Three Concordia alumni earn Lutheran educator awards 2018

Published by Concordia University, Nebraska 3 years ago on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 11:46 AM

Three Concordia alumni recently earned honors for their faithful service in Lutheran education. They include Kevin Creutz, ’10, the “Distinguished Lutheran Elementary Administrator” award;  Leslee (Lemke) Johnson, ’76, the “Distinguished Lutheran Early Childhood Teacher” award; and Rachel (Loesch) Klitzing,’79, the “Christus Magister” award.

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.

“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.”

Kevin Creutz, ’10, recipient of the Lutheran Education Association’s Distinguished Lutheran Elementary Administrator Award.

Kevin Creutz, ’10, of New Haven, Indiana, soon to be Ohio, received the Lutheran Education Association’s 2018 Distinguished Lutheran Elementary Administrator award. Creutz was principal of Central Lutheran School in New Haven, Indiana, until just recently when he accepted a call to serve as superintendent of schools for the LCMS Ohio District. Kevin was selected by LEA’s Leadership Network leadership team.

Kevin earned a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University, Chicago and a Master of Educational Administration from Concordia University, Nebraska. Prior to serving at Central Lutheran, Kevin served at Zion Lutheran School in St. Charles, Missouri, as athletic director, assistant principal and technology coordinator.

In support of Kevin’s nomination, one parent commented, “As principal, Mr. Creutz sets the tone of the school. He leads with strength and compassion. We take great comfort in knowing that our children spend their days in a school led by a man of such moral character. He is respected by parents, students and fellow faculty.”

One colleague said, “Kevin is a dedicated leader to his faculty and staff, as he carries out his professionalism serving the Lord as a called church worker. He daily models his faith and promotes Lutheran education in all he does. Mr. Creutz has a passion for the students he serves at Central. He knows every child by name as he welcomes each of them to school in the morning while directing morning arrival. Throughout the week, you will find Mr. Creutz walking the halls while talking with kids and showing up to the many, many afterschool events, where he supports all different extracurricular activities.” 

According to Kevin, one of the greatest joys is to serve students “in a place where Jesus is at the center of all we do.”

Leslee Johnson, ’76, recipient of the Lutheran Education Association’s Distinguished Lutheran Early Childhood Teacher Award.

Leslee (Lemke) Johnson, ’76, of Chicago, Illinois, received Lutheran Education Association’s 2018 Distinguished Lutheran Early Childhood Teacher award. Ms. Johnson is a full time kindergarten teacher at St. John Lutheran School in Chicago, Illinois. She was selected by LEA’s Early Childhood Network leadership team.

Leslee graduated with a Bachelor of Science in education with a minor in early childhood education from Concordia University, Nebraska. Upon graduation, she taught preschool, kindergarten and grades first through third for the last forty years at St. John.

In support of Leslee’s nomination, one parent said, “I, myself, had Mrs. Johnson as a teacher for kindergarten. More recently, two of my children have had her as a teacher and my other two will be in her class in the near future. I can tell you firsthand how amazing Mrs. Johnson is as a teacher and person. She is a teacher who you can tell truly loves what she does. Not only does she give out children the best education possible, she also teaches them what it means to be a Christian. She shows compassion and shares the love of God so naturally. It is remarkable to see how much the children grow and learn, both educationally and spiritually in her class throughout the year.”

Mrs. Johnson’s pastor added, “Leslee is a clear witness to the loving Savior who bids the children to come to Him. She shows Christian love and devotion to her students, and in word and deed, the light of Jesus shines to all. All this she carries out with faithfulness and excellence, even while caring for her husband who suffers from Parkinson’s. The Lord provides strength and peace as she ensures his safety and comfort, providing the same excellence in service in her vocation as spouse as she does in her vocation as teacher.”

Leslee says of her mission, “Love, laugh, build, grow, serve. Love as Jesus loved. Laugh every day. Build relationships. Grow in faith and knowledge through Bible study, prayer and worship. Serve others in word and actions. With God all things are possible!”

Rachel Klitzing, ’79, recipient of the Lutheran Education Association’s Christus Magister Award.

Rachel (Loesch) Klitzing, ’79, of Irvine, California, was selected by LEA’s board of directors to receive LEA’s top honor, the “Christus Magister” award. Since 1965, this most prestigious Lutheran Education Association award has been presented to Lutheran educators who have made significant contributions to Lutheran education.

Rachel is executive director of school ministries in the Pacific Southwest District. Previous ministries include teacher, coach, and girls’ athletic director at various Lutheran schools. She also served as assistant to the district’s previous education executive and as a part time adjunct professor at Concordia University, Irvine. She has been published in various education publications and has provided leadership in numerous education projects and initiatives.

“Christus Magister” is not Rachel’s first award. In 2002, she received the Christian Service Alumnus Award from Lutheran High School of Los Angeles, and in 2008 she was awarded Outstanding Leadership and Service Recognition from the California Association of Private School Organizations. Concordia University, Irvine named Rachel Outstanding Alumna of the Year in 2013.

When asked about her greatest joys in ministry, Rachel said, “Over the years, I have discovered that witnessing the Gospel lived out in classrooms, in a board room, on a mission trip to China or India, on the athletic field, or on the streets of Los Angeles to be among my greatest joys and blessings!”

Rachel earned a Bachelor of Science from Concordia University Nebraska and a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Concordia University, Irvine.

In support of Rachel’s nomination, one colleague said, “Rachel watches for opportunities to support the hurting. She goes out of her way to provide encouragement to literally everyone. I have seen her encourage and praise teacher after teacher after teacher, school administrators, and people who can reside in the background, like restaurant wait staff. Her words are not contrived. They are who she is.”