Christian Schools Canada Conference 2024

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Breakout Sessions

The Christian Schools Canada Conference 2024 breakout sessions have been curated to help school leaders dig deeper into several of the leadership practices from the Called Connected Committed National Leadership Practices Matrix.

There are three time slots on the agenda for breakout sessions. One time block will focus on leadership practices related to being Called, one on practices related to being Connected, and the last on practices related to being Committed. In each time slot, attendees will be invited to choose from one of two offered sessions.


CALLED Breakout Option #1:

Leadership as Vocation

CCC Practice: Leading Learners

Leaders who are called can articulate a strong sense of personal vocation to their role. This sense of vocation is underpinned by a deep faith commitment that demonstrates a vision beyond oneself. Given all of the challenges that leaders face in today’s complex leadership environment, it has never been more critical to understand leadership as a vocation, a vocation that finds a deep sense of resilience based in the story of Jesus.

Speaker: Andy Wolfe, Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership

Andy Wolfe is the Executive Director of Education for the Church of England. He has national oversight of the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership, which runs programs, networks, and research focused on leadership development. Andy brings a wealth of leadership experience and is committed to combining rich theological reflection with the most incisive and creative approaches to improving Teaching, Learning, and Leadership in schools. Andy has authored many of the CoE Foundation's Vision Resources, including pioneering the Ethos Enhancing Outcomes approach to leadership development, and the CoE's ‘Called, Connected, Committed’ leadership resources co-written with Professor David Ford. Alongside the national leadership of the Foundation’s work, Andy oversees the Church of England’s ‘Growing Faith’ national work in relation to schools, churches, and households for the 4674 Church of England schools.

CALLED Breakout Option #2:

Encouraging Sustainability in Theologically Diverse Communities: A Pathway Toward Unity in Diversity

CCC Practice: Recognizing Brokenness

Leading in Christian communities that are theologically diverse can be a challenge, especially at a time when we notice that the societal ethos is more interested in winning arguments than in listening to understand and work together.  We discuss ways we have experienced this journey in our own schools, along with practical suggestions for moving forward and nurturing school communities that lean into Unity in Diversity.

Speakers: Ken DeWyn (PCCE) and Kevin Huinink (Edvance)

Ken DeWyn has 30 years of experience in not for profit administration and commercial business in Canada and the US, including roles with Trinity Christian College, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and 10 years as Executive Director for Calgary Christian School. As an independent consultant and speaker, Ken specializes in serving organizations facing leadership and operational transition.

Kevin Huinink is the Executive Director of Cairn Christian School, with JK-8 campuses in Smithville and Stoney Creek in the Niagara Region of Ontario. If he and his family can stop injuring themselves, they hope to complete their trek of the 900km Bruce trail in the very near future.

CONNECTED Breakout Option #1:

Building Communities of Practice in Christian Schools

CCC Practice: Embracing Interdependence

Education thrives on human connection and the ability to understand, support, and inspire people, making it inherently a “people” business. The Christian faith prioritizes loving and serving others, following Jesus' example of compassion, humility, and selflessness. So for schools bearing the name of Christ, this means our most important work centers on relationships. Drawing on insights from research across North America, this session will explore how leaders can foster connectedness in their schools through deliberate engagement in communities of practice. Participants will strategize ways to cultivate school cultures marked by wholeness, interdependence, belonging, and hope—ultimately reflecting God’s relational nature and inviting us more deeply into His renewing work.

Speaker: Dr. Lynn Swaner, Cardus

Dr. Lynn E. Swaner is the President, US for Cardus. Lynn’s professional experience spans several sectors and encompasses roles in academia, sponsored research, associations, and independent schools. As a result, she is passionate about building bridges within and across fields. Her own research is interdisciplinary and focuses on how individuals, organizations, and communities can better thrive together. Lynn is the editor or lead author of several books including Future Ready: Innovative Missions and Models in Christian Education (ACSI & Cardus, 2022) and Flourishing Together: A Christian Vision for Students, Educators, and Schools (Eerdmans, 2021). Her work has been published in the International Journal of Educational Development, Eton Journal for Innovation and Research in Education, and Liberal Education, as well as featured in multiple book chapters and monographs. Lynn also serves as a non-resident scholar at Baylor University’s Center for School Leadership, a Senior Fellow for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and a trustee or advisor for several non-profit boards.

