Our Team

Who we are

Executive Director

Tia Gaines, M.Ed

Tia Gaines is a consultant, writer, and conference speaker who devotes herself to advocating for diversity, unity, and belonging within Christian education as well as innovation and technology. She has been in education for over 20 years, including time teaching internationally, and in both suburban and urban contexts. Tia has created curriculum and resource material on the topic of cultural humility, as well as intercultural competency, dialogue, and reflection with a specific love and passion for urban education, community engagement, and school partnerships. Her work with school partnerships includes her role as Director of Culture and Community Engagement, a shared position between Delaware County Christian School and The City School, Philadelphia. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and serves as a Flourishing Schools Institute faculty member. Tia and her husband Joel reside in Philadelphia and have four children: Josiah, Hosanna, Eliana and Adoniah.
Director of Leadership Development

Joel Gaines, M.Ed

Joel R. Gaines serves as Head of School at The City School in Philadelphia, Pa. He graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University (Cairn University) with a B.S. in Education and Biblical Studies, and an MEd. from Cabrini University. Joel is passionate about seeing students flourish academically, emotionally, and spiritually toward comprehensive shalom. He has over 20 years of administrative experience spanning urban, suburban, public, and Christian schools. Joel serves in a multitude of leadership roles with organizations throughout the city of Philadelphia that focus on urban youth and urban education. Joel is married to Tia and has one son Josiah, and three daughters Hosanna, Elaina, and Adoniah.

Executive Assistant

Daniella Pierret

Daniella is a native of Philadelphia and has seven years of non-profit experience in the Christian sector. She attended a tiny Bible college in Minnesota, where she studied Intercultural ministry. She holds a strong connection and heart for the Twin Cities, where she spent much of her young adult life. Daniella is the Division of Hospital Medicine Coordinator and Assistant to the Hospitalist Chair at Jefferson Einstein Hospital. In her free time, she enjoys serving in the Women’s and Music ministry at her local church, Risen Christ Fellowship, and cooking and baking for her family and friends. Daniella has a heart for diversity, unity, and belonging because she believes it blesses the Lord’s heart when we work in unison to glorify the name and testimony of Christ Jesus in love and His grace.


Doctrinal Commitments

T he Bible

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. All Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.

There is one living and true God who is the creator, redeemer, and preserver of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections and reveals himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.God the Son: Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was fully human and divine. While he was without sin, his substitutionary death and resurrection made provision for the redemption of sin.

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ’s atoning work alone, and is evidenced by Christ’s Lordship in the believer’s life.

Faith & Culture
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society as a sign of God’s coming Kingdom.

The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.

Latest News & Journal‍ Articles

The UnifiEd Digest is a semi-annual professional journal that curates essentials for leading Christian schools with cultural intelligence. The UnifiEd Digest maintains the highest standards of professionalism and excellence. The editorial board determines the fitness of guest articles for publication.
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