Blog Contributors

Editors

Editor

Dan Beerens

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 CACE (Center for the Advancement of Christian Education), 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) and co-editor of the recent book MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education (ACSI).
Assistant Editor

Shiori Zinnen

Assistant Editor

Steven Levy

After 28 years teaching in classrooms K-12, and 16 years as a school designer for EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) Steven Levy is now an independent educational consultant and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Christian Education. He offers professional development in service-based curriculum design, engaging instructional practices, student owned assessments, character development and spiritual formation. He was recognized as the Massachusetts State Teacher of the Year and honored by the Disney American Teacher Awards as the national Outstanding General Elementary Teacher. Mr. Levy has written various articles for educational journals, blogs, and his book, Starting From Scratch, details some of the projects he designed in his elementary classrooms.

Regular Contributors

Justin Cook

After teaching at Surrey Christian Schools in British Columbia, Toronto District Christian High School, and Hamilton District Christian High School, Justin joined the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools in 2013 as the Director of Learning. Justin now partners with Edvance affiliate schools in a vision of learning for flourishing communities, supporting schools to develop a learning vision that helps students to thrive as engaged citizens committed to their local communities and rooted in a vision of the interdependence and right-relatedness of all things through Christ’s reconciling reign. This desire to engage with students in purpose and hope for the future has connected Justin with Christian Deeper Learning colleagues and speaking engagements across Canada, the United States, and internationally. 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, and feasting with friends.

Darryl DeBoer

Darryl has been the K-12 Director of Learning for Surrey Christian School since 2014. He has been involved in education as a science teacher and/or administrator in BC, Ontario and India since 1996. In addition to his role as Director of Learning, he is also a Senior Fellow for the Center for the Advancement of Christian Education (CACE) located at Dordt University in Iowa, United States, and has been involved in the co-creation of Teaching for Transformation (TfT) for the past 9 years. Darryl is most passionate about equipping teachers to design “real work, real need, real people” learning experiences that invite, nurture and empower students to play their part within God’s story. Away from school, he can be found walking his dog with the family and dreaming about the next time that he can go fishing.

Trent DeJong

Trent De Jong teaches in the Humanities at Abbotsford Christian Secondary. He is a coach and presenter at The Residency, a summer professional development week for teachers. His videos can be found on YouTube channel Drybones.

Kim Essenburg

Kim Essenburg has taught in international Christian schools in Japan since 1987. She has served as curriculum coordinator and department chair, teaching English language arts classes from 4th grade through 12th grade, with occasional forays into PE, math, ESL, and even chemistry for one never-to-be-repeated quarter. She currently teaches middle school ESL and English language arts for grade 4-7. She is passionate about helping students discover their love of reading and writing, helping teachers discover ways to even better engage students in learning, and exploring what it means for people as God’s image bearers to develop the potential of language for joy and justice. Her blog Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn can be found at kimessenburg.blogspot.com. While she enjoys teaching, reading, writing, and going for long walks, her absolute favorite things to do is connect with her 5 grandchildren online.

David Hoffner

David Hoffner is the Executive Director of Faith Formation at Minnehaha Academy.

Kevin Huinink

Kevin Huinink is the current Executive Director of Cairn Christian School which has a JK-8 campus in Smithville and Stoney Creek, in the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario. Kevin has taught a wide range of subjects and ages through his career including grade three art, middle school social studies, high school business, computers, leadership, math, family studies and philosophy, and coached XC & T&F Running. In administration, Kevin has served as a guidance counsellor, principal, and now head of schools. Kevin holds an M.A. from the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. Kevin enjoys learning, running, hiking, and singing and does all of the above with his wife and four teen- and tween-aged children.

Amy Imbody

Amy Imbody has been teaching teachers (and kids!) for over thirty-five years. Amy is the founder and director of the Center for Redemptive Education, which exists to articulate, cultivate, demonstrate and facilitate the quest to align with God's design for teaching and learning. Amy holds a B.A.in Liberal Arts from Penn State University and an M.Ed. in Integrated Curriculum and Instruction from Covenant College. She offers professional development and spiritual formation for teachers, parents, administrators and other educators; founded the faith-based outdoor education programs Boots & Roots (4-6 year olds), Scent of Water Learning Communities (K-8), and Canopy (high school); and writes poetry, essays, stories and music for both children and adults.

Joanna Levy

Joanna Levy has been a parent, classroom assistant, classroom teacher, instructional coach, and principal of New Covenant School, in Arlington, Massachusetts, where she continues to serve as spiritual director. In her work beyond New Covenant School she supports teachers in designing engaging curriculum that serves an authentic audience, meets academic standards, and fosters discipleship in the students. Her passion is to inspire and equip educators to create an intentional culture that develops practices in their schools in which both students and teachers desire to become more like Christ.
She offers workshops to teachers and administrators on character growth and spiritual formation and co-facilitates a master class on Christian Deeper Learning with her husband, Steven.

Christy Mactavish

Christy Mactavish is an educator with over fifteen years experience with grades 4-9 and has held various teacher leadership positions. She holds a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from Dordt University and is currently teaching 8th Grade English at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, TN. Christian Deeper Learning transformed her calling as a Christian educator, and as a fierce advocate for life-long learning, she hopes to inspire other teachers to see its potential within their own classrooms.

Jim McKenzie

Jim McKenzie holds an M.Ed. from the University of Florida. He has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in both public and private school settings. He currently serves as the Headmaster of The Rock School, a PK-12 Christian school in Gainesville, Florida, where he has been employed for the past 20+ years.

Jim is also a motivational speaker and consultant and has done keynotes and workshops at numerous schools and conferences including the International Reading Conference, the American Educational Research Conference, Edvance Conference, Heartland Convention, and the League of Christian Schools National Conference. He has published work in The Elementary School Journal and Teachers of Vision.
Jim currently serves as the marketing & enrollment consultant for the Van Lunen Center.

