Approximately 300 Mid-America Union teachers, administrators, support personnel, retirees, and Union College seniors joined some 6,000 educators at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois, on August 6 for three days of spiritual renewal and professional development. This event, themed Encounter Jesus, Experience Excellence, was the 4th North America Division-wide convention for Adventist teachers held since 2000.

Music was a major component of the event, with the opening concert presented by Steven Curtis Chapman. Other artists who inspired our educators were Angela Bryant-Brown, Michael English, Jaime Jorge and Wintley Phipps.

Elizabeth Talbot, speaker/director of Jesus 101, presented the keynote address. Each morning worship was led by Sam Leonor, chaplain at LaSierra University. General sessions featured technology, inspiration and school improvement. Eric Sheniger from the International Center for Leadership in Education focused on how to design tomorrow’s schools today; Manny Scott, one the original Freedom Writers, shared his inspiring story; and Brad Geise from Education for the Future emphasized the need for continued improvements. The event culminated with a commitment service led by Dan Jackson, president of the NAD.

Six breakouts were scheduled with approximately 170 presentations during each breakout session covering all aspects of Adventist education. Teachers also had time to explore Chicago one evening.

Feedback from teachers has been very positive and they left Chicago energized and ready to lead learners in also Encountering Jesus, and Experiencing Excellence in their own lives.

Photos: Courtesy of LouAnn Howard