Crean Lutheran High School Proclaiming Jesus Christ through Excellence in Education

Skip to main content
Mobile Menu
WELCOME TO CREAN LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL!  CLHS is "Decidedly Christian & Distinctively Excellent!" and is WASC accredited!  Our Mission is PROCLAIMING JESUS CHRIST THROUGH EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION!   2011-12 CLSHS Theme Verse - "We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."  Ephesians 2:10
Apply Now
About Us > HIS-story at CLHS

HIS-story at CLHS

By God's Grace:
A HIS-story of Crean Lutheran High School
No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor mind imagined the wonders God has in store
for those who love Him. I Corinthians 2:9
  • April 9 Following conversations between Ken Ellwein, Executive Director of Orange Lutheran High School and Bill Bartlett, Pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Laguna Hills (south Orange County), an initial "Interest Meeting" is held in South Orange County - at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Laguna Hills, CA. Eight were in attendance. Interest is expressed, but no concrete action results.


  • April 20 After the sale of the 4000 acre El Toro Marine Base to Lennar Homes, it becomes apparent to many that never again in So. Calif. history will 4000 acres be open for development.  Therefore, the second round of interest meetings begins - with overwhelmingly large responses. Meeting #1 at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Tuesday, April 20. Invited participants included: Dan Olson, Donna Bussey, Kathy Hutchins, Leann Karr, Rick Needham, Mike Allen, David Walters, Jeff Blaalid, Larry Schuler, Cindy Bartlett, and Bill Bartlett.
  • John & Donna Crean donate $350,000 as seed money for a Lutheran high school in south Orange County.
  • July 27, Seven Directors are appointed by the ad hoc community interested in the establishment of a Lutheran high school in south Orange County: Donna Bussey, Ken Ellwein, Rachel Klitzing, Rick Needham, Jack Preus, Carolyn Sims, Bill Bartlett.
  • August 31 Initial Governing Board is appointed: Janie Andrich, Donna Bussey, Ken Ellwein, Alan Feddersen, Bill Hemenway, Rachel Klitzing, Rick Needham, Jack Preus, Tom Rogers, Carolyn Sims, Dave Velasquez, Rob Warren, Bill Bartlett.

  • October 28 Mission and Vision Statements are drafted by Dave Velasquez and Rob Warren. They are adopted by the Governing Board.


  • January 27 Officers are elected: President Rick Needham, Vice-President Bill Hemenway, Secretary Carolyn Sims, Treasurer Donna Bussey
  • February 22 Rick Needham reports on conversations with Lennar Homes, after they purchased the 4000 acre former El Toro Marine Base. Rick begins preparing a "letter of Intent" as he continued dialog with Lennar.
  • April 5 Meet with Capital Funding Services (LCEF) to discuss a capital funding feasibility study.
  • May Pastor Bill Bartlett is hired as Executive Director.
  • June The board takes a field trip looking at about 10 possible sites in south Orange County.
  • November 14 Lutheran South High - Orange County incorporates as a non-profit California corporation


  • July 15 First Annual Corporation Meeting. Jim Hale, Loren Kramer, and Ray Veldman are elected to our Board.
  • August 31 St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church's brand new, 2-story, 31,000 sf classroom building is proposed as an interim site for LHS-OC.   LHS-OC announces that it will open for classes for the 2007-2008 academic year.
  • October 4 Board contracts with Kairos for is first Capital Funding Appeal.
  • October 26 Board recommends name change from LHS-OC (same initials as Lutheran High School of Orange County), to Lutheran South High School. Board meets Mr. Jeffrey Beavers, candidate for principal, for the first time.
  • November Jeffrey Beavers is Called as Founding Principal


  • January Brian Underwood is hired as Assistant Principal (Admissions, Athletic Director, Marketing) Gina Hylton is hired as Office Administrator.
  • February After interviewing 12 architectural firms, LPA is hired as CLS's architect.
  • April The John and Donna Crean Foundation pledge $10 million to Lutheran South High School.
  • March-July After approximately 150 interviews, CLS's inaugural teaching and coaching staff are contracted:

    Rob Blaney, Music and Performing Arts teacher-pt

    Tim Brink, Coach-Cross Country (girls and boys)-pt

    Carl Butz, Dir. Of Informational & Instructional Technology

    Steve Hobus, science

    Rhonda Jackson, Coach-boys & girls volleyball-pt

    Danica Kooiman, Coach-Cross Country (girls and boys)-pt

    Monica Lara, Learning Success and Spanish teacher

    Bethany Lepe, History, French, English teacher

    Jeannie Mooney, Visual Art-pt

    Janet Mowry, math

    Eric Olson, health and life, volleyball coach (girls and boys)

