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From our CEO

It’s been some time since we have connected, and the fact that I have been on both long service leave (a wonderful hol iday with my family) and back to Canada on a study tour means that connecting has been that little bit harder. In the words of John Denver (and let’s face it, you can’t go anywhere near the Rocky Mountains without listening to John Denver…) it is indeed “good to be back home again”.

Whilst on our family trip, I had the opp ortunity to reflect and be thankful for all of the ways that our organisation been able to be a blessing to our own community and to those abroad.  We have so much to bring to the broader table of Christian education and I am excited about what we can share and what we can glean. God has indeed blessed us with insights and opp ortunity for decades and we look forward to seeing what’s next.

 As always, this eNews is jam-packed with lots of news around our organisation and many of the planned events that are coming your way as well as growing resources and opp ortunities to engage.

Canada Study Tour

During September and early October, five keen travellers participated in the CEN Study Tour to Canada. The tour was a roaring success and included a wonderful balance of networking and learning with a bit of bonus sight-seeing thrown in. The tour started in Toronto with a look at some local Christian schools with Justin Cook from Edvance who took us on to Ottawa to participate in the Christian Schools Canada leadership conference. It was then on to Calgary to spend time with Gayle Monsma and Jeremy Horlings from the Prairie Centre for Christian Education (we even got to see snow!). We then made our way to Vancouver to attend a Christian schools teachers’ conference, visit some schools, and meet with staff from the Society of Christian Schools in British Columbia.

Each of the participants felt that the trip was most worthwhile and particularly enjoyed meeting up with leaders in schools that were not that different to their own contexts. We share a great similarity with Canadian schools both theologically and philosophically. We look forward to growing this relationship further.

If you are interested in attending the next Canadian Study Tour which will take place in September 2020, please register your interest with Melinda Storm.

Click here to access this year’s Participant’s Handbook.

David Gray in 2019

It was announced in October, that our Institute Director, David Gray will not be continuing with us next year. David has made a huge contribution to the National Institute for Christian Education and to the broader CEN community. He will be missed!

Click here to view the letter which went out to our community.


Kathy Pereira in 2019

As you are aware, Kathy has been working for CEN on our Governance Training Modules, from her home in Tonga. Kathy has had an amazing year which started with a cyclone and has ended with a royal vi sit (both of which she got to experience)! Kathy will be returning to Tonga next year but in a different arrangement where she will vi sit Tonga for a few months and then return again to Australia for a few months (and then back and forth). Kathy will be engaging with boards in face to face training in a “road show” style approach when she is in Australia. Look out for that opp ortunity for your board.

Principal Appointments

It’s that time of year when we report on any changes to principal roles across our schools. Please note the following:

  • Hugh MacCallum is retiring as a long-serving Principal of Wagga Wagga Christian College. His Deputy, Phillip Wilson, has been appointed as his successor.
  • Sherilyn Vander Vlist is retiring from Leighland Christian School, Burnie campus and Elizabeth Scheu has been appointed as her successor.
  • Andrew Manning has been appointed as Principal of Bayside Christian College. Joel Van Bentum has been appointed as his successor. Joel will also hold on to the role of Principal of NT College.
  • Allan Long has resigned from the Principal role of Sattler Christian College and is moving back to Victoria with his family. Michael Tooler has been appointed as his successor.
  • Lara Hvala has resigned from Nhulunbuy Christian College. A replacement is yet to be announced.
  • Rosie Lindsey has been appointed as the ongoing Principal at Araluen Christian College.
  • Margaret Louw is the current Acting Principal of Channel Christian School, replacing Keith Roberts.
  • A change of positions has occurred at Richmond Christian College, Garry Binks (previous principal) now serves as the new Business Manager. Deputy Jonathon Simmons has now been appointed as Principal.
  • Nigel Bennett has been appointed as the new Principal at Mid North Christian College, commencing this term. Nigel will be well known to many of you as he served as Principal of Torrens Valley Christian School in SA for many years.
  • Andrew Jones has been appointed as Principal of Annandale Christian College, replacing Daniel Clarke, who has commenced his PhD.
  • Sarah Strahorn is leaving Wellington Christian School (many of you would be familiar with Sarah’s story at Wellington). Sarah will be picking up the Head of Primary role at Heritage Christian School.

