CIU has International Impact in Christian Education
International Institute of Christian School Educators meets in Columbia
By Bob Holmes
Argenis Taveras makes the trip from the Dominican Republic to Columbia International University each summer for the annual International Institute for Christian School Educators (IICSE) because he says, “CIU is foundational for keeping me focused.”
Taveras is the high school principal at Fountain of Life Christian School in a small village north of the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. He talks excitedly about the Pre-K to 12th grade school that is so popular it has 467 students and a waiting list with some families travelling 45 minutes to get there each school day.
Taveras also talks with excitement about his passion for Christian education and the annual weeklong International Institute held on the CIU campus — a priority for him when it comes to professional development.
“I have been blessed because (at the Institute) you grow as a person — as a believer. They nourish you. I’m going back to apply what I’ve learned.”
The 2018 Institute drew over 60 teachers and administrators with 20 percent of them coming from outside the United States — as far away as Nigeria and the Philippines.
Dr. Milt Uecker, CIU professor emeritus and director of the Lowrie Center for Christian School Education at CIU, says the theme for the 2018 Institute was “Recovering and Recapturing our Christ-Centered Mission.” Uecker says he’s concerned that some Christian schools have drifted toward subtle influences of worldly standards, rather than holding to the distinction of being Christian.
“The Christian part is what sets us apart from all the other schools,” Uecker said. “Are we just going to be another private school and lose that total focus of why God created us into being as a school? It’s what we need to address. It’s what we need to talk about.”
It’s that kind of discussion that keeps Taveras coming back for CIU’s indirect impact on his school’s students, their families, and the school’s faculty.
“At CIU, you don’t touch those people, but your influence is serving those 300 families, those 467 kids,” Teveras said. “I train teachers and I train administrators. I use a lot of what I learn here.”
Learn more about the opportunities available through CIU’s College of Education.
CIU is experiencing growth in enrollment and has announced $25 million in expansion plans for the campus, including construction of the $20 million William H. Jones Global Business and IT Center. CIU is accredited by SACS-COC.