It is easy at times to get discouraged when we look at American culture and the state of education in most American schools. Can classical Christian education really be a transformative education that can deeply shape the affections and minds of our children? Sometimes it takes stepping out of our own familiar surroundings to see what God is doing globally with classical Christian education to appreciate the impact that is possible. The same education that is transforming students in America to love the good, true and beautiful is now radically transforming boys and girls in more than 10 countries in Africa, who are now standing for Biblical truth and looking forward to a life of healthy opportunities. Karen Elliot, Executive Director of the Rafiki Foundation, shares some compelling stories and will give you an even greater appreciation and understanding of this powerful form of education whether in American suburbia or an African small town.
Karen Elliott has served with Rafiki since 1990, including twelve years on the mission field, most of that time in Jos, Nigeria. Upon returning to the U.S., she became the Director of Africa Operations for the Rafiki Home Office and was responsible for managing the ChildCare and Education Programs for all ten Rafiki Villages as well as curriculum development. She served at the Home Office for ten years before being named Rafiki’s Executive Director in January of 2012. Karen travels to Africa several times each year to oversee operations at each Rafiki Village, and considers herself to be an “American African”, comfortable talking to presidents of African countries, national church leaders, local tribal chieftains…but especially in caring for the children and students at Rafiki Villages.
Karen was born in Houston, Texas and prior to joining Rafiki, she was in commercial banking in Houston, TX where she maintained multimillion dollar loan portfolios for small businesses, and managed the bank’s credit division. She holds a BBA degree in finance/accounting from Southern Methodist University (and also a music minor), and earned her Masters degree in education from University of Texas at Arlington. Karen is a member of St. Andrews Chapel in Sanford, FL and was for many years a teaching leader for Bible Study Fellowship while in Texas and in Africa. Karen served as a founding board member for LifeHouse, a home for unwed mothers in Houston, Texas which is still in operation today.
Karen views herself as simply a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ who desires to help others come to know God and become lifelong disciples of him and learners of all he has created.