Dr. Leslie Smith

Dr. Leslie Smith

Course 1: Lutheran Leadership in the 21st Century

Dr. Smith holds a Doctorate in Education from Pepperdine University’s prestigious Organizational Leadership program; her dissertation analyzed the relationship between mindset and psychological well-being among high achieving, college-bound students at private, Christian high schools.

Under her leadership, enrollment grew to record numbers at Red Hill Lutheran Elementary and Middle School in Tustin, California and at Orange Lutheran High School, the largest Lutheran High School in the country.

Dr. Smith has been a private school educator for more than 30 years. Not only has she been widely recognized for her research, visionary perspective, and strong servant leadership — she’s walked in your shoes and teaches from experience.

Stacey Walter

Stacey Walter

Course 2: School Business Management

She’s served at Faith Community Lutheran Church & Schools in Las Vegas since 2006. As the Director of Admissions and Retention for Faith Lutheran Academy and Human Resource Director for the church and schools, she recruits students and faculty/staff that form the body of Faith Community Lutheran. 

Stacey says her favorite part of the day is speaking with families about Faith Lutheran Academy’s pillars of excellence (Faith in Jesus, Loving Relationship and Academic Excellence) and how they will partner together for the development of the child.

Dr. Don Hendricks

Dr. Don Hendricks

Course 3: School Finance & Financial Planning

Don taught at Concordia University Chicago in the Leadership Department as an adjunct and full-time professor for the last 15 years, where his courses have included: School Finance, School Law for Public and Private Schools and Human Resources.

Dr. Hendricks is currently working with the Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation, where he was involved in the creation of the Medallion Program for School Excellence which helps Chicago Lutheran schools expand their effectiveness.

Currently, Don is mentoring four Lutheran school principals and is actively involved with the leadership training of Lutheran school administrators.

Josh Swartz

Josh Swartz

Course 4: Leading Academic Excellence

With a career spanning 20 years in Education, 13 of which was spent in Administration, Josh is currently Principal at St Lorenz in Frankenmuth, MI.

He considers it a true joy every day to oversee an educational institution working alongside educators dedicated to fostering a relationship with each child while challenging them to discover their potential. Josh considers the best way to build that culture is by empowering educators to foster curiosity, compassion and understanding, expect academic excellence and build leadership aspirations focused on developing courageous servant leaders grounded in Christ.

Dr. David Hahn (Team Teaching)

Dr. David Hahn (Team Teaching)

Course: Innovation in the Lutheran School

Dr. Hahn has dedicated his entire career to Lutheran education as a teacher, coach, administrator and mentor. He notes his years of ministry at Long Island Lutheran Middle & High School (LuHi) were blessed in many ways — most importantly by the school’s outstanding Board, administrators, faculty, staff, students, families and supporters. During Dave’s tenure, enrollment grew from 375 to 600 students, the Middle School expanded and finances were stabilized. Under his leadership, more than $30 million were raised in a series of capital campaigns resulting in program development, servant projects, new/renovated facilities and significant endowment growth to support student scholarships and academic innovation.

Mychal Thom (Team Teaching)

Mychal Thom (Team Teaching)

Course: Innovation in the Lutheran School

Mychal began his teaching career at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Pontiac, MI, before moving on to Muskegon Community College. After just a year, he was hired as Principal of St. John Lutheran School in Rochester, Mich.

In the spring of 2009, he was selected Head of School for Lutheran High North. After three years of service in Houston, in 2012, Mr. Thom was called to the Principal position at Concordia, only the tenth Principal of the high school. And in 2016, he became Head of School. In 2021, Mychal accepted the position and now serves as Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Dean of Academic Innovation at Concordia University St. Paul.

In addition, Mychal served as a professional speaker for Making It Count Inc., traveling to high schools to speak to students about making good decisions regarding college.

Mary Irish

Mary Irish

Coach

From a faith-based school perspective, Mary’s seen all the promise and problems. She taught second grade at  Emmanuel Lutheran School in Aurora, Illinois, then moved on to Elm Grove Lutheran School in Elm Grove, Wisconsin where she taught first grade. Then it was on to grades five through eight at Our Redeemer Lutheran School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

In 1998, Mary began her administrative work at Our Redeemer Lutheran School, first as Vice Principal through 2003 and School Principal from 2003-2017.

Mary brings all this additional experience to her role as a Principal 360 Coach:

  • LCMS SLED Management Team (2000-Present)
  • NLSA Accreditation Team Member
  • Trainer, LCMS School Mission Team – Concordia, Palmar Arriba, Dominican Republic
  • Presenter at LEA, State Teachers’ Conferences, and District Teacher’s Conventions
  • Writing/Presentation Team Member – LCMS Leadership With Purpose Program
  • JOSHUA Presentation Team – CUNE and CUW
Michael Welch

Michael Welch

Coach

Mike has been a Board member of the Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation since 2001, serving as President on three separate occasions and as Treasurer through two periods. He was part of the team that developed the original Pathways to Excellence program and has served as a Coach for three principals since the Pathways program was launched more than four years ago. He was also a part of the team that developed the Principal 360 program. 

Mike’s experience as a corporate attorney and manager, a business school professor, a member of the St. James Board of Christian Education and a member of the CLEF Board for nearly 20 years has given him a deep appreciation of the needs of Lutheran schools and of the way those needs can be met in light of the demands of 21st century education. Mike believes there’s a very strong correlation between the leadership and strategic thinking skills of a Lutheran school Principal and the success of that school.

Albert Amling

Albert Amling

Coach

Albert’s role in serving God’s church has been varied. While in the South Wisconsin District, he served on the Salary Committee, Superintendent's cabinet and led the formation of the Teacher of the Year Program currently in place. He served LEA as a member of the 1993 2013 LEA Convocations in Milwaukee.

Albert’s been involved with mentoring young leaders throughout the country in the LCMS SLED program, while locally, he serves Journeys Lutheran School as a member of the Board of Directors, specifically on the Education Board of Mission Experience, which is in the process of starting a school for its orphanage in Haiti. Speaking of which, Albert has traveled to Haiti and Slovakia on mission trips with his church.

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