Commission, overseeing 18 denominational institutions in Queensland. Daniel has 25 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 Business, Education and Theology. Daniel is passionate about research and in 2018 facilitated the Relational Schools Project in Australia where 20,000 students were surveyed to assess the impact that faith-based schools have upon student wellbeing and achievement. Daniel is a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia and a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders. He is a regular keynote speaker in leadership and lectures in organizational culture, governance, and theology.

Daniel Pampuch

Dr. Pampuch is Chief Executive Officer of Christian Schools Australia (CSA) overseeing 150 schools and 60,000 students.

Mitchell Salerno

Head of School

Dr. Mitchell Salerno is Head of School at Monte Vista Christian School (MVCS) in Watsonville, CA. Mitch is the fifth head of school in the 93-year history of MVCS. He is a graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in chemistry, Duquesne University with master’s in secondary education, and Liberty University with a doctorate in educational leadership. Mitch is the president of the Christian Coalition of Educational Innovation (CCEI), and a well-regarded speaker on topics including innovation, transformational leadership, and educational technology.

Mitchell Salerno

Dr. Salerno is Head of School at Monte Vista Christian School (MVCS) in Watsonville, CA.

Dr. Justin Smith

Head of Upper School and Vice President

Dr. Justin Smith currently serves as Head of Upper School and Vice President at Little Rock Christian Academy. A graduate of the University of San Diego, Dr. Smith earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University. With a number of published articles and peer-reviewed presentations on record, he also received such honors as the Excellence in Superintendency Program Award from Sam Houston State University and recognition as The Woodlands Preparatory School’s Most Inspirational Educator. Additionally, Justin serves on the board of an independent boarding school outside of Philadelphia. Prior to leading at Little Rock Christian Academy, he served as Head of Middle School at Second Baptist School in Houston, Texas.

Justin Smith

Dr. Smith serves as Head of Upper School and Vice President at Little Rock Christian Academy.

Kathryn Wiens

Executive Director

Kathryn Wiens is currently the Executive Director of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA) and an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Kennesaw State University. She has done extensive research around independent and faith-based schools as well as single-gender education, and penned the first Cardus Education Study report in 2011. She holds a doctorate in education from Boston University. She is married to Timothy Wiens, who leads Mount Paran Christian School, and mom to her inquisitive son Eliot and two lazy Great Danes.

Katie Wiens

Kathryn Wiens is Executive Director of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability and Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Kennesaw State University.

Andy Wolfe

Deputy Chief Education Officer

Andy Wolfe is the Deputy Chief Education Officer (Leadership Development) for the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership. He joined the foundation from the Nottingham Emmanuel School, where he worked for 10 years, initially as a middle leader, before being appointed Vice Principal, overseeing the development of Teaching and Learning and the school’s Christian ethos. He brings a wealth of leadership experience to his senior role across the wider Church of England Education Office, and is committed to combining rich theological reflection with the most incisive and creative approaches to improving teaching, learning, and leadership in schools.

Andy Wolfe

Andy Wolfe is the Deputy Chief Education Officer (Leadership Development) for the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Welcome to MindShift
  • From Machine to Human
  • From Scarcity to Abundance
  • From Isolated to Networked
  • From White to Mosaic
  • From Gutenberg to 5G
  • From Siloed to Engaged
  • From Fear to Hope
  • Epilogue: To Love is to Risk

Endorsements

Swaner et al. offer hopeful, illustrative, realistic pathways for reframing our practices and reviving our schools. More than merely inspire, MindShift gives traction to our hope. The bold stories from Christian teachers, learners, leaders, and schools from around the globe scratch the itch for schools that transform lives. If you hunger and thirst for more authenticity, better engagement, and deeper learning in our schools, read this book. MindShift rekindles the joy of our profession and, put into practice, will reawaken your school.

— Dr. Gary B. Arnold
President, Council for American Private Education
President, Little Rock Christian Academy

Our children and young people face political, cultural, and social challenges on an unprecedented scale. In such complex and seemingly unpredictable times, those offering education to this and future generations need to do so in a way which is rooted in Christian hope. Amid such challenges, we need a clear vision of what we think education is for. MindShift brings together a wide range of insights and explorations into these vital issues—Christian educators everywhere will be inspired as they read and engage.

— Reverend Nigel Genders
Chief Education Officer, Church of England

This volume challenges the Christian education industry with a radical—at the root—set of new ideas. In the last century Christian education chose largely to withdraw from the challenges posed by modernity. I suspect that a very strong dose of collective courage will be required to meet the fresh challenges of post-modernity. MindShift will build our courage.

— Dr. Charles Phillips, Executive Director
The Christian Education Charitable Trust
The Robert L. and Kathrina H. Maclellan Foundation

MindShift is packed with honest, clear, and critical ideas and Biblical principles that will open pathways to new ideas on how refocus, reframe, and rethink flourishing in Christian education. Modeling collaboration, this team of authors are real people doing the real work of the Kingdom. May their deep love and commitment to Christian education jumpstart action in the Christian school community to move from fear to risk to innovation.

— Jennifer Thompson, Superintendent
Ontario Christian Schools

This book tells the stories of schools that are creative and innovative—stories told by thought leaders in Christian education about schools that are fashioning sacred places to equip students to be college-ready, career-ready—and most importantly, Kingdom-ready.

— Dr. Timothy Van Soelen, Executive Director
The Center for the Advancement of Christian Education