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Leadership Coaches Bureau

Servant Leadership Institute

Leadership Coaches Bureau

Preparing school leaders for success, and supporting leaders, is critical to the future of education.  Administrator and teacher attrition is expensive and detrimental to overall school success and student learning.  Concordia’s Servant Leadership Institute provides high-quality support for administrators and teachers to grow professionally from a leadership coaching relationship.  

Why work with a Leadership Coach?

  • Practical, useful, and candid advice for handling tasks in leadership
  • Confidential and individualized encouragement and support
  • Sounding board for ideas
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Fellowship, friendship, and emotional support

Who are the Leadership Coaches?

  • Experienced school administrators, superintendents, professors, teachers
  • Each mentor will receive formal training per team coaching certification standards

What is the Leadership Coaching process?

  • Participate in a 60-90 minute reflective dialogue via Zoom once a month for desired length of time
  • Personal goals will be mutually established and monitored to develop and refine participants’ leadership skills, abilities, and philosophy.


Leadership Coaches

Teresa Egan

Teresa Egan Headshot

Teresa Egan began her career in education as an elementary school teacher where she was recognized for her exemplary leadership as a Teacher of the Year before moving into administration as a Principal in the La Habra City School District and then as an Assistant Superintendent. Today, Dr. Egan serves as an Adjunct professor at Concordia University Irvine and mentors teachers and administrators as an Executive Leadership Coach. Dr. Egan earned her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Irvine and Masters of Science in Educational Administration from California State University Fullerton.

View Teresa's Resume »

Christy Flores

Christy Flores Headshot

Christy Flores is in her ninth year as the proud principal of Davis Magnet Elementary School, located in Newport-Mesa Unified School District. Davis Magnet School is a high performing math, science, and technology magnet school that offers project-based learning opportunities to almost 600 preschool through sixth grade students who travel across Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and Corona Del Mar to attend the lottery-based school. During the past nine years Davis Magnet School has earned recognition as a California Gold Ribbon School, CA PBIS Silver and two-time Gold Medal School, a two-time Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll School, and most recently as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School as an Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing School. 

Christy attributes the school’s success to the strong, positive, collaborative school culture that has developed over time thanks to the devoted staff and families who work together to support student achievement. Davis’ academic success is accomplished in tandem with supporting students’ behavioral and social-emotional needs, along with the mental well-being of students and staff alike. Christy began her career as an elementary teacher, being named Teacher-Of-The-Year at two different schools. Recently, she received the 2021 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership, which was awarded to eight of the 325 Blue Ribbon principals around the country. In addition to serving as the Lead Learner at Davis, Christy has been married to her husband Chris, a high school history teacher and football coach, for almost twelve years. Together they have two small children, Isabelle (7) and Isaiah (4). 

Gilbert Fugitt

Gilbert Fugitt Headshot

With more than 20 years of experience in higher education and ministry leadership experience, Gilbert has honed a sense of working with organizations to build health and high-performance. Gilbert has tremendous experience working with individuals and teams to create a strategic plan that will give measurable results and help you achieve success.

Prior to working with Townsend Leadership Group, Gilbert was the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at Concordia University Irvine. While serving in that role, he gained extensive experience leading teams in working through stressful situations and building a healthy culture.

As a faculty member and leadership consultant, Gilbert works consistently with leaders and organizations to make significant changes that have a long-term impact. Gilbert’s goal is to create a culture of trust where people feel the freedom to achieve at the highest level.

Gilbert and his wife Christina have three very active children. When he isn’t creating impactful change for individuals and teams, Gilbert enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball, and being at the beach.

Kelly Gradstein

Kelly Gradstein Headshot

Kelly Gradstein began her teaching career as a first grade teacher in Detroit, Michigan before moving to the Temecula Valley Unified School District as a general education and then special education teacher. Kelly’s career transitioned from the classroom to administration to serve as the Principal of Paloma Elementary and Ysabel Barnett Elementary Schools in Temecula Valley. Today, Kelly is the Assistant Director of the Student Welfare and Success Department for the Temecula Valley Unified School District. Kelly has earned a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Administration and a M.Ed. in Special Education with an Autism Concentration.

