Rendy Koeppel

New Master’s Program at MLC: Training for Principals and ECE Directors

Koeppel Rendy-cropped-largeRendy Koeppel DMLC ’81 is leaving the MLC Master of Science in Education program. As principal at St. Paul-First in North Hollywood, Koeppel enjoyed the courses, noting the online flexibility and the knowledge-sharing with other WELS teachers. He saw benefits to his ministry, “particularly my mindset for leading and supervising Christian education.” He concedes that the program “added several new tools to my administrative tool box for my principalship and my classroom instruction.” But he’s leaving. He’s enrolling in the new MLC Master of Science in Educational Administration program instead.


This new master’s program, approved in September by the Minnesota Board of Teaching, is intended especially for early childhood directors and principals like Rendy.

“The MLC Master of Science in Educational Administration program is unlike any other educational leadership training program,” says Dr. John Meyer DMLC ’87, director of continuing education and graduate studies. “It focuses on the unique needs of WELS principals and directors.”

WELS school leaders are more than simply administrators, Meyer says. “They are a combination of principal, superintendent, and spiritual leader.” As such, they face complex issues, some of which are unique to Lutheran schools.

The new master’s program guides them through these issues, including . . .

  • creating a Lutheran mission and culture,
  • leading necessary change while identifying things that cannot change,
  • establishing financially sustainable schools,
  • sustaining and growing schools, and
  • encouraging communication and involvement among congregation, faculty, and parents.

Rendy Koeppel is excited about tackling these important subjects, and the courses he’s already taken in the leadership emphasis of our current MS Ed program will transfer smoothly into his new program. He believes it will take three years to complete the program because he wants “to properly balance the daily work of my call and sufficient time for coursework.”

The existing MS in Education with a leadership emphasis, the one Rendy Koeppel was enrolled in, has served WELS very well, says Dr. Meyer, with 42 principals and early childhood directors completing it.

Some leaders and directors will continue to choose that program, which permits them to customize their programs with a blend of administration, technology, teaching, and special education courses.

Others will opt for the new MS in Educational Administration degree, which includes some instruction courses but focuses more heavily on leadership.

Rendy Koeppel is convinced that deciding which program to pursue is less important than deciding to pursue a program. “WELS educators need to be at the top of their game to best serve students and families,” he says.

“I believe ongoing professional development is key to achieving excellence in ministry and avoiding stagnation in the important work that we are called to do. This MLC program certainly helps me as an administrator to improve and better serve my Lord, my school, my congregation, and our synod.”

By Laurie Gauger