The mission of the Van Lunen Center is to provide world-class, executive management training for heads of schools based on the historic Christian faith. Its Fellows program is designed for the heads of Christian schools who have been in their positions for at least one year and report directly to the governing board of their schools. In July 2023, the Center will launch our Ascending Leaders Program, designed for Christian school administrators who aspire to be heads of Christian schools as the next step in their career.

The Fellows Program: Each year a cohort of 20-24 Fellows begins the year-long executive management training program. Three of the weeks are spent in residence. The first and final sessions, are focused on executive management curriculum and are held in July at the host school, Calvin University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The second session is in winter at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Its purpose is to examine and strengthen “leadership from within” in order to lead their staff and community well. All sessions are led by faculty who are experienced heads of Christian schools with proven executive management skills. They represent the diversity of schools within the Christian school movement.

Program pillars for the resident sessions include daily worship with liturgy from various Christian traditions, group instruction by faculty, plus additional faculty experts who lead sessions on marketing & enrollment, development & fund raising, and facilities. Excellent in all program dimensions, the emphasis is on executive management rather than general leadership skills.

An applied project is required during the year-long management training program that benefits each Fellow’s school. Drawn from new skills and information received in their Van Lunen sessions, and guided by the support of faculty experts, the applied project is the culmination of each Fellow’s Van Lunen Center experience. At the final July session, Fellows present their project and its impact on their schools. Examples of Fellow’s projects include: new school construction, updated strategic plans, major fund raising programs, enhanced marketing and enrollment strategies, and new approaches for working with a school’s governing board.

The Ascending Leaders Program: Built on the successful Van Lunen Fellows program, the Ascending Leaders program is deigned to equip aspiring leaders with executive management education in preparation for new leadership roles. Similar to the Fellows program, a cohort of leaders will spend three sessions in residence in July at Calvin University and one winter session in Arizona. The sessions are three-day programs that focus on principles of leadership, budgeting and finance, mission and vision, and more. Each Ascending Leader will be assigned a mentor who has completed the Van Lunen Fellows program and will assist in preparing them in their journey to the head of school position.