The Board in the Real World: Board Chairs Talk about Their Boards’ Work This Year

Board chairs from three classical Christian schools in different geographies with different challenges and opportunities will talk about how their boards are being flexible in the face of unexpected upheavals while still keeping a disciplined eye on their schools’ long term strategic goals. They will discuss how they’ve given their heads of school support and where they’ve drawn the line between their work and their Heads’. Attend, listen, and bring your real world questions.

John A. Riley

John A. Riley founded Legacy Fund in 2006 for the purpose of investing in privately held businesses and commercial real estate. Prior to Legacy Fund, Mr. Riley was Co-Founder of PlanSource in 1997. PlanSource is a technology company providing flexible and intuitive software and services for benefits administration to over 4.5 million consumers in the US. Under the PlanSource umbrella, the company also founded and operated CoAdvantage and ZeroChaos. CoAdvantage, one of the largest Professional Employer Organizations in the United States, services over 4500 clients and 90,000 worksite employees. ZeroChaos, with annual revenues exceeding 3.8 billion dollars, pioneered a new staffing model changing the way Fortune 200 companies source, manage and administer their contract labor workforce. PlanSource was sold in 2019.
He serves on several boards of private and non-profit organizations including Rollins Crummer Center for Advanced Entrpreneurship, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, Sighthound, Alterna Capital Solutions and The Geneva School.
Mr. Riley received his bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Rollins College in 1982 and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1984. He lives in Winter Park with his wife of 30 years and has two daughters.

How to Build a More Resilient Gen Z

Teen and pre-teen years are formative already. How will 2020 impact the way Gen Z develops into functioning adults? The way we shape their worldview in this very moment can make the difference between anxiety and resilience – in Gen Z and in broader society. Take a cultural anthropological journey through Barna’s latest next-Gen research for practical insights on how to influence the cultural narrative shaping this generation for good. 

Brooke Hempell

Brooke Hempell, Barna Group’s Senior Vice President of Research, manages the firm’s research studies, from semi-annual polls that track the pulse of Americans’ beliefs and practices, to custom studies for para-church ministries, denominations, businesses and non-profit organizations. Through this work, Barna helps leaders gain insights into faith groups and the general population’s perspectives on faith and cultural issues. Prior to joining Barna, Brooke led market research engagements for clients in the pharmaceutical, financial services and retail industries for more than 15 years. She earned her B.S. in Business and Marketing from Cornell University. Brooke is active in church planting and racial reconciliation ministries and lives in Atlanta, GA.

What Has COVID Taught Us About Leading Well

This panel shared COVID plans at the SCL digital conference. They will reflect on what they have experienced since that time and what they have learned about leading in a crisis.

Travis Koch

Travis Koch earned his B.A. in History from Stanford University and his M.A. in History from Yale University. Mr. Koch has developed curriculum and taught history, literature, rhetoric, theology, and biology for over 12 years before coming to St. Stephen’s Academy as the Dean of Academics. He began serving as Headmaster in 2018.

David Nees

David Nees is husband to Kate and father of four. For the past 6 years, he has served as Head of School at Heritage Classical Academy in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Headshot: attached.

Katharine Savage

Katharine Savage is the founder and Head of Philadelphia Classical School and is grateful to have worked alongside colleagues in the classical Christian school movement for almost ten years. She leads the ACCS Northeast regional cohort of schools and has written for the Classical Difference magazine. Prior to founding PCS, she was the energetic "starter" - starting other community based endeavors, leading parenting seminars, writing church curriculum, and being a wife and mom to three children. She and her husband Brian have been serving in the city of Philadelphia, PA for twenty years. She loves rereading old books and watching ballet performances.

David Seibel

David Seibel is the father of five, the husband of Brooke and a rider of bikes. When he's not working on his doctorate from Southern on Organizational Leadership, he is playing baseball with his sons or chasing kids at recess. He is the Head of School at Coram Deo Academy in Carmel, IN. Carmel is one of the top places to raise a family in the country.

Time-Saving Tools for Admission/Marketing Professionals

Most school Admission/Marketing professionals have far more to do than they have time to accomplish. In this session, we’ll explore inexpensive (or free!) automation tools that can revolutionize the way you work. From website forms and automated emails, to scheduling tools and “sales flow” tracking for prospective families, we’ll find ways to save you time and hopefully make your job less stressful!

Amy Burgess

Amy Burgess was the Admission and Marketing Director at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, TX, before she became a full-time marketing consultant. She works with clients in a variety of industries, from solopreneurs to multi-million dollar corporations, giving them the marketing messages they need to connect with their target audiences. Amy believes CCE has the power to change not only individual lives, but society at large, by the grace of God. She is committed to taking her experience with corporate clients and putting it to work for the best schools in the country.