In February 2019, Jim delivered his first Ted Talk, “Future Ready Schools,” which can now be seen on the Tedx channel on YouTube.
Jim is passionate about strengthening Christian schools by encouraging and equipping its leaders. He lives in Florida with his wife, Hannah, and their 5 children.

David Michel

For the past eight years, David Michel has worked as head of school at White Rock Christian Academy. David has local understanding and international experience as the founding head of school of Sekolah Pelita Harapan (SPH) International – Kemang Village. The school is located in the southern part of Jakarta city and is one of several campuses that provide independent Christian education for both National Indonesian and Expatriate students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Prior to working in Indonesia, he worked for thirty-four years in public schools as an administrator in School District No. 35 (Langley), which including two years as Director of Schools. He is also a former Chair of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Committee and has worked in and with several IB schools. WRCA is one of the few Christian Schools in North America to offer a complete K-G12 program for all students.

Fiona Partridge

Dr. Fiona Partridge is the State Executive Officer for Christian Education National (CEN) and Senior Lecturer at the National Institute for Christian Education in Australia. She has taught in a CEN school for the past 32 years, and still loves learning! Recently Fiona has taken up the Coordination of Professional Learning with the Christian Education National network of schools. Fiona lives with her family in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, South Australia. She loves cycling, trail running, and talking culture…usually with a good coffee involved!

Darren Spyksma

Darren is a first generation Canadian living on the lands traditionally stewarded by the Stolo Nation, called S'olh Temexw. As the youngest son of Dutch immigrants and a husband and father of two adult children, Darren strives to live a life pleasing to his Creator. As Director of Learning for the Society of Christian Schools in British Columbia, Darren is passionate about learning that prepares students to think critically and creatively about God and creation. Through engagements around the world, Darren challenges and inspires educators to step boldly toward improved practice focused on growth in learning and faith formation.

Laura Swan

Laura Swan is an educator with close to twenty years of experience as a classroom teacher, teacher-leader and administrator. She holds an M.Ed in School Leadership from Dordt University, as well as degrees from the University of Auckland and the University of Guelph. A diverse practitioner, Laura also holds certifications and training in Restorative Practice, Te Kotahitanga and Gifted and Talented Education. Her teaching experience encompasses a wide range of subjects including English, business, dance, philosophy, leadership and technology. Her experience extends across public, state and Christian education systems, including a decade living and working in New Zealand. Relational pedagogy, education outside the classroom, community partnerships, creativity and innovation are all part of Laura’s philosophy of education. She is passionate about empowering students in and through their learning experiences to embrace their abilities, gifts and interests as Image-bearers, acting as change-makers and living into God’s story. Laura currently works at Hamilton District Christian High School and lives in Hamilton, Ontario, the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe people, with her husband and daughter.

Kevin Taylor

Kevin has taught and directed programs for 22 years in Christian schools in Guatemala, Kansas, and Colorado. He holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and a B.A. in Spanish. He loves exploring (with others) the realms of culture, educational theology, and the many practical ways that education helps teachers and students grow in the knowledge and likeness of Jesus. He is currently exploring the viability of Nova Education Labs, a consulting and professional development venture designed to help form legendary Christian school teachers. In his leisure time, he enjoys hanging out with his wife and two daughters, drinking non-coffee beverages in coffee shops with friends, reading books by Dallas Willard and C.S. Lewis, eating Chex Mix, and surfing eBay in search of twice-in-a-lifetime bargains.

Krista Wallace

Krista Adams Wallace is an international Christian educator and consultant. Krista spent 19 years in the Dominican Republic working in missions and educational development. In 2002, Krista launched the Doulos Discovery School, an expeditionary learning PK-12 international Christian school in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. Doulos was the first international Christian school to implement expeditionary learning practices. In 2009, Krista led Doulos to become the first internationally accredited ACSI school in the Dominican Republic.
In 2016, Krista launched InspirED, an educational consulting nonprofit, with Steven Levy and Dan Beerens. This collaboration led to them to create the Christian Deeper Learning conference.

Krista lives with her husband, Chad, in Denver, CO and is the Director of Learning Innovation for Elevate USA. They have two grown daughters and serve on their local Young Life committee. Krista and Chad have an organic coffee farm in the Dominican Republic and enjoy finding new places to sell their coffee around the world.

Peter Welle

Peter Welle is a history teacher and professional development coordinator at Southwest Christian High School in Chaska, Minnesota. In addition, he serves as a Teaching for Transformation School Designer through the Center for the Advancement of Christian Education. These positions afford him the luxury of exploring Christian teaching practices at a conceptual level alongside fellow educators, and in a deeply practical way with his own students.

In all his work with learners, Peter tries to play the long game with his instruction, aiming at lifelong goals. As a wanderer for a few years himself, he realizes that some seeds take time to sprout and bear fruit. His pedagogical practice has been invigorated by Teaching for Transformation: he has witnessed his students find deeper purpose for understanding history—as a means to activate kingdom life. When he's not teaching, Peter can usually be found at home with his family playing board games, strumming his guitar, or muttering under his breath about the Minnesota Vikings.

Julie Winn

Dr. Julie Winn has spent more than 20 years in education as an elementary level teacher, instructional coach and curriculum specialist in both public and private school settings in Massachusettes, New Jersey and Minnesota. She holds a M.Ed. from Gordon College in Curriculum and Instruction as well as an Ed.D. from Bethel University in Educational Leadership. She is the Director of Teaching and Learning at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, MN, and also serves as a conference presenter and curriculum trainer for various christian schools and national organizations.