Meet the Team

Jon Laabs portrait July 2019

Dr. Jonathan Laabs, Ed.D.

Executive Director

Jon cares deeply about educators in Lutheran ministries! He’s responsible for carrying out the mission of LEA — to link, equip, and affirm educators and workers in ministry for the purpose of building up the body of Christ.

Jon works closely with LEA’s board, crafting the organization’s strategic plan and overseeing its fiscal health. He advocates for educators worldwide, reaching out a hand to any organization with parallel goals to further LEA’s mission.

LEA 2013 Milwaukee, WI

Edward C. Grube, LL.D.

Director of Communications

Ed Grube oversees all of LEA’s communications and many member services. He writes ten publications for educators every week: a devotional, two issues of LEAnews, and all but two of our Network Tips of the Week. He manages the LEA listservs.

Ed also serves as the editorial director for LEA’s magazine, Shaping the Future and has produced more than 100 webinars for our members.

Rice LEA Team Member Photo

Denise Rice

Director of Educational Resources

Denise’s motto is, “What can I do for you?” She creates resources for LEA’s educators and manages the resources side of our content platform, LEAconnects. Denise also oversees LEA’s social media, the Lutheran Junior Honor Association, our series Teachers to Teachers, and our weekly encouragement video Words on Wednesday.

She’s also a crucial member of our event planning team, working on all of our conferences, including our triennial convocation.


Sharon Stadtwald

Office Coordinator

Sharon keeps LEA on-target, on-task, and running smoothly. She wears multiple hats, acting as our office manager, bookkeeper, copy editor, membership coordinator, and head of HR.

Sharon also serves on the editorial team at Shaping the Future magazine.

Piel LEA Team Member Photo

Paul Piel

Technology Project Coordinator

Paul’s talents make him well-suited to be LEA’s technology project coordinator. His duties include the production of webinars, WOW videos, and other technology related matters. Paul is passionate about this ministry because it assists teachers and their ministries. Paul has also been serving other LEA team members with their tasks.

Paul’s undergraduate degree is from Concordia Teacher’s College River Forest, now known as Concordia University Chicago. He earned elementary and secondary teaching degrees specializing in history and political science. He then earned a Master’s from Concordia University Chicago in administration and supervision.

Board of Directors

Ziegler Board Member Photo

Bob Ziegler, Chair

Education Executive

Nebraska District LCMS
Seward, Neb.

Gerdes Board Member Photo

Drew Gerdes, Vice Chair

Early Childhood Principal

Concordia International School Shanghai
Shanghai, China

Wood Board Member Photo

Christy Wood, Secretary


St. John's Lutheran School
Napa, Calif.


Gretchen M. Jameson

Chief Learning Officer

Kacmarcik Enterprises, Inc.
Grafton, Wis.

Kozisek Board Member Photo

Barbra Kozisek

St. Paul Lutheran School

Prior Lake, Minn.

Lamkin Board Member Photo

Kelly Lamkin

Leadership Team

Good Shepherd Lutheran High School
Elk River, Minn.


Mike Schiemann


Bethany Lutheran School
Parma, Ohio


Angela Schiller


Yuma Lutheran School
Yuma, Ariz.

Tom Wrege

Thomas Wrege


Zion Lutheran School
Georgetown, Tex.

Task Forces

Lutheran Junior Honor Association

Denise Rice (Chair), Manchester, Mo.

Shirley Geiss, Sanford, Fla.

Keith GeRue, Menasha, Wis.

Ann Ryherd, St. Louis, Mo.

Suzan Winkelman, Georgetown, Tex.

Grow a Teacher Mentoring

Rick Kerr (Chair), Indianapolis, Ind.

Connie Becker, Westphalia, Kan.

Ron Bork, Seward, Neb.

Bill Lubben, Los Fresnos, Tex.

Sam Moore, Concordia, Mo.

Gary Spieler, Jackson, Mo.

Micah Symmank, Norfolk, Neb.