NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION
OFFICE OF EDUCATION
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600
The role of the NAD Office of Education is to create a vision for Adventist education and to develop resources that assist educators in implementing that vision.
Larry BlackmerVice President
Phone: (301) 680-6441 | Fax: (301) 680-6463
Larry and his wife, Sandy, have one daughter, Melissa. His education includes a bachelor of science in biology, a master of arts in teaching with an emphasis in biology/physics, and a master of arts in secondary educational administration. He is currently working on a doctorate in educational administration from Andrews University, where he also obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Larry has served at Grand Ledge Academy in Grand Ledge, Michigan, as both teacher and principal; at Adelphian Academy in Holly, Michigan, as vice principal and boys’ dean; and as principal at Mount Pisgah Academy in North Carolina and Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Maryland. Larry also served for seven years as associate superintendent in the Michigan Conference. He also served as superintendent of schools in the Idaho Conference. Prior to serving as the vice president of education for the NAD, Larry served as associate director of education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. His duties include secondary education, marketing and technology.
Larry enjoys woodworking, both carving and cabinet making, and nature photography. He is actively involved with technology in many aspects across the division.
When asked for his philosophy on education, Larry said, “I believe strongly in Adventist Christian education! It is our responsibility to help young people grow and develop into well–rounded, healthy, happy, and Christlike adults. Our goal is not only to educate them as good citizens and help them to be productive in our society; it is also our mission to provide them with the training and tools to be committed Seventh–day Adventist Christians, sharing the love they have found in Jesus with those around them. Hope for the Homeland is the theme of our evangelistic thrust this fall, but I believe we need to go a step farther with our young people. We need to instill in their hearts not only the hope for our heavenly homeland but an assurance, through the grace of our Lord, that Christ has paid the price for each young person and that the hope they have is more than a hope for something that is possible in the future. It is a tangible hope, or assurance, in something that has already been purchased for us. Christ is central in all we do in Adventist education, and by His love and grace, our children will stand with us soon face to face with Jesus.”
Sandy has worked at the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters as an editorial assistant for the adult Sabbath School quarterly, served in the Michigan Conference as communication director, and at Pacific Press as a copy editor. She is currently the news editor for the Adventist Review.
Phone: (301) 680-6446 | Fax: (301) 680-6463
Carol has been involved in a variety of professional experiences throughout her career as an educator. She has taught students in K-20 settings as well as worked as an Associate Director of Education for the Southwestern Union. Her heart is in the classroom, thus she has a special interest in curriculum, instruction, and assessment issues that will impact our Journey to Excellence. Specific areas of interest include: literacy development across the grade levels, concept-based learning, faith and learning integration, inquiry-based learning, differentiated instruction, and thinking/comprehension strategies. She also enjoys traveling and exploring new places, gardening, and reading.
Arne NielsenAssociate Director
Phone: (301) 680-6445 | Fax: (301) 680-6463
Arne P. Nielsen believes that the real object of education, through the work of the Holy Spirit, is to transform the lives of students and “restore in man the image of his Maker . . . promoting the development of body, mind, and soul.” As a lifelong Christian educator, Arne believes that all children have the right to reach their God-given potential. He believes that the best way to accomplish this is by relying on God to lead, building trust and buy-in from educators, developing instructional leaders at the school level, and creating a differentiated system that provides resources and support for educators to grow and flourish.
Arne holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Andrews University and a Master’s Degree in School Administration from Western Carolina University. He plans to resume his studies in the Leadership PhD program at Andrews University.
Previous to Arne’s coming to the NAD Education Office, he served as Vice President for Integrated Youth Ministries in the Florida Conference, leading Children’s and Family Ministry, Youth and Young Adults Ministry, Camp Ministry, and the Education Department in a joint venture to disciple God’s children. Previous to that position he served for four years as Superintendent of Education in the Florida Conference and three years as Superintendent of Education in the Idaho Conference. School site employment for Arne began at Mt. Pisgah Academy in North Carolina followed by service at Maxwell Adventist Academy in Kenya. At these schools Arne taught physical education, health, and biology lab; coached gymnastics; and served as a boys’ dean, vice-principal, principal, and business manager.
Arne is married to Teen (Fraser) who has partnered with him in life for 31 years. Teen has supported Arne’s educational ministry by filling specific needs at each location where they’ve worked. Most recently she has served as financial aid advisor at Florida Hospital’s Adventist University and is currently an administrative assistant at World Headquarters in the office of Secretariat. Arne and Teen have three boys: Josh, a Business Marketer and Manager; Jake, a Fireman; and Jesse, a student.
Phone: (301) 680-6444 | Fax: (301) 680-6463
Odette is a fourth generation Adventist. She grew up the daughter of a pastor and missionary. She has been an educator for many years in the denomination in several European countries, in Africa, in the Middle East, and in the United States. She's done extensive work with foreign languages in Adventist Institutions and also with the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as some non-Adventist Colleges. Her field of specialization is Linguistics. She holds a Masters of Arts degree in Germanic Philology, and a doctoral degree in Linguistics from the University of Lisbon in Portugal.
She and her husband have two adult children and five grandchildren. Elia is a pediatric nurse at Loma Linda Medical Center and Paulo is a businessman and a successful artist in the South of Portugal.
Davenia LeaAssociate Director
Phone: (301) 680-6443 | Fax: (301) 680-6463
From the moment she began her first part-time job as a teacher’s assistant in a church operated daycare center, Davenia knew that she had a passion to work with young children. That job led her on a journey to study early childhood special education as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, College Park and then to work as an early interventionist, working with children, birth-age three, who had varying disabilities for Prince Georges County Public Schools (MD). There she coordinated parent support groups, toddler groups, assessed children, made home visits and assisted to transition children into school-based programs. She "absolutely loved" empowering the families of young children and working to assist each child to meet developmentally appropriate milestones. She also loved working directly with the children and their families and as a mentor for new teachers and pre-service teachers.
After she obtained a doctorate in early childhood special education she began her work in higher education, serving as an assistant professor in both special education and early childhood education. She taught classes, advised students, supervised interns, and published.
In 2007 she joined the team at Washington Adventist University (formerly Columbia Union College), where she served as the Director of Field Experiences for one year and the Chair of the Education Department for two years. Her department experienced tremendous growth as they forged partnerships with local public school systems, enhanced internship experiences within our Seventh-day Adventist partner schools, began development of online education courses, and also benefited from grant funding in excess of one million dollars for their early childhood education program.
In addition, she served as the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS) for one year when she worked to establish governing policies and procedures, developed an online campus, added new graduate programs, and created and established a shared governance and collaboration amongst the academic and support departments across campus.