Dr. John Meyer, Director

Meyer2014-croppedAt the helm of MLC’s burgeoning Master of Science in Education program is Dr. John Meyer.

As director of graduate studies, John’s goals are about boosting communication and building community. “I want to get the word out about the benefits this program can bring to ministry,” he says, “and I want to increase the connectedness and collaboration of the online community.”

John has a heart for the teaching ministry. “I have a great appreciation for teachers’ dedication, sacrifice, and zeal for the sake of their students, their schools, and the gospel of Jesus. The Lord has prepared me to relate to our teachers by putting me in a wide variety of ministry joys and challenges. I have walked in their shoes, and my goal is to ensure that the program works for them.”

He also understands and appreciates the value of continuing education, having been enrolled in programs from the day he was first assigned in 1987.

His excitement for MLC’s M.S. Ed. is perhaps best encapsulated with this thought: “I wish this program had been in place when I was working on my master’s.”

Upon assignment to St. John-Wood Lake MN, John Meyer immediately embarked on a 21-credit DMLC certification program for principals, School Administration and Supervision. He completed his M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction at UW-Madison in 2002. He was enrolled in MLC’s post-baccalaureate licensure program when he was called as director of graduate studies. At that time, he entered a Ph.D. program in Educational Administration at UM-Twin Cities, for which he is in the dissertation phase right now.

Dr. Meyer is excited about the way MLC’s program is an ideal fit for WELS teachers, in both course content and delivery. “The program is specifically designed to meet the needs of WELS teachers, no matter how or where they serve,” he says. “We have women and men in the program who are high school teachers, preschool teachers and directors, principals, elementary teachers, stay-at-home moms, and even a pastor teaching at a high school. They all bring their insights and experiences to the classroom and help one another grow.

“And they work under the guidance and direction of seven respected MLC graduate faculty members with experience in ministry and doctorates in their fields as well as 12 adjunct professors who bring their experiences and expertise from beyond the MLC walls.

“What’s so exciting,” he continues, “is getting to see how these educational leaders are impacting the work and future of Lutheran schools. At a time when it is tempting to look at the Lutheran school landscape and feel helpless at the forces that buffet it, this program offers something real that teachers can do to make a positive difference in themselves, their students, their ministries, and, ultimately, the future of the church.

“Teachers tell me it energizes their ministry and gives them ideas to put into practice no matter how or where they serve. I wish this program had been in place when I was working on my master’s program.”

A New Ulm native and DMLC grad, John served as teacher and principal in four Lutheran elementary schools:
• St. John-Wood Lake MN
• Zion-Hartland WI
• Pilgrim-Minneapolis MN
• Salem-Stillwater MN
The variety of settings—small and large; rural, urban, and suburban—gives John a healthy understanding of the different areas of ministry in which (D)MLC grads work.

John and his wife, Heidi Keibel Meyer, have five children, age 12 to 27.

Valerie Fischer

Introducing Our New Office Assistant, Val Fischer!

Fischer, ValerieWhen you call or email our Graduate Studies & Continuing Ed (GSCE) Office, Val Fischer is the nice person you will most likely talk to first. Val is the new administrative assistant for this office, but she’s hardly new to MLC. For 11 years, she worked in another MLC office as the assistant for the Congregational Assistant Program (CAP) and the staff ministry program. We’re thankful she will now be bringing her skills and experience to GSCE.

“My job with the Congregational Assistant Program was similar to the job I have now, only on a smaller scale,” she says. “We had between 100 and 200 students, and continuing ed and graduate studies has about 920.”

In just her first two weeks here, Val’s already connected with many of you, whether you realized it or not. “The day I started was the day after summer semester enrollment was opened,” she says. “So I learned a lot of things rather quickly. I’ve processed course registrations, sent out invoices, paid instructors for teaching courses, worked with people hosting satellite courses, and processed applications for the graduate studies program.”

Val comes to us with other experience as well. Before her service at MLC, she leveraged her bachelor’s degree in mass communications/graphic design into graphic design positions at three different agencies. Those skills will come in handy as she updates the GSCE website.

As she takes on her new duties, she says she’s excited. “I’m looking forward to getting to know our GSCE students and helping them in any way I can to make sure their experience at MLC is a positive one. I’ve met some pretty terrific people over the years working with CAP and staff ministry. I have been blessed by those friendships, and I look forward to making some new ones.”

Val (nee Gerasch) has been married to Kevin Fischer for 26 years. They have two boys, Alec (22) and Jordan (15). Alec is studying business administration at Rasmussen Business College, and Jordan is a freshman at his mom’s alma mater, Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School.

Val’s parents also hail from New Ulm. She lost her dad to colon cancer in 2012, and her mom (by the grace of God) is a breast cancer survivor as of three months ago!

Val likes to hike, bike, scrapbook, rubber stamp, and watch her boys play basketball and baseball. She also loves to take pictures. “I’m always amazed at how beautifully God created this world and the people in it,” she says. “I love trying to capture that beauty in my camera. I enjoy taking someone’s senior pictures and hearing their family tell me that I captured their personality.”

Her favorite Bible passage is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

“Life doesn’t always make sense to me,” she says. “I find a lot of comfort in knowing that God has a plan.”

And we at MLC are so glad God’s plans included Val’s service first in the MLC CAP/Staff Ministry Office and now in the Grad Studies/Continuing Ed Office. Welcome, Val!

Special thanks to Lois Bode, who came out of retirement to work in the GSCE office for the last three months. Lois used her prodigious skills in data management and organization to keep the wheels turning and to train Val when she joined the team. Thanks, Lois!