Regional Leadership

Leslea Hartzke, administrative assistant, St. Louis region


Leslea supports the regional team by organizing staff and student files, coordinating meetings, supporting development and community relations initiatives, and maintaining compliance information. As a former founding teacher at EAGLE Fox Park, Leslea is well-equipped to support the EAGLE schools of St. Louis, as well as the families and children we serve.


Matt Hoehner, D.Min., executive director, St. Louis region


For the last four years, Matt has served as executive director of Open Sky Education’s St. Louis region. In this role, Matt is leading the development of a region of high performing EAGLE public charter schools and Compass Educational Programs in St. Louis.  Since 2013, three EAGLE schools have been established with a fourth school scheduled to open in 2017. Matt also works with the Character Formation Project, serving schools and organizations across the nation and the world.

Matt has served in church leadership as a pastor for fourteen years. He graduated from Concordia University, River Forest in 1998.  He then went on to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he received a Master of Divinity, a Master of Sacred Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry in Cross-Cultural Leadership. There he served as an adjunct instructor for nine years. He also served as an adjunct instructor with Concordia University Wisconsin in St. Louis.  In addition, Matt has served on national youth boards and urban leadership teams.

Steven Inman, M.B.A., executive director, Arizona region


With a long-held passion for excellence in education, Steve’s professional career is a blend of business and educational experiences. In his role as executive director, he is responsible for leading the growth and development of EAGLE College Preparatory Schools and Compass Educational Programs in the Arizona region.

Steve previously gained successive managerial experience in marketing, revenue management, and revenue accounting roles. These roles provided him with substantial executive level leadership and management experience in rapidly changing and growing organizations. Concurrently, he authored the supplementary teaching materials for a college retailing textbook on three editions.

Before his transition into business, Steve taught social studies, coached track and field, and helped found a community service club at Glendale High School in Arizona.

Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Arizona State University and received his master of business administration degree from Texas Christian University.

Melanie Johnson, community relations director, Wisconsin region


Melanie supports the regional team, leading student recruitment, marketing, communications and the building of community relationships across Milwaukee and Racine.

Melanie taught special education as a corps member with Teach For America in Charlotte, NC. During her time in Charlotte, Melanie orchestrated her school’s first annual trip to Washington, D.C. for 68 fifth graders and was a coach for Girls on the Run. Melanie believes deeply that all children, regardless of zip code, deserve an excellent education.

Melanie received her master’s degree in nonprofit management and leadership from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and her bachelor’s degree in community leadership and nonprofit management form the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

Amber Kraus, community relations director, St. Louis region

Amber Kraus

Amber’s responsibilities include student recruitment, meeting enrollment targets, and building community relationships for the St. Louis region.

Amber has taught elementary school in urban communities in Rockford, Illinois and Denver, Colorado.  She has been the site coordinator and head coach for Girls on the Run, Inc. at two schools.  Amber has a passion for urban education and believes strongly that all children should receive high-quality learning experiences.

Amber received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and an elementary teaching certificate from Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, completed her master’s degree in administrative leadership and policy studies with a principal’s license from the University of Colorado- Denver.

Zach Verriden, Ed.M., executive director, Wisconsin region


Zach comes to the role of executive director after having served as National Director of People Development and principal of HOPE Christian High School. In his time as principal, the HOPE team increased their student’s ACT average to outperform the city, state and national averages for African-American students and achieved 100% college acceptance in each of those three years (a first in the city of Milwaukee). Furthermore, overall EXPLORE/PLAN/ACT averages during Zach’s tenure with the high school demonstrated more than two points annual growth and this amount of growth led the way among the Schools That Can-Milwaukee cohort of high-performing urban high schools in the city. Zach attributes this achievement to the outstanding team of dedicated professionals at the high school.

In addition to the work of the HOPE team at the high school, Zach has also been instrumental in the creation of the Leading With HOPE internal leadership development series, in addition to The IMPACT Series external leadership development series. Zach also teaches a graduate level class on frameworks for curriculum development at Alverno College.

Prior to joining HOPE, Zach worked in multiple roles with Teach For America-New Jersey and YES Prep Public Charter Schools in Houston where he also earned his business certificate from the Rice University Jones School of Business. Zach has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he was recently awarded the Distinguished Recent Alumni Award, and a master’s degree in education policy and management from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Mary Lou Rogers, director, Compass Educational Programs, Arizona region

Mary Lou leads the Arizona region’s four Compass Preschools as well as Compass Before- and After-School Care Programs.

Mary Lou began her career as a paralegal in the insurance industry in Houston, TX and changed course when she discovered an unexpected passion for education. Having teaching experience in grades Pre K through 12, she entered administration as a Founding Principal of a Christian school in Massachusetts and then served in Phoenix, AZ as a Preschool Director and Elementary Principal.

Mary Lou has an associate’s degree in paralegal studies from Beal College in Bangor, ME, a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Western Governors University, Salt Lake City, UT. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ.