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Educators Train to Become Future Leaders at ELDI 2019

Last week, aspiring school leaders gathered in Sumas, Washington to learn about relational servant leadership and effective leadership and governance at ELDI.

This past week, twenty-four of the finest young educators from the US and Canada came together for CSI’s annual weeklong Educators Leadership Development Institute (ELDI), our professional development opportunity for those school leaders preparing to step in to administrative roles in their schools. ELDI was once again held at the Cedar Springs Retreat Center in Sumas, Washington, where our students wrestled with difficult topics together throughout the day, basked in the gorgeous surroundings, spent time in reflection and prayer, and developed relationships with other administrators that will last a lifetime.

This weeklong event was co-facilitated by Ed Noot, Executive Director (ED) of the Society of Christian Schools in British Colombia (SCSBC), Gayle Monsma, ED of the Prairie Center for Christian Education (PCCE), Ray Hendricks, Director of School Services for Edvance Christian Schools Association,  Dr. Al Boerema, Professor at Calvin University, and Joel Westa, President/CEO of CSI.

Some of the topics covered during ELDI included:

  • Examining the roles and tasks that a Christian school administrator performs
  • Becoming aware of the high calling of Christian school leadership
  • Considering the biblical model for and expanding their vision of schools as communities of mind and heart
  • Wrestling with the challenge of creating community with as-is staff, students, and parents
  • Sharing ideas for being intentional about creating schools as communities
  • Beginning to construct a biblical vision of leadership
  • Evaluating their gifts for leadership and their leadership styles
  • Exploring how to nurture and grow a parental understanding of Christian education
  • Examining current governance issues in Christian schools
  • Understanding the multi-faceted dimension of Christian school leadership
  • Realizing how a Christian school administrator can seek and find balance in his/her life and remain morally and spiritually healthy

Thanks to generous donors, most of the cost of this event is covered for the educators, a tremendous benefit provided by CSI for our member schools in the US and Canada.

ELDI celebrated its 19th year of existence this year, culminating with a rigorous “day in the life” simulation, placing our ELDI participants in a series of wide-ranging and sometimes intense role-playing simulations, with guest administrators and the facilitators playing the role of irate parents, disgruntled staff, board members, and others to test the educators on what they’ve learned the preceding week. Since its inception, more than 70 percent of ELDI graduates are now in administrative positions.

One ELDI student remarked, “Last week was transformational for me as a teacher and leader. The information and presentations were so applicable and very well-paced for the participants. It is obvious how much preparation went into each session. The location (and food) was simply stunning! Cedar Springs is a beautiful place to learn, reflect, and make new friendships. Most importantly, thank you for taking the time to be real and vulnerable. Hearing each one’s personal journey was a joy and testimony to God’s grace and faithfulness. Listening to each of you speak about your journey made me excited to see the plan God has for my life!”

Another educator shared, “ELDI was above and beyond excellent! As an administrator two weeks into a K–8 principal position, this professional development was the best educational experience I’ve been a part of in the past five years.”


If you are interested in ELDI or are an administrator who has their eye on upcoming administrators, ELDI is planning to hold its 20th session next summer, and details will be forthcoming on the ELDI page.

The educators of ELDI 2019 gathered in scenic Sumas, Washington to learn from experts in Christian education.

ELDI participants gather for devotions outside one morning before starting another day of professional development.

The aspiring administrators formed a close network of peers they can turn to for years to come.