Dordt College News

CACE introduces senior fellows, launches website

March 10, 2014

The Center for the Advancement of Christian Education (CACE) at Dordt College is pleased to announce the hiring of three senior fellows: Dan Beerens, Chad Dirkse, and Paul T. Neal.

As recognized experts in the philosophy and practice of Christian schooling, CACE senior fellows represent a variety of fields and capacities. Fellows will assist in CACE’s mission of helping innovate, improve, sustain, and promote Christian education at the primary, secondary, and college/university levels. 

CACE director Tim Van Soelen says the fellows who are joining him will provide a wealth of expertise for the organization and the schools it works with. 

Dan Beerens is a CACE fellow in the area of school improvement and innovation. Beerens is an independent education consultant, author, and international speaker. He regularly presents on teacher evaluation and professional growth, curriculum design, school improvement, technology integration, faith integrated learning. Van Soelen describes him as “a household name in Christian education” and notes that Beerens has been part of many schools’ accreditation processes and professional development plans.

Chad Dirkse will provide expertise in school operations and sustainability. Dirkse currently serves as president of Chattanooga Christian Schools, which includes more than 1,100 students and 130 faculty and staff. Van Soelen says Dirkse’s innovative work at Chattanooga Christian Schools, as well as his connections and professional network within Christian schools, will be put to good use.

Paul T. Neal specializes in sociological research. Neal is co-founder and chief research officer of Charter Oak Research with expertise in research markets, presenting and publishing normative data in analysis, respondent motives, and trends in education. “The research he does has been a change agent for many schools,” Van Soelen says.

Fellows will mentor and visit program-participating schools, as well as foster dialogue in the CACE online community at, where they will write on topics of interest to Christian educators, administrators, parents, and church leaders.

The fellows fill three positions of a five-concentration area structure identified through focus groups and other research, and intended to promote excellent, sustainable Christian schooling in North America. CACE continues to seek fellows in the areas of political action and advocacy, and pastoral/church leadership and development. 

Further information about senior fellows, including posted material, can be found at the recently launched CACE website:

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