Great Books and Great Questions: Diverse Voices in Pursuit of the True, Good and Beautiful

Many classical schools have an interest in including diverse voices, but are also concerned to stay true to their mission of keeping their curricula firmly devoted to the study and contemplation of classic texts. Otherwise, one runs the risk of being subjected to the unceasing winds of social and cultural change. Is it possible to maintain the classical core while also hearing from voices that have not traditionally been part of that core? Even if it is possible, what are the pros and cons of taking such an approach? Join Angel and Brian in conversation on these questions.

Dr. Angel Adams Parham

Dr. Angel Adams Parham is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nyansa Classical Community. Nyansa provides after-school programming and curricula designed to connect with and draw students of color into the beauty of classical literature and the great conversation. She is also Associate Professor of Sociology at Loyola University-New Orleans. Dr. Parham's sociological training provides an in-depth understanding of the social and economic challenges facing many low-income communities of color, while her Christian faith emphasizes the importance of combining this sociological knowledge with a commitment to students’ spiritual formation and the cultivation of their moral imagination. She is also a wife and mother of two beautiful girls who are homeschooled according to classical Christian principles and pedagogies.

Dr. Brian Williams

Dr. Brian A. Williams is Dean of the Templeton Honors College and Assistant Professor of Ethics & Liberal Studies at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. Previously, he was Lecturer in Theology and Christian Ethics at the University of Oxford and Director of Oxford Conversations, a collection of interviews with influential Christian academics and scholars. He holds an MPhil and DPhil in Christian Ethics from the University of Oxford, an MA and ThM in Systematic and Historical Theology, and a BA in Biblical Studies. Currently, he is an Alcuin Fellow and a Research Fellow with the Institute of Classical Education. Dr. Williams is the author of The Potter’s Rib: The History, Theology, and Practice of Mentoring for Pastoral Formation.

A Thought Experiment for Our Divided Times

The South African-born comedian Trevor Noah asserts that America has a serious problem hitting it hard right now. “Nuance means you can’t just take a stand and fight the other person. Nuance means we have to talk [think] a little bit more.” Without further discussion of such nuance, “. . . you are going to create this false impression that there is This or That.” (Dallas Moring News, 9-10-20).

This session will attempt to overcome such exclusive binary thinking that is causing so much conflict in our public dialogue. While acknowledging the legitimacy of real binaries in life, the presentation will provide several suggestive systems of thought that potentially overcome false or artificial binary thinking. The very structure of language will be addressed and then we will involve Aristotle’s epistemological distinction between passive and active intellect. Maximus the Confessor’s Christological allegory of the building program by King Uzziah will be presented to portray as a poetic means of conceiving unity among disparate parts. The philosopher, G. W. F. Hegel’s speculative philosophy is next with his historical vision of movement by the Geist (Spirit or Mind). The apostle Paul’s depiction of the unity of the body among the various members (I Cor. 12) as well as John’s recording of Jesus pastoral prayer (John ch. 17) is included to provide a theological base. Then in conclusion, the musical form of counterpoint and harmony is described. All the material encourages envisioning possible ways of thinking through and beyond simple, initial binary thought.

Dr. Michael Young

Michael R. Young is a graduate of Abilene Christian University with a Bachelors, Masters, and Master of Divinity in Biblical Studies degrees. At the University of Dallas he attained a Masters and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy. He also earned a certification in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Dr. Young is a professor in Faulkner University’s doctoral program in the Humanities as well as a professor for the doctoral Leadership degree at the Center for Global Studies, Johnson University. He was the former director of Faulkner’s Institute of Faith and the Academy and founded the academic publication, the Journal of Faith and the Academy. He currently serves as a consultant to the Institute and is an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Faith and the Academy as well as for the Stone-Campbell Journal. Dr. Young is married to Carla, an architect with the firm Goodwin, Mills and Cawood. They have four children and five grandchildren.

A Liberal Education for All: Lessons from Charlotte Mason for the Modern Classical Renewal

What can we learn from the experience of Charlotte Mason, a British Christian educator, and the ‘liberal education for all’ movement at the beginning of the 20th century? In all the unrest and turmoil of our world around race and class warfare, perhaps a re-awakening to the magic touch of knowledge is exactly what we need as a society. Take a trip down memory lane into the methods of Charlotte Mason and renew your appreciation for a classical awakening to knowledge, including some practical tools for how Charlotte Mason’s educational union got there. Mason’s classical tools of learning include the practice of narration; inspirational Nature Studies, Artist Studies and Composer Studies; and coaching students in the development of good habits.

