Dr. Brian D. Kennerly
Raised in Houston, Texas, Brian graduated from Westchester High School in 1984. Following graduation from Vanderbilt University (BA in Political Science), he went to the Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana to teach, coach, and serve as a dormitory parent. In 1989, Brian left his intern year at Culver for The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. At Westminster, Brian taught both middle school and upper school, coached multiples sports, began a student government, and acted as a grade level dean in the high school. He also took a sabbatical during those years to attend Columbia University, in New York City, to earn his Masters of Arts in Private School Leadership through the Klingenstein Institute.
Because of his desire to encourage young people, he devoted many summers to The Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana, serving as the Director of the Boys’ Summer School. As Director, he was responsible for the overall organization of five hundred students and a faculty of two hundred members. While serving as a unit counselor, he was responsible for overseeing the academic, social, emotional, and physical aspects of up to eight junior high and high school students in a boys’ naval company.
In 1997, Brian moved to help open up the high school at Wesleyan School, in Norcross, Georgia, right outside of Atlanta. He was the founding high school principal and assisted in designing everything from the curriculum to the diplomas. Later, he was appointed as Assistant Headmaster for External Affairs and served in that position for seven years while continuing to coach cross country and leading the school to 7 state championships during his 11 years of coaching. As Assistant Headmaster, he oversaw the Communications, Alumni, and Admissions Offices as well as Christian Life, Missions, and Technology. Brian began his doctoral work at Vanderbilt University during this time completing it in May of 2011 with a doctorate of education in organizational leadership and policy.
In 2010, Brian was named the fifth Head of School of Brookstone School and worked at the school until the summer of 2015 when he took on the position of Executive Director of CESA. He is married to Holle and is a father of two beautiful girls, Sara and Blaire.
Director of Institutional Reviews
James C. Marsh, Jr. served as Head of School at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis, Missouri for twenty-eight years before stepping down in July 2013. He currently serves from St. Louis, Missouri as the Director of the Van Lunen Center for Executive Management in Christian Schools, headquartered at Calvin College, an organization dedicated to providing world-class executive management education essential to the future of schools based on the historic Christian faith. He currently serves as the Director of Membership Audits for the Council of Educational Standards and Accountability. He is a product of Christian elementary and secondary schools in northeastern New Jersey, and graduated in 1969 with a B.A. in Education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, in 1979. Jim has served as Board President of Christian Schools International (Grand Rapids, Michigan), member of the Board of Directors of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (Chicago, Illinois), Board member and president of the Independent Schools of St. Louis, and member of the faculty of the Van Lunen Center. He is a contributing author of the book Schools as Communities (James L. Drexler, Editor).
Board of Directors
Gary B. Arnold serves as chair of the Board of Directors for CESA and is the Head of School at Little Rock Christian Academy. Gary has served as a head of school for thirty years in independent Christian schooling in Massachusetts, Illinois and Arkansas. Arnold is a strong advocate for private school interests as the National Coordinator for the thirty-three state affiliates of CAPE – the Council on American Private Education. His previous experience as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council for Religious and Independent Schools and the Illinois Coalition of Non-Public Schools adds to his understanding of the purposes of CESA. A graduate of Wheaton College (B.A. summa) and Wheaton Graduate School (M.A. summa), Gary completed his doctorate in educational leadership from National-Louis University in Evanston, Illinois. Arnold currently serves as head of school at Little Rock Christian Academy, an independent, Christian, college-preparatory school. Gary and his wife, Karen, reside in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Jay Ferguson serves as the vice chair of the Board of Directors for CESA and is the Headmaster of Grace Community School in Tyler, Texas. He was a practicing attorney in Dallas and Tyler for ten years where he was named Smith County Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year in 2003. Jay joined Grace Community School in 2002 as its Director of Development and in 2003 assumed the role of Headmaster. He currently serves on boards of the Texas Private School Association, and the Executive Board of the Association of Christian Schools International. He is an adjunct professor in the educational leadership masters program at Covenant College and Vanderbilt University. Jay holds a Bachelors’ Degree from Baylor University, a Juris Doctor from Texas Tech University School of Law, and a Masters’ Degree from Covenant College. He is currently working on his PhD in leadership studies from Dallas Baptist University. He is married to his wife, Ashley, and together they have three daughters.
Barry Giller serves as the secretary of the Board of Directors for CESA. Barry joined the faculty of Charlotte Christian as Head of School in June 2010 and ushered the school into its 60th anniversary. As head of school Mr. Giller oversees the college preparatory school’s 180 employees and 1055 students grades JK to 12. A 1994 graduate of Wheaton College, he received his Bachelor of Arts in history/social science and a certification for secondary education. He also holds a master’s degree in educational leadership in Nova Southeastern University. Mr. Giller currently resides on the board of directors for North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association and Teaching Fellows Institute. Mr. Giller served six years as headmaster at Christian Heritage School, a private K-12 interdenominational Christian college preparatory school, in Trumbull, Conn. He joined Christian Heritage in 2001 as the upper school principal and was promoted to the headmaster position in 2004. Barry and his wife, Lisa, have seven children and are active members of Church at Charlotte.
Randy Brunk is the Head of School at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy where he has served since 2003. He previously served on the ISACS Equity Committee and as President of the Illinois Coalition of Non-public Schools, Superintendent of Peoria Christian School and Assistant Superintendent of Fredericksburg Christian School. Randy holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Colorado State University and a Master’s Degree from Regent University. He is married to wife Nancy and together they have three adult children.
