The Ascension Lutheran School Board, with guidance from the Pastors, has the responsibility to oversee the operation of Ascension Lutheran School. The School Board is comprised of nine voting members elected by the congregation of Ascension Lutheran Church.
Pastor Julie McCain, Pastoral Liaison to the Board
Pastor Julie McCain came to Ascension Lutheran Church and School in April 2018 as the Children-Youth-Family Pastor. She is a graduate of California Lutheran University and Luther Seminary. Her background includes serving as a youth director role at River of Life Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, an intern pastorship at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Anchorage, Alaska, and, most recently, an associate pastorship at First Lutheran Church in Marshall, MN. Her work at Ascension encompasses both church and school.
Susan R. Hall, J.D., PhD, President
Susan and her family have been members of the Ascension Lutheran Church and School community since 2015. Susan is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP), where she has spent the last 15 years teaching master’s and doctoral students skills to become counselors, marriage and family therapists and clinical psychologists. Susan received her doctorate in clinical psychology and her law degree from the University of Arizona and did postdoctoral training at the Yale University Child Study Center. As members of the congregation, Susan and her family attend the Praise Alive service, enjoy the varied musical life of the church, and support its community outreach ministries. Susan actively participates in the One Ascension Green ministry and the school’s outdoor learning programs. Susan also served as a Parent Ambassador for the school in 2016-17. Susan’s family includes 7-year old son, Bryson, who attends Ascension and husband, Robert. As an educator, Susan has a passion for promoting 21st Century Education Skills in our students through collaborative socio-emotional, STEAM+, and inquiry- and project-based learning. She is excited to be a part of the School Board and helping to build innovative approaches to further the school’s mission.
Christi Labrenz, Past-President
Christi (Haverlah) Labrenz was born and raised in Santa Monica, CA. She and her family have been part of the Ascension community for many years. Her husband, Mark, is an Ascension Lutheran School graduate from the class of 1978. Her son, Mitch, graduated in 2009 and her daughter, Casey Joy, in 2012. Christi has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from California Lutheran University. She is currently a stay-at-home mother, but most recently enjoyed working for 10+ years in the finance department of Dole Food Company. Prior to that, she held various positions at Fortune 500 companies beginning with KPMG Peat Marwick immediately out of college. Christi loves photography and just about any kind of craft-making. “I look forward to contributing to the development of Ascension Lutheran School as it leaps into its second half-century,” said Christi, “and I can think of no better way to do that than collaborating with the diversity of backgrounds and expertise that inhabit the Ascension Lutheran School Board.”
Bryan Jones, Secretary
Bryan Jones has been a member of Ascension since 2013 and grew up as an active member of a Lutheran church. Bryan has been in the financial services industry for over 15 years. Since 2007, he has worked in retirement investment sales for PlanMember Securities, a securities broker dealer based in Carpinteria, CA. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from California Lutheran University and holds multiple industry licenses. His two children have attended Ascension Lutheran Early Childhood Center since the age of 4 months and the oldest is now in kindergarten at Ascension. Both he and his wife, Stephanie, enjoy being active volunteers on campus. Their family loves being outdoors together whether it’s a family bike ride, camping, gardening, swimming, playing sports or just spending time with family and friends. “Having both our children at ALECC and now one starting at the K-8 campus has been a blessing for our family,” said Bryan, “I’m excited to serve on the board and have a part in cultivating the special gift that this school is for the children that are here and for those that will come.”
Dave Harkins, Treasurer
Dave Harkins joined Ascension in 1995 after moving to Westlake Village from Hacienda Heights. Dave retired last year from American Financial Group, where he had served for 22 years as a senior underwriting officer. He had a total of 39 years in the commercial insurance industry after a five-year stint as a junior officer in the U.S. Army. At Ascension, Dave has worked on the Gifts of Hope campaign for several years. “It’s great to have time to devote to a worthy effort like serving on the school board of Ascension Lutheran School,” said Dave, “My wife was a Lutheran school teacher for many years and both my children enjoyed the benefits of a caring, faith-filled education at two Lutheran schools.”
Marcel Harner, Representative for Church Council
Marcel Harner is currently a school psychologist working with high school students. His past professional experience also includes working with high school students with learning and behavior disabilities and serving as a school psychologist at both the elementary and middle school levels. It is a great passion of his to help young people overcome challenges and find their way. He serves as a volunteer Second-Grade Sunday School Teacher here at Ascension. He has also worked with preschoolers in Awana Cubbies and Kidsquest. Marcel enjoys spending time with his family, reading, hiking, listening to U2 and following the Dodgers. He loves to travel and see new places. This past summer he traveled to Germany for the reformation tour. Marcel has a son and daughter who both attend Ascension Lutheran School, and he is glad to be contributing as a School Board member.
Kari Gravrock, Member
Kari Gravrock grew up in Northern California. She moved to Thousand Oaks to attend California Lutheran University. She graduated in 1998 with a major in English and a minor in Psychology. Kari taught preschool for over 10 years, including a couple years at ALECC. Now she owns her own business in the health and wellness industry with Arbonne. Here at Ascension, Kari is one of the directors of the Cherub Choir. She is also active in the Monday morning Women’s Bible Study and the Financial Peace classes. “I have three nephews who attended ALECC and are now in Kindergarten, First and Second grades here at Ascension,” said Kari, “They are having such positive experiences here. I am looking forward to being on the School Board. I love Ascension!”
Greg Korshavn, Member
Greg and his wife, Valinda, joined Ascension in 1989. During his years at Ascension, Greg has been involved in numerous ministries including school board member and chairman, church council, Joy of Giving, EIO committee, and a call committee member. In addition to his weekly Care Group meetings (the group has been meeting since 1990), Greg serves as a communion assistant and an offering counter. Greg has been a teacher at Westlake High School since 1982. His daughter, Shawna, attended Ascension Lutheran School from Preschool-8th Grade. When Shawna was in 8th grade here, he felt there was a need for an Honors Algebra class. One month into the school year, he began that class. What he thought was originally just a one-year commitment turned into nine years. He found working with the students in the Honors Algebra class to be a wonderful to end his teaching day. Having experienced first hand the amazing gift the school was for their own daughter, Greg looks forward to again contributing on the school board.
Julie Herder, Member
This is Julie Herder’s 28th year working in the field of elementary education. A graduate of California Lutheran University with a Masters from San Diego State University, Julie has extensive experience in both general and special education classrooms. She has found both classroom settings to be challenging and rewarding in varying ways, but most importantly, each has been a marvelous opportunity to work with students to develop lifelong social and learning habits that will help them achieve success. Since moving back to Thousand Oaks, she has worked the past 10 years at Cypress Elementary in Newbury Park. Along with countless hours as a teacher, Julie enjoys her work on the Alumni Board for California Lutheran University, yoga, and as much time with family and friends as possible. As an Ascension member, she volunteers as a counter, occasionally sells fair trade products, and is involved with the Matthew 25:35 team. This past summer, she was excited to participate in her first international Habitat Build with Thrivent in the country of Indonesia. As both an educator and a parent of a former Ascension student, Julie is excited to help shape the future of Ascension Lutheran School as a member of the School Board.
Jeff Nagel, Member
Jeff Nagel attended Ascension Lutheran School from 1st through 8th grade, along with his sisters and brother. He now feels fortunate to have his son attend this great school. Jeff, along with his wife and their two boys, are members of Ascension Lutheran Church, and he feels blessed to have both of his sons baptized here. Jeff works in private practice with his father as an orthodontist in both Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. He looks forward to working with the school board and to be a part of the relationship between school and church.
Shawn Wright, Member