Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Columbia Union Conference Educators Selected for Innovative Leadership Program

Story by Amy Soper

The Bainum Family Foundation and NYC Leadership Academy recently launched the Advancement of Christian Education (ACE) Academy Leadership Coaching Program, a two-year intensive program designed to help 20 school administrators maximize their impact and better serve students.

This program paired 10 novice school administrators (“coachees”) with 10 personal leadership coaches within the Columbia Union Conference. This one-on-one training will benefit the pairs as they build skills to navigate the dynamic challenges of leading a 21st-century school, including balancing stakeholders, growing through their own leadership experiences and confronting inequities.

“Coaching must be an integral part of any sound human capital strategy if we are going to transform schools,” says Nancy Gutierrez, Chief Strategy Officer NYC Leadership Academy Chief Strategy Officer. “We are thrilled to work with Columbia Union’s principals to help them develop the skills they need to address inequities in their schools so that each of their students has the chance to excel.”

Coaches (pictured above) selected for the program include:

  • (Back Row) Nancy Melashenko, Principal, Richmond Academy
  • Darren Wilkins, Principal, Spring Valley Academy
  • H. Clifford Reynolds III, Principal, Mayfair Christian School
  • Michael Gayle, Principal, Huntingdon Valley Christian Academy
  • (Front Row) Judie Rosa, Vice Principal, Spencerville Adventist Academy
  • Wendy Pega, Principal, Beltsville Adventist School
  • Jeanne Marie Fraino-Garcia, Vice Principal, Beltsville Adventist School
  • Ruth Nino, Principal, Waldwick Adventist School
  • Elisa Maragoto, Principal, Lake Nelson Adventist Academy

Coachees (pictured above) selected for the program include:

  • (Back Row) Ellenor Paul-O'Neil, Vice Principal, Spencerville Adventist Academy
  • Jennifer Hackley, Principal, C. F. Richards Christian School
  • Timothy LaPierre, Principal, Shenandoah Valley Adventist Elementary
  • Alison Jobson, Vice Principal, Spring Valley Academy
  • Erik Borges, Principal, Highland View Academy
  • (Front Row) Valerie Green, Principal, Worthington Adventist Academy
  • Beckie Carbaugh, Principal, Frederick Adventist Academy
  • Miya Kim, Vice Principal, Atholton Adventist Academy
  • Jaymie Pottinger, Vice Principal, Pine Forge Academy
  • Elayna Moffitt, Vice Principal, Lake Nelson Adventist Academy

“For all participants in this program, we were looking for individuals committed to continuous learning and growth,” says Amy Soper, Director of the Seventh-day Adventist Education Initiative for the Bainum Family Foundation. “Our coaches will spearhead growth for our coachees, but the process is relationship-driven and personalized. The coaches will actively recognize and help develop their coachees’ unique strengths so they can reach their full potential and become the best leaders they can be.”

Research repeatedly suggests that principals and teachers are the most significant school factors influencing student achievement, yet there are not always enough on-the-job programs and resources in place to develop talent within an education system — particularly in faith-based education. The ACE Academy Leadership Coaching Program works to close this gap and is being piloted as a potential model that could be replicated in other faith-based settings.

“As educators, we work to prepare our students for success in every way we possibly can — and to strengthen our schools, we must first strengthen our leaders, which is exactly what this program is designed to do,” says Jacqueline Messenger, Associate Director of Secondary Education for the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “The ACE Academy Leadership Coaching Program is truly a godsend, and we are excited to have been selected to participate in launching this program.”

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