Victoria State Executive Officer

It was exc iting to announce that Victoria will be welcoming Dr Chris Prior as their new SEO. Chris will be commencing in January 2019 and will also be picking up a part-time role with the National Institute. The Victorians will miss Pam Lavery in the role (as will we at a national level) but we wish Pam all of the best in her next adv enture of supporting her family more closely.

Click here to view the announcement. 

NSW/ACT State Executive Officer

It’s with great disappointment that we will also be farewelling Rachel McClure from the NSW SEO and Hub Executive Officer roles. Rachel has had to resign due to the effect of lots of travelling on her health.  Please pray for Rachel.

The NSW/ACT State Council are currently accepting applications for the role of State Executive Officer.

Click here to view the advertisement.

From our Institute Director

What a great time it is to start postgraduate study with the National Institute for Christian Education. The Institute exists to grow and develop prayerfully reflective practitioners who take seriously the public truth of the biblical gospel. What an absolute privilege it is to be in Christian education in 2018. To continually do this well, we need to be prepared, we need a degree of confidence to tackle the issues and challenges of the day and above all, we need to be continually shaped by God’s story of hope, grace, and love. This is what you are exposed to each and every day when you study with CEN’s postgraduate arm.

In the lead-up to our November 26 accreditation switch to Alphacrucis College, all Institute courses have been reviewed, our current subjects have been improved, and new subjects have been added. The call from the CEN community to have more pathways for up and coming leaders is also now in place. All you need to do is start. We encourage you to speak directly with your principal or business manager to find out ways to support your study and grow your skills and confidence in the challenging task of Christian education.

Click here to check out stories from past graduates who have been changed by their time studying with the National Institute for Christian Education. 

Enrolments for Semester 3 are now open. Please email Beth or Belinda at the National Office for further information or call (02) 4773 5888.


David Gray

From our Academic Dean

We are pleased to welcome Belinda Leto to our team as the new Registrar/Academic Administration Coordinator. She has been quickly learning the ropes in order to serve our students with their application and enrolment procedures, as well as assisting with setting up our new courses in Moodle. It is a blessing to have her working with us on your behalf!

The National Institute continues to encourage our faculty and students in their academic pursuits in order to contribute to the body of scholarly knowledge in Australia and beyond. Here are just a few highlights of what some have been doing:

Mr Michael Street, a recent Institute graduate and teacher at Covenant Christian School, made us proud with his presentation at the Scholarly Christian Educator’s Gathering in Sydney on “Induction for Transformation: An exploration of a first-year teacher induction programme’s impact on teacher worldview assumptions”.

Dr Chris Prior, former principal of Bayside Christian College and a National Institute lecturer, was recently published in the International Journal of Christianity & Education, with his research article “The Perceptions and Practices of School Leadership in Christian Education National”  (Vol. 22(2), 2018).

Dr Geoff Beech’s article on “Shame-honor, Guilt-innocence, Fear-power: Relational Correlations” was recently published in the International Bulletin of Mission Research (Vol. 42(4), 2018).

The National Institute will also be well-represented at the IAPCHE (International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education) All Africa Conference next week in Potchefstroom, South Africa with the following presentations:

“Divinely appointed restorative leadership for a fallen world”, Dr Beth Beech.

“Sankofa: From andragogy to mathetegogy in Christian higher education”, Dr Geoff Beech

“Dramatizing an Apocalypse”, Ms Miriam Lili


Enrolments are open for Semester 3 and will close on 19 November.

Click here to enrol online as soon as possible or contact Belinda if you need more information or assistance. 


Beth Beech

From our Professional Learning Coordinator

We continue to develop and present professional learning for teachers, associate staff, parents, and boards. What happens first at the start of a year matters. Have you planned your professional learning for your pupil free days? Is it in line with your school’s vision and mission to offer authentic Christian education?

We can help.

