Skip to Main Content

High School Leadership Academy

June 10-14, 2024


Servant Leadership Institute

Registration has closed. Please email [email protected] to be placed on the waiting list.

Kent Schlichtemeier

Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier
Director, Servant Leadership Institute

High School Leadership Academy

It is my pleasure as the Director of the Servant Leadership Institute to invite you to attend the High School Leadership Academy on Concordia University Irvine's beautiful campus in June. This unique week-long college campus experience will provide comprehensive servant leadership and character development for rising 10-12 grade students. You will learn valuable insights and strategies from talented leaders to maximize your impact in your schools, families, and community while networking with many other students and having a lot of fun.

Moments From the 2023 High School
Leadership Academy

High School Leadership Academy Thumbnail

Motivational keynote and breakout speakers

Topics include

  • The Power of Servant Leadership
  • The Importance of Engraving Strong Virtues
  • Creating a Personal Leadership Plan and Goals
  • The Wisdom of Utilizing TEAMwork
  • Developing Vision and Values
  • Professional Etiquette
  • Communication Skills
  • Motivating the Apathetic
  • Leading through Adversity

Team Building Activities

  • Service Project
  • Ropes Course
  • Team Competitions
  • Peer-to-Peer Affirmation

Leadership Coach provided for the week

Concordia dorms, cafeteria meals, and swag all included!

What's in store for 2024!

*These events are subject to change

Monday, June 10, 2024     |    Virtue: Humility  
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

Registration & Dorm Check-in

9:30-10:00 Welcome to Academy + Expectations - Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier
10:00-10:45 Student Introductions with Leadership Coaches
10:45-12:00 Activity: Field Games
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:00 Keynote: Leadership vs. Servant Leadership - Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier
2:00-2:15 Break
  • Personal Leadership Plan. - Dr. Lori Doyle
  • Facilitating Discussions as a Leader - Marjie Levesque
  • Listening: The Premier Skill of Servant Leadership - Kristin McGriff
  • Iconic Servant Leadership project with Leadership Coaches 
5:30-6:30 Dinner
6:30-7:30 Keynote: Leadership Begins With Character  - Dave Baker
7:30-8:15 Student Activity: FUN
8:15-8:45 Devotion - Rev. Jim Henkell
8:45-9:15 Leadership Coach Huddle
9:15-10:00 Free time in Dorms
10:00 Lights Out 
Tuesday, June 11, 2024    |    Virtue: Courage
“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Deuteronomy 31:6)
8:00-9:00 Breakfast
8:30-9:00 Group 1: Travel to UCI

Group 1: Ropes Course (UCI) Group #1


Group 2: Kaizen Challenge - Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier


Group 2: Courageous Networking - Dr. Michael Thomas


Group 2: Building a Successful Team Culture - Peter Brakke


Group 2: Travel to UCI


Group 2: Lunch at UCI


Group 1: Lunch at UCI 1:15-1:30


Group 2: Ropes Course (UCI)


Group 1: Building a Successful Team Culture - Peter Brakke


Group 1: Courageous Networking - Dr. Michael Thomas


Group 1: Kaizen Challenge - Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier

4:30-4:45 Group 2 travel to Concordia University Irvine
4:45-5:30 Iconic Servant Leader project with Leadership Coaches
5:30-6:30 Dinner
6:30-7:30 Keynote: "When Adversity Hits"- Amber Neben
7:30-8:15 Airplane crash teamwork - Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier
8:15-8:45 Leadership Coach Huddle  (Devote time to Kaizen Challenge)
8:45-9:30 Student games 
9:30-10:00 Free time in Dorms
10:00 Lights Out 
Wednesday, June 12, 2024   |    Virtue: Honesty
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  (Luke 6:31)
8:30-9:30 Breakfast
9:30-10:30 Keynote: "Motivation: Bringing out the Best in Ourselves and Others" - Phillip Chow
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:15 Student sharing/bonding activity
11:15-12:00 Movie clip analysis- Emperor's Club - Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-4;30 Service Project  - Joy Jars – “Never Give Up” (NEGU)
4:30-5:30 Student Activity: FUN
5:30-6:30 Dinner
6:30-7:45 Keynote: "Business Etiquette Skills" - Theresa Thomas
7:45-8:00 "Paint up"
8:00-9:30 Dodge Ball & Ice Cream
9:30-10:00 Free time in Dorms
10:00 Lights Out 
Thursday, June 13, 2024   |    Virtue: Compassion
“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”  (Colossians 3:12)
8:30-9:30 Breakfast
9:30-10:00 Devotion- "From Tolerance to Compassion" - Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier

