Christian Schools Canada Conference 2016


Andy Crouch
Keynote Speaker

In his 2016 book Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing, Andy Crouch continues the compelling exploration of faith and culture found in his previous books Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Andy is executive editor of Christianity Today. He serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He is also a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission’s IJM Institute. His work and writing have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing—and, most importantly, received a shout-out in Lecrae’s 2014 single Non-Fiction. Andy was executive producer for the documentary film series Where Faith and Culture Meet and Round Trip, as well as the three-year project This Is Our City. From 1998 to 2003, he was the editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly, a magazine for an emerging generation of culturally creative Christians. For ten years he was a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. He studied classics at Cornell University and received an M.Div. summa cum laude from Boston University School of Theology. A classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz, and gospel, he has led musical worship for congregations of 5 to 20,000. He lives with his family in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

Beth Green

Dr Beth Green is Program Director for Education at Cardus, a social policy think tank dedicated to the renewal of North American social architecture. Dr. Green has an international reputation for her expertise in religious school ethos; leadership and management; teaching and learning and social theory in education. She oversees the Cardus Religious Schools Initiative based at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, which produces the Cardus Education Survey. This survey reports on the academic, social and civic outcomes for students attending government, religious and independent schools in Canada and the USA.

Brian Doornenbal

Brian is a “lifer” in Christian education. Since his graduation from Dordt College, he has spent the last thirty five years as a teacher, administrator and curriculum consultant in Christian Schools in Chatham, ON and Edmonton AB. His current work with the PCCE takes him to schools across western Canada. The fact that nine little boys call him Grandpa may be responsible for the fact that he feels more strongly than ever that Christian schools have an important role in helping students find their place in God’s story.

Dan Beerens

Dan Beerens is a Senior Fellow at CACE (Center for the Advancement of Christian Education), international speaker, author, blogger, and adjunct professor. He has been a teacher and administrator in both public and Christian schools. He works with schools on curriculum design, school improvement, and teacher professional growth.

Darren Spyksma

Darren Spyksma lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia with his wife and two children. His two children attend Abbotsford Christian School. When Darren is not working, his hobbies include hiking with the family, organic gardening and fishing. His passion for work comes from connecting faith formation and development with integrated learning.

Darryl Deboer

Darryl Deboer is the K-12 Director of Learning for Surrey Christian School. While at school, he is passionate about students participating in real work that meets a real need for real people. Outside of school, he is busy coaching his kids, going for dog walks with the family and thinking about fishing.

Dave Loewen

Dave has been serving in administration at three different Christian Schools and is currently the Superintendent of Surrey Christian School. He holds a PhD in Organizational Theory and Leadership Studies with a particular interest in Discourse Ethics. Dave is happily married to Sharlene and has two wonderful daughters who have shaped him into a competent dance dad.

David Michel

David began his professional career teaching in 1976. Inspired to have a broader influence in the school community, he became an administrator in the public school system. For almost 25 years, he served the school community in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, as an educational leader with a desire to improve student achievement. Working at all levels—secondary, elementary and district—David has promoted a collaborative approach to teaching and learning while encouraging a culture of success for all students. During this time, he became involved with the International Baccalaureate (IB) and served as Chair of the IB Diploma Programme Committee that met annually in Wales. After retiring from the public sector, David moved to Indonesia, and for almost 5 years, was the founding head of school for an International Christian school in Jakarta offering IB programmes. Moving back to Canada in 2014, David become Head of School at White Rock Christian Academy and has held that position for the past two years. WRCA has begun the journey to become an IB World School, and will be the only Christian school in North America to offer all three IB programmes (PYP, MYP & DP) to all students with a Biblical Christian worldview as its foundation.

Deani Van Pelt

Deani Van Pelt is Director of the Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education at the Fraser Institute in Canada. Previously Director of Teacher Education and Associate Professor of Education at Redeemer University in Hamilton, Ontario and formerly a secondary school teacher in both public and independent schools in math and business subjects, she has a B. Commerce (McMaster University), a B.Ed. (University of Toronto) and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Education (Western University). Van Pelt has led two government-funded (SSHRC) international research collaborations, served as an expert witness, and recently co-authored studies in education spending and enrolments, home schooling, independent schooling, and, with Cardus, several studies on education outcomes of graduates from diverse school sectors. Her master’s thesis was on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education and her doctoral dissertation on parental choice in education. She has presented at academic and practitioner conferences across North America, and her work is frequently featured in a wide range of Canadian print and broadcast media including the National Post, the Globe and Mail, and CBC.

Doug Monsma

Doug is the Director of Learning at the Prairie Centre for Christian Education, located at The Kings University in Edmonton. Prior to his current position Doug served in many roles during a 25 year career at Edmonton Christian Schools. The common thread in all of these roles is a passionate desire to create learning experiences that both invite students to imagine what it means to be a “peculiar” people in God’s story AND to offer opportunities to “practice” being peculiar. Doug struggles with being peculiar but is pursuing it!

