FLAME Develops Future Leaders for the Lutheran Schools

FLAME inspires leaders in the Lutheran schools during a three-day conference focused on leadership development, spiritual inspiration, and administrative insight.

“Good schools need good principals. The need is not only for K-12 schools, but in early childhood centers as well.” said Kevin Brockberg, executive director of Christian education.

Surveys are sent to principals in the district asking them to recommend teachers in their school who might be a good fit for the program. Once nominated, a teacher is asked to join seven superintendents and area educators at FLAME, held on the campus of Ann Arbor University in July.

Chris Brune, who was formerly a high school history teacher, participated in FLAME before he transitioned into a newly accepted principal call at Peter’s Lutheran School in Fort Wayne. “It was a great introduction for me in the role I had just recently accepted,” Chris said. “I was able to take things I learned in FLAME and use them throughout my first year.”

First-year principals are also invited to the program to connect with other leaders and share insights from their inaugural year of administration.

“FLAME gives principals a chance to reflect and learn from leaders and encourage those that are aspiring,” said Kevin Brockberg. “It lets them know what the first year is like. There is a lot of dialogue and interchange between aspiring leaders and principals. It gives them better insight than reading a book or going to a class. It’s interactive and dynamic.”

Teachers who attend FLAME come away from program with a better understanding of the school and are able to provide leadership in new areas.

“After attending the FLAME program last summer, I feel like I now have new tools and ideas to help me in my leadership position,” said Danielle White, first grade teacher and curriculum leader at Central Lutheran School in New Haven. “I was able to collaborate with others, hear their ideas, and apply them to the things that I am working on and bring it back with me to my school. One thing that I took from the program is that no matter what type of leadership role you are in, it's tough to do it alone. Everyone has something that makes them great in different roles, and gathering the right team can help empower everyone involved.”

Administrators are able to tap into teachers who have gone through FLAME and use their expertise in key roles within the school.

“There’s a real advantage for administrators to know that a teacher has gone through leadership training and can take on more leadership,” Kevin Brockberg added. “It gives teachers something that’s larger than their classroom. When we work together as a team, it gives a broader understanding of the school and not just the classroom.”

FLAME also allows the leaders of the Midwest Districts a chance to work together to develop the next generation of leaders. “All the FLAME Districts understand it’s not about their districts or the Indiana District. It’s about all of us,” Kevin added. “I really appreciate the cross-district pollination with different ideas. I look at myself not as helping Indiana educators connect, but part of a much bigger whole.”

More than anything, FLAME provides an opportunity for teachers to grow as leaders, providing our Lutheran schools with a stronger future.

“This program provided an opportunity for me to learn about what it takes to be a great leader in our schools, as well as allowed me to gain insights into being an effective leader in my position,” said Danielle White. “It’s a great opportunity to make connections to others in a similar situation who you can reach out to and lean on throughout your career.”

Chris Brune added, “I would definitely encourage others to attend FLAME. Both aspiring leaders within our schools and soon-to-be leaders. We desperately need more leaders within our Lutheran schools to step up to the plate in leadership roles and FLAME can put before them the tools and training to inspire and encourage them.”