Belinda Karge

Belinda Karge Headshot

True to her values for all children and youth, Dr. Belinda Karge devotes her career to ensuring that all students have the best success opportunities and leaders are equipped with necessary tools to transform education environments. She is the Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction and a Professor in the doctoral program at Concordia University Irvine and is a Professor Emeritus from California State University, Fullerton. At CUI she is responsible for EDD program development and improvement, faculty professional learning, curriculum development and assessment, and advising doctoral dissertations. She teaches research courses in the doctoral program and coordinates the Special Education Specialization. Dr. Karge was an Institute of Educational Leadership (IEL) Fellow and leads the CUI Policy class trip to Washington DC every summer.

Dr. Karge received her Ph.D. in Quantitative Methods, Special Education and Educational Psychology, and her Master’s Degree in Reading from the University of California, Riverside. She taught at both the elementary and high school levels and served in various leadership roles in public education subsequent to moving to the university. Prior to joining the faculty at CUI in 2015, she worked at several research universities, both as faculty and in administrative roles. Her professional record demonstrates a consistent pattern of scholarly and creative activities including research, publications (three textbooks, five curriculum texts, four book chapters, several educational tools, over 135 articles), and numerous grants (totaling over twenty million dollars).

Dr. Karge is an expert in research based instructional strategies. She is a sought-after presenter and coach in the areas of whole school reform, higher education engagement strategies, inclusive practices, Prek-12 co-teaching, on-line and face-to-face student engagement, pedagogical strategies, effective teaching and learning in diverse classroom groups. She has received a multitude of awards for her teaching and service to the profession. She was honored with the National Council for Learning Disabilities Floyd Hudson Outstanding Service to the Field of Learning Disabilities award and the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) service to the profession award. She is Past-President of the National Association for Alternative Certification. During her career, Dr. Karge has made multiple referred presentations to international, state, and local groups of school district employees and has keynoted several conferences. She travels extensively as a consultant for the U. S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools.

Dr. Karge spends most mornings hiking or walking with her husband Doug. She is Lutheran and has led many mission trips both in the USA and abroad.

Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim Headshot

Dr. Eugene Kim is as a respected professor in Concordia’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership Program with strong expertise in organizational change. Eugene began his teaching career as a chemistry/physical science teacher at John Marshall High School (LAUSD) before teaching as an Assistant Professor of Education at Pepperdine University. Dr. Kim has provided eclectic leadership skills to Concordia University since 2007 where he first served for ten years as the Dean of Concordia’s Asia programs and today Chair of Concordia’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Professor of Leadership and Dissertation Chair.

View Eugene's Resume »

Donna Lione

Donna Lione Headshot

Donna Lione began her career in education as a science and technology teacher at the elementary school level before moving into the middle school classroom in the Temecula Unified School District. Donna served as an Assistant Principal for two years at Temecula Valley High School before becoming the Director of the Student Welfare and Success department for the Temecula Unified School District. Donna has earned a Masters in Science in Educational Administration and a California Administrative Clear Credential. In 2022, Donna was recognized as the Riverside County and Temecula Valley Unified Certificated Administrator of the Year.

View Donna's Resume »

Darlene Messinger

Darlene Messinger Headshot

Darlene Messinger has vast experience as an educational leader who serves as a professional consultant with proven success and experience in helping schools and districts in their continuous improvement efforts. Darlene began her career as an elementary school teacher in the Fullerton School District before moving into a career in administration serving as an Assistant Principal, Principal, and Assistant Superintendent in the Laguna Beach Unified School District. Today, Darlene is an active Board Member of ACSA Region 17 and the Director of the ACSA Curriculum and Instruction Academy.

View Darlene's Resume »

Deborah Mercier

Deborah Mercier Headshot

Dr. Deborah Mercier has been a passionate educator and leader since 1973. Deb began her illustrious career at Kraemer Junior High School in Placentia, working as a teacher and reading specialist, while working alongside her husband, Tom, at CME Associates, which provided continuing education and training for medical personnel and educators. From there, Deb took on the role of assistant principal at St. Paul's Lutheran School in Orange where she served for three years.

