Diversity Town Halls

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Moderator & Panelist

Dr. Charlotte Marshall Powell

Dr. Charlotte Marshall Powell is the senior researcher at ACSI. Her background includes a decade of research examining individual and community well-being in academic, corporate, and church communities. She is deeply rooted in Christian values and has an ability to lead research projects strategically and empathetically. Prior to joining ACSI, she served as an academic researcher, consultant, and professor of psychology.

Schedule

Tuesday, June 9 2:00 p.m. (ET) – Leading with Conviction

  • Vernard Gant

Wednesday, June 10 2:00 p.m. (ET) – Leading with Empathy

  • Jerry Nelson
  • Chuck Gilliam
  • Josh Reichard

Thursday, June 11 2:00 p.m. (ET) - Leading with Courage

  • Joel Gaines
  • Donna Harris
  • Eric Stevenson

Bios

Joel R. Gaines
Thursday, June 11 2:00 p.m. (ET) - Leading with Courage

Joel R. Gaines serves as interim Head of School and Upper School principal at The City School in Philadelphia, Pa. He graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University (Cairn University) with a B.S. in Education and Biblical Studies and earned his MEd in education from Cabrini University. Joel is passionate about seeing all students flourish academically, emotionally, and spiritually. He seeks to lead all under his leadership toward comprehensive shalom. His experience serving in multiple administrative roles over the past 15 years in both urban and suburban and both Christian and public schools has uniquely equipped him to lead teachers, students, parents and community stakeholders within myriad of different educational context. Joel is married to Tia and has one son Josiah, and three daughters Hosanna, Elaina, and Adoniah.

Vernard T. Gant
Tuesday, June 9 2:00 p.m. (ET) – Leading with Conviction

Dr. Vernard Gant is the director of the A.C.E. Student Success Center with the Association of Christian Schools International. Dr. Gant’s department oversees over 600 Christian schools throughout the nation that target and serve academically disenfranchised, culturally diverse, and/or economically disadvantaged children (A.C.E. students). Dr. Gant is a graduate of Columbia International University, Birmingham Theological Seminary, and Trinity University. Dr. Gant has been the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Jeffersonian Award by the Jeffersonian Award Foundation in Washington, DC. and the Paul Harris Fellow Award presented by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. He helped develop two Christian schools in Birmingham, AL serving A.C.E. students and has assisted in the start-up of several similar schools across the nation. Dr. Gant has served on several boards including the Life Skills Alternative School, the National Association of Street Schools, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the American Center for School Choice, and chaired the Colorado State Advisory Committee for the US Commission on Civil Rights. Dr. Gant has been involved in urban ministry for nearly forty years and in the parental choice movement for over 20 years. He currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO. with his wife, Cynthia.

 

Chuck Gilliam
Tuesday, June 9 2:00 p.m. (ET) – Leading with Conviction

Wednesday, June 10 2:00 p.m. (ET) – Leading with Empathy

Chuck Gilliam has been at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (ELCA) for the past 21 years. ELCA is located on the Southside of Atlanta and they serve a majority minority student population of nearly 1000 students. Chuck earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies from Clearwater Christian College, a Masters degree in the Art of Teaching from Piedmont College, and Ed.S. from Arkansas State University. He has been married to Julie since 1996, and they are the proud parents of Abby, Megan, Charlie, Claire, Aaron, Gabriel, David and Nathaniel.

 

Donna Harris, Ed.D.
Thursday, June 11 2:00 p.m. (ET) - Leading with Courage

Donna Harris, Ed.D. has served as President of Minnehaha Academy, a PreK-12 Christian school, since 2009. Previously Donna served as the Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer at Valley Christian Schools, a K-12 school located in San Jose, CA. Prior to her work in independent schools, Donna taught in public schools for 12 years, having earned a bilingual elementary and secondary teaching credential, twice receiving Intel Corporation’s prestigious Innovation in Teaching award. Donna has frequently presented at conferences on topics such as project-based learning, integration of technology, school governance, strategic planning and school improvement. She authored a chapter in the book, Building a Better School called Diversity in the Christian School. Donna has served on the Board of Trustees at North Park University (2010-2015), the Minnesota Independent School Forum (2013-2016) and currently serves as Vice Chair for the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (2016-Current), the Ordway Center of Performing Arts (2016-Current), and Hope Academy, a K-12 Christian independent inner-city school (2018-Current). Donna holds a ministerial license and is ordained to Word and Service with the Evangelical Covenant Church. Donna is married to Rick, a Minnesota business owner, and is a proud mother of 5 adult children and 5 grandchildren.

Jerry Nelson
Wednesday, June 10 2:00 p.m. (ET) – Leading with Empathy

Jerry Nelson is former Head of School at Northwest Christian Academy in Miami, where he served for 16 years. He joined ACSI’s National Board in July 2019. In March of 2020 joined ACSI’s staff and now serves as Special Assistant to the President. Among his responsibilities are a focus on diversity issues and school choice. As a Miami native, he has lived at the heart of the multicultural/multiethnic transition that has continued to shape modern-day South Florida. He is a graduate of St. Thomas University with a B.A. in History and a Masters in Educational Leadership. He has been married to his wife, Christine for 15 years and has three kids—Lydia, Jonah, and Jacob.

Dr. Joshua D. Reichard
Wednesday, June 10 2:00 p.m. (ET) – Leading with Empathy

Dr. Joshua D. Reichard is the President and CEO of Omega Graduate School, The American Centre for Religion/Society Studies (ACRSS), Dissertation Core Faculty at the American College of Education, and the Accreditation Liaison Officer at Valley Christian Schools, in Youngstown, Ohio. Dr. Reichard served as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Valley Christian Schools in Youngstown, Ohio and various capacities for more than 10 years. Dr. Reichard is a state-licensed school superintendent, Certified Clinical Sociologist, and a well-published scholar and researcher. Dr. Reichard integrates his faith and society by leading a private, nonprofit, Christian school system serving more than 700 students in grades K-12 in a city with one of the highest concentrations of children living in poverty per capita in the United States. Valley Christian Schools are a publicly-funded voucher-driven alternative to the public school system, which has historically been in academic and fiscal emergency and among the worst-ranked in the state of Ohio; it is also the eighth most segregated school border in the United States. Despite these factors, Dr. Reichard has helped lead growth and continuous improvement of Valley Christian Schools, which now serve a racially, socioeconomically, and ability-level diverse population of students. Valley Christian Schools have consistently outperformed the schools in their community in academics, graduation rates, retention rates, and virtually every other measure.

Eric Stevenson
Thursday, June 11 2:00 p.m. (ET) - Leading with Courage

Eric is originally from Dallas, TX, Eric is a graduate of Prestonwood Christian Academy Alumnus, class of 2015. He attended Wheaton College on a football scholarship and graduated with honors from Wheaton College with a degree in Economics and a Minor in Spanish. Eric recently married in November 2019 upon which he and his wife moved to Austin, TX. He currently works in the finance industry as an Associate at Dimensional Fund Advisors.