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.

Editor Emeritus

Ed Grube has been a valued member of LEA's staff for over 20 years, most recently serving as LEA's Director of Communications. While he formally retired in June of 2023, Ed is still helping LEA by writing weekly devotions and giving guidance to our staff.

Ed is also continuing to serve as the editorial director for LEA’s magazine, Shaping the Future.

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 weekly News and Networks communications, 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.

Klopke LEA Team Member Photo

Julie Klopke

Director of Member Services

Julie is joining the LEA staff after years of being influenced by this organization in her walk as a Lutheran School teacher and administrator.   Through relationships with fellow LCMS educators in LEA, participation in convocations and conferences, and a variety of leadership and speaking opportunities, LEA has helped her grow as a Lutheran school teacher and administrator.  It has also helped her develop a great appreciation and passion for encouraging and engaging fellow and new teachers. As Director of Member Services, She will work closely with Lutheran educators and schools with their LEA memberships and related services.

She is also excited to be assisting with registrations for LEA Convocations and Conferences, as well as serving as a writer and editor of some LEA related materials.

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.

Lusk Board Member Photo

Dallas Lusk

Executive Director/Head of School

St. Mark Lutheran School
Houston, Tex.

Maxwell Board Member Photo

Deryl Maxwell


Mt. Calvary Lutheran School
Diamond Bar, Calif.


Gretchen M. Jameson

Vice President

Muskego, 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.