Founding of ACSI

James A. Swezey, Ed.D.

Abstract: The Founding and Formation of the Association of Christian Schools International (2006)

Since the time of Jesus Christ, groups of parents have sought to educate their children according to a distinctively Christian worldview. In order to accomplish this more effectively, like minded groups have banded together forming school associations. One such group is the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). ACSI was formed in 1978 when the Western Association of Christian Schools, the National Christian School Education Association, and the Ohio Association of Christian Schools merged to more effectively facilitate the growing movement. The National Institute of Christian School Administration served as a catalyst for bringing together Christian school leaders from across the country. The synergy created by these organizations changed the direction of the modern Christian school movement.

This historical narrative examined the events that led to the founding and formation of ACSI. A variety of primary sources served as the foundation of evidence presented. Interviews were conducted with current and former employees of ACSI, ACSI board members, Institute faculty members, and board members from the three founding associations. These interviews represented eyewitness accounts to the events described in this study. Other primary sources included the board minutes from all three founding associations and ACSI, personal correspondence, event programs, reports, and the writings of key leaders within the Christian school movement.

There were several important conclusions drawn from this study. The founding of ACSI was one of the most important historical events of the Christian school movement during the twentieth century. Research revealed the character and quality of the founders, the obstacles they overcame, and the contributions made by ACSI to the Christian school movement. Dr. Paul Kienel and Dr. Roy W. Lowrie were the two most important leaders in the founding and formation of ACSI. Both men devoted their lives to Christian schools and made significant contributions during their long careers. Contributions made by ACSI included the formation of regional offices to assist local schools, improving the reputation of Christian schools in general through accreditation, changing racial perceptions of Christian schools, serving as a legal and legislative advocate, and pioneering work among international Christian schools.

For Dr. Swezey's complete dissertation, click here to order (UMI Publication Number 3215157).

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