Our Latest Initiative: August, 2017


This last week, Cana Academy hosted nine teachers from Cornerstone Schools in Washington, D.C. Eight new hires and two returning teachers attended three workshops: one on how to read literature, which included a Socratic seminar on Raymond Carver’s A Small Good Thing; a second on how to teach history; and a third—for just four of the Cornerstone team—covering how to organize a humanities course.  


The seminar at the heart of the training on how to teach literature was directed by Cana’s Jeannette DeCelles-Zwerneman, our Director of Instruction and author of the Cana Classical Guide Teaching Fiction from the Inside Out. Among other things, it introduced the teachers to a mode of learning most had never experienced. As one Cornerstone teacher enthusiastically put it, “I have never seen teaching like that. I know my [college] professors wanted to teach Socratically, but this was really different.”


Cornerstone is located in the Anacostia section of Washington, D.C., one of the district’s poorest areas. The school’s mission brings the very best classical education to some of the most disadvantaged students in America.  

Cana Academy is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Cana Research Fellow. Effective immediately, Michael Gaskins will conduct research on education among prisoners and former prisoners. Gaskins brings extensive experience working among the incarcerated. For more than a decade he has been a leader in Christian outreach to prisoners, especially in the Philadelphia area. Most recently, he served as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for Volunteers for Prison Fellowship. Among his works in education and ministry, he founded and served as executive director of Philadelphia Alive Center for Transformation, a major outreach to the incarcerated in the Philadelphia area. Gaskins is a graduate of Temple University where he studied broadcast journalism. He and his family live in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

Michael Gaskins, our new Cana Research Fellow

Michael Gaskins, our new Cana Research Fellow

“From the very beginning of our mission,” explains Cana Academy President Andrew Zwerneman, “we have felt that the Lord wanted us to cross the road and bring hope to the incarcerated, specifically through top quality educational opportunities they could not get otherwise. Michael Gaskins significantly strengthens our team and the potential to fulfill our mission objective. I look forward to the important research he will conduct and to the impact it will have on our work.”


Image of Michael Gaskins courtesy of Michael Gaskins. All other images by Helen DeCelles-Zwerneman.