The Center for Urban Education Ministries (CUEM) began as the dream of a few dedicated urban educators and philanthropists seeking to support those involved in urban ministry. Charles and Mary Gundelach, Les Bayer, Richard Engebrecht, and Mel Kieschnick were instrumental  in the establishment of the Center at Concordia University, Bronxville, NY in the fall of 1980. For over 20 years, the Center provided resources through workshops and print resources for urban Lutheran educators throughout the U.S. 


In early 2000, CUEM found its home at Wheat Ridge Ministries and later as a ministry of Lutheran Social Services of New York. 


2018 saw the Center for Urban Education Ministries reborn with a fresh mission and unwavering focus. CUEM is now a separate non-profit organization (501c3) located at Concordia University Wisconsin. It mission is clear - to "relentlessly strengthen urban education". The focus areas serve to be impactful: Recruitment, Resources, and Recognition.













Dr. Steve Gerner is a university dean, professor, educational strategist, author, and driven leader passionate about urban school success. 


Lifelong learning is necessary to navigate through the constant changes and challenges that surround education. Dr. Gerner holds a state teaching license and administrator's license.

He has created and taught numerous university courses that include, "Diversity in the Classroom", "Human Learning and Motivation", "Analysis of Classroom Practice", and "Human Relations for Teachers". Leadership involves courage, passion, knowledge, and effective communication. Dr. Gerner's leadership embraced these skills as a school administrator, university department chair, executive director of an institute, and university dean. Research-based publications and presentations are given monthly on education topics such as student success, city challenges, recruitment, funding, teacher quality, student engagement, marketing, and innovation. Superhero Educator: How to Teach with Superior Skills and Success has been wildly popular with educational stakeholders. Raising funds and awareness is an imperative for any organization. Dr. Gerner's creativity and persistence has resulted in great success to champion urban education, mental health, and educational innovations. Innovation is extremely important to add value, stay relevant, foster excitement, and secure funding. Training programs, continual improvement models, success metrics, data dashboards, active coaching, and impact projects are just a few of the innovative approaches to improving urban education that were developed by Dr. Gerner. Daily, he looks to ways to "relentlessly strengthen urban education".