Foundations: What is Christian Education (free 2hr online)
Foundations: Authentic Christian Education
Foundations: The Bible in the Belly of the School

Curriculum Design and the Big Picture
Curriculum Design and Biblical Perspective

Classrooms and Deeper Learning
Classrooms as Grace-shaped Communities
Classrooms and Assessment for Learning

Click here for the full suite, and descriptions, of professional learning workshops.

Places are filling fast for January and February. Please don’t hesitate to explore the ways in which we can help you and your team.

Christian Teachers Journal

We trust that you have found the editions this year helpful for you and your staff professional learning. Subscription invoicing is being sent out for next year which is a time to reflect on how to engage more teachers in your team doing professional reading that is in harmony with the vision of the school.

Click here for details on CTJ subscriptions.

For any inquiries about professional learning bookings or journal subscriptions please contact Alison Horwood.


Chris Parker

Parenting Day “Captivated”

S ave the Date, 23 March 2019. CEN in partnership with the Reformed Theological College in Melbourne are holding a day for Christian parents that will help us to understand the world that our kids are living in. This will be held at the RTC office in the Melbourne CBD. The program will be as follows:

Captivated: Understanding the World Our Kids Live In

  1. Captivated Hearts by Dr Murray Capill
  2. Technology by Chris Parker
  3. Body Image and Sexuality by Michelle Dempsey
  4. Q and A Discussion Panel

2018 Governance Conference

There are only a few weeks to go before our “Bulls and China Sh ops” Godly Governance Conference is underway. This is really a great event targeted at board chairs and other board members. It’s bound to be packed with learning and a great cha nce to network as well.

Click here to see this year’s exc iting program.

Click here for further information. 

Registrations have closed, but if you want to be a late delegate, please contact Melinda Storm.

ITEC19 News

It’s so exc iting to see that registrations are rolling in for the 2019 International Transforming Edu cation Conference.  With planning in full swing, the program is taking great shape. Recently Narelle Sketcher (Principal, Mount Evelyn Christian School) shared her thoughts around how she, as a principal will be engaging her staff in the lead up towards ITEC.  You can read this letter here

Also, if you know of a business that is interested in sponsoring ITEC, please let Melinda Storm know, or you can vi sit the sponsorship link on the ITEC19 website.

Global Christian School Leadership Summit

Coming up next year is a Global Christian Schools Leadership Summit (not to be confused with the Global Leadership Summit).  This event has been recommended by our Canadian colleagues and I (Michelle) intend to be there. Why not consider coming as well?

Click here for more information.


2019 Conference Dates

Please lock the following dates into your calendar for next year:

  • New Principals’ Retreat 16-17 May 2019, Canberra
  • National Conference (Including AGM) 18-19 May 2019, Canberra
  • ITEC19 15-17 July 2019, Adelaide Convention Centre
  • Developing Leaders Conference, 17-20 September, Tasmania
  • Teaching and Learning Conference, 17-20 September, Tasmania
  • Governance Conference, 14-16 November, Melbourne

Australian Association of Christian Schools

We have been kept well informed about current political issues through Erik Hofsink and Annette Pereira from AACS. It’s great to note that they have been working closely with Christian Schools Australia and together have been able to get to meet many politicians to have some very helpful meetings.  Please continue to pray for Erik and Annette in their respective roles as they seek God’s wisdom and discernment to represent us with clarity. Thanks for your great work, Erik and Annette.

NEW “No Icing on the Cake” eBook

No Icing on the Cake (Mechielsen, 1979), developed out of Mount Evelyn Christian School, has been held in high regard as a foundation resource for Christian schooling in Australia (and internationally) for decades. However, it has been out of print for many years now.

CEN, in conjunction with Brookes-Hall Publishing Foundation, have now re-published the original text of No Icing on the Cake as an eBook. A new foreword has been added from both Dr Ken Dickens and Dr Mike Goheen. Mike says this about his early awakening to Christian education:

I began to look for resources and the first book that fell into my hands was No Icing on the Cake. To this day we do not know where it came from or how we got it. The striking metaphor of Christian icing on a secular educational cake captured our imaginations. It remains my favourite image for faithful Christian education. It challenges a dualistic approach that simply adds moral and devotional icing to an otherwise humanist education. It graphically portrays the importance of having the gospel speak to every area of the educational enterprise.


Click here to access the eBook