Christian Schools Canada Conference 2012

Presenters 2012

Keynote Speakers

James Drexler
Understanding and Change for 21st Century Christian Schooling

James L. Drexler is the Dean of Education and Social Sciences at Covenant College in Georgia. He had a 23-year career in secondary Christian schooling as a teacher and administrator in St. Louis during which time he and his wife welcomed four children into the world. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University in 2000 and has authored two books: Schools as Communities (2007) and Nurturing the School Community (2012) both by Purposeful Design.

Dan Beerens
Raising up Children of Issachar: Nurturing a Flourishing Faith

Dan Beerens is an author, international speaker, and educational leader. Dan has served as teacher, principal, and director of curriculum and instruction in urban and suburban public and Christian schools in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan, and in various roles for Christian Schools International. He is currently working as a self-employed K-12 educational consultant. He is the author of Evaluating Teachers for Professional Growth: Creating a Culture of Motivation and Learning, published by Corwin Press.

Ray Pennings
Understanding What Christian Schools Want and Get

Ray Pennings is Senior Fellow and Director of Research at Cardus. He has been involved in the creation of Cardus as an emerging think-tank of influence focused on the renewal of social architecture. He has contributed to seven books, hundreds of journal articles, and you can find his opinions regularly shared through public policy punditry in newspaper, radio, and television appearances across Canada. Ray’s undergraduate degree is from McMaster University and his Master’s degree from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.

Walter Wright
Understanding Leadership in the
21st Century

Walter Wright is a Senior Fellow at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership in Pasadena, where he served as executive director from 2000-2012. Prior to this he served 12 years as the President of Regent College, UBC, and 20 years on the management team of Fuller Theological Seminary. Dr. Wright is the author of five books, Relational Leadership, Crossings, Mentoring: The Promise of Relational Leadership, Don’t Step on the Rope! Reflections of Leadership, Relationships and Teamwork and The Third Third of Life: Preparing for your Future.

Workshop Presenters

Peter Meerveld has spent most of career working as a senior executive with the Ontario government providing a wide range of services to a number of ministries in the area of natural resources, environment, agriculture and human resources. He received his education in the area of negotiations from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Although his skills as a leader were developed within the civil service, he honed most of his skills with non-profit organizations (including Christian schools) in the area of strategic planning, mediation and human resources planning.

Dave Loewen served as a teacher, vice principal and principal at Abbotsford Christian School for 13 years, as a principal at White Rock Christian Academy for 5 years and is in his first year as superintendent of Surrey Christian School. He has a PhD in Educational Administration and Leadership Studies from the University of Victoria.

After teaching at high schools in British Columbia and Toronto, Justin Cook returned to his alma mater Hamilton District Christian High School in Hamilton, Ontario, where he is the Head of the Languages Department. In his classes, he hopes to cultivate a communal narrative intelligence and imagination as a way to organize life for meaning. Justin attended Redeemer University College and Calvin College, and is currently an M.A. candidate at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto.

Brad Martens is the vice-principal of the Secondary Campus at Vernon Christian School. For the past 11 years, Brad has been instrumental in developing and implementing an IT plan at a school wide (K-12) level. It is Brad’s desire for school administrators to have a proactive understanding of IT and to know how their leadership plays an important role in implementing a technology vision.

Peter Pula, CEO of Axiom News, has been a student of change and society throughout his career. He has served on community boards in the arts, children’s services, granting organizations, and a Christian School. Axiom News provides co-creative communications services to organizations across Canada and in the US. is an expression of the company’s commitment to “Co-Create of a Life-Giving News Network for a Renewed and Thriving World.”

Anne Martin is Director of Restorative Practice Services at Shalem Mental Heath Network in Hamilton, Ontario. Anne’s work includes developing Shalem’s Restorative Practice network and providing Restorative Practice services for schools, faith communities and the workplace.

Doug Monsma serves as the PCCE’s Director of Learning. In this role, Doug is responsible for the development and implementation of the TFT project. The sessions will be led by real life school leaders/teachers who have a passion for, and extensive experience with, the Teaching for Transformation project.

Alex van Donkersgoed attended Calvin College for his BA and graduated in 1995. He spent some years trying out various careers before attending Redeemer University College to earn his teacher’s certificate in 2000. He’s spent the last ten years in the most challenging and fun schooling he could imagine, teaching in elementary classrooms. His childhood love of computers and technology has morphed into part of his career as he is now the technology coordinator at Halton Hills Christian School as well as the project coordinator for the Christian Education in a Digital Age pilot project.

