About » Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Shaun Luehring, President & Chief Executive Officer
Shaun Luehring
Shaun Luehring became President & CEO of LUMIN Schools on January 1, 2019, overseeing more than 150 employees and 1,300 students at six Lutheran schools that serve primarily low-income, minority children in Wisconsin and Indiana. He was hired by LUMIN Schools in 2015 to create a network-wide academic infrastructure that established consistency in school cultures, instructional practices and leadership development. In his first three years of service, standardized test scores increased an average of 27 percent across all LUMIN Schools with its Wisconsin-based schools earning ratings of Exceeds Expectations or Significantly Exceeds Expectations by the Department of Public Instruction.
Before joining the LUMIN leadership team, Shaun spent 16 years serving Lutheran schools as a principal, teacher and executive, specializing in school turnaround, leading change, and serving children and families in low-income urban areas. He led several Wisconsin schools through tumultuous times, most recently Atonement Lutheran, which was considered a failing school when Shaun became principal. Under Shaun's leadership, Atonement became the 2nd highest performing school of all 80/80 schools in Milwaukee, serving 80 percent low income and 80 percent African-American students. Test scores increased by 27 percent, and the student retention rate grew to 93 percent along with an attendance rate of 97 percent.
Shaun also spent five years in California as the principal of Apostles Lutheran School in San Jose where he focused on student enrollment, which increased 15 percent in one year. This role in particular enabled him to work closely with students and prospective families, developing his relationship-building skills that were an essential part of his school turnaround work later in his career.
Outside of his work at LUMIN, Shaun is an adjunct professor at Wisconsin Lutheran College and a leadership coach for the Center for Urban Teaching. He has served on the board of directors for Choice Schools Association and Grace Lutheran in Grenada, West Indies. He regularly serves as a keynote speaker at education-related events and conferences. He is also an active church member at Salem Lutheran in Milwaukee. Shaun and his three children live in Milwaukee.
Nicole Schmidt, Vice President & Chief Academic Officer
Nicole Schmidt
Nicole Schmidt is the Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for LUMIN Schools. She leads our network of schools to implement academic programs that lead to student success. Her primary role is supporting school leaders in executing the LUMIN model of curriculum, assessments and instructional practices.
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

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 

Julieane CookDr. 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.