In 1980, Deb started her own business, TEAM Learning Center in Orange, which was dedicated to serving the needs of children and young adults with learning disabilities through educational therapy, tutoring, and parent education. Deb came to Concordia University Irvine in 1997, first as an assistant professor and then quickly moved on to leadership roles such as Student Teacher University Supervisor, Director of Liberal Studies, and Reading Program Director. Finally, Deb served as the Dean of the School of Education from 2014 until her retirement in 2019.

Deb earned her bachelor's degree in English (and a minor in geography) from Cal State Fullerton and her master's degree with an emphasis in reading from Cal State Fullerton, as well. She earned her PhD in Education from Claremont Graduate University. Deb's areas of study were professional development, acquisition of English as a second language, and learning across the lifespan.

Upon retiring from CUI in 2019, Deb has enjoyed volunteering at her home church, St. Paul's Lutheran in Orange, especially focusing her time on the expanding Hispanic Ministry, while continuing to serve on committees at St. Paul's Lutheran School. Deb enjoys creating all forms of art, reading, traveling to Sedona, AZ with her family, and spending quality time with her five grandchildren. Deb asserts: "My greatest delight in life is appreciating and encouraging my family, colleagues, and students as they seek to fully develop their God-given gifts."

Mona Montgomery

Mona Montgomery Headshot

Mona Montgomery has a vast background as a classroom teacher and school administrator. Dr. Montgomery today serves as the Principal at Lomarena Elementary School in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District and Adjunct Professor of Education at Concordia University Irvine. Dr. Montgomery earned her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University and Administrative Credential from California State University Fullerton. Dr. Montgomery has been recognized for her commitment to excellence as the Teacher of the Year at De Portola Elementary School in 2012-13 and as the Principal of the Year for Saddleback Unified School District in 2019-20.

View Mona's Resume »

Cyndi Paik

Cyndi Paik Headshot

Dr. Cyndi Paik has served as the Superintendent of the Westminster School District since 2019. Cyndi began her career as a teacher/literacy coach for the Orange Unified School District and then served as an Assistant Principal and Principal before moving into leadership in the District Office. Cyndi earned her doctoral degree from the University of Southern California in K-12 Urban Leadership. Dr. Paik has extensive experience teaching at the college level serving as an adjunct instructor, dissertation chair, and mentor coach.

Cyndy Stephens

Cyndy Stephens Headshot

Dr. Cynthia Stephens has enjoyed an eclectic career as a teacher and administrator in numerous capacities in the education profession. Cyndy began as a special education teacher for students in grades 1-6 before moving into a District Coordinator position for Student Support Teams in a large metro district in Atlanta, Georgia. Cyndy served as an Assistant Elementary School Principal and then Principal where she was named National Distinguished Elementary Principal by the United States Department of Education. Dr. Stephens then transitioned to the Georgia Department of Education where she served as a Senior Staff Specialist for Research, Evaluation, and Testing and then became the Director of the Georgia Teaching Force Center. Today, Dr. Stephens serves the Executive Director of the Leadership and Education Effectiveness Group (The LEEG) Initiative and as an adjunct professor in the Ed.D. Leadership Program at Concordia University Irvine.

View Cyndy's Resume »

Hanan Thornton

Hanan Thornton Headshot

Hanan Thornton began her teaching career as a classroom teacher at Wilson Elementary School in Newport-Mesa Unified where she taught for six years before moving to Betsy Ross Elementary in the Anaheim City School District. During her teaching career, Hanan received the Anaheim City School District Teacher of the Year award in 2000 before moving into administration as a Vice Principal and then Principal at Clara Barton Elementary School. Hanan then became the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services for the Magnolia School District. Hanan earned her teaching credential at the University of California, Irvine and Master’s in Educational Administration from California State University, Fullerton. Hanan has served as an adjunct faculty member at Concordia University Irvine, is a presenter for the ACSA Instructional Leadership Academy, and devoted leadership coach for teachers and administrators.

Contact Us

For more information about the Leadership Coaches Bureau, please direct any questions to:

Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier

Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier
Director, Servant Leadership Institute
(949) 214-3256
[email protected]

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