Jason Barney

Jason Barney serves as the Principal of Coram Deo Academy in Carmel, IN. In 2012 he was awarded the Henry Salvatori Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Hillsdale College. He completed his MA in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton College, where he received The Tenney Award in New Testament Studies. Before coming to CDA Jason Barney served as the Academic Dean at Clapham School, a classical Christian school in Wheaton, IL. In addition to his administrative responsibilities in vision, philosophy and faculty training, Jason has taught courses in Latin, Humanities, and Senior Thesis from 3rd-12th grades. He regularly speaks at events and conferences, including SCL, ACCS and the CiRCE Institute. He recently published The Joy of Learning: Finding Flow Through Classical Education, and A Classical Guide to Narration is forthcoming with the CiRCE Institute. Jason blogs regularly on ancient wisdom for the modern era at

Financial Sustainability

Take your school from surviving to thriving! To be sustainable financially does not happen overnight. There are many steps and processes that impact your entire school. Come listen to Kelly Blake outline the key points for financial sustainability for you school.

Kelly Blake

From December 2005 to January 2016 Kelly Blake held the position of Head of School at Bearspaw Christian School (BCS) and the President of the BCS Foundation. For eight years, Kelly held the position of President and CEO at Vantis International Corp. Vantis specialized in electronic travel distribution services, marketing and revenue management for more than 5,000 travel industry clients in 70 countries. Vantis employed more than 360 people. Prior to his leadership role with Vantis, Kelly held the Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President and Vice President of Marketing roles at various times with HARS Systems, Inc. Prior to that, Kelly was Vice President of Marketing for Travel Systems, Inc., headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before Travel Systems, Kelly was a Territory Accounts Manager with SmithKline Beecham a Fortune 500 consumer products company headquartered in the United Kingdom. Kelly is the former Chairman of the Board of The Mustard Seed Foundation. He is the previous Chairman of the Board of TSX traded Guest-tek Interactive Entertainment Ltd and a former member of the boards of publicly traded TRVLSYS, Inc., HARS Systems, Inc., TravelClick, Great Kitchens for Less, Bearspaw Christian School Society, Thornhill Baptist Church, CORPATH and Life Spring Community Church. He is a former member of the Alberta Chapter of Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) and he holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of New Mexico and an Associate of Science Degree from the College of Lake County in Illinois. Kelly has been married for more than 30 years and has three adult children. He resides in Calgary, Alberta and Phoenix, Arizona.

Q&A Patio with Kristin Cole

As President of A. Larry Ross Communications, Kristin Cole provides strategic leadership to the agency account team, consults on crisis communications and reputation management projects, and leads the company’s vision and mission. She will be answering questions during the breakout session after her main stage interview.

Kristin Cole

Kristin Cole is the president of A. Larry Ross Communications and provides strategic leadership to the agency account team, consults on crisis communications and reputation management projects, and leads the company’s vision and mission. She has managed a variety of film, book and ministry campaigns including working with high-profile leaders and clients such as Pastor Rick and Kay Warren and Saddleback Church; Anne Graham Lotz; Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and NHCLC; Christine Caine; and Dr. Albert R. Mohler, the Discovery Channel’s “Planet Earth” series, “Jesus Camp,” Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries and I Am Second. Her leadership of the strategy and implementation on the public relations campaign for the release of Rosenberg’s novel, The Kremlin Conspiracy, resulted in the ALRC team winning the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Dallas’ 2018 Pegasus Awards for “Media Relations, Consumer” as well as “Projects Best in Show.

Raising the Annual Fund Without Being Able to Have Events

During this breakout session you will learn about how to pivot away from events as the primary way to raise money for your school. We will discuss how to raise money with less effort through identifying five specific things to focus on during these unusual times.

Brad Layland

Brad Layland is the CEO of The FOCUS Group. The FOCUS Group’s mission is to build the Kingdom of God through helping ministries and nonprofits have the financial resources they needs to fulfill their mission. The FOCUS Group is currently serving over 100 ministries and non-profits around the world including twelve classical Christian schools. Brad lives in St. Augustine, Florida, where he is a founding parent and serves on the board of trustees for Veritas Classical School. In addition, he serves as the board chair for Young Life St. Augustine and Christian Surfers USA. He also serves as an elder at Good News Presbyterian Church (PCA). Brad received his BA in Communications from the University of Florida and his MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary.