How Do We Become Better People?

Friday, April 15, 2022
1:00pm ET / 12:00pm CT

How Do We Become Better People?: Battling Screens for Our Imaginations

How do we become better people? How do we, as educators, raise up a generation that deeply loves what God loves – creating a faith so dynamic that it tangibly governs our lives and the choices we make?

Reading great literature isn’t just for mental push-ups, it is to engage living stories with powerful, influential narratives that shape how we see ourselves and the world around us. If we are ever going to compete with the world of screens, it is through great literature. And it is ultimately through the renewal of our stories and our imaginations that we gain the perspective and encouragement we need to be more like Christ.

Join us for an engaging conversation with Dr. Jessica Hooten Wilson as she shares from her new book: The Scandal of Holiness-Renewing your Imagination in the Company of Literary Saints along with a book out in May: Learning the Good Life: Wisdom from the Great Hearts & Minds That Came Before.

Whether a school leader or a classroom teacher, join us to reignite your faith and catch a glimpse of what Jessica will offer at this summer’s conference.

Register Now

About our Speaker

Jessica Hooten Wilson, Scholar in Residence at the University of Dallas
Jessica Hooten Wilson is currently serving as the Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Dallas. She has been a teacher for almost two decades, starting at Covenant Classical School, and teaching in the Baylor Great Texts program. Along with a group of friends in Siloam Springs Arkansas, she founded a K-12 classical school. She is the author and editor of six books, including the award-winning Giving the Devil his Due: Flannery O’Connor and The Brothers Karamazov, and most recently The Scandal of Holiness: Renewing Your Imagination in the Company of Literary Saints.

Leisure is Essential for the Classical Educator

Talk to any teacher in February and they will, with slightly glazed eyes, tell you they are terribly behind on their grading. Talk to them at the end of May and they will gasp out a few exhausted comments on how they are ready to come up for air and recover over the summer. Teaching is hard work. Obviously. However, it ought not to be the kind of hard work that leaves us drowning: desperately swimming against an impossible current of busy work. We lie to our students about the nature of learning if we are constantly wading through piles of papers or buried in our laptops typing up lesson plans, researching discussion questions, and escaping to the adult world through our email, social media, and news outlets. Instead, we should be reading books, engaging in conversations, and then grading and lesson-planning. Ordering our workday around principles of joyful work and appropriate rest will yield a more honest teacher, better instruction, and healthier students.

Amanda Patchen

Amanda Patchin is an instructor at The Ambrose School, where she teaches Medieval History, Literature, and Philosophy to high school juniors. She reads a bit more than average and loves nothing more than conversation about a good book. Her love of the written word occasionally produces a poem or an article and her love of food often produces dinner.

The Ideal Classical Educator

Across the world, classical Christian education is being revived. Many teachers who were not taught under this model are now being asked to employ a classical Christian pedagogy. “How?” they ask. Mrs. Robyn Burlew encourages these teachers, providing a picture of how the ideal classical educator thinks, acts, and loves.

Robyn Burlew

Robyn has served as Head of Upper School at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia, for six years, after serving for fifteen years as a teacher and administrator at Covenant Christian Academy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She has a B.A. in Biology from Houghton College and a M.Ed. in Integrated Curriculum and Instruction from Covenant College. She enjoys spending time with her three adult daughters and a son-in-law, all of whom live in Richmond. Robyn's leisure time is filled with kayaking, gardening, two golden retrievers, and piano playing. She is a member of Redeemer Anglican Church in Richmond.

Henri Nouwen: Spirituality for Teachers

Join this session to examine the intense spiritual nature of the job of teaching. We’ll also explore how the writings of Henri Nouwen might aid in cultivating a healthy inner life and create an atmosphere of spiritual growth in ourselves and our students.

Charlie Ritch

Charlie Ritch has been a teacher for 10 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in Bible. Charlie is married with four children.

Recruiting and Retaining Talented Teachers

Recruiting and retaining talented teachers is a challenge for school leadership. This workshop focuses on the systems in place at The Geneva School to understand staf ng needs, recruit talented teachers, and interview and vet prospective teachers. We will focus on the evaluation and retention of talented teachers, including strategies for monitoring and improving the teaching experience, as well as strategies for long-term retention. We want to win the war for talent by finding and keeping passionate and competent teachers who are not just high IQ, but high EQ, as well.

Jim Reynolds

Jim Reynolds helped begin an ecumenical Christian school in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area in the 1980s and taught there for eight years before becoming a consultant with Harcourt School Publishers. In his 19 years at Harcourt School Publishing (and later Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Jim transitioned from an Educational Consultant to Mathematics Marketing Manager and then to Vice President/Editor-in-Chief of Mathematics. Jim left educational publishing in 2011 for the opportunity to serve the students, parents and faculty at The Geneva School as the Dean of Faculty. He is excited to lead a very talented faculty in teaching and forming students to love God, love their neighbor and learn about God’s creation. Jim has three sons who have graduated from The Geneva School.

