Strong Lutheran schools need strong principals. Leaders who set the bar high for student achievement. Who create a Christ-centered culture. Who cast longterm visions for the future of their school and simultaneously handle the day-to-day details. Who supervise instruction, create a budget, and implement a marketing plan—all while maintaining meaningful relationships with faculty, parents, and students.

The principalship is a demanding calling. And Jarred Beduze is ready for it.

A 2017 graduate of MLC and the assistant principal at Winnebago Lutheran Academy, Jarred has just completed a three-year training program called the WELS Principal Credential Cohort. The program was created to ensure that when a new principal steps into their role, they have the experience and training the call demands.

His Commitment: “I joined the Principal Cohort program,” Jarred says, “because I have a high interest in and a passion for administration. About three years ago, I was speaking with the principal of the school where I was serving at the time (Ryan Wiechmann, Northland LHS) about his thoughts on me pursuing a master’s degree and how I could leverage that to improve upon my own professional capacity and to better serve the needs of the school.”

In response, Ryan told Jarred about the Principal Credential Cohort and nominated him for it. Jarred applied, was accepted, and joined a cohort of other future principals. Together they took courses in MLC’s Master of Science in Educational Administration program. Together they attended three leadership conferences and worked with Grace in Action, a WELS leadership organization, to complete the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. Together they made their way through the specialized training that a 21st-century principal needs to thrive.

The Cohort: The cohort concept—working together, comparing experiences, offering different perspectives—is an essential part of the program. “Each person in the cohort came from a different background, worked with a different school dynamic, and had a different personality,” Jarred says. “They all brought a fresh perspective.” And yet they were bound together by a common faith. “The leadership perspective we shared was centered on serving the Lord in our calls. That Christian basis for all that we did was awesome.”

Jarred is confident that their bond will last. “We were able to get to know each other pretty well,” he says. “I’d feel comfortable reaching out to any one of them to ask their advice or get their input on something.”

The Courses: Jarred found the MLC courses extremely beneficial as well. One course was called simply The Principalship. “This was the course that began the program,” Jarred says, “and it was a great beginning to get the big picture of what it really means to be a principal.” Other courses included School Leadership, Leadership for Change, and Leading the School Community.

“As I worked through the courses and was simultaneously serving in my call, I was able to practice the things that I was learning immediately,” he says. “Almost everything that I learned had an immediate application to what I was doing.”

Each course also offered opportunity for reflection, another important component in any kind of growth—professional, personal, spiritual. “These courses allowed me an opportunity to evaluate myself as a leader,” Jarred says, “and to think about ways that I could be a better leader, both in the call I was in and also looking forward to my future ministry.”

It was the internship capstone, though, that Jarred found to have the greatest impact. “As I worked through the requirements of the internship,” he says, “I was able to put everything I had learned in the courses throughout my program into practice and experiment with my leadership to see what would work best.”

Intensity=Impact: The Principal Credential Cohort is an intense three-year program, but Jarred says it’s worth it. High intensity creates high impact.

“The principal cohort program has had a major impact on me both professionally and spiritually,” he says. “Working with the others in the cohort and having conversations with them about leadership from a Christian perspective was a professional and a spiritual blessing. Working with the mentors I had throughout the program was also a great blessing. Working through the coursework of the program was eye-opening in that it gave me the opportunity to see what leadership is and how I can be an effective leader.”

Calling Other Future Principals: To other gifted leaders, Jarred offers this encouragement: “If you are at all interested in administration, being a principal, or just being a leader, put yourself out there and join a cohort. You’ll make relationships with your colleagues in ministry that will be a blessing to you. You’ll learn so much that will benefit you, whether you are called to serve as the principal of a school, you are a leader as a teacher, or you lead in another role.

“The professional and spiritual growth that you gain through this opportunity will impact you for the rest of your life.”

Meet Jarred: Jarred enjoys brewing beer, hunting, and spending time outdoors with his family. He’s married to Tarah (nee Steinbrenner) MLC ’15, who served as a teacher at Our Savior-Peridot AZ, as a lead teacher at MLC’s Early Childhood Learning Center, and as director of Key to Life Childcare Center-Schofield WI. She’s also finishing her MS Educational Administration (early childhood director emphasis) through MLC. The couple has two boys, Carson (3) and Emmett (1).

In Search of Gifted Leaders

We are filling the 2023-24 cohort right now.

Do you know someone with leadership gifts who would make a great principal? Might you have the gifts to be a principal?

The WELS Principal Credential Cohort is a cooperative venture of the CLS and MLC to prepare teachers with at least three years of teaching experience for the principal role. It includes pairing with a principal mentor, attendance at a national conference, a free first course in MLC’s MS-Educational Administration program, and a 50% scholarship for all subsequent courses in the master’s program.

To nominate a candidate or yourself, go to