Compassionate Leadership for People who are Oppressed

11:00-12:00 Activity
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:00 Compassionate Leadership for People with Special Needs
2:00-2:30 Break
2:30-3:30 Compassionate Leadership for Lives Broken through Human Trafficking - Hanne Fellers
3:30-4:00 Break
4:00-5:00 Panel Discussion - Implications of Tolerance and Compassion for today
5:30-6:30 Dinner
6:30-7:30 Keynote: Take Action: Compassion for Self and Others
7:30-8:30 Leadership Coach Huddle
8:30-9:30 Music + Devotion 
9:30-10:00 Free time in Dorms
10:00 Lights Out
Friday, June 14, 2024    |    Virtue: Kindness
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God has forgiven you.”  (Ephesians 4:32)
8:30-9:30 Breakfast

Keynote: Resolving Personal and Group Conflict as a Leader - Ellen Lange and Lisa Ehret

10:30-12:00 Leadership Coach Huddle, pack up, clean dorms
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:45 Student presentations & Academy reflections 
2:45-3:00 Slide show and closing 
Konrad Hack

Dr. Konrad Hack

Session 8: Effective Communication Skills

Previous Experience

  • Fall 2007 - Spring 2017: Concordia University - Director of Forensics & Assistant Professor in Comm Studies
  • Fall 2006 - Spring 2007: Wheaton College - Director of Forensics & Visiting Instructor in Comm Studies
  • Fall 2001 - Spring 2006: Azusa Pacific University - Director of Forensics & Instructor in Comm Studies
  • Fall 1996 - Spring 2011: Point Loma Nazarene University - Assistant Director of Forensics and Visiting Instructor in Comm Studies


  • Master of Arts in Communication - San Diego State University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication - Biola University

Research Interests

  • Computer Mediated Communication
  • Intercollegiate Forensics
  • Communication and Grief (new interest area)

Classes Taught at Concordia

  • COM 111: Public Speaking
  • COM 200: Gateway to Communication Studies
  • COM 211: Introduction to Argumentation and Debate
  • COM 211H: Introduction to Argumentation and Debate: Honors
  • COM 280: Theories of Human Communication
  • COM 335: Nonverbal Communication
  • COM 340: Persuasion & Attitude Change
  • COM 451: Organizational Communication
  • COM 488: Communication Research Methods
Kent Schlichtemeier

Kent Schlichtemeier

The Kaizen Challenge

Kent Schlichtemeier has enjoyed serving for over four decades as a leader in education. He began his career in 1978 teaching 6th-8th grades. After completing his Master’s degree at the University of Denver in 1984, he taught and coached at the high school level in Orlando, FL. Kent served as a Professor in the School of Education at Concordia University Irvine from 1988-2003 where he mentored future teachers. In addition to teaching at Concordia, Kent was the women’s basketball coach until retiring from coaching in 1993 to pursue his doctoral degree. During the final two seasons of Kent’s tenure as coach, the Lady Eagle basketball team made two consecutive appearances at the NAIA National Basketball Tournament after winning the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships. Kent was named the District Three NAIA Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1993 and was inducted into the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.

In 1996, Kent completed his Ed.D. at UCLA in Educational Leadership. Kent served as a teacher and Assistant Principal at Orange Lutheran High School from 2003-2007 before returning to teach at Concordia University Irvine and most recently serve as the Dean of the School of Education. Today, Kent is thrilled to serve as the inaugural Director of the Servant Leadership Institute. Kent enjoys frequent opportunities to speak at sports banquets, school graduations, teacher conferences, leadership retreats, and business seminars.

