Nicole has worked in education for the past 10 years as teacher, middle school lead teacher, instructional coach, and director of curriculum and assessment. She is most proud of her six years in the classroom as an elementary school teacher, and considers herself a lifelong educator.
Nicole has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin and a M.S. in Educational Leadership from Alverno College – Milwaukee via the Burke Fellowship Program. Nicole currently holds a Wisconsin Lifetime Teaching License, Administrator (Principal) license and Director of Curriculum license. Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband, Ryan and children, Vera and Theo.
Renate Hougard, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Renate Hougard embarked on her journey with LUMIN Schools in 2006, following the merger of her previous workplace, Northwest Lutheran School, into the esteemed LUMIN School network. Renate has demonstrated exceptional proficiency in overseeing the financial operations of a rapidly expanding network of educational institutions. Renate, currently holding the esteemed position of Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, skillfully oversees a substantial budget of $12 million across six schools. With a keen eye for detail and a strategic mindset, Renate efficiently manages the crucial aspects of compliance.
Renate, a native of Germany, cultivated her expertise in the field of accounting through comprehensive training during her formative years. Renate embarked on her professional journey with a significant turning point when her husband, Don, a distinguished Lutheran pastor, received a compelling call that led to their relocation to Canada. The Hougard family relocated to Milwaukee in 1996 following a subsequent call, in order to fulfill their roles at Benediction Lutheran Church. Presently, Don assumes the position of pastor, while Renate actively contributes as a member of the Board of Stewardship and serves as the treasurer. Renate is a dedicated individual who, alongside her husband, has successfully raised three accomplished adult children.
Julieane Cook, Vice President & Chief Talent Officer
Dr. Julieane Cook is a lifelong learner who grew up in the Milwaukee area. She attended the University of Iowa and earned a BFA in Dance and BA in Elementary Education in 2006. After graduating, Julieane taught in Iowa and Illinois before returning to teach in Wisconsin. She received her Masters in Education from National-Louis University in Curriculum and Instruction in 2009 with an emphasis in Instructional Technology.
Julieane was named Principal of St. Martini Lutheran School in 2012 and remained in that position for 6 years. During that time, Julieane graduated as a Burke Fellow in the Alverno Leadership Program in May of 2016 with a Masters in Administrative Leadership. Julieane went on to serve as the Director of Teacher Development and Senior Director of Schools for the LUMIN Schools Network before being named Vice President and Chief Talent Officer in 2023.
Dr. Cook recently completed her Doctorate of Education degree at Alverno College with an emphasis in K-12 Leadership. Her dissertation researched leadership feedback systems and the impact of self-awareness on leadership effectiveness in schools.
She is using her learning to recruit and retain the top teaching talent in the area, develop professional development sessions, implement an effective coaching model, and mentor new teachers across the LUMIN Network. She believes strongly in servant leadership, team collaboration and investment in teacher development as tools to impact each student at LUMIN Schools.
Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children while gardening, carpooling, fishing, and dancing.