OACS partners to bring leadership conference to province
Jessica Geleynse says attending the recent Educators Leadership Development Institute (ELDI) was affirming and offered a glimpse into the real life of school leadership.
Geleynse, Grade 5 teacher at Knox Christian School in Bowmanville , was one of 18 participants at the inaugural Ontario ELDI held Aug. 11 – 15 in Orillia.
Hearing the facilitators share stories about their journey as administrators in Christian education was a huge part of the experience, says Geleynse.
“It was much more affirming than I ever thought it could be and that it is less intimidating by the end to think this is something that I could do,” she says.
The ELDI started nine years ago as a joint project between Christian Schools International (CSI) and Calvin College. The aim is to help classroom teachers consider God’s call to administration.
Session topics included a day in the life of a Christian school administrator, leadership styles, board and administrator relationships, learning communities and personal moral/spiritual development.
“The goal for this program is to introduce people who have been recognized by their peers as having some potential gifts for leadership to come and explore that calling to a more formal role of leadership,” says Bruce Hekman, Calvin College adjunct professor of education and ELDI co-director.
“There has been a growing concern for the last 10 years about where the next generation of Christian school leadership is going to come from, that’s not just an Ontario problem that’s a universal problem,” says Hekman.
The OACS collaborated with the Ontario Christian School Teachers Association (OCSTA), the Ontario Christian School Administrators Association (OCSAA), Christian Schools International and Calvin College to bring the popular leadership development program to Canada.
Hugo Marcus, director of curriculum publications at the OACS, says the ELDI is looking towards addressing the leadership need.
“This is seeding the ground for two or three years down the road when some of these folks come forward and are taking over leadership roles,” says Marcus.
Hekman notes that at least 75 per cent of the ELDI participants do find themselves working in a formal administrative role fairly quickly.
Though the Institute is hosted regionally, Hekman says they encourage people from all over to attend. He says it is healthy for people from other regions of the country or world come together and talk with each other, which happened during the Ontario ELDI. The majority of participants were from Ontario and they also welcomed people from the U.S., Nicaragua and Mexico.
The OACS is a member of CSI, which is able to keep the ELDI cost low for participants thanks to financial gifts.
Plans are in the works for summer 2009, when the ELDI will be held in Ontario Aug. 10 – 14. Registration is limited to 18 participants and applications will be available on the CSI website in January.
“It met all its goals and we are looking forward to having it again next year and we look forward to working with the five organizations together,” says Marcus.