Shortly after retiring as a high school principal, Dan was left wondering what to do with his life. In 2001, the Lord took him to Kenya on a short-term missions trip, which not only changed his life, but also offered him an opportunity to use his God-given gifts in a way he'd never imagined. On that trip, the president and founder of Empowering Lives International (ELI) asked him if he would join his team as the U.S. Director of Personnel & Finance, so over the next nine years, Dan served ELI in that capacity, as well as presenting their work to churches and colleges, training short-term missions teams, and conducting leadership training in Kenya and Uganda. Dan also serves on the Board of Hope Alive, a nonprofit organization focused on improving education among highly disadvantaged children in Uganda. As a leadership developer, it is his privilege to interface with a variety of African organizations while training their leadership in country.
During his many trips to Africa, Dan's heart was continually drawn to the young people—the leaders of tomorrow who were being woefully equipped today. He observed that their elementary and secondary school education consisted primarily of rote memorization, with the students being given little opportunity to apply the facts they were learning. With 32 years of education in his background, God prompted Dan to do something about this, so in July of 2010, Advancing Leaders International (ALI) was birthed. As ALI’s Founding Director, Dan now recruit educators and coaches who will join him in changing the face of education in Kenya and Uganda as well as other developing nations through improved teaching methodology, enhanced classrooms, and individualized coaching and mentoring of teachers and emerging leaders.
My primary supporter in this venture is my wife, Myra, who has an impressive list of accomplishments herself. With 35 years of experience as a teacher, administrator, counselor, bi-lingual coordinator, and university professor, plus 20 years in faith-based global missions, Myra brings a wealth of expertise to ALI. She is an international educator, author, leadership guru, spiritual director, Life Coach, and a member of Church Resource Ministries Coaching Team. We walk hand-in-hand in the work of ALI, coming alongside schools in developing nations, asking God to raise up others who will join us in this worthwhile endeavor.
Karin Knutson is on the Advancing Leaders International team since 2012. While serving 18 years as a teacher supervisor for homeschooling families, mentor and coach for new teachers; Karin has both taught and administrated in the public, private, home, and charter school sectors. She has a passion for developing teachers who encourage and draw out curiosity and creativity from their students. For six years she worked as an administrator at a K-12 public charter school. She is also a Life Coach that enjoys helping all people to walk in their calling and gifting.
Karin and her husband, Randy, have been serving with Church Resource Ministries the past three decades, pastoring and being part of founding new church starts. Karin has played many key roles during that time: leading women’s groups, retreats, children’s ministries, and singing on worship teams. While supporting her pastor/missionary husband for over 38 years, Karin has gained a worldwide network of friends and resources.
Karin and Randy live in Southern California and have four married children. A brand new role as grandparent began in March, 2016. Life is never dull!
Teacher Trainer and Mentor
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mark has enjoyed a variety of careers ranging from manual labor to education. Discovering a love of teaching, he pursued a professional teaching career, serving eleven years as a high school teacher. In that time Mark earned a MA in Secondary Education, Social Studies, with an emphasis on critical thinking. Mark's passion is to study African culture and apply critical thinking in classrooms so God's directive to become mature believers is realized, by "having their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil". (HEB 5:14) Mark and his wife Cathy have served in Kenya since 2011.
Randy Knutson brings to ALI over 25 years of hands-on experience coaching church planters with Church Resource Ministries (CRM), 6 years as Design Team Coordinator for Disciple Making Ministries, and 13 years designing the assessment, placement, and coaching systems for church planting for the Vineyard USA. He is now actively using all these skills raising up disciple-making pastors and school chaplains in Africa. His deepest passion for the school staff and students that ALI works with is for them to discover and grow in God’s love through small group multiplication. This necessitates the critical thinking processes that ALI is bringing to schools, and which he actively employs in his training workshops.
Randy and his wife, Karin who is also an ALI team member, now live in Southern California and have four grown children and two daughters-in-love!
Teacher Trainer and Mentor
Cathy is passionate about helping others know and serve Christ. An educator for more than 30 years, her desire is to shepherd the hearts of students as well as empower and encourage new and veteran teachers. Cathy served as Africa Area Coordinator for International Child Care Ministries (FMWM) for five years, establishing a primary school student center in rural Tanzania. She has also trained primary school educators in Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Uganda. Based in Africa for over ten years, Cathy brings a broad range of cross-cultural and educational experiences to ALI trainings.