Bob Ingram

Robert Ingram is the Headmaster of The Geneva School in Orlando, Florida, and is in his 10th year as Head of School. Previously he served as a Founding Board Member of Geneva and Chairman of the Board for eight years. Bob is a graduate of The College of Wooster in Ohio, and has master’s degrees from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Geneva College. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and was the Senior Vice President of Ligonier Ministries from 1986 to 1995. In addition to consulting with numerous classical schools, Bob also served as Chairman of SCL. Bob has a granddaughter who attends The Geneva School.

Between the Head and the Teachers

Teachers are the hands of the school. Between them and the Head of School, division heads must animate and extend the Head’s vision and leadership to support teachers executing on that vision—and give the Head of School the information and understanding he or she needs to continue to lead the school in fulfilling its mission. Craig will draw on a decade as division head at Regents School of Austin, sharing lessons, insights and stumbles, and discuss ways division heads can expand their capacity to ful ll their school’s mission.

Craig Doerksen

Craig Doerksen has been the Upper School Head at Regents School of Austin for 10 years. Prior to that, he worked with bluetower arts, a foundation that supports Christians in the arts in the Paci c Northwest. He has also taught and led at Trinity Academy of Raleigh. He has many years of experience in Young Life as well. He has a bachelor’s in English from The University of Oregon, and a Masters of English from the University of Ireland in the Maynooth.

Slaying the Cram-Pass-Forget Dragon

The norm for classes in contemporary schools is the Cram–Pass–Forget cycle. Students cram for tests, pass them, and then forget most of what they crammed in just a few weeks. Instead of cramming and forgetting, students should learn, master, and retain what they have learned. This workshop presents an overview of a tested and proven mastery-oriented approach to instruction. Examples will focus on science and math instruction, but the same principles can be applied in any subject.

John Mays

After receiving his BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, John D. Mays spent 14 years in industry. Vocationally drawn toward the field of education, John acquired an MEd in Secondary Education from the University of Houston in 1989, and subsequently completed 36 hours of graduate study in Physics at Texas A&M. He also completed an MLA at St. Edward’s University in 2003. John joined Regents School of Austin in 1999 and served as the Math-Science Department Chair from 2001 until 2009. At that time he became Director of the Laser Optics Lab at Regents, where he continues to teach part-time. He founded Novare Science & Math in 2009, and is the author of numerous student science texts and teacher resources.

Teaching with Excellence

Teaching with Excellence is a seminar for you if you want to be more con dent in your role as a classroom teacher. You will be equipped with practical techniques and teaching frameworks that you can implement in your classroom on Monday.

Lori Jill Keeler

Lori Jill Keeler has served for the past 12 years as the Lower School Principal at The Westminster School at Oak Mountain in Birmingham, AL. She earned a BA in Secondary Education and English Literature, and an MEd in Integrated Curriculum and Instruction from Covenant College. She served as the educational expert on the founding Board of Directors for Evangel Classical Christian School in Helena, AL, has wri en second- through sixth-grade Bible curriculum, and has been a guest speaker on creating a culture of grace at several classical schools in the Southeast. Lori Jill and her husband, Sco , have two sons.

Puzzle, Proof, and Play: A Pedagogy of Wonder for Mathematics

Most math teachers love mathematics and one of their greatest desires is to nurture a similar love in their students. But more often than they might like, the structure of the mathematics curriculum seems opposed to the cultivation of this wonder in mathematics. This workshop will explore how teaching math through a pedagogy of puzzle, proof, and play can help recover this wonder and cultivate wisdom. In the Laws, Plato said that free-born boys should learn simple mathematical calculations adapted to their age, put into a form such as to give amusement and pleasure as well as instruction. As it turns out, a pedagogy of wonder for mathematics, in addition to being fun, is also eminently classical.

Ravi Jain

Dr. Philip Dow (PhD, Cambridge) has been involved in Christian education for 15 years in both classical and nonclassical schools. He is currently the Superintendent at Rosslyn Academy, a Pre-K–12, international Christian school in Nairobi, Kenya, of 650 students from over 50 different nationalities. Phil is also the author of Virtuous Minds: Intellectual Character Development for Students, Teachers and Parents (IVP Academic, 2013).

Orthodox Hermeneutical Pre-Suppositions: The Soul of Classical Christian Education

The soul of classical Christian education is found in our Confessions, perhaps more particularly in our theological and philosophical hermeneutical pre-suppositions. This talk will begin with a brief overview of major epochs of Christian hermeneutics in order to set up a demonstration of the distinctions and similarities between pre-modern, modern, and post-modern interpretive pre-suppositions. Emerging from this discussion of how we read and understand things is a somewhat definitive description of the soul of classical, Christian education.

Paul Wolfe

Headmaster of The Cambridge School of Dallas for eight years now. Previously, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies for 20 years, including the Huber Drumwright, Jr. Chair of the New Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. PhD in New Testament Studies, University of Aberdeen, additional studies at Cambridge University and University of Tubingen, Germany. BCA and MA in Biblical Studies, Dallas Baptist University.