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Meet Jim Handrich!

Jim Handrich, a CUEM Board Member since 2007, is one of our premiere recruiters. Jim has inspired and recruited teachers through CUEM for decades. He is now retired and joins in our work from his home in Florida.

What are you most proud of as a Board member?


I’m proud of the clarity of the CUEM mission – “to relentlessly strengthen urban education.”  Furthermore, I’m proud that we effectively live that out in three critical areas that we call “the 3 R’s”: Recruitment – developing and finding teachers and leaders to serve in urban faith-based schools; Resources –providing educational resources that help those who serve to be effective teachers and leaders. And since the Center is national, we are a connector for those who have a passion to serve and support urban faith-based ministries throughout the US. And lastly is Recognition – recognizing leaders and educators whose vocation calls them to serve in urban education.  We want these individuals to know that their efforts and work are important, noticed and appreciated as they make a critical difference in their urban communities.

Why are you serving on the Board for CUEM?


When I was growing up in Iowa and Wisconsin, I attended Lutheran grade schools and Milwaukee Lutheran High School. My dad was principal of Bethlehem Lutheran, an urban faith-based school in Milwaukee. I received a good education and my faith grew from that opportunity. I received a scholarship to attend Concordia University – Chicago and my first call was to St. Matthew in Manhattan (NYC), one of the oldest Lutheran schools in the US. After teaching for seven years, I accepted a call to be principal at Our Saviour Lutheran, a K-12 school in the Bronx. Those schools in New York City, where I served for 18 years, were amazing, and I know they made a difference in the lives of students, families and also for those of us who were called to teach there.I finished my teaching ministry as an educator at Hong Kong International School, also a faith-based Lutheran school in a very urban city. My history and heart as an educator, all 42 years in urban, faith-based education, explains why I serve on the CUEM Board. I know from experience, whether in Milwaukee, the Bronx or Hong Kong, the difference that Lutheran schools have made and can make in urban settings. It’s painful and sad to see them close in urban areas, mostly for financial reasons, when they are so needed to provide both educational and spiritual support to urban children and families. I serve on the Center Board to “relentlessly strengthen faith-based urban education,” because I believe that, as a teaching minister, I am called to that service, and I know and believe in the difference that these faith-based ministries make in urban areas.

What excites you about the Center and 2021?


I’m excited about the quality of our Board and their commitment to our ministry.  I’m happy that our learning opportunities for urban educators are available nationally and are free for those who sign up and participate.  Our first recognition event for urban educators was in Wisconsin and in 2021 we are planning two other recognition events in New York and California.  I’m grateful that we’re starting to see an increase in funding and support for the critical work we are doing.  People are increasingly realizing that faith-based education in our cities adds and important, necessary ingredient to the health and well-being of urban communities.  I’m excited to support that with the blessings God has given me in time, talent and treasure.   

Ready to make a difference?


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