Minnehaha Academy Names New President

Post a Comment » Written on May 27th, 2009     
Filed under: News
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (May 27, 2009) – Dr. Donna M. Harris has been selected to serve as the eighth president of Minnehaha Academy, the Northwest Conference Executive Board announced today.

Harris, who currently serves as assistant superintendent and chief academic officer of Valley Christian Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, succeeds Dr. John Engstrom who has served as the school’s president for the past 15 years.

HarrisPart of the Evangelical Covenant Church, Harris is actively involved in the life and ministry of South Bay Community Church in Fremont, California.

“I am very pleased with the presidential selection process,” says Jim Fretheim, Northwest Conference superintendent. “Our committee spent many hours together working with our consulting firm. The process was supported in prayer and was rigorous in its work. I am excited to begin working with Dr. Harris. Minnehaha is an important ministry of the Northwest Conference of Covenant churches.”

That sentiment was echoed by James L. Volling, search committee chair. “The members of the search committee, the Board of Education, and the Northwest Conference Executive Board, feel extraordinarily blessed to bring you this news.”

After serving two years as a missionary in South American prisons and churches, and while raising five children (the youngest of whom recently graduated from Valley Christian Schools), Harris received her bachelor’s degree and a Masters in Education degree from San Jose State University. She became bilingual in Spanish and credentialed as a bilingual teacher in California. She also is credentialed as an administrator by the Association of Christian Schools International. She received her doctoral degree in education from the University of San Francisco.

Harris taught math for 11 years. She has a demonstrated proficiency in educational technology, having served as director of curriculum and instruction at Valley Christian Schools for eight years. She twice received Intel Corporation’s prestigious Innovation in Teaching Award. She also served as children’s pastor and a worship leader at South Bay where she was elected an elder and chair of the senior pastor search committee.

“Dr. Harris has amazing energy, a deep Christian faith, a background in the Covenant denomination, and a strong commitment to Christian education,” Volling adds. “She is a gifted teacher and administrator and a wonderful role model in her Christian walk.”

The chief development officer at the 2,500-student Valley Christian Schools describes Harris as a “phenomenal leader” who has been instrumental in that school’s successful development efforts.

Harris will assume her new responsibilities on July 22 with a formal installation service scheduled in the fall.

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