Kent and his wife Cindy, are blessed by God with two children - Aaron and Kayla.

Rick Francis

Rick Francis

Session 5 - The Wisdom of Teams & Teamwork Video

Rick Francis is currently the Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at San Diego International Airport. In that role, Rick leads a diverse team of aviation professionals that oversee the airfield, terminals, parking, security, and maintenance functions at California's third busiest airport. Previously Mr. Francis served as the Interim Director of John Wayne Airport, Orange County, from November 2021 until June 2022 and the Assistant Airport Director of John Wayne Airport from June 2017 until November 2022. In that role, Rick provided functional oversight of all airport divisions at the medium hub commercial airport, including leadership of six Airport Divisions, Human Resources, and Quality Assurance & Compliance. Before joining the airport, he served as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Costa Mesa for five years. Rick was the Chief of Staff to former Orange County Supervisor John M.W. Moorlach, the Lead Associate Pastor at Newport Mesa Church in Costa Mesa, and with the County of Orange Probation Department for 13 years, attaining the rank of Division Director.

Throughout his career, Rick has embraced the principles of Servant Leadership by recognizing the potential of leaders within each organization, helping catalyze them to become agents of change, efficiency, and empathy. He has taught various aspects of leadership in many forums throughout Orange County. Rick holds a bachelor's degree in Religious Education and a master's degree in Public Administration. He regularly serves in his church and is helping to mold the next generation of young leaders – his two grandchildren!

Jim Kunau

Jim Kunau

Session #2: Character, Empowerment, & Humility

Jim Kunau is the Director of MCAA, replacing Tony Diaz, who retired after successfully leading the program for the past five years. Jim is very familiar with MCAA, having served as an adjunct and assistant professor teaching leadership and ethics for the past nine years. He holds a Masters’ degree in International Management and traveled to over 40 countries before teaching international business courses in California Lutheran University's MBA program. He also has extensive teaching, coaching, and leadership experience at the high school level as well. At Orange Lutheran High School in Southern California, Jim served as Athletic Director, Director of Leadership Studies, and Head Football Coach for 21 years. During his tenure at Orange Lutheran, Jim earned National, State, and Regional Coach of the Year honors and was named Orange County’s Coach of the Decade. He led the transformation of Orange Lutheran from a small Division 12 school to a major Division 1 powerhouse, competing in the ultra-competitive Trinity League, where his teams won several championships. He is one of two high school football coaches in California to have won State Championships at more than one school as he led Rancho Christian to similar growth and success as he experienced at Orange Lutheran.

Jim has spoken on Organizational Leadership and Developing Character all over the country at conferences, clinics, churches, and universities. He feels a strong calling to serve coaches. It began with developing coaches on his staff, 11 of whom became head coaches and/or athletic directors, and quickly expanded to helping coaches and athletic administrators from other institutions. His passion for Concordia’s MCAA program began when MCAA Founder and Director Tom White hired him in 2012.

"I quickly discovered what an extraordinary program for equipping and empowering athletic leaders Tom had created, and feel very privileged to build on the legacy Tom established, and Tony continued. And to carry on that legacy within the framework of Concordia’s Great Commission and Christ-centered Mission makes this a blessing and responsibility that I deeply appreciate and fully embrace. Concordia University’s unwavering commitment to empower students for lives of learning, service, and leadership while standing on grace alone and faith alone as the core of who we are is exactly what we seek to reflect in the MCAA student experience."

Jim and his wife, Betsy, have one daughter, Caroline, and reside in Anaheim, CA.

Teresa Flynn Everett

Teresa Flynn Everett

Session #3: Motivation in Today’s Apathetic Society

Award-winning educator Teresa Flynn-Everett is the president and founder of Speak Rivers, an author and dynamic speaker that inspires audiences towards greatness and achieving their dreams and aspirations. Teresa is the author of three books. Her most recent children's book titles include: "Just Be Me" and "Passion Inside of Me." She is a motivational and keynote speaker inspired by the idea that everyone can learn at a high level and reach their full potential.

