Accreditation Regional Coordinators
Your school will be assigned its very own CSI Regional Coordinator who will mentor you through the entire accreditation process, check in with you often, pray for you daily, and provide onsite training and continual support for your school.
Josh Bowar earned his bachelor’s degree from Dordt University in secondary English education, and he has a master’s degree in both curriculum and instruction and in educational leadership, both from Dordt University. Josh holds an EdS from the University of South Dakota in educational leadership—school district superintendent—and his EdD is from the University of South Dakota, with a dissertation focused on the topic of teachers transitioning to become principals in the same building where they were once teachers (something he experienced). Josh is currently the head of school at a CSI-accredited school in Iowa.
John Gutman earned his master’s degree in education from Utah State University. He has worked in Christian, public, charter, and virtual schools for more than 30 years in Utah, Alaska, Washington, and Illinois. He has served on and led accreditation teams in the Western US for Cognia (formerly AdvancEd) and in Egypt and Saudi Arabia for an accreditation agency that works with English language schools in the Middle East. John’s latest position was as principal of a CSI school in Illinois where he served as a co-leader of its School Improvement Team.
Mary Patterson holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and church music and a master’s in both education and music. Mary also has Iowa certification in K–12 music, K–12 Spanish, and PK–12 principal and supervisor of special education. She has served as a CSI accreditation commissioner and, as a principal, led her school in Iowa through two accreditation cycles with CSI. For ten years she lived and taught English and music in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has also taught music theory and piano at the university level.
Chris Rast’s education includes bachelor’s degrees in history and education from the University of Missouri, as well as a master’s degree in educational administration from Grand Canyon University. Chris has been an educator and administrator in grades 6–12 for nearly twenty years. He was heavily involved in the accreditation process for multiple schools over that span of time. In addition to working with Christian schools in their accreditation processes, Chris works with numerous Christian schools in the Pacific Northwest on refining and providing professional development, mentorship, compliance, and district coordination.
David Ritter holds bachelor’s degrees from Elmhurst College in management and Northern Illinois University in teaching, a master’s degree from Wheaton College in educational ministries, and a PhD in educational leadership/Christian thought from American University of Biblical Studies. David has served as the head of school and interim head of school at Christian schools in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, and Missouri. His consulting service, Imago Dei Group, specializes in head of school and leadership searches and school stabilization and transitional (interim) leadership during organizational changes specifically for Christian schools.
Arlyn Schaap’s bachelor’s degree is from Dordt University in secondary education. Following his undergraduate work, Arlyn worked with elementary and middle school students and staff which affirmed his passion for working in elementary and middle school. Arlyn expanded his education to include a master’s in elementary school administration and an advanced degree in elementary administration. Arlyn has served as a principal/administrator in CSI schools in both Iowa and Minnesota and for more than ten years, and he has worked as an activity director of a Title III grant with a community college in Northwest Iowa.
Bob Van Wieren
Bob Van Wieren received his bachelor’s degree from Trinity Christian College in history, biology, and education. He earned his master’s degree from Purdue University in educational administration. Bob has been involved in Christian education for nearly fifty years as a teacher, principal, head of school, and consultant in California, Indiana, and Michigan. Bob worked for CSI from 1997–2003 and then led the CSI accreditation department from 2011 until 2017. He estimates that he has led more than 150 accreditation site visits with CSI.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Wilken holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University of Denver, Colorado and an EdD in educational leadership from the University of Phoenix, in which she specialized in the application of self-efficacy and communication between teachers and parents. Betsy has been an elementary teacher, has served in the nonprofit sector in youth development, and has also worked as dean of curriculum and dean for school operations at a college-preparatory school. Most recently, Betsy served as the head of school at a CSI-accredited school in Michigan. Betsy continues her work with the Awaken Leadership Center, which she founded in 2014 to guide educators, leaders, and executives to create positive change in their organizations.
Our regional coordinator was a blessing to us! He is very knowledgeable and encouraging and very easy to work with.
CSI Accreditation Commission
The Commission oversees operations of the accreditation program on behalf of accredited and candidate schools. It is the responsibility of the Commission to approve or deny initial and renewed accreditation status to all schools.