Masthead

Mission

To inspire and support women leaders in Christian education by providing a platform for encouragement, resources, and conversation

Vision

To be the leading voice for women leaders in Christian education.

Values

Authenticity, Joy, Excellence, Community

Managing Editors

Provost / Chief Academic Officer

Beth Green

Dr. Beth Green is Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Tyndale University in Toronto.

Dr. Beth Green is Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Tyndale University in Toronto. Dr. Green is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and a Senior Fellow at the faith-based think tank Cardus. She has a doctorate from the University of Oxford and is also a graduate of Cambridge and London Universities. 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 regularly publishes her empirical research in international journals, including the British Journal of Sociology and Education and the Cambridge Journal of Education. Her consultancy regularly takes her to Europe and Australia where she advises on effective approaches to measurement, professional development, and pedagogy in the religious school sector.
Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer

Lynn Swaner

Dr. Lynn Swaner is the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at ACSI.

Dr. Lynn Swaner is the Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at ACSI, where she leads initiatives and develops strategies to address compelling questions and challenges facing Christian education. Prior to joining ACSI she served as a Christian school administrator and a graduate professor of education. Dr. Swaner serves as a Cardus Senior Fellow and is the lead editor of the books MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education and 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.
Executive Director

Katie Wiens

Dr. Katie Wiens is the Executive Director of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability.

Dr. Kathryn Wiens is the Executive Director of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability and a Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Along with her teaching at Kennesaw State University, Gordon College, and Cairn University, she has done extensive research and writing on independent and faith-based schools as well as single-gender education. She holds a doctorate in education from Boston University. Having worked in both public and independent schools, Wiens has served as Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Admissions, Science Department Chair, and has taught chemistry and biology. Her publications include a book on single-gender education, multiple journal articles, co-editor of a book on school leadership, as well as the most comprehensive study done to date on Christian education.

Production Editor

Thought Leadership Project Coordinator

Becki Rust

Becki Rust is the Thought Leadership Project Coordinator at ACSI.

Becki Rust is the Thought Leadership Project Coordinator at ACSI, where she leads project management for a wide variety of innovative and timely initiatives, programs, and events. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King’s College in New York City.

Regular Contributors

Vice Principal of School Culture

Lisa Conlin

Lisa Conlin is Vice Principal of School Culture at King’s Christian Collegiate.

In an amateur quest to capture beauty, Lisa Conlin is approaching 4G of cell photos. Outside of playful photography, her professional lens is focused on her role as Vice Principal of School Culture at King’s Christian Collegiate, a Canadian high school known for its culture of care and instruction shaped by weekly Faculty Research & Development. She is pleased to serve as the Board Chair of Edvance Association for Christian Schools. A few favourite influencers in her life and leadership include Henri Nouwen, Lyle Lovett, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast, Krista Tippett’s On Being podcast, Desmond Tutu, and Danielle Strickland. She lives in Toronto, Canada (Go, Raptors!) with her husband Ryan and they always enjoy plotting their next adventure--from starting an Airbnb, cycling new routes, and seeking out culinary delights to designing unique experiences with their nephews and niece. Women in Christian Educational Leadership, she sees you--and you are amazing.
Executive Director

Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski

Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski is the Executive Director of All Belong Center for Inclusive Education.

Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski is the Executive Director of All Belong Center for Inclusive Education (formerly CLC Network), equipping congregations and schools to glorify God through purposeful, innovative inclusion of persons of varied abilities. Her training is in fundraising and nonprofit administration, serving at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago for nine years, and at All Belong since 2012. Elizabeth has a bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University and is currently studying for her master’s degree at Grand Valley State University.
Writer/Conference Speaker/Department Chair

Tia Gaines

Tia Gaines is a writer and conference speaker who focuses on diversity, inclusion, and equity within Christian education as well as innovation and technology.

Tia Gaines is a writer and conference speaker who focuses on diversity, inclusion, and equity within Christian education as well as innovation and technology. She has been teaching for 16 years, with 11 of those years spent in online education. She currently serves as Department Chair for the English department as well as the 6-12 Instructional Coach for her school. She coaches and trains over 200 teachers on teaching strategies in a virtual setting. She has also taught in the SAIL (School for Applied and Innovative Learning) program at Delaware County Christian School in Newtown Square, PA. In addition, Tia provides consulting to schools, universities and organizations on diversity, equity and inclusion alongside her husband, Joel. Tia and Joel reside in Philadelphia with their four children.
Executive Director

Gayle Monsma

Gayle Monsma is the Executive Director of the Prairie Centre for Christian Education.