Teresa Flynn-Everett's presentation of Leaders that Speak Rivers provides a blueprint that grows the power of servant leadership and teamwork. Teresa's presentation weaves soulful poetry and stories that empower everyone to unleash their greatness!

  • CEO, Author & Former Award-winning School Principal
  • Hailed as "Local Legend" by Storm Baseball Program in recognition of leadership, innovation, and educational equity
  • Concordia University Irvine's 2022 Alumna of the Year: Professional Achievement
  • Successfully led schools to earn academic honors from the county, state, and federal agencies, that included a Gold Ribbon School Award, Title I Academic Achievement Award, Civic Learning Award, and Model Programs Award
Theresa Thomas

Theresa Thomas

Level-Up Leadership with Business Etiquette

Good business etiquette is integral to effective leadership on a personal and professional level. It enhances communication, builds relationships, instills trust, and resolves conflicts necessary for a positive environment.

This interactive workshop will teach the etiquette component of nonverbal, verbal, writing, and active listening skills to elevate each participant's ability to become competition-ready effective leaders.

Theresa Thomas is a professional development trainer and certified business etiquette expert passionate about helping individuals and teams sharpen their skills for business and social success. Her interactive workshops provide participants with tools and techniques that deliver measurable outcomes, provide business value, and maintain strong relationships built on courtesy and respect.

Theresa received training and certification from the Protocol School of Washington, the nation's leading etiquette and protocol firm. Over the past 20 years, she has presented her high-impact programs to finance, legal, corporate, academic, and healthcare professionals nationwide.

Valerie Erb

Valerie Erb

Session 7 - Creating Community/Belonging/Safe Conversations & Compassion

Valerie Erb was a broken teenager who by God’s grace turned her life around and has been helping others do the same ever since. At the age of sixteen, she made a vow to help as many lost and hurting people as possible until the day she dies. She is candid about the many struggles she has faced throughout her life and how she overcame them to move on to better things. She has helped many through her roles as public speaker, peer helping educator, team building trainer, credentialed teacher, workshop facilitator, at-risk advisor, substance abuse educator, support group leader and youth leader.

She imparts to each life she touches the hope of being restored from the inside out, and so she developed a popular course and curriculum called Inside-Out Peer Helping through which students and educators are trained in servant leadership. She also wrote a book along with her students entitled You are not Alone. She has her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership, Bachelor's degree in English, and she holds a Teaching and Administrative Credential. She has been trained in Servant Leadership, Conflict Management, Peer Mediation, Peer Counseling, Peer Assistance, Positive Behavior Intervention, Substance Abuse Education, Asset Development, Subtle Attributes Screening, Rape Crisis Intervention, TEPP Education, SAFE Schools Coordination, Multicultural Education, and Violence and Anger Management.

She is humbled to say she has received various awards such as: Teacher of the Year for Placer County, James P. Roberts Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Rotary Club Teacher of the Year, Teacher Who Makes a Difference on two occasions and the Become Award. She is passionate about teaching and has never met a student that she does not love. She is most proud of her 35 year marriage to Frank. She is beyond blessed to have a wonderful daughter, son and son-in-law. Most of all, she is passionate about lifting up young people and the adults who work with them. She longs for all people to find community and belonging while they inspire each other to become all they are meant to be.

Hilary Thomas

Hilary Thomas

Session 4 - Leading Through Adversity/Conflict

Hilary Thomas was born and raised in Orange County, California, and received a life-changing Christian-based education from Orange Lutheran High School, graduating in 2008. She attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she completed the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and received a commission as an active-duty engineering officer in the US Army when she was 23.

