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ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Education Agency, Mennonite Church USA) —The Board of Directors of Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) has named Rev. Dr. Michael Danner as executive director of MEA. The appointment is part of a collaborative staffing agreement with Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) Executive Board. Danner currently serves as associate executive director of Church Vitality for MC USA.

Beginning September 1, 2021, Danner will split his time between the MC USA Executive Board and MEA. The collaborative agreement was approved by the MC USA Executive Board at its meeting on July 8 and by the MEA Board of Directors during its meeting on August 10.

"We are excited to welcome Michael to MEA," said J. Richard Thomas, MEA board chair. "He has a deep appreciation for the role of education in Christian formation. With his belief in education and his leadership experience, he is uniquely equipped to build strong bridges between the church and our affiliated schools to strengthen the mission of both," he added.

Danner has served in his current role with MC USA since June 2018, providing support to area conferences, congregations, and pastors. He previously was the conference minister for Illinois Mennonite Conference, Tremont, Illinois, for three years. He also has over 20 years of experience as a local church pastor – 18 of those years as pastor of Metamora Mennonite Church, Metamora, Illinois. Danner has a DMin in Contextual Theology from Northern Seminary, Lombard, Illinois, a master's degree in Religion from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois. He also is a trained leader of FaithTrust Institute's Healthy Boundaries curriculum and training.

"Michael's connections to our MC USA congregations and conferences will be invaluable in leading MEA to fulfill its purpose to strengthen the life, witness and identity of MC USA through education," said Glen Guyton, MC USA executive director. "I believe Michael brings the expertise and cultural competency to effectively communicate with the diversity of MC USA constituents, which will help move us forward together by building trust and spurring excitement in our affiliated schools. I am particularly excited for Michael to strengthen our Racial Ethnic Leadership Education (RELE) programs, currently managed by MEA."

"I believe strongly in the power of Anabaptist education to help transform the church," said Danner. "I'm excited to work in strengthening relationships, creating training opportunities for people across the church and providing accessible, effective and affordable resources for church leadership that can help local congregations thrive. This collaboration is an opportunity for MEA, as a program agency tasked with education for the church, to work more cooperatively with the Executive Board and the Church Vitality office," he added.

Danner will replace Dr. Thomas Stuckey, interim executive director of MEA.

"The MEA board and staff have appreciated Tom's leadership during this time of transition," said Thomas. "During his tenure, he furthered the development of the new Mennonite Higher Education Association and strengthened its relationship with MC USA. He also worked to bring MEA bylaws and board governance policies up to date. Tom's good work sets the stage for the new executive director to enable Anabaptist/Mennonite education to flourish," he added.

The Executive Board Staff of MC USA has a history of collaborative staffing with other church agencies, according to Guyton, executive director of MC USA and ex-officio member of the search committee.

Mennonite Education Agency, headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, partners with Anabaptist-Mennonite schools and programs to provide resources, networking and support to school administrators, faculty, and staff. As an agency of Mennonite Church USA, MEA ties church and school together in a complementary and cooperative way to ensure students receive a quality Anabaptist-Mennonite education. mennoniteeducation.org  

Mennonite Church USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 530 congregations and 62,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 58 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana, and Newton, Kansas.  mennoniteUSA.org

Contributed by Mennonite Church USA/MEA Staff  –  8/17/2021