Dear Friends of LASE,

We are truly blessed as an organization to have had the exceptional strength from within to continue to lead, provide full services, and even grow our ministry over the past 8 months, since the death of Lori Christiansen. Our special education teacher from Zion Harvester, Chris Tomlinson, stepped up to the plate, filling in as the acting Executive Director of LASE. She managed to visit all our partner schools, teachers, and principals while continuing her own classroom duties three days a week. Chris worked with the Lutheran High – St. Charles team to retool the Learning Center program, increasing the number of students enrolled from 10 to 15 students for the coming fall term. This expansion paves the way for Lori’s dream of starting Learning Center programs in other area high schools. Thank you, Chris!

A completed school year well done! It could not have happened without the extra support from our office staff, Diane Stout, and Karen Scuito, keeping fundraising and events on track. Board Treasurer, Judy Ruf, stepped in half time as operations manager, while Janey Menner and Karen Wittmayer maintained links to teachers.

Now, the LASE Board is pleased to announce our search results in the selection of a new executive director, who will take charge June 1, 2016. We welcome Jackie Smith to our LASE family, where she will partner with our faculty in delivering resourceful teaching to our learning challenged students.

Jackie comes to us from NSC (Network for Strong Communities), an agency that provides training and consultative services for not-for-profit agencies in St. Louis and throughout the state of Missouri. While there she helped develop and implement capacity building services for nonprofits in customized training, nonprofit management, governance/leadership, strategy, and resource development. Jackie was previously the Admissions and Marketing Director at Miriam School, which provides a wide range of services for children with complex learning disabilities. She brings a wealth of business connections and a proven history of development success from working at the Rohan Woods School, Kids in the Middle, and The Central Institute for the Deaf.

I am excited to share my passion for children and to work with the LASE team to find the right solutions for each child as they discover their God-given talents,” said Smith.

Jackie has a BA in Psychology from Auburn University, a Post Baccalaureate Degree in Education from Kennesaw University, and a Master of Arts in Management and Leadership from Webster University.

She is a warm, relational person that you will be pleased to meet. Jackie has taken inspiration from her own daughter’s challenges, who she reports is now a successful sophomore at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She is happy to share her passion for struggling kids and is excited to begin work with the LASE team to find the right solutions for each child as they discover their God given talents. Jackie enjoys singing in choirs, contemporary praise teams and occasionally dabbles in musical theatre.

We look forward to introducing you to Jackie very soon as we prepare for another great school year.

Thankfully,

The LASE Board of Directors