During her military career, Hilary served in many combat leadership positions at duty stations across the midwestern and southern United States. In 2015 and 2019, she completed the Army’s most rigorous leadership courses, the Sapper Leader Course and Ranger School, respectively. She is the third woman in the US Armed Forces to complete these combat leadership courses. Hilary also deployed to Iraq and served as an aide to a one-star general in the Battle of Mosul during the Global War on Terrorism.

Throughout her career, Hilary often faced adversity and physically and mentally challenging situations. She led soldiers in both the Sapper and Ranger courses and engaged in simulated combat operations for days without sleep and food.

Hilary currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and works at a global executive search firm focusing on leadership needs in the renewable and broader energy market.

Jim Henkell

Jim Henkell



Jim Henkell has served as Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Pacific Beach for nearly 20 years, and has spoken at more than 200 events across the country with a creative and passionate emphasis on the Gospel. He has earned degrees from both Concordia University Irvine and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, with special emphases in preaching and Biblical languages. Jim has also served in numerous leadership positions, including as National Chair of Lutheran Youth Fellowship and Vice-Chair of the Board of Regents for Concordia University Irvine.

Lori Doyle

Dr. Lori Doyle

Personal Leadership Plan

Dr. Lori Doyle works as Associate Professor of Education at Concordia University Irvine where she serves as Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program and Assistant Director of the Servant Leadership Institute. She has completed and managed extensive curriculum development projects at the university and serves as Subject Matter Expert for courses in multiple MA programs. Working as an instructor also keeps her mindful of relevant and changing trends in education. Lori has taught at several universities over the past twenty-two years, but her career began as a high school English and theology teacher and curriculum writer. She holds a California Clear Credential in Secondary Education, MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction, and a PhD in Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition. Lori maintains a robust commitment to research and writing; she also enjoys opportunities to collaborate and present at academic and education conferences throughout the year.

Shannon May

Shannon May

Gallup 2.0 StrengthFinder

Mrs. May has been in Lutheran Education for over 10 years, and has served at Concordia University as a coach, and both Crean Lutheran High School and Orange Lutheran High School as a coach, teacher, and Director of Student Activities. She has a passion for developing servant leaders, and loves helping students learn how to use their God-given strengths as tools to construct change. Mrs. May will be helping participants find out their "top 5" strengths, and how to put them to work through various activities during her session.

Go Lancers and God bless!

Tamara Sauer

Tamara Sauer

The Importance of Finding a Mentor

Tamara is an experienced professional with a passion for education, connection, and marketing. After earning two bachelor's degrees in 2002 from Concordia University Irvine in Business: Marketing and Art, Tamara climbed the corporate ladder in retail marketing in Orange County, CA. In 2014, Tamara joined the Concordia University Irvine Alumni Board of Directors and within two years she started as a full-time staff member on Concordia's University Advancement team. She was part of the inaugural graduating class of students from the Townsend Institute at Concordia, graduating with a Master's of Organizational Leadership in 2018.

Tamara serves as the Senior Director of Annual Giving and Alumni & Family Engagement, is an adjunct professor of Organizational Leadership for the Townsend Institute at Concordia, and teaches Virtue & Vocation to first year Concordia students. She is a lifelong learner and thrives in environments that promote communication and curiosity.

Tamara is a Southern California native who loves to travel and explore with her husband, two teen boys, and chocolate lab Tallah (@tallah_jane on Instagram). She also volunteers as the Scoutmaster for Troop 4321 - a girls BSA troop chartered through Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Lake Forest, CA and as the VP of Fundraising for Tesoro Football Boosters.

Christine Cosenza

Christine Cosenza

Movie Clip Analysis

Christine Cosenza currently serves as the Vice Principal of Student Services at Crean Lutheran High School. While student services encompasses a vast array of departments, one area they partner together is on service to the ministry. She brings twenty years of Christian education experience, and has worked alongside admissions, activities, campus protection, deans, counseling, attendance, registrar, summer programming, and alumni departments. She has a Masters of Arts in Counseling, PPS Credential, SEL Certificate from Rutgers University, and an Organizational Leadership Certificate from Redlands University. This year she joined Concordia University, Irvine's as an Adjunct Professor in the Master's of Education School Counseling Program. She resides in Laguna Niguel with her four children and in her spare time you can find her cheering on the sideline of football, soccer, or softball fields!

