The Texas District Office of School Ministry has been blessed over the years by the partnerships we developed with other Lutheran organizations. This year one of those partners, The Association of Lutheran Secondary Schools (ALSS), begun a new program designed to raise up the next generation of secondary leaders. The vision of the program comes from the growing acknowledgment there is an immediate shortage and long-term crisis in finding competent Christ-centered administrators for Lutheran high schools. ALSS has developed an accelerated leadership training initiative to bolster the ranks of Lutheran high school administrators. The program Future Administrator Candidate Training (FACT) is in its inaugural session and has selected 12 Lutheran secondary educators across the country to participate in the first cohort scheduled for June 2019.

The Texas District is honored to have four of its secondary educators selected to participate in this new program. Coming alongside them is another great partner the Texas District Church Extension Fund (CEF). CEF announced a new and exciting scholarship program designed to support the future leaders of our secondary Lutheran schools. Becca Jones, executive director, shares why they have made this special investment:

“We know that Lutheran educators have a critical role. We also understand that ministry involves many. The church is called a body because it has many different parts that must work together for the good of the whole. That’s teamwork. With over 2,400 educators serving Lutheran schools in the Texas District alone, the team is mighty and so is the appreciation.”

Congratulations to our Texas FACT participants:

Mrs. Ashley Ashcraft serves as the department lead for the theology department at Prince of Peace Christian School, Carrollton. “My philosophy of secondary education is summed up in one sentence: I meet students where they are at, build a relationship with them, and then disciple them to grow and develop.”

“I truly enjoy bringing teams together, highlighting and building on people’s strengths, and creating communities that collaborate. As a leader, I desire to collaborate and draw on our strengths to best resource our whole team to advance the Gospel and serve His kingdom. I pray for myself, with my team, and for my team every step of the way. I find it necessary to root everything and every day in God’s Word and His assurance of grace and forgiveness.”

Drew Kasper teaches Social Studies and is the head golf coach and assistant soccer coach at Lutheran High School, San Antonio. Drew has been a graduate of Lutheran schools throughout his life from middle school to high school including his undergrad studies where he majored in History and earned his degree from Concordia University Texas.

“Secondary education plays a vital role. Being in a position of leadership requires love for Jesus first and foremost. As a leader, we are in the role of guiding a school and making thorough decisions that affect not only the students but their families and the teachers as well. A leader should be the person who makes decisions in the best interest of the school as a whole and who does so with the utmost passion and care for their organization.”

Andrew Schultz is assistant principal and Physics teacher at Concordia Lutheran High School, Tomball. “I love teaching in a Christ-centered environment with a faculty and staff focused on helping students grow, and working with students who want to succeed in and out of the classroom. I’m here to help students achieve to their fullest potential and find God’s will in their lives.”

“What do I love about Jesus? Plain and simple, salvation. I know the sinner that I am. I know my need for redemption before my maker. And I know that I have a savior who intercedes on my behalf is a remarkable and humbling thing, for which I will be literally eternally grateful.”

“Leaders are learners. They ask questions. They listen. They read. They watch, explore, and discuss. They invite input from others and recognize their own insufficiencies. Leaders seek to understand. But then, leaders act,” Schultz said.

Philip Seris teaches Theology, Pre-calculus and College Algebra along with being the head varsity baseball coach for Prince of Peace Christian School, Carrollton.

“Secondary education is an opportunity to equip students with the skills they will need to be successful in an ever-changing world using the talents that God has given them. It is a landmark of life events for students and educators must seize these moments of struggle, joy, uncertainty, and elation to lift up students by showing them the grace and God each day in context.”

Seris said “Leadership is about empowering individuals to use the gifts that God has given them in working toward shared goals of an institution or group. As a leader of a Lutheran school organization, one must realize that we have the most compelling ‘why’ that the world has ever known—to share the love of Christ. True leadership leverages the God-given talents of individuals and maximizes the ‘how’ of helping others know Jesus through the educational experience.”

Relational partnerships are important; we are grateful to CEF for this new and exciting scholarship that will assist our future leaders. Our partnership was best described by one of our FACT participants: “the mission of CEF is to support Lutheran education around our district, not only financially, but emotionally and spiritually. As a resource for Lutheran educators, CEF can help provide advancement opportunities for those wishing to continue their education and be future Lutheran school administrators.”

To God be the glory for our partners in the Gospel ALSS and CEF!