The executive director of Concordia Language Villages, a program of Concordia College, manages a team of leaders who hold responsibility for the program and support divisions of the Language Villages. The leadership team sets strategic direction and is charged with all day-to-day program, financial and business operations for Concordia Language Villages. In addition, the leaders maintain program and curriculum development that upholds the mission of the Villages and its educational philosophy, as well as hires and trains all program leadership to abide by these principles.
Christine Schulze is the executive director for Concordia Language Villages. She has served as the top executive of Concordia Language Villages since 1989, and has been on staff for 40 years. During that time, she has been responsible for growing the Villages into a complex networked organization with an annual operating budget of about $12 million, serving 10,500 participants from across the United States and over 30 countries. She is a past dean of the French Language Village; initiated French Les Voyageur, an innovative language immersion program in a wilderness setting; and has led teacher trainings and abroad sessions.
Christine has been a keynote speaker on global citizenship skills, language and cultural immersion techniques and creative management techniques in a not-for-profit environment. She is the chair emeritus of the board for the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange in Washington, D.C., an organization which promotes federal policies that support and advance international exchange in all its dimensions. She collaborated with the Department of State to launch an Arabic Language Village in 2006. She currently sits on the advisory board for the Center for Advanced Research in Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota. She earned a J.D. from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. She is fluent in French, and has studied German and Spanish.
Martin Graefe is the senior group director of Concordia Language Villages. He has been on staff at Concordia Language Villages for 27 years, being introduced to the Villages via weekend programs for school groups, including eight years as director for year-round programs and 10 years as the associate director for operations. In recent years, he has focused on new program development, specifically for pre-K and day camp programs as well as language and cultural immersion training for professional development, the latter targeting the global business community and government agencies. He is a native of Germany and has studied French. Graefe received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D., and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Since joining the Villages, he has been involved with Rotary International and the American Camp Association, occasionally presenting at its national conference.
Mark Chen is a group director with Concordia Language Villages. He has extensive experience in teacher development and educational management. Before joining CLV full-time in the role of group director in November 2015, he was director of the new-teacher professional development program at San Dieguito Union High School District in Encinitas, CA. He also acted as a supervisor of student teaching at California State University in San Marcos, CA. Chen holds a BA in multiple foreign languages (a self-designed degree comprised of Spanish, Japanese and Russian studies) from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and an MA in foreign language education from the Ohio State University. He has taught Japanese and Spanish from kindergarten to undergraduate levels for more than 25 years. Chen has been on staff at CLV for 12 years, and is a former dean of the Japanese Language Village.
Jennifer Speir-Hearn is a group director for French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish Language Communities with Concordia Language Villages. She has been on staff at Concordia Language Villages for 29 years, and prior to her current group director role was dean of Lac du Bois, the French Language Village.
She is fluent in French and has studied Spanish. Jennifer earned her bachelor's degree in French, with a minor in music, from Middlebury College, Vermont. She completed her master's degree in teaching French at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and studied at Université de Caen, in France. She has spent 20 years teaching French in elementary schools, as well as eight years in middle, high school and college-level classes.
Warren Schulze is director of operations. He oversees all of our facilities management, construction projects, site rentals, distribution center, food service and retail operations. He has been on staff for 11 years.
Warren is a former business law attorney and entrepreneur who has also worked as an independent artist and furniture maker. He is a Concordia College graduate with B.A. degrees in Business Administration and Communications. He earned his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota.
David Manning is the associate director for finance. He has been with the Villages finance office since January 2013, and has been the parent of villagers for many years prior. He is a native of Fergus Falls, Minn., earning his B.A. from Concordia College in Business and Health Care Administration, and his master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the Villages, he served as a consultant and manager in various public accounting and health care organizations. David is a Certified Public Accountant in Minnesota and a Chartered Global Management Accountant through the AICPA. David is actively involved with Rotary International and has traveled globally with service and academic teams.