Hailey Good-Man

Hailey Good-Man

Movie Clip Analysis

Hailey Good-Man has been the Servant Leadership Director at Crean Lutheran for the past 3 years. She has over 10 years of experience working with youth in many different fields and loves any opportunity to help students unlock their God given leadership potential. At her time at Crean Lutheran she is currently working to develop a 4 year leadership curriculum that not only adheres to the California A-G requirements for leadership but aligns with the mission and vision of Crean Lutheran to proclaim Jesus through excellence in education. Hailey is happily married to her husband of 5 years and has 3 boys at home that keep her busy! Hailey loves hiking, boating, and going to the beach with her family. She can’t wait to meet you at Concordia’s first High School Leadership Academy!

Marjie Levesque

Marjie Levesque

Facilitating Discussions as a Leader

Marjie Levesque is passionate about walking alongside students as they enter into Christian adulthood. Marjie has served as a discussion leader for the past 8 years for her youth group at Voyagers Bible Church and found so much joy in entering into hard conversations about faith with students. During these years, Marjie received her bachelor's degree in English and her teaching credential through Concordia. Currently, she is working on her Master's Degree in Educational Leadership with a focus on social-emotional learning, character, and ethics. She is set to complete her degree in June 2023! As a middle school electives teacher in Newport Beach, she spends her days encouraging students to explore their passions and coaching students to set goals for the future. Marjie deeply loves Concordia and feels overjoyed to be among such incredible servant leaders on this campus.

Ben Sweet

Ben Sweet

Ben Sweet is a Worship Leader who is passionate about unifying the body of Christ through the practice of worship. He has been leading worship for the past 10 years and most recently on staff as the Worship Pastor at Voyagers Bible Church in Irvine. He has and his wife Lauryn just had their first baby boy Judah this year and are most excited about watching him fall in love with Jesus!

David Baker

David Baker

Session 8: Forging a Legacy as a Servant Leader

David Baker, Retired President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will discuss how each person can impact others and make a lasting difference in their lives through committed, compassionate, courageous, and character driven servant leadership.

David Baker has been a respected leader in business, politics & sports throughout his career. Most recently, he retired after serving as President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for eight years. During his tenure, he fostered the mission, vision, and values of the Hall, developed the vision to build Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and Hall of Fame Village around the Hall. He significantly increased the Hall’s exposure, sponsorship, licensing, media rights and services to Hall of Famers. He brought the Black College Football Hall of Fame and Classic to Canton, helped develop Centennial Plaza and generally enhanced the selection & announcement of Enshrinees with the “Knock on the Door,” Enshrinement and much more. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Few people combine vision, passion and dedication as completely as David Baker. In eight years as president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, David expanded the Hall's brand nationally and footprint locally in Canton, Ohio. The growth he envisioned led to the expansion of the Hall of Fame, spread to downtown Canton, and will continue to have a tremendous impact on the future of the Hall for decades to come. His mission to honor and support the heroes of the game will be one of his most lasting and important legacies.” In recognition of his leadership, Baker received the prestigious honor of being named the March of Dimes National Sports Leader of the Year for 2018. Baker is also a past Mayor and Councilman for the City of Irvine, California, a practicing lawyer, the former Managing Partner for Union Village, a 178-acre Integrated Health Village in Henderson NV and served as Commissioner for the Arena Football League for twelve years. Baker presently serves as President and CEO of LEGENDARY LIVING and lives in Orange County, California with his wife, Colleen, four children & ten grandchildren.

Kristin McGriff

Kristin McGriff

Kristin McGriff, a seasoned educational leader, brings seven years of dedicated service as a Laguna Hills High School special education teacher. Drawing from her experiences as a student-athlete at Concordia University Irvine, Kristin seamlessly integrates principles of teamwork into her educational approach. Beyond her professional endeavors, Kristin's heart is devoted to her beloved family and her beagle companion, Scout. Excited to share her insights, Kristin eagerly anticipates contributing to the upcoming Servant Leadership Institute.

