About LESA

icon3What is LESA?
LESA is a consortium of Lutheran schools in the metropolitan St. Louis area who work collaboratively to support and enhance Lutheran education as they serve children and their families in their own unique location.
icon3What is LESA's Vision?
An academically excellent Lutheran Christian education is a realistic choice for all children.
icon3What is LESA's Mission?
LESA provides financial resources for children in need to obtain Lutheran Christian education. We advocate and support efforts to improve the sustainability of quality Lutheran Christian schools in the metro St. Louis area.
icon3Whom Does LESA Serve?
LESA members are 30 Lutheran elementary schools, three affiliate member high schools, two educational Resources Partners schools, and three affiliate agencies.
LESA serves over 8,800 students and 500 teachers and administrators. The members of LESA have formally joined the Association and actively participate in LESA’s mission.
icon3How Does LESA Serve?
LESA promotes Lutheran elementary school education in the metropolitan St. Louis area. LESA provides financial assistance to children and families who struggle with the tuition cost of LESA Lutheran elementary schools by raising funds through its Building Blocks Scholarship Fund.
icon3Who is LESA’s governing body?
LESA’s Board of Directors is composed of men and women who are passionate about Lutheran schools and who are committed to acquire the financial resources necessary to fulfill the mission.
icon3Who is LESA’s professional staff?
The LESA staff consists of three full time employees. The Director of Educational Resources leads and coordinates all responsibilities relating to professional development, curriculum development, and other school resources. The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for LESA operations and administers the financial assistance program. LESA’s Director of Fund Development and Marketing is responsible for fundraising efforts to support LESA’s scholarship program, operations, and programming, in addition to public relations and jointly marketing LESA schools. Contact our administrative staff.

LESA Timeline

LESA celebrated 10 years of ministry to St. Louis area Lutheran schools by serving approximately 8,213 students and 400 teachers and administrators in 30 Lutheran elementary schools and four high schools. LESA tuition-assistance programs have collectively provided over 5,800 awards totaling $3.3 million to students in Kindergarten through 8th grade in its member elementary schools since the 2004/2005 school year.. LESA has been blessed to have established nearly $5 million in an endowment for student scholarships, through the generosity of donors and the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis. Additionally, LESA was awarded a matching challenge grant by the Lutheran Foundation to give the Association an opportunity to establish a $2,000,000 operations and programming endowment to support a portion of its programming and administrative costs.
The Lutheran Elementary School Association (LESA) was officially incorporated in September, 2004, as the result of this merger.
The board of directors of Lord’s Light Scholarship Fund and the member schools of LESA merged. Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis endorsed this consolidation by providing a generous three-year grant to underwrite the hiring of a president to launch this new cooperative association.
As administrators of the schools began working more closely with each other, a new spirit of cooperation emerged. This allowed for the creation of a new organization, The St. Louis Lutheran Elementary School Association, which took the place of the St. Louis Principals Association and the Lutheran School Network. LESA began functioning in the fall of 2002 with 38 elementary schools and 8 affiliate members joining this new consortium.
Lord’s Light Scholarship fund was organized in 1999 by a group of Lutheran laymen desiring to help urban families by providing financial scholarships.
The Lutheran School Network was established to encourage schools in the St. Louis area work cooperatively and to improve performance. Initial projects included the writing of curriculum guides for science and math and in-service events for Lutheran elementary teachers.  Curriculum writing and in-service training continued, as other activities were added including creation of a steering committee to provide planning and direction to Network activities, hosting administrator training workshops, encouraging participation in National Lutheran School Accreditation, developing a mentoring program for new teachers, and creating a joint marketing program for our Lutheran Schools.
The St. Louis Lutheran Principals Conference was formed. This group supervised the athletic programs of the St. Louis area Lutheran elementary schools, shared information from the LCMS MO District Education Executive, and offered professional topics and fellowship for participants.

Related Agencies

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Board of Directors:

LESA’s Board of Directors is comprised of active Lutheran congregation members who have a passion for children, Lutheran education, and LESA’s mission. These men and women have a variety of backgrounds including active and retired business owners and executives, nonprofit leaders, pastors, missionaries, and educators. These directors set policy and oversee governance, programming, and operations of LESA. In addition to their governance roles, board members serve on the fund development and marketing and event committees and volunteer at LESA functions. Two of LESA’s board members are Advisory Directors who serve as administrators of LESA-member schools; their role is to keep the Board apprised of the St. Louis metropolitan area Lutheran education environment and provide a point of reference on educational issues.

Marilyn Brickler, Chairman

  • Community Service Volunteer
  • Past Chair: Lutheran Family and Children's Services, Lutheran Camp Association (Arcadia), Lutheran High School Association, Green Park Lutheran School
  • Member of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Sappington

Daniel Quinn, Treasurer

  • Manager, Portfolio Management, Nestle Purina Pet Care R&D
  • President, Missouri Speed Skating Association
  • Member, Webster Gardens Lutheran Church

Ann Anderson

  • CPA, Retired Business Administrator, Green Park Lutheran School
  • Member, Christ Memorial Lutheran Church

Carla Kirby

  • Retired from American Greetings
  • Missionary in Kingston, Jamaica
  • Master’s Degree in Social Work, University of Illinois
  • Member of St. Paul, Des Peres

Jerry L. Wollenburg

  • Retired Lutheran educator and administrator
  • Member of LCMS, Commissioned Minister of Religion, Emeritus
  • Member, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Collinsville, Illinois

Alan Vogt

  • Vice President and Director of Fixed Income Trading, J.A. Glynn and JAG Capital Management
  • Member, Concordia Lutheran Church, Kirkwood

Rev. Alan M. Erdman

  • Retired President/CEO of Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri
  • Past Board Member, Lutheran Charities Foundation, St. Louis, and Lutheran Services in America (LSA)
  • Member, King of Kings Lutheran Church, Chesterfield
Dennis Kemper, Vice Chair

  • Senior Wealth Advisor, Frontier Wealth Management
  • Member Unity Ev. Lutheran Church

Jackie Branneky, Secretary

  • Employed at Branneky Hardware/Leslie Two, Inc.
  • Community Service Volunteer at Immanuel Lutheran School, Lutheran High School North, Lutheran High School Association, President of Lutheran North Mothers’ Club
  • Member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Olivette

Paul Niewald

  • Director and Chief Engineer, T-X Program Boeing Military Aircraft
  • Member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, St. Charles

Rev. Scott Schmieding

  • Senior Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, St. Charles
  • Former Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church & Baton Rouge Lutheran School

Jeff Schmitt

  • Principal, Danna McKitrick, PC
  • Member, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection

Kip Starnes

  • Sales Manager, Lutheran Trust
  • Member, Christ Community Lutheran Church

Wendy Morris

  • Principal, Immanuel Lutheran School, Olivette
  • Member, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Olivette

Marc Debrick

  • Principal, Zion Lutheran School


Interested in learning more about LESA board service? 

We welcome prospective board members!  If you have a passion for children, Lutheran education, LESA’s mission, and have an interest in serving on LESA’s board, please contact Sue Nahmensen at 314-200-0799 or snahmensen@lesastl.org.