CONNECTED Breakout Option #2:

Living in the Tension Between Two Worlds 

CCC Practice: Cultivating Belonging

As people of colour in leadership, we have learned to straddle two worlds. Both worlds are teeming with God’s goodness and beauty. The challenge of living in two worlds is navigating the tension between who we need to be and who we are—personally, culturally, and professionally. God's generous gift of diversity has been at times hard to fully receive when there is a perceived threat and confusion to our identity and sense of belonging—especially in formative years of spiritual, emotional and social formation. In this session, we will be sharing stories to create a picture and understanding of the tension living as people of colour in our Christian school communities—including both beauty and brokenness. Identifying and wrestling with the tensions that inherently exist as people of colour are fundamental to becoming the individuals and leaders we believe God is calling us to be.

Speakers: Ron Masengi (Edvance) and Bryan Young (SCSBC)

Ron Masengi is a teacher, learner, leader, and coach. He lives in Burlington, Ontario with his loving wife, three beautiful daughters and best friend  Stella, their dog. He loves jogging, pickleball, traveling, ultimate frisbee and getting into deep conversations over a beverage. His parents were born in Indonesia and moved to Holland before landing in Canada in the mid 1960's. Being a part of the Christian school system throughout all of his life, Ron loves the mission and vision of Christian schools -  the invitation by God to be part of something bigger by creating spaces and places where Heaven and Earth intersect.

Bryan Young is the Principal at Delta Christian School in Delta, BC. Bryan, Wendy, and their two beautiful children reside in Richmond, BC where they are actively involved in The Tapestry Church (CRC). Bryan took on the leadership of Delta Christian School in 2016 where he values the opportunity to contribute daily to the flourishing of staff, students, and families. His lifelong commitment to learning includes a focus on STEM instruction, blended learning, applied Christian studies, and educational leadership. Mention any of Vancouver's sports teams or ask him about his travels to Japan to get Bryan going in conversation.

COMMITTED Breakout Option #1:

Conciliation and Reconciliation

CCC Practice: Pursuing Reconciliation

At the intersection of Faith and Commitment we find ourselves needing to make very difficult choices in terms of reconciliation. To understand our responsibilities we need to understand conciliation first. What is conciliation and reconciliation in our relationship with ourselves, with our colleagues, families, communities, country, and the world?

Speaker: Dr. Dorothy Vaandering, Memorial University

Dr. Dorothy Vaandering is a professor in Memorial University’s Faculty of Education and the Director of Relationships First Newfoundland and Labrador (RFNL). With extensive experience as a Primary-Elementary educator in faith-based schools, curriculum writer for OACS’s Creation Studies programs, and now, as researcher/teacher-educator in public school contexts, she is dedicated to examining the implementation and sustainability of restorative justice in education (RJE). Driven by her commitment to connect theory and practice, Dorothy works to confront the realities of colonization, past and present. As a settler-Canadian, she actively engages in making reconciliation real through her work. Dorothy designs and implements innovative, transformative professional learning approaches for the sustainable implementation of RJE. Learning to live relationally in all aspects of life is core to who she is. Dorothy acknowledges that she is indebted to so many individuals, young and old, who have supported and accepted her, enabling her to draw on her life, teaching, and research experiences to explore restorative justice education. She is the author and co-author of various academic and professional publications, including The Little Book of Restorative Justice in Education.

COMMITTED Breakout Option #2:

Cultivating a Culture of Giving through Transformational Philanthropy

CCC Practice: Directing Improvement

An integral part of school leadership is ensuring the school’s financial sustainability. Embark on a journey in transformational philanthropy as we explore the benefits of establishing a giving program that prioritizes the cultivation of genuine, meaningful relationships with donors. We will discuss an approach to fundraising that is aligned with the school’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities, that faithfully cares for donors and will grow giving significantly over time. Cultivating a culture of giving takes time; it ultimately enhances donor commitment to the school, ensuring a flourishing and sustainable future. Come join us in this conversation as we share both our knowledge and lived experience.

Speakers: Cathy Kits (SCSBC) and Monica Loewen (PCCE)

Cathy Kits is the Director of Advancement at the Society of Christian Schools BC. Her role at SCSBC Involves assisting schools with marketing and admissions, community relations, and donor development, with a strong focus on helping them establish cultures of generous giving. She has presented at many conferences, speaking on a variety of topics unique to the Christian school environment. Cathy is passionate about building and stewarding relationships that lead to positive and impactful change, growing significant giving that supports the flourishing of Christian education.

Monica Loewen has worked in a variety of non-profit and ministry positions, including the founding Executive Director of the Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre, Minister of Community Engagement at the E-Free Church of Lethbridge, and currently as the Executive Director of the Society for Christian Education in Southern Alberta.  She began her fund development career on the first day of grade 3 when she came home with a box of chocolate bars.  Since then, her methods have become a bit more sophisticated, but the passion to raise funds to support causes she believes in has remained the same.