Adventist education is a mission field,” said new Arizona Conference Superintendent of Education Chris Juhl. “We have to truly view ourselves as missionaries and be willing to be called by God and view the calling as just that—a calling.”
Ministry is a big part of Juhl’s life experience. His father dedicated his life to 40 years of literature ministry. While in college, Juhl searched for ways that he could serve others.
“I first considered becoming a Christian journalist,” he said. “But the head of the English department inspired me to explore education, and he set up me up as a teacher’s aide in a first-grade classroom.”
Thirty plus years later, that teacher aide position has led to becoming an English teacher, a school principal, and a conference superintendent. Prior to moving to Arizona, he served as the head of school for the Forest Lake Education Center in Longwood, Florida. He also previously served as superintendent of education for the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference. He developed and wrote the Juhl Reading Program, which has been used in over 100 elementary schools across North America, and he is one of the top coaches for Marzano Standards-Based Learning.
He sees the role of Adventist education as critical to the growth of the church. “Adventist schools are 180-day evangelistic series,” he noted. “At the school we have a captive audience who generally have a high regard for the teacher. All other avenues of evangelism are dependent on individuals choosing to show up.”
Juhl’s focus for the future of Arizona Conference Education is to establish a long-term vision and plan that encourages sustainability for schools. “Too many schools over the past few years ride the ‘SDA rollercoaster,’” he said. “They have 45 students one year, 28 the next, 52 the next, 26 the next.” Healthy, sustainable, and achievable growth plans for each school are part of his mission for the Arizona Conference.
By Jeff Rogers
Adventist schools are 180-day evangelistic series. At the school we have a captive audience who generally have a high regard for the teacher. All other avenues of evangelism are dependent on individuals choosing to show up.