Executive Director & Founder


Chris Elisara, Ph.D.

A visionary educator, social entrepreneur, and filmmaker, Dr. Chris Elisara and his wife Tricia founded CCSP in 2002.  A native New Zealander, Dr. Elisara earned a B.A. from the University of Auckland, an M.B.A. from Eastern University, and a Ph.D. in cross-cultural education from Biola University, CA.   More recently he founded the Center for Environmental Leadership in Buffalo, NY, and in late 2011 Dr. Elisara became the inaugural chair of the World Evangelical Alliance's creation care task force. Closer to home Dr. Elisara is a board member of the Volcan Mountain Foundation, a conservation organization which has preserved over 17,000 acres of critical habitat in San Diego County.  


New Zealand Staff


Courtnay Wilson, M.T.S. - Program Director

Courtnay is a Canuck from Dundas, Ontario, Canada.  Did you know that, with over 100 waterfalls, Dundas claims to be the “waterfall capital of the world”? Courtnay joined the New Zealand team four years ago after spending two years working for SoPac’s sister program in Belize.  Although she sometimes misses the escabeche and Johnny cakes, she definitely does not miss the cold showers!  Prior to working with CCSP, Courtnay spent three years in Japan teaching English in a public high school. Before that, she completed a Master’s in Theological Studies at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, where she also did an undergraduate degree in History and Political science. It was at seminary that Courtnay found her theological home in the Mennonite Church.  Recently, Courtnay joined St. John Ambulance in Kaikoura and is excited about her training to become a volunteer ambulance officer.   Her favourite activity in Kaikoura is communing with the acrobatic dusky dolphins from the comfort of her kayak.  You can call her “The Dolphin Whisperer.” Things you’re likely to hear Courtnay say:  Boggle anyone?  Is there coffee made?  Are you going to eat that piece of chocolate?

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Nora Kahler

Community Coordinator

Nora's bio.

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Stephen Hill

Student Life Coordinator

Stephen's bio.

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Laura Brush

Student Life Coordinator

Laura's bio.