(Mennonite Education Agency) - Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) has appointed Shana Peachey Boshart as Faith Formation Minister, effective November 1, 2021. She will serve as the agency liaison with Mennonite Schools Council (MSC), a network of Mennonite schools from early education to grade 12. Dawn Y. Graber has served in an interim capacity since May 2020.
Peachey Boshart transitioned to MEA from her role as Denominational Minister of Faith Formation with Mennonite Church USA (MC USA). She will continue her current faith formation work within the wider church, now with an added focus on MSC.
She served for 20 years for Central Plains Mennonite Conferences, first as conference youth minister then formation minister. Before joining MC USA Executive Board staff in 2018, she served Mennonite Church USA in a variety of volunteer roles, including co-founding three programs for youth participation in the delegate assembly.
Peachey Boshart is a credentialed coach, a trained spiritual director, and is a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). She graduated from Dock Mennonite Academy, Lansdale, Pennsylvania; Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, with a bachelor's degree in English Education; and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana, with a graduate certificate in Theological Studies. She is a member of Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart.
Peachey Boshart's appointment supports MEA's vision of centering education as a core ministry of MC USA, which includes early elementary centers, primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and seminaries. It also includes faith formation for all ages and leadership development for local congregations and church leaders.
"I'm very much looking forward to serving the leaders and teachers of the Mennonite Schools Council," she said. "They are spiritual leaders who play a key role in the formation of children and youth. Education, formation, and transformation are all interrelated in the church as we continually grow into the likeness of Jesus."
Michael Danner, executive director of MEA, affirmed these comments. "MEA believes education is critical to help individuals gain the skills they need as productive, shalom-building members of their communities," he said. "Education is also at the center of growing in faithfulness as a follower of Jesus and the mission of the church to embody Jesus' way of life in community."
Danner's recent appointment was the result of a shared staffing arrangement between MC USA Executive Board Staff and MEA. As Peachey Boshart transitions to MEA, Danner noted that these two appointments are concrete ways MEA is supporting a wholistic approach to education as a core ministry of MC USA. "Our plan is to build on existing strengths found in our current MEA staff and educational institutions," Danner said.
Danner lauded Dawn Graber's interim work as an important, stabilizing presence with MSC and the leaders and schools boards of the MSC schools. "Dawn stepped in at a time when MEA was in transition and COVID 19 was a persistent challenge for school leaders – as it remains."
Conrad Swartzentruber, chair of MSC and superintendent of Dock Mennonite Academy, Lansdale, PA, echoed Danner's praise. "Dawn stepped into her role during a challenging time with a pandemic, being limited to phone and zoom communication," he noted. "Her passion for Mennonite education was evident as she supported and encouraged our Mennonite schools and their leaders during a difficult time to lead. Her smile and positive spirit was always an encouragement." Graber will continue her work as a process consultant and leadership coach with Design Group, International.
Swartzentruber went on to welcome Peachey Boshart to her new role. "Shana is already familiar with many of our schools and we look forward to relating more closely to her. She has a noticeable passion for Mennonite education, and we look forward to finding new ways to connect and support our Mennonite schools."
Mennonite Education Agency is headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, and partners with Anabaptist Mennonite educational institutions and programs to provide resources, networking and support to school administrators, faculty and staff. As the education agency of Mennonite Church USA, MEA ties church and school together in a complementary and cooperative way to ensure students receive a high-quality education from a distinctive Anabaptist Mennonite perspective.
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