The Bush Center
Emerging Christian Leadership Conference



Teacher leaders from around the United States gathered at Houston Christian High School for the Emerging Christian Leadership Conference in February 2024.  Keynoted by Dr. Matt Thomas and Dr. Jay Ferguson, the Conference focused on growing leaders through panel discussions and breakout sessions.  Attendees utilized embedded reflection activities to capture key phrases, book recommendations, and communication strategies.  Participants created a plan focused on action steps with a timeline for the completion of activities.  Houston Christian High School and The Bush Center for Scholars & Leaders loved hosting all of our future teacher leaders! 

Click here to view the 2024 ECLC Schedule. 

#ECLC24 Conference Topics:
  • Pastoral Leadership for Christian School Leaders
  • Pipelines to Leadership
  • Managing Conflict and Difficult Conversations
  • Building Self-Awareness & Emotional Intelligence
  • Leadership Behaviors
  • Protocols and Frameworks To Lead Efficiently & Effectively
  • Preparing Yourself to Lead Others
  • Building Teams

Conference Resources

Conference Speakers

List of 5 items.

  • Dr. Jay Ferguson, Featured Speaker

    Jay Ferguson, J.D., Ph.D. has been the Head of School at Grace Community School in Tyler, Texas, for over fifteen years. Under his leadership, the school achieved Blue Ribbon Exemplary status in 2015 and 2017. Jay is also an adjunct professor at several colleges, including Covenant College, Gordon College, and Dallas Baptist University, and recently served on the adjunct faculties of the Van Lunen Center at Calvin College and at Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University. He holds leadership positions in the education sector; currently, he serves as Chair-Elect of the executive board of the Association of Christian Schools International. Previous leadership positions include President of the Board of the Texas Private School Association and former Chair of the Board of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability.
  • Dr. Matt Thomas, Featured Speaker

    Dr. Matt Thomas currently serves as the Head of School for Trinity Christian School in Fairfax County, Virginia. Thomas previously served as the Executive Director of the Center for School Leadership at Baylor University. In this role, he oversaw the operations of the Center, leading the development, strategy, planning, and coordination of programs serving more than 900 schools. Thomas has worked in education for more than 25 years. Serving in Christian K-12 schools, higher education and seminaries, the Christian nonprofit sector, and pastoral ministry, Thomas has devoted his career to serving and strengthening Christian educational institutions for the flourishing of students, faculty, and staff. Thomas earned his EdD from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, his MA in Christian Education from Azusa Pacific University, and a Bachelor of Theology from Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College.
  • Mrs. Julie Ambler, Speaker

    Julie H. Ambler has been the Head of School at The Woodlands Christian Academy since 2006. She has successfully led the school to become a leading institution in Christ-centered college preparatory education. Apart from her association with the school, Mrs. Ambler is also serving as the Chairman of the board for Summit Ministries and Chairman of the board for the Council of Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA). She is a board member of the Texas Private School Association (TPSA). Mrs. Ambler has been a member and past board member of the Rotary Club of The Woodlands, where she has been named a Paul Harris Fellow twice. She has also served as the President of the Executive Women’s Alliance (EWA). She has also served as the Past Chairman of the board for The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Montgomery County (LMC). Mrs. Ambler completed her education from The University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a B.A. and an M.B.A.
  • Dr. Brian Guenther, Speaker

    Dr. Brian N Guenther is the current President of San Marcos Academy. In May 2018, he was named Interim Academic Dean of the Academy after serving three years as Associate Academic Dean for the SMA Lower and Middle schools. Prior to joining the Academy staff, he spent eight years as Head of School and three years as music teacher and chaplain at the Master’s School of San Marcos. Additionally, he served as a teaching pastor for River Stone Community Church in San Marcos from 2004 to 2011 and as a youth and worship pastor at First Baptist Church in Kingsland, Texas for five years. Dr. Guenther is a certified superintendent, principal, and teacher. He received his Ed.D. Degree in Education, Educational Leadership, and Administration from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB). He also holds a Master of Arts in Christian Higher Education Administration from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from UMHB. Currently, he serves as President of the Accreditation Commission of the Texas Association of Baptist Schools.
  • Dr. Darren Price, Speaker

    Dr. Darren Price has been the principal at Houston Christian High School in Houston, TX, since 2015.  He is the former Head of School for Contra Costa Christian Schools in Walnut Creek, CA, and held various administrative roles during his 10-year tenure in Christian international schools in South Korea.  He has written articles or made presentations regarding leadership, technology, professional development, and furthering Christian education around the world.  He believes strongly in the future of Christian education and its importance to impact the next generation.


List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Mindy Dickerson

    Mindy Dickerson 

    Director of The George and Barbara Bush Center for Scholars and Leaders
    Texas A&M University - B.S.
    University of Houston - M.A.