SCWA Board of Directors
President, Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School | Chair
Jamie currently serves as president of Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School (2014–today) in Jackson, WI, a proud participant in both the Milwaukee and Wisconsin Parental Choice Programs. Previously, Jamie served as the executive director of HOPE Christian Schools (2012–2014). As executive director, Jamie drove HOPE’s continued growth in both quality and quantity to achieve its purpose of inspiring, supporting, and equipping serving leaders to transform the world around them. Jamie also served as principal at HOPE Christian School: Prima (2007–2012) which was recognized as one of the top 12 schools in the country by author Samuel Casey Carter in On Purpose: How Great Schools Form Strong Character. Under Jamie’s leadership, students closed the achievement gap in math after being at Prima for 2 years.
Seton Catholic Schools | Secretary
Lori Saqer is currently the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer at Seton Catholic Schools. She recently served seven years working in another large school system and seventeen years prior to that as an auditor of schools participating in Wisconsin’s parental choice programs and other non-profit organizations, She has a deep understanding of the importance of having the business operations of a school functioning well and following the best practices of the education industry.
Lori is now in the position of preparing for the auditors and implementing rather than recommending the best business and accounting practices. She volunteers to serve as the secretary of the SCWA Board and for the SCW Quality committee because she enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with other schools and feels passionate about doing what she can to help ensure that all children have access to a quality education.
Former Administrator, Tamarack Waldorf School | Treasurer
Jean graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and earned her Bachelor and Master of Music with distinction in music education from the University of Michigan. She spent seven years teaching band, choir and general music in grades 1-8 in Michigan and Kansas. After moving to Wisconsin she taught private studio lessons (piano and clarinet) and simultaneously became the director of a new community arts program, Project CREATE, at Carroll University. The program grew, serving over 1,000 students in three locations in the greater metro area. Jean also served as an adjunct professor in the music department. In 1999, Jean became administrator for the Prairie Hill Waldorf School in Delafield/Pewaukee, and after four years, spent the next 15 years in the same position at Tamarack Waldorf School, an MPCP school, in Milwaukee.
Jean became interested in School Choice Wisconsin when she noted that they were tackling issues pertaining to the effects of Wisconsin legislation and Department of Public Instruction’s rules on voucher schools in Milwaukee. Jean has devoted her professional life to providing quality educational experiences for children in both traditional and alternative schools and programs. She has worked with School Choice advocates and representatives to help broaden the scope and quality of curriculum and expand opportunities for students in private schools.
In retirement, Jean is pleased to have the opportunity to continue to serve on the board of School Choice Wisconsin Action because of its crucial advocacy and consequential accomplishments for families throughout the state. She also volunteers in other organizations, performing chamber and orchestral music, reading, spending lots of time outdoors and traveling, most of these things with her best friend and husband, Hal.
Executive Director, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association
Steve Baas has been the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association since 2021. For 16 years prior he served as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), lobbying on behalf of MMAC members at the state, federal, and local levels.
From 1994 to 2005, Baas served the state of Wisconsin under the Tommy Thompson Administration and served as the Communications Director for the Speaker of the State Assembly.
Messmer Catholic Schools
Mike Bartels is the Vice President of Administration at Messmer Catholic Schools. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from UW-Platteville and a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology from Cardinal Stritch University. Mike joined the Choice Schools Association board in 2015. Early on Mike recognized a need for an organization that supports schools by providing workshops that address best practices and practical discussions about important educational and administrative topics. When the Choice Schools Association merged with School Choice Wisconsin Action to create the Choice Schools Quality Committee Mike felt it was necessary that this important work continue. It is exciting to see the group come together, discuss topics that are important to the success of schools participating in Wisconsin’s school choice programs, and to provide meaningful support to administrators and teachers.
CEO, Lutheran High School Association of Greater Milwaukee
LOCATION: West Allis
Cole Braun has served as the CEO of The Lutheran High School Association of Greater Milwaukee (LHSAGM) since 2013. He has served on the Board of Directors for LUMIN and as the President of ALSS (The Association of Lutheran Secondary Schools). Cole received a Bachelor’s Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting from UW Whitewater and a Master’s degree in Executive Leadership and Strategic Planning from Michigan State University. Cole is currently working on his doctorate in Leadership, Innovation and Continuous Improvement at Concordia University – Wisconsin. His passion is to develop business plans and strategies to attain goals in accordance with the brand, mission, vision and core values of the three high schools in the Association. He has served on the LHSAGM’s Board of Directors, coached cross country, basketball and track at Lake Country Lutheran High School, and has been a strong supporter of Lutheran schools for over two decades. Before joining the LHSAGM Cole spent 25 years buying, selling, and turning around businesses in many different industries. Cole and his wife Jennifer have three adult sons Ross, Andrew and Craig. They also enjoy their three grandchildren; Duke, Ella and Leo.