Hank de Jong is the Executive Director of Edu Deo Ministries. He joined the organization in 2003, working 15 hours a week while maintaining full-time employment at Mission Services in downtown Hamilton. This lasted a short period of time and Hank was soon fully committed to this amazing cause. Hank has seen the ministry in action many times. He has personally met many students in developing countries who have been touched by the Gospel through Christ-centred education. Hank is deeply convinced that Christ-centred education is an amazing tool of transformation. Hank is currently working on his M.A. in Leadership at Trinity Western University with expected completion in 2012.

Dennis deGroot is Principal at Surrey Christian School – Secondary Campus, and this has been his career home for 35 years. Dennis tries to love and care for his wife Jenny and the various chickens, beef cows, cats, dogs and other living things that call Swallowfield Farm their home in Langley BC.

Mark Vander Vennen, MA, M.Ed, R.S.W., is the Executive Director of the Shalem Mental Health Network. Shalem is engaged in a three-way partnership with Edifide and the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools to support the embrace of restorative practice in Christian school settings. Mark is a certified trainer with the International Institute of Restorative Practices. Prior to his work at Shalem, Mark was Children’s Case Coordinator for Northumberland County, where he spent many years working with children and youth identified with multiple exceptionalities in the school systems. Mark also served as the Chair of the Board of Northumberland Christian School and has been a marriage and family therapist for 25 years.

Henry Au is the Director of Technology at Richmond Christian School and the vice-principal at the RCS Elementary campus. His vision is to model and teach practices which lead to technology integration and educational transformation. He believes that it is part of our responsibility as Christ’s disciples to become strong digital citizens so that the values and beliefs of our faith are evident and pervasive in the digital realm of the 21st century.

Jennie Das is the Director of Finance at the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools. Before joining the OACS team in 2008, Jennie was Toronto District Christian High’s first Development Director. As a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), she put the school’s books in order and managed other portfolios. She has been instrumental in shaping and implementing the OACS Financial Accountability Framework.

Darryl DeBoer is the Vice Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at a K-12 school, White Rock Christian Academy. His education experiences span Christian and public schools in both Canadian and International settings. When not at school, he can be found with his family on a trail, in a kayak, or combing the beach.

Mary Lynn McPherson of Strive! is a passionate advocate of healthy organizations. With over ten years as a STRIVE! consultant and a distinguished career at the Royal Bank in her background, Mary Lynn brings experience in strategic organizational development to her talent for tailoring a course of action to build healthy boards for client organizations. She thrives on helping organizations become more effective, be it through board training, performance management and team coaching, or strategic planning facilitation.

Tim Krell has been an educator for over thirty years. Over half of that time has been at Bellevue Christian School where he taught mathematics, biology, chemistry, and technology courses in the high school. He worked in administration for five years, first as high school assistant principal and then as junior high principal. In 2004, with the help of a colleague, he started an experimental, nontraditional program in the junior high. Currently he teaches as an adjunct in the School of Education at Seattle Pacific University and is the Administrator of Online Programs for Christian Schools International. He holds degrees in chemistry (BA) from Seattle Pacific University and biology (MAT) from the University of Washington.

Born the second child of Ren and Barb Siebenga, Julius Siebenga’s high school experience was good because of extra-curricular activities (both school and non-school led). He is currently working as an Executive Director of Abbotsford Christian School in Abbotsford BC. Prior to this setting, he was a High School Principal in California for 10 years. He and his wife have three wonderful elementary school aged children. It is their hope that their children’s high school joy, challenge, and results will come from the regular program of study as opposed to the extra-curricular activities.

Born the fourth child to the clan of Ren and Barb Siebenga, Nathan Siebenga grew up watching good schools become great. As it was, ‘school’ was his life and now as a principal it seems that he has taken over the family farm. Spending his quiet and not-so-quiet times with his best friend and wife makes life what it is and really fun. Their home is inhabited by four young children, all who are beautiful in their own way. Christian education has been a passion of his for a very long time and he continues to love being a leader of learning in his small corner of the world.

Ren Siebenga became a high school principal at the ripe old age of 25 and stayed in that role for 40 years. Now with two sons in similar roles he can only say that the Lord is good, full of grace and humor. Presently he is Executive Director of the Ontario Christian School Administrators Association.

Cambridge, Ontario