Feature

Lighthouse Keepers

Leading the Way as a CEAI Representative

We need community.

We were built for it, designed for relationships and connections. It’s in our DNA.

If 2020 gave us anything, with its social distancing, quarantining, and virtual versions of everything, it was a reminder of how vital it is to have people around us, interacting, encouraging, understanding, sharing life … together.

As a Christian educator, 2020 may have seemed like a microcosm of your everyday reality in school. At times, you may feel as if your faith has had to quarantine, your beliefs have been mandated to stay socially distanced, and a palpable tension exists between where you are and where you want to be. In isolation, you can feel lost, discouraged, and even afraid, not sure how to love and serve the way you have felt called. You may not even fully understand your rights and freedoms when it comes to shining your light at your school.

But when surrounded by those who understand you and come alongside you, there can be newfound energy, purpose, and hope. Throughout the world, CEAI is providing this type of community for Christian educators like you—daily, and in so many ways. And CEAI Representatives are leading the way. Like lighthouse keepers, representatives shine rays of hope out into the darkness, welcoming weary, faith-filled educators to find the strength, direction, shelter, and connections for which they’ve been longing.

What is the purpose of CEAI Representatives? Their goal is to lead the way in their school or district, welcoming new teachers, sharing about CEAI and its benefits, and serving as faith-filled leaders that others can lean into.

Like lighthouse keepers, representatives shine rays of hope out into the darkness, welcoming weary, faith-filled educators to find the strength, direction, shelter, and connections for which they’ve been longing.

Meredith Chandler, a teacher at London Elementary in Kentucky, recalls how CEAI Representative Jon Eppley was the first to welcome her at her new school, helping her feel connected and known. “I’ll never forget how that small act of kindness made an impact on me,” she says. “And now I want to pass that kindness forward to all teachers and students I meet.”

She initially joined CEAI for the faith-filled community, protection, and support. And the power of that community was one of the reasons she chose to ultimately become a district representative herself. She loves welcoming and inviting Christian educators into an understanding, supportive community.

“Please consider joining CEAI…” urges Meredith. “You will be gaining friends and family who care for you and will pray for you. You will find others who have been through the trials you are facing and will be there to support you in yours.” She loves to remind faith-filled teachers that God has called them to this vocation for His divine purpose. And she believes that now, more than ever, students and other teachers need the light that Christian educators bring to their schools.

This is a truth that is also held strongly by Dennis Minnis, an educator in the Bullitt County school district in Kentucky.

Dennis became a representative so he could reach more Christian educators that may be looking for a community like CEAI. His role as a representative has given him an equal opportunity to speak to new teachers about professional association opportunities. CEAI’s fliers, pamphlets, pens, and digital materials are readily available to help him spread the word to his peers.

Roger Dillon, who heads up the CEAI Representative program, was also influential in mentoring Dennis and encouraging him to take that step into becoming a representative. Roger loves watching the multiplication effect as members become representatives who can further reach more and more Christian educators in their schools. 

Along with the encouragement that CEAI provides, Roger also feels that sharing knowledge and experience with other educators is equally as important. He has seen how misinformation and fear can often keep many Christian educators from fully living out their faith in their schools. Representatives can be a powerful force to help bring freedom and unlock the potential in so many educators who want to make a difference and change lives. 

There are currently 65 CEAI Representatives in Kentucky and the numbers are growing. “People are looking for someone to follow,” Roger says. And a representative can be that leader, that voice, that lighthouse keeper, guiding Christian educators to a community where they can thrive and fulfill their mission.

Join together. Serve well. Shine your light.

What about you? Is God calling you to step into this leadership role, to be the one that opens the door for a teacher in your school or district—that teacher who is searching for some help and hope? If you feel called, no matter where you live, Roger Dillon would love to talk to you. You can shoot him an email at roger.dillon@ceai.org.

Shawn is a husband and father of four who lives in Cleveland, Ohio. You can find him at shawnwashburn.com, where he hosts the Engineering Your Business podcast and helps business leaders optimize their people and processes.

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