President, Seton Catholic Schools
Brian Couch is the President and CEO of Seton Catholic Schools. He joined the Seton Family of Catholic Schools in 2019 to be part of a team creating a uniquely capable model for urban Catholic education that is critically important for economically disadvantaged students and their communities. Brian is passionate about Seton’s work to prepare students from a young age to know God’s love for them and in turn grow in love of God and others. He spent seven years before joining Seton as a development executive in Catholic higher education at the University of Notre Dame and Ave Maria University. The first twenty-five years of his career he worked in industry, primarily aviation, including executive business leadership roles with Honeywell, GE, Eclipse Aviation and Dana. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering. Brian and his wife Beth have five children and six grandchildren. They both enjoy time with family, travel, and are avid sports fans.
Executive Director, Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy (GHTCA)
Edward is currently the Executive Director of the Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy (GHTCA) in Milwaukee. Under Edward’s leadership, GHTCA transformed from a one-star to a four-star school in six years, earning him recognition as a Notable Minority by BizTimes in 2021. In 2022, he led GHTCA to purchase a vacant MPS building. This allowed GHTCA to relocate into a building where they can grow their program and in 2023 he earned a recognition as a Notable BIPOC Executive by BizTimes. Edward’s passion for education and equity has led him to serve on several nonprofit boards and to become one of the premiere inspirational speakers for schools, educational conferences, and universities nationwide.
President, GRACE School System
LOCATION: Green Bay
Kimberly Desotell has served as the President of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education school system (GRACE) since 2015. Under Kimberly’s leadership, GRACE’s system of nine pre-K-9th grade schools has experienced significant enrollment growth, strengthened parental engagement, advanced curricular offerings, and increased standardized test scores.
Before joining GRACE, Kimberly served as the Director of Development for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She has a lifetime of experience in public and private education, including experience as a principal, grade school teacher, administrator, consultant, and technology and training specialist.
Kimberly holds a Master of Science degree from Cardinal Stritch University in Administration and Instructional Leadership. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in education, with a minor in biology, from St. Mary’s College-Notre Dame.
President, Fox Valley Lutheran High School
Making a difference each day in those I serve.
Born and raised in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, I learned to have strong Christian morals. My parents raised my four siblings and I to work for what we have and don’t take anything for granted. After years of K-12 Christian education, I decided to pursue a teaching career of my own.
I graduated college from Martin Luther College and started my teaching career in a 1-room classroom in Nebraska as principal and teacher. Over the next 15 years, I served as principal and teacher in Salt Lake City, Omaha, and even started a school in Florida. The sights I saw were tremendous and the experiences at different schools was beneficial, but what stands out the most is the people I was able to serve and the students I had the privilege to impact.
Now, I have a much larger role as President of a Christian high school. We are a growing high school with 90 faculty and support staff and just over 700 students. We have projections that may see about 800 students in just the next 5 years. I am blessed to have this opportunity and challenge before me at this time.
None of this could happen without my family. My wife and five children have been supportive of the relocations and startups I have been part of in schools. Without their love and support, this ride called life would have been very different – and much less exciting. No one knows what the future holds, but I simply pray that each day I can be a positive influence on all those I serve as they continue to grow to become the leaders of the future!
President and Founder, Academy of Excellence
Randy Melchert is the President and Founder of Academy of Excellence. Randy holds a Master’s in Christian Thought with emphasis in Church History from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, a Master’s in Rhetoric and Public Address from Bob Jones University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin.
President, Open Sky Education
LOCATION: Milwaukee and Racine
Andrew is an educational entrepreneur driven to ensure all children in America have access to excellent learning opportunities which maximize their potential to fulfill Greater Purpose and live flourishing lives.
Committed to this mission, he began his career as a teacher serving students at the high school and college levels while finishing his Ph.D. in educational mathematics. In 2006, he joined Educational Enterprises and serves its Executive Chair/CEO working to support the team to advance its mission nationally by growing its school networks (HOPE Christian Schools and EAGLE public charter schools), Christian wraparound programs (Compass Educational Programs), and the Character Formation Project. In 2016, Educational Enterprises changed its name to Open Sky Education.
President, Shoreland Lutheran High School
Director of Finance & School Choice Administrator, Roncalli Catholic Schools
Retired, Siena Catholic Schools of Racine
Brenda White has spent over three decades in education leadership. She is the retired President of Siena Catholic Schools of Racine, a system of six schools that serves students in grades 3K -12. Brenda was an associate superintendent for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee before joining Siena Catholic Schools in 2017. From 1989 to 2008, Brenda served as principal for St. Margaret Mary School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Hills Middle School in Brookfield, and for Holy Apostles School in New Berlin.
Brenda holds a Master of Science degree in administrative leadership and an Education Specialist degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in education and special education from Central Michigan University.