Three Concordia alumni recently earned honors for their faithful service in Lutheran education.
“We are so proud of these alumni and the way they have dedicated their time, talent and resources to change the lives of others,” said Jennifer Furr, director of alumni and university relations at Concordia. “The contributions of these individuals in their communities truly illuminate the values and mission of our great university of serving the church and world.”
The awards were given out by the Lutheran Education Association, which honors Lutheran educators each year who are nominated for their outstanding service to Lutheran churches and schools.
The honored alumni include:
Shelley Dartmann – LEA Distinguished Lutheran Early Childhood Teacher Award
Shelley Dartmann was selected to receive Lutheran Education Association’s 2017 Distinguished Lutheran Early Childhood Teacher award. Ms. Dartmann is a full time kindergarten teacher at Concordia Academy in Omaha, Nebraska. She was selected by LEA’s Early Childhood Network leadership team.
Shelley graduated with a Bachelor of Science in education with an early childhood concentration from Concordia University, Nebraska. Upon graduation, she taught preschool, kindergarten and first grade at St. Paul Lutheran School in Kewanee, Illinois.
In support of Shelley’s nomination, one parent said, “She is a deeply devoted Christian woman. Each conference, contact and correspondence reflect her love of our Lord and her desire to pass His love onto the children and families in her care.”
Shelley’s principal also commented, “Ms. Dartmann seeks to extend the definition of community outside of the four walls of her classroom. She allows students to see and experience more of creation through virtual field trips and mystery Skype session, and she brings parents into her classroom through the use of Periscope. One of the most unique and impactful decisions she has made for her students is to have class at a nursing home on a semimonthly basis, where valuable intergenerational connections are made to benefit the children and nursing home residents alike.”
Shelley says of her mission, “I believe in helping each individual child develop and grow as they serve God and follow the plan He has for their lives. It is also my desire to help each child realize the unconditional love God has for them through our Savior, Jesus Christ and to assist each child in learning how to live their daily life as a child of God.”
George Locke – LEA Distinguished Retired Lutheran Educator “EncourAGING” Award
Dr. George Locke was selected to receive LEA’s Distinguished Retired Lutheran Educator EncourAGING award. He was selected by the leadership team of LEA’s Retired Lutheran Educators Network, known as EncourAGEnet.
George earned degrees from Concordia College, Milwaukee, Concordia University, Nebraska, and a Superintendent’s Endorsement from the University of Nebraska. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Concordia University, Ann Arbor.
Other honors include the Urban Leadership Award from Detroit Urban Lutheran School, the Ivan Zylstra Award from Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools and Grand Club Recognition from Detroit High School Association.
Locke retired as Superintendent of Lutheran Schools and Executive Director of Youth Ministry, LCMS Michigan District in 2005. He previously served in various teaching and administrative positions at Lutheran Schools in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan and was Executive Director of Christian Education and Youth in the LCMS Nebraska District from 1979–1981. George was Chair of the 1996 LEA Convocation in Detroit, served as student teaching supervisor to two of the Concordia Universities and was Board Chari and member for Lutheran Braille Workers.
One individual who nominated George explained, “George has consistently brought two things to his ministry. First, a focus on the ministry that God provided and the spiritual nature of that work. Second, a practical ‘the way it is’ understanding that makes his advice properly in the real world, but not of the real world.”
Christin Senechal – LEA Distinguished Lutheran Elementary Teacher Award
Christin Senechal was selected to receive Lutheran Education Association’s 2017 Distinguished Lutheran Elementary Teacher award. Ms. Senechal teaches fourth grade at Concordia Academy in Omaha, Neb. She also serves in a variety of other ministry roles, including coordinator for the National Geographic Bee, National History Bee and Spelling Bee. Christin was selected by LEA’s Elementary Teachers Network leadership team.
Christin earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Concordia University, Nebraska and a Master of Science in education from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Prior to serving at Concordia Academy, Christin served two other Lutheran Schools, including Los Angeles Lutheran. Previous honors include Partners in Mission and Ministry Alumni Award from Concordia University, Nebraska, a Target Field Trip grant and My Spectacular Teacher Award from Arts & Minds.
In support of Christin’s nomination, her principal said, “Ms. Senechal is particularly effective at differentiating by providing students with opportunity for choice and collaboration in their learning. She also has a particular love for literacy; she maintains a blog to review and recommend children’s literature, and leads students to complete several writing projects each year, including the creation of a novel by each fourth grade student in her class.”
One parent commented, “Ms. Senechal lives a life that I am grateful to have had my daughters observe. Jesus is her personal Lord and Savior, and her words, life and work reflect her belief. Besides teaching religion and weaving in spiritual truth and prayer into the day, she frequently provides prayer requests for herself, her class and families of the children in her class to our Moms in Prayer group.”
According to Christin, one of the greatest joys in working with students is “The faith discussions we have in religion and the spiritual connections they make in all subjects.”