Peter Brakke

Peter Brakke

Peter Brakke is a husband to Alyssa, father to Jacob and Lily, and the franchise operator of Chick-fil-A 17th at Tustin in Santa Ana, CA. Prior to opening his current Chick-fil-A restaurant in July 2022, Peter was the franchisee of Chick-fil-A at the District in Tustin, CA since 2012. Over the past decade of running a restaurant, Peter has been a leader in building the Chick-fil-A brand across Orange County. In 2012, he was one of 13 franchisees in Orange County with annual sales of $42 million collectively. Today, he is one of 23 franchisees in Orange County operating 28 restaurants, that generate over $250 million in annual sales. From 2014-2017 Peter co-chaired the Chick-fil-A Marketing Board that oversaw the deployment of regionally contributed marketing dollars. Among other achievements in this role, he led the first Chick-fil-A sponsorship of a professional sports team in southern California. Today, Chick-fil-A restaurants in the Los Angeles market sponsor the Anaheim Angels (MLB), Los Angeles Clippers (NBA), Los Angeles Football Club (MLS) and the Anaheim Ducks (NHL), and Peter is again serving as a board member. While operating Chick-fil-A at the District Peter led the team to triple revenue from 2012-2021, including three years being recognized as a Symbol of Success winner for achieving at least an 18% year over year sales increase. He has been fortunate to award community grants through the Chick-fil-A Foundation to the Tustin Boys and Girls Club (2015), the Orange County Rescue Mission (2018), Hope Harbor (2020) and Feeding America (2022) totaling $225,000. He has also presented 10 employees with $23,000 in Scholarships from the Chick-fil-A Foundation. Peter has sponsored the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy curriculum at three local schools, investing in the development of middle school and high school leaders. Peter’s passion for the restaurant comes from supporting, encouraging, and investing into the men and women on his team. Currently Peter employs 84 people, of which 53 have worked for him since the grand opening of Chick-fil-A 17th at Tustin. In an industry where 150% annual turnover is typical, Peter leads a culture where people feel cared for and valued, which led 24 of his staff to come with him to open his new restaurant in 2022. Three of Peter’s employees have continued into careers working for Chick-fil-A Inc. Twelve of his current staff have worked for Chick-fil-A Inc. as trainers at grand openings across the country, including high profile openings in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The vision statement that Peter has embraced for his business is, “At Chick-fil-A we do our best to serve.” He uses this simple concept to coach his team to strive for small improvements daily and to look for opportunities to serve each other and the restaurant’s customers.

Dr. Michael Thomas

Dr. Michael Thomas

Prior to coming to Concordia University Irvine, Dr. Thomas served as the Executive Director of the Lutheran Institute for Theology and Culture at Concordia University Portland (CUP). The Institute combines three academic departments (Religion, Music, and Art) with Campus Ministry, Church Relations, and the Center for Applied Lutheran Leadership. Previously, Dr. Thomas served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Honors Program at CUP. As Professor of Religion, his academic interests include the history and literature of early Christianity, early Judaism, and the classical world. His true academic passion, however, was teaching the introductory religion course to first-year students at his own alma mater. Michael A. Thomas earned his B.A. at Concordia University Portland in 1993, his M.A. at the University of Washington in 1996 and his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia in 2008.

Dr. Michael Thomas

Dr. Michael Thomas


Dr. Michael Thomas

Dr. Michael Thomas


Hanne Fellers

Hanne Fellers

Compassionate Leadership for Lives Broken through Human Trafficking

Hanne Fellers grew up in Norway and holds a Master’s degree in Intercultural Work and Human Rights, with a master’s thesis on human trafficking from Stavanger, Norway.

