Concordia University Wisconsin's School of Education annually recognizes outstanding Lutheran educators in conjunction with commencement celebrations.

The recipients of this year’s Master Educator Awards are Libby MacGillis of St. John’s Lutheran School in Plymouth, Wisconsin, and David Lane of Mayer Lutheran High School in Mayer, Minnesota.

The Master Educator Award recipients are chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Is presently serving at an LCMS affiliated school
  • Has taught at the appropriate level in an LCMS affiliated school for at least five years
  • Has exhibited dedication, excellence, and distinction in his/her service
  • Imparts a love for learning while inspiring students to serve in Lutheran education

Honorees receive an award and stipend of $1,000. In addition, the school where they serve also receives a $1,000 monetary gift.

Master Educator, Elementary: Libby MacGillis

Libby MacGillisLibby MacGillis teaches grades 5 through 8 at St. John’s Lutheran School in Plymouth, Wisconsin. In addition, she is also the assistant principal. That may seem like a lot, but for Libby, it’s just the start.

She has also served as the school’s athletic director; has coached volleyball, track, and softball; and coaches the school’s Scholastic Olympics team. She also serves on a wide variety of committees, sits on the Sheboygan Lutheran High Board of Directors, runs a yearly March Math Madness tournament, and coordinates an annual trip to take part in a Feed My Starving Children event.

That’s still not everything she does to serve her school, but it’s her work in the classroom that truly sets her apart.

Libby is receiving the Master Educator award for her excellence in teaching science and integrating the faith on a daily basis. An outstanding relationship builder, Libby excels in teaching science and motivating her students to be curious, critical-thinkers. As a trained facilitator in the Love and Logic program, she emphasizes love, empathy, and respect in the classroom. These characteristics, she says, are the way she models the love of Jesus for her students and her own family.

Libby and her husband Brian have three children: Jack, age 14, a freshman at Sheboygan Lutheran High School; Nate, age 11, in 6th grade at St. John’s; and Charlotte, age 9, a 4th grader at St. John’s.

In 2019 she was named the South Wisconsin District Elementary Educator of the Year, and was a finalist for the Kohl Educator Scholarship Award. In 2021, we honor her with the Master Educator Award for elementary education.

Master Educator, Secondary: David Lane

David Lane has had a long and distinguished career in teaching, with an emphasis on teaching mathematics, theology, and Christian leadership. He has served at Mayer Lutheran High School, in Mayer, Minnesota, for more than 40 years. He has also coached basketball and football, serving as head baseball coach for nearly 40 years. He was inducted into the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016.

During his time at Mayer Lutheran, as he excelled in both the classroom and in the dugout, Dave has been much more than a teacher and coach. His faith is always at the forefront of everything he does, such as leading annual mission trips to Mexico. In doing so, he has influenced the lives of countless students, not to mention the thousands who learned about Christ and whose lives have been improved through the work of his teams.

Dave has been married to Debra for 39 years, and they have raised four children together: The Rev. Matt Lane, Katie Lutz, the Rev. Marcus Lane, and Ryan Lane. Dave and Debra are also blessed to have eight grandchildren … so far. And did we mention that Katie and Marcus are both graduates of CUW? In all of his roles—husband, father, teacher, coach, church member, and more—Dave lives his life in a way that always reflects the light of Christ and serves as an example for others to follow.

“His life and Christian leadership have been exemplary throughout the years and touched the lives of thousands,” notes Dr. Val Keiper, Professor of Education at CUW. “His living testimony of Jesus as our Lord and Savior is exactly what this world needs more of on a daily basis.”

For more information on CUW’s School of Education, visit

— This story is written by Mike Zimmerman, corporate communications manager for Concordia University Wisconsin. He may be reached at or 262-243-4380.

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