Excelsia BLOG

Andrew Blackwell – From accountant to educator and missionary

After having been a partner in a chartered accounting firm for around 10 years, Andrew Blackwell made the decision to retrain as a teacher in 2009. As he was working full-time, Andrew needed to find an institution which would enable him to complete his Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) part-time, completely online, and have faith integrated into the course. ‘I loved the fact that the College was a Christian educational institution, which was ideal given that I was being trained to be a Christian teacher,’ he explains.


Andrew found that studying the Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) provided him with a solid foundation in teaching fundamentals, as well as a unique Christian perspective that wouldn’t have been available in a secular institution. After finishing his studies in 2013, the former accountant was well prepared to teach in a Christian setting and took up the role of Year 7 Home Room teacher at Pacific Hills Christian School. Although Andrew’s accounting background and his studies qualified him to teach Business Studies and Commerce, he was surprised to find himself also teaching a lot of Geography.  ‘It was at Pacific Hills that the Christian focus of the course really helped me. I went from the accounting world where being overtly Christian was challenging, to being put in front of a class of students 12–13 years old, where sharing my Christian faith was both encouraged and expected. I was able to apply what I had learned through my studies and to incorporate my Christian faith in the way I prepared lessons and taught students. I discovered how much I loved seeing people develop and grow in their faith,’ he explains.


The path God leads people down can often involve His preparation for something else, and   Andrew’s two years of teaching experience in a Christian school proved to be brilliant missionary training. ‘I was only at Pacific Hills for a short time before my wife and I realised that God had something else planned for us. By mid-2015 we had moved to Bulgaria as missionaries with European Christian Mission, together with our four children.’ Over the past eight years, the couple have worked in an anti-human trafficking ministry, taught in a small missionary school, and walked alongside a Bulgarian couple in a whole-life, discipleship-based community development ministry, seeking transformation of Roma communities. Andrew and his wife are now helping to lead an international church and are involved in leadership and leader development in their mission organisation, European Christian Mission.


‘God has continually equipped us for the work He has called us to, from formal training (like the Graduate Diploma of Education), to negative training (having us sit under poor leadership), which gave us passion for helping to equip leaders to thrive in their leadership. There is no doubt that God used the College as a key part of equipping me for what He had planned for me,’ reflects Andrew.


It has now been almost 10 years since Andrew completed his studies and he is happy to have been part of the College’s history as it celebrates 40 years this year. ‘At the time, the College was well ahead of many other tertiary institutions, especially in relation to online learning. It would have taken COVID-19 in its stride, even back then. As it celebrates its 40th birthday, I am looking forward to hearing about other ways that Excelsia has developed over this time,’ he says.


If you’re considering a career change like Andrew or want to study teaching through a Christian lens, why not look at Excelsia College’s postgraduate education options?



Excelsia college News | From accountant to educator and missionary