Gayle Monsma is the Executive Director of the Prairie Centre for Christian Education, an organization that partners with Christian schools in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Prior to this position, Gayle served as teacher and principal at Covenant Christian School for 28 years. Outside of work, Gayle enjoys travelling, hanging out with family and friends and exploring the city on her bike.
Executive Consultant

Teri O’Connor

Dr. Teri O’Connor is an Executive Consultant, Communications Professional, and Certified Fundraising Executive.

As an Executive Consultant, Communications Professional, and Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), Dr. Teri O’Connor works with clients to help them build meaningful and long lasting relationships with their donors. Sought as a national speaker on the topics of donor cultivation, communication, and recognition, she has had the privilege of working with faith-based and not-for-profit organizations for over 25 years. While she specializes in working in the education arena, she has also consulted on major projects for notable clients in broadcast ministry, international missions, and the church. She has worked on projects ranging from $1Million to $1Billion to further the missions and ministries of her clients.

She is best known for her seminar on How to Ask for a Million Dollars and has published research on Donor Motivations for Charitable Giving and Improving Donor Retention through Dialogue. Teri holds a doctorate in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. Her doctoral dissertation was a case study focused on major donors in a Christian School context. She also holds an MA in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University, a BS degree in Business Administration from Barclay College, and BA degrees in Bible and Music from Vennard College. She and her husband, Sean, have served together in full time ministry for nearly 30 years.

Assistant Head of School / Head of High School

Tawanna D. Rusk

Tawanna D. Rusk, Ed. S. is the Assistant Head of School & Head of High School at Mount Paran Christain School in Kennesaw, GA.

Tawanna D. Rusk, Ed. S. is the Assistant Head of School & Head of High School at Mount Paran Christain School in Kennesaw, GA. Tawanna is beginning her twenty-ninth year as an educator and her tenth year at MPCS. She has taught or led at every level, PK-12. Tawanna served as the administrator of the first CommUNITY Taskforce at MPCS and has a wide range of learning demographics to enrich her experience. In her formative years, Tawanna was raised on military bases and richly blessed by being raised as a Native American. Tawanna has been married to Kevin for twenty-eight years and has two adult daughters.
Superintendent

Jenn Thompson

Jenn Thompson is the Superintendent of Ontario Christian School, just east of Los Angeles.

Jenn Thompson has served in Christian education for 20 years in roles that include, math and science teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, head of school and mom. She is currently the Superintendent of Ontario Christian School, just east of Los Angeles, where she serves more 1,100 students and 150 faculty and staff. Prior to her current position she served as the Head of School at San Jose Christian School in Campbell, California and in various positions at Westminster Christian School in Miami FL. Jenn has an undergraduate degree in Sociology/Biology from Wheaton College and a Master in Science in Educational Leadership from Florida International University. She serves on the Pension Board of Trustees of Christian Schools International. In whatever spare time Jenn has, she enjoys traveling to watch baseball games or to visit family who are spread all over the globe.
President

Deani Van Pelt

Dr. Deani Van Pelt is the President of Edvance, a new Christian Schools association in Canada

Dr. Deani Van Pelt is the President of Edvance, a new Christian Schools association in Canada located near Toronto currently serving 83 affiliate Christian schools. Deani is a senior fellow at two think tanks, Cardus and the Fraser Institute. She’s worked in post-secondary education as professor and director of teacher education at Redeemer University, in public and independent high schools as a math and business teacher, and taught at the elementary level when she home schooled her three children for a period. Deani is a provincially-certified teacher with degrees from McMaster University (B.Commerce), University of Toronto (B.Ed.) and Western (M.Ed. and Ph.D.) and has researched, presented, and published frequently on topics including school choice, independent schooling, home schooling, charter schools, religious schools, education spending, school sector enrolments, and Charlotte Mason’s design for education. She has served as an expert witness in a number of cases and her work has been regularly featured in mainstream Canadian print and broadcast media.
Head of Research & Innovation

Maria Varlet

Dr. Maria Varlet is the Head of Research & Innovation at Crest Education in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Maria Varlet is the Head of Research & Innovation at Crest Education in Melbourne, Australia. She currently serves as the Deputy Chair of the CSA National Council and is a member of the Advisory Committee for Casey Tech School. She has been involved in Christian Education for over 25 years, holding a variety of positions including Campus Principal and Executive Officer for Christian Schools Australia. She is passionate about promoting and developing innovation in education with interests in future focused pedagogies, teacher professional learning, change management and the support of women in leadership. Her doctoral thesis contributes insights into how Christian schools might utilise professional learning strategies to address tensions between ethos and assessment practices. Maria enjoys being challenged, laughing, photography, travelling, cooking and walking by the beach.