As a teenager, she started traveling the world with Impact World Tour. While traveling to Brazil, she witnessed child-soldiers and saw commercial sexual exploitation of children. Her experience impacted her career greatly. Hanne founded a non-profit organization, Passport 2 Freedom in 2010, and has served as a victim advocate with Abolish Slavery, an Advocate and public speaker with ZOE International, and currently is the Program Officer for In-N-Out Burger’s Slave 2 Nothing Foundation.

Marjie Levesque

Marjie Levesque

Marjie Levesque is passionate about walking alongside students as they enter into Christian adulthood. Marjie has served as a discussion leader for the past 8 years for her youth group at Voyagers Bible Church and found so much joy in entering into hard conversations about faith with students. During these years, Marjie received her bachelor's degree in English and her teaching credential through Concordia. Currently, she is working on her Master's Degree in Educational Leadership with a focus on social-emotional learning, character, and ethics. She is set to complete her degree in June 2023! As a middle school electives teacher in Newport Beach, she spends her days encouraging students to explore their passions and coaching students to set goals for the future. Marjie deeply loves Concordia and feels overjoyed to be among such incredible servant leaders on this campus.


Phillip Chow

Phillip Chow

Phillip Chow is a passionate Christ-follower, high school teacher, and Concordia University professor from Irvine, CA. He is also a loving husband and father of two. He has the unique experience of teaching and working at the same high school he and his wife graduated from. He also had the unique experience of co-teaching a course at Concordia with his wife for several years, training up new teachers. Not only is he a Biology & Biology AP teacher, Mr. Chow is a mentor, counselor, and servant-leader to his students and those in his church and community. Since 2012, Mr. Chow has had the incredible calling to teach and serve high school students on a daily basis. He educates through connection, grace, engagement, and the teaching of character, kindness, and life skills. In his school, he also serves and leads over 500 students a year through his role as Medical Certificate Program Director, over 600 freshmen and student leaders as Link Cru Advisor, and countless other students through his annual donation drive, talent show act, free online life skills courses, and keynote speeches at various local colleges. Mr. Chow’s ultimate inspiration for and goal of his endeavors is to use the gifts/talents he has been given to serve others (1 Peter 4:10), always work with all his heart (Colossians 3:23) and to love others in the same way that Christ has first loved him (1 John 4:19).


Amber Neben

Amber Neben

3 X USA Olympian
3 X World Champion
6 X USPRO National Champion
4 X Pan American Champion
18 X USA World Championship Teams

MS Physiology and Biophysics, UC Irvine
BS Biology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Harvest Christian Fellowship Online Discipleship and Groups Director USA Cycling Coach


Ellen Lange

Ellen Lange

Mrs. Ellen Lange holds a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree in School Counseling & Guidance from the University of Montevallo, AL and a Masters degree in Counseling and Human Services from DePaul University, Chicago, IL. She worked nine years as Director of Development and Public Relations/Community Programs for the American Lung Association in Chicago. She worked for five years in private practice at the Eating Disorders Treatment Group. Following that, she also served as a part-time counselor at Lutheran Child and Family Services in suburban Chicago. After relocating with her husband and their son to the Boulder, CO area, she worked at the Center for Education Enrichment, performing educational testing and assessment and assisted in starting a school for Twice Exceptional (Gifted and Learned Disabled) students. She relocated again with her family to California and has worked in school ministry at Orange Lutheran for the past 18 years as a School Counselor. She and her husband Michael are active members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Orange. She serves the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod on the Board of Directors for the Concordia University System. Mrs. Lange and her family enjoy travel, exploring ethnic foods, hiking, camping and generally being outdoors in God’s creation. Her son Alex, Orange Lutheran High School class of 2010, married to Anne (Towles), class of 2009 are both graduates of Concordia University Irvine.


Lisa Ehert

Lisa Ehret


  • School Counselor at Orange Lutheran High School for 24 years.
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Services at Cal State Fullerton
  • Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy at Azusa Pacific University


Contact Us

For more information about the High School Leadership Academy, please direct any questions to:

Kathy Mueller

Kathy Mueller
Assistant Director of Events & Partnerships

(949) 214-3336
[email protected]

Back to top