Hank de Jong

“My primary role is to lead the staff in the direction that the Board of Directors has prayerfully set forward. I love working with the staff in an effective team context. Building on my undergraduate degree from Redeemer University College, I completed my Master of Arts in Leadership from Trinity Western University in 2013. These educational pursuits have been valuable building blocks for my leadership of this organization. Apart from my role at EduDeo Ministries, I serve as elder in my local church. I love my church. I also serve as a Board member for the Canadian Christian Relief and Development Association (CCRDA) and am a member of the Board for the Foster Parents Association of the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society. My wife Michelle and I are blessed with four children and we have also been actively involved in fostering young children in our city for the past three years. For fun, I enjoy hockey and running…and watching the Leafs. #nextyear”

Jim Marsh

James C. Marsh, Jr. served as Head of School at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis, Missouri for twenty-eight years before stepping down in July 2013. He currently serves from St. Louis, Missouri as the Director of the Van Lunen Center for Executive Management in Christian Schools, headquartered at Calvin College, an organization dedicated to providing world-class executive management education essential to the future of schools based on the historic Christian faith. He currently serves as the Director of Membership Audits for the Council of Educational Standards and Accountability. He is a product of Christian elementary and secondary schools in north eastern New Jersey, and graduated in 1969 with a B.A. in Education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, in 1979. Jim has served as Board President of Christian Schools International (Grand Rapids, Michigan), member of the Board of Directors of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (Chicago, Illinois), Board member and president of the Independent Schools of St. Louis, and member of the faculty of the Van Lunen Center. He is a contributing author of the book Schools as Communities (James L. Drexler, Editor).

Joel Westa

Joel became President/CEO of Christian Schools International in 2015. He attended The Kings College in New York where he was a music education major, and then served as a youth and music pastor in a church in Ohio. From there he fulfilled a lifelong dream to fly in the U.S. Air Force, and spent 25 years flying the B-52 bomber. He also held numerous staff positions and culminated his career as Wing Commander of the only dual strategic bomber and missile Wing in the Air Force. He served as a professor at the Naval War College and later was the Director of Academic Support at the Marine Corps University, where he managed curriculum development, faculty development and accreditation In 2013, he became the superintendent of NorthPointe Christian School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Joel and his wife, Deborah, have four children and seven grandchildren.

John DeBoer

John has been involved in Christian Education throughout his career and has learned, among other things, that teaching Grade One PE is challenging, humbling, and beautiful; that the creative tension between seemingly opposing ideas is an opportunity to embrace deeper understanding; and that there is truth to the old adage “the older I get, the more I discover how little I know.” John is the Principal at King’s Christian Collegiate in Oakville, Ontario.

Justin Cook

Justin works as the Director of Learning at the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools, where he supports learning in Christian school communities to deepen character, mastery knowledge and skills, and beautiful work. 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.

Karin Reimer

Karin Riemer has been a teacher for 16 years and a vice principal for 6. She has taught in Christian School both in British Columbia and California and is currently thriving in her collaborative roles as Upper Primary Teacher and Vice Principal at Abbotsford Christian Elementary School. Karin was part of the team that participated in the High Tech High Educational Leadership Academy that started the PBL Residency. She is thrilled by the 21st century learning experiences that project based learning provides for the students at her school.

Krista Adams Wallace

Krista Adams Wallace founded the Doulos Discovery School, a PK-12 expeditionary learning school located in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. Doulos was the first international Christian school to utilize EL methods. From 2002-2014, Krista was both executive director of the governing nonprofit and headmaster of the school. She has experience in launching schools, synergizing boards, recruiting quality staff, and turning sceptics around.

Krista Mulder

I have been an educator for the past 15 years. During this time I have spent time as an administrator in a variety of settings. The focus of the work in these schools has been on developing positive school cultures that contribute to collective efficacy.  I have been a principal for 1 year at Edmonton Christian Northeast. We have been focusing our collaborative work around creating meaningful opportunities for students to engage as leaders of their own learning.

Lloyd Den Boer

Lloyd is currently the Dean of the Education Faculty at The King’s University in Edmonton. In addition to fifteen years in teacher preparation, Lloyd has been an elementary school principal in Alberta and British Columbia and a high school English teacher.

Matthew Beimers

Matthew Beimers is preK-7 Principal of Surrey Christian School. He loves reading, writing, camping, going for walks and spending time with his wife Bev and their four daughters.

Mike Riezebos

Mike is the Director of the PBL Residency, and has been teaching at Abbotsford Christian Secondary School for the past 7 years. He has completed a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Dordt College. He enjoys engaging educators in educational change and sharing his experiences in PBL. Change in education is a journey, and Mike enjoys sharing the journey of ACS and the PBL Residency, as well as learning from others journeys.

Sandra Barthel

Sandra Barthel is Vice Principal at Abbotsford Christian Middle School, where she also teaches Fine Arts and Band. As Vice Principal, she is responsible for Curriculum and Staff Development. Sandra is also part of a team of teachers from ACS who worked together to start the Project Based Learning Residency to teach others how to design projects that authentically engage students and lead to deeper learning. When she is not busy designing projects for school, she helps her husband with photography projects, and is immersed in the best project ever…being a mom!

Seth Bakker

Seth Bakker has been a teacher for 19 years, and has just begun to dabble into the world of administration over the past 3. He has taught in Christian schools both in Washington state and British Columbia, and loves seeing students’ lives enriched by an education centered in Christ and focused on students. He is very excited about the refreshed perspective sweeping through education, convinced that we are getting better at honoring students and our calling as educators.

Shannon Gillespie

Shannon Gillespie lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia with her husband and daughter. Her daughter attends school at the same school where she is Assistant Principal, Nanaimo Christian School.  When Shannon is not teaching in a collaborative multi-aged setting in Middle School she is overseeing the Middle School program at NCS.  Shannon enjoys camping with the family, time with friends, and travelling. Her passion for work comes from a deep desire to meet middle level learners where they are at and build learning environments based on the needs and interests of students.

Steven Levy

After 28 years teaching in classrooms K-12, Steven Levy is now an educational consultant with EL Education. He was the Massachusetts State Teacher of the Year and the Disney American Teacher Awards national Outstanding General Elementary Teacher. Mr. Levy has written various articles for educational journals, and his book, Starting From Scratch details some of the projects and students he has worked with in his elementary classrooms.