Nominees for the 2024 Charles A. Winterstein Administrator of the Year award should meet the following criteria…
- Shows an understanding of how serving students who require additional academic assistance helps our schools achieve Jesus’ call for us through the Great Commission
- Currently serves as the administrator of a Christian elementary or secondary school (nominees are not required to be in a school with an LSEM partnership) or in a regional/national administrative capacity serving Christian schools
- Demonstrates a commitment to meeting the needs of all learners within the school community
- Actively working to create an academically inclusive environment within the school community
- Develops a school culture where students with academic needs feel safe and supported by their teachers and classmates
- Advocates for the needs of students with learning disabilities
- Builds relationships within the LCMS and the local community that benefit the learning environment of the school
- Provides the necessary resources and training to empower the teachers and staff to serve their students utilizing best practices
To be considered for this award, a nominee must have at least 3 nominations. One must be from an educator/staff member at the school. The second must be from a school parent. The third can be from any educator, staff member, or parent. Nominations should be no longer than 500 words and must be submitted to LSEM before the nomination deadline.
Thomas Wrege Wins 1st Charles A. Winterstein Administrator of the Year Award
Thomas Wrege, principal of Zion Lutheran School in Walburg, Texas, has been named the winner of the first annual 2023 Charles A. Winterstein Administrator of the Year. Presented by Lutheran Special Education Ministries, the award is designed to recognize the efforts of principals in Christian schools who demonstrate a commitment to meeting the needs of students with learning differences in their school.
Wrege, who originally hails from North Tonawanda, New York, enlisted in the United States Air Force out of high school. He served our country for four years as a nuclear and conventional munitions expert of both the B-52 and F-4 aircraft, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. After being honorably discharged, Tom earned his bachelor’s degree from Concordia University, Nebraska in 1985, and a master’s degree from Butler University in Indianapolis in 1989. He is currently pursuing a doctorate from Concordia University, Wisconsin.
Tom was named a 2013 winner of the National Distinguished Principal Award, presented annually by the United States Department of Education. He was also a finalist for the Texas District (LCMS) Educator of the Year in 2021.
Tom has been a Lutheran educator for thirty-eight years, serving schools in Kansas, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, and Texas. For twenty-three of those years, Tom has served as principal. Over the years, Tom has worked hard to grow in his abilities as he served God through his schools and is well respected among his peers throughout the Missouri Synod. An outstanding leader, Tom was named a 2013 winner of the National Distinguished Principal Award, presented annually by the United States Department of Education. He was also a finalist for the Texas District (LCMS) Educator of the Year in 2021.
Tom was commended by the people who nominated him for the Winterstein Award for providing a standard of leadership and a vision to the school community that placed a premium upon inclusion for students with learning differences. This emphasis was noted by one of Tom’s nominators who wrote, “Mr. Wrege is a champion of students with learning disabilities. He works with parents who are looking to place their student with learning needs at Zion into a community of warmth, love, and acceptance.”
Tom, along with his wife Keven, will receive the award on June 15, 2023, at the Lutheran Special Education Ministries 150th Anniversary Banquet in Detroit. The award is named after Charles Winterstein, a distinguished educational leader who served within Lutheran K-12 schools and universities as well as at the district and national level. Chuck was a friend and mentor to many who serve in Lutheran schools today, as well as a staunch supporter of the ministry work of LSEM.