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CEAI Thiesen Scholarship for Educators

As Christians, we have this mindset that we can only do Kingdom Work if we are pastors and missionaries. Oh, how far this is from God’s truth…Our public school systems need teachers who love unconditionally…Our public school systems need the power of Jesus to restore and bring healing…This is the mission field that God has called me to.
Megan Keul, 2017 CEAI Thiesen Scholarship Winner

Ray and Joanne Thiesen were among the first members I connected with when my husband David first came on staff with CEAI in the summer of 2015. After a beautiful drive through California’s central valley, passing row after row of bountiful fruit and nut trees, we arrived at their home to discuss Ray’s dream of endowing a college scholarship for Christian students preparing to enter the field of public education. 

Dedicating his life to seeing God’s love and truth transform our public K-12 schools, Ray served as a fourth-grade and fifth-grade teacher, a school counselor, and an elementary school principal throughout his career. A long-time CEAI member, he also founded Tulare County (CA) Christian Educators, a chapter of CEAI, to encourage educators in his community. Ray spent his life reaching out to “the least of these,” and every time he talked to David, he would share about what God was doing in the lives of those he was serving. Even into his 90s, Ray was regularly discipling men in prison. 

Before he went to be with Jesus on May 2, 2017, Ray Thiesen and his wife Joanne generously established a scholarship in partnership with matching funds from CEAI to help Christian students who desire to carry on Ray’s legacy. Scholarships are awarded annually for $1000 to future educators who want to be lights for Jesus in our public schools. Students may use these funds as needed to pay for tuition, books, or residence fees. 

Scholarships are awarded to promising candidates who meet all of the following criteria: 

  • Possess a serious commitment to walk out his or her Christian faith in intentionally missional and legally appropriate ways throughout his or her educational career. 
  • Agree with the CEAI Statement of Faith and demonstrate evidence of an ongoing transformative and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 
  • Plan to enroll or are enrolled as a full-time junior or senior or graduate student in a university teacher training program (toward a B.A. with credential or M.A.) for the coming school year. 
  • Attend a CEAI-affiliated university or be a CEAI Member with Coverage (includes Student Members).
  • Hold or intend to pursue a full-time certificated position in a U.S. K-12 public school. 

Applicants are asked to provide both a pastoral and at least one professional or academic reference. In addition, they are asked to answer questions about why they want to be a public school educator and how they expect to walk out their Christian faith in public schools. Descriptions of the applicant’s walk with God, ministry/service experience, and professional goals are also part of the application. Apply now for the 2021 Thiesen Scholarship:

Ray intended this to be a matching scholarship, meaning that his endowment matches other contributions we receive. Rather than giving away one scholarship per year for $1,000, wouldn’t it be amazing if we could support many more passionate teacher candidates like Megan? Would you consider helping us increase these scholarships? 
To invest in the next generation of Christian educators, go to


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