Principal Development Institute

About the Principal Development Institute (PDI)

PDI is for those who have served as administrators in a Christian Schools International member school for not more than ten years.

Due to the generosity of donors who are passionate about equipping Christian school leaders, Christian Schools International covers all registration fees, lodging, and meal expenses. Participants selected will be responsible for their own travel expenses and arrangements to and from the conference. Because of the intensity of the program, we would encourage spouses and family not to attend. The housing is designed for participants to share a suite with another participant.



Past PDIs


The eighth annual PDI was held on January 29–31, 2018, in Orlando, Florida. See additional photos on our Facebook page.

2018 PDI group
2018 PDI group



The seventh annual PDI was held on February 20–22, 2017, in Orlando, Florida.



The sixth annual PDI was held on February 3–5, 2016, in Orlando, Florida. The institute featured twenty active school leaders working with three knowledgeable facilitators digging deeply into three critical areas of school leadership:

  • Instruction and Learning: The Christian School’s Core Business
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Excellence in the Context of Building Communities of Grace


2016 PDI group
2016 PDI group



Facilitator for PDI

Joel Westa started his career as a youth and music pastor. He then served in the US Air Force for 25 years, flying B-52s and rising to the position of Wing Commander; taught at the Naval War College; and was the director of academic support at the Marine Corps University. In 2013 he became the superintendent of NorthPointe Christian School in Grand Rapids and from there came to Christian Schools International as president/CEO.



Testimonials from recent PDI participants

“Leadership in Christian schools is no small task. The constant demands of time, energy, and finances can erode the well-being of even the most energetic leader. To be able to stop and be nourished for a few days was a remarkable gift. Thank you for allowing this group of people to gather and to learn from each other, and also from such capable CSI leaders.” – Ontario

“Our time together was one of wonderful development, collaboration, and fellowship. The structure and schedule was intentionally rigorous, the time spent under the teaching of and in the company of a cohort of gifted school leaders, proved to be invigorating. I believe that the wisdom that was gleaned and the training on how to lead our learning communities through seasons of uncertainty will have both immediate and long-term effects on the health of our schools.” – New Jersey

“Although I have been involved in several leadership programs, this was the most useful training I have experienced. Our Christian leaders were well-prepared to share practical ways for us to lead systemic thinking and strategic planning while being nurturers of authentic Christian communities. The time we spent in groups connecting with other leaders was of great value – not just in content, but in encouragement. I came home with ideas that I can put in motion right away and plans to move our school ahead as we remain committed to equipping students for service in God’s world.” – Michigan