Ross Hjelseth has spent his lifetime in leadership roles and serving people. He assumed the leadership role as headmaster of Life Christian Academy on Dec. 1, 1993. Ross’ first focus was on the creation of Life Christian's college preparatory high school, which has graduated over 700 alumni. Several educational and extracurricular programs have been added during Hjelseth’s leadership tenure, including the school’s LIFE program. The LIFE program, unique to the private education community, provides an individualized learning environment for students with unique learning styles and disabilities. He also helped develop the EXEL program for gifted students. Professionally, Hjelseth is very active in education leadership. He served as Chair of the Washington Federation of Independent Schools state board of directors. He currently is the private school representative to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association board. Ross and his wife, Ronni are the parents of two sons, Brandon and Tyler.
Steve O’Neil serves as head of school at Vail Christian High School and previously served as head of school at Westminster Schools of Augusta and Haven of Peace Academy (Tanzania). In East Africa, he led a large international Christian college-preparatory school with a student body representing over 30 nationalities. Before that he served as director of curriculum (PK-12) and later as upper school principal at Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis). He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Wheaton College, where he also met his college sweetheart and future wife, Denae. He received his master’s degree in school administration from the University of Colorado. Steve began his teaching career in Denver working at both Denver Academy and Regis Jesuit High School. He is passionate about strengthening Christian schools in the United States and abroad, especially on the African continent.
Steve Whitaker serves as Head of School at The First Academy. The school is accredited by ACSI/SACS and is a charter member of the Council for Educational Standards and Accountability. In 2009, the lower school was awarded the distinction of a National Blue Ribbon School. Dr. Whitaker’s background includes 20 years of experience as an administrator, coach, teacher and adjunct professor. In addition to a diverse public speaking career, Dr. Whitaker has written on a variety of topics including school culture, Christian living, generous giving and Biblical worldview issues. After completing a bachelor’s degree in South Florida, he received a Masters of Education from MidAmerica Nazarene University and a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Louisville. He also earned his Ph.D. from the University of Louisville in Higher Education Administration. He is married to Tricia Dawn and has three marvelous children (Amanda, Stephen, Jr. and Caleb). He enjoys playing golf with his boys and loves attending musical theatre with his girls.
Tom Konjoyan is the Head of School at Village Christian Schools, a K-12 private Blue Ribbon School in Los Angeles, CA. He has served in this role since 2010. Previously, he served for 11 years as the Founding Associate Head of School at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village. Additionally, he has worked at World Vision as director of corporate, foundation and major donors in the Pacific Northwest, and before that started a non-profit job-training and residential services program, “Proyecto Esperanza,” for homeless, Hispanic teenagers in Los Angeles’ inner city. He graduated from Harvard University with honors and a degree in sociology. He was a two sport athlete at Harvard winning an Ivy League Championship in Football and leading the Baseball team as its captain. He also earned an MBA from Pepperdine University’s Presidential and Key Executive Program. He and his wife, Kelly, have three children, Kyler, Mackenzie, and Delaney. They currently reside in Shadow Hills, CA.. Konjoyan coaches youth lacrosse and football. He also enjoys surfing, triathlons, and golf.
Curt Masters is the Head of School at Brentwood Academy in Brentwood, TN. In the Spring of 2000, Curt Masters became headmaster at Brentwood Academy. Mr. Masters was mainly raised in Indonesia with his missionary parents. He attended Wheaton College, where he met his wife, Cindy, who also grew up on the mission field, and there he earned a bachelor of arts in psychology. Later, he earned a master of education in administration from the University of Puget Sound and a Ph.D. (ABD) in educational leadership from the University of Miami. Before coming to Brentwood Academy, Mr. Masters was headmaster and upper school principal of Dade Christian School in Miami, Florida; the dean of students at The Stoney Brook School, Stony Brook, New York; and assistant principal at Life Christian School in Tacoma, Washington. Read more about Curt's childhood and his family's experience as missionaries to tribes in the remote interior of Dutch New Guinea by clicking here.
D. Michael Lindsay serves as the eighth president of Gordon College. President Lindsay earned his undergraduate degree from Baylor University, graduate degrees from Princeton Seminary and Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University. Prior to his appointment as president of Gordon, Dr. Lindsay served on the faculty of Rice University. He is the author of two dozen scholarly publications, including Faith in the Halls of Power and View from the Top.
Now in its fifth year, President’s Lindsay’s administration has been characterized by significant growth in areas such as total assets, undergraduate and overall enrollment, as well as annual and overall giving. He has helped recruit 20 percent of the faculty, which today is more diverse, globally connected, and productive in terms of sponsored research. Ten new academic initiatives have been launched in fields including entrepreneurship, early Christian studies, big data, and computational physics. Global programs have taken on new dimensions with establishment of ventures in Hong Kong, Rwanda, and the Balkans, and the development of Gordon Global Internships, which have contributed to a 78 percent increase in internship placements for Gordon students since 2010. The number of international students has doubled, and new strategic partnerships have been forged on four continents. Perhaps most gratifying are the positive indicators regarding faith formation. The College has experienced a 68 percent increase in Gordon College Student Ministries involvement over the last five years; one third of the student body now participates in at least one campus ministry every semester.
President Lindsay is gratified to be working alongside talented colleagues and regards the College's gains over the past five years as evidence of a winning team. He is married to Rebecca, a writer and speaker, and they have three daughters: Elizabeth (11), Caroline (5) and Emily (5). The Lindsays live on the Gordon campus, which allows them to regularly cheer on the Fighting Scots.