    Dave Sleighter, Coach boys basketball-pt

    Conni Schramm, theology and English

    Kelci Walker, Coach girls basketball-pt

  • May Acknowledging John and Donna's generosity and Christian commitments to Lutheran education, tithing, self-perception of being "blessed to be a blessing," entrepreneurial and fair business ethic, and making a difference in the community, Lutheran South High School changes its name to Crean Lutheran High School.
  • After interviewing 12 contracting firms, McCarthy is hired as CLS's builder.
  • Bill Godbey is hired as part-time Owner's Representative for phase one of our building project.
  • July 16 Second Annual Corporation Meeting. The following new board members are elected: Frank Beniche, Bart McHenry, John Randall, Marlin Schulz.
  • August 26 First inaugural Convocation Worship Celebration is held at St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church. Approximately 350-400 people in attendance.

August 28 2007-2008 Inaugural Academic Year
  • A full academic and extracurricular program engaged the 100 students, families, and staff of Crean Lutheran.
  • Distinctive during our inaugural year included:
    • Wireless campus, laptop school.  All the students were furnished with laptops; our books all had companion CDs, so the students did not need to carry their heavy books to and from school.
    • Through a value-added relationship with the Princeton Review and our own Jeremiah 29 Student Personal Profile Planning Page, our students, from their freshmen year on, are active in their college planning.
    • All of our first year athletic programs were successful:  Cross Country, Volleyball, Basketball, and Track and Field.
    • An innovative collaboration with Concordia University and the community was designed, named, and launched -- C4PBI (Crean-Concordia-Community Collaboration Project Based Initiatives) for real world, local/global, project based learning.
    • The securing of two letters of intent for two local parcels of land which, God-willing, will become CLS's permanent campus in the 2010 year.
    • The year culminated with the joyous announcement that WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges -- the accrediting agency of the western United States for public and private schools) granted Crean Lutheran South FULL, THREE YEAR accreditation.  This is unheard of in the educational world, and at the same time testimony to the excellence of Lutheran schools and our motto: "Decidedly Christian!  Distinctively Excellent!"

2008-2009 Academic School Year
  • CLS's second academic year anticipates 200+ students -- 100 incoming freshmen, 70 continuing sophomores, and 30 continuing juniors.  Additions to the CLS experience for our second academic year include:
    • The addition of several sports:  soccer, baseball, golf, tennis, competitive cheer.
    • The addition of several music and drama opportunities with the full-time employment of Mr. Rob Blaney.
    • A pilot online course (New Testament 201) -- which, God-willing, will pave the way for a number of other language-based online course offerings which will enhance CLS's academic and 21st century education.
    • The Opening of our International Department with over 20 students.
    • Student and Staff mentoring program.
  • Aug. 26, 2008 CLS started its second academic year with 205 students.
  • Nov. 29, 2008 Junior, Alexandra Sciarra, became the first "ALL STATE" CLS athlete by taking 9th in the State High School Cross Country Championships in Fresno, CA, with a time of 19:42 for a 5K race.  Alli posted the fasted time for any Div. 5 runner in OC.
  • Dec. 2, 2008 The Girls' Basketball Team, coached by Mrs. Kelsi Walker, won CLS's FIRST EVER Varsity game by beating Tarbut H.S., 42 to 36,  on Monday, Nov. 1.
  • Feb. 19, 2009 Girls' Basketball plays CLS's first post-season CIF Tournament Play against Saddleback Valley High School.

2009-2010 Academic Year
  • CLS's third academic year anticipates approximately 100 incoming freshmen, 100 sophomores, 70 juniors, and 40 seniors. Additions to our CLS experience for this coming year include:
  1. A projected student body of 316 students in 2009-10 places Crean Lutheran's enrollment 33 percent higher than last year and in the top ten percent of enrollment for all Lutheran high schools across the United States - in Year Three...
  2. In support of its ongoing commitment to small class sizes and to offering high quality student services, CLS has hired 11 new faculty and staff members for the 09-10 school year...
  3. Crean Lutheran is excited to add additional student services by welcoming our first full-time credentialed counselor to our faculty. Students will now be supported by three credentialed counselors in 2009-10...
  4. CLS is thrilled to educate its first senior class next year, accompanied by all the social accouterments that come with seniority, such as class rings, grad night, a senior retreat, senior prom, and more...
  5. In the fall, CLS will launch an educational partnership with Irvine Valley College to offer UC / CSU transferable college courses on the CLS campus as part of its Early College Courses. Dual credit courses will include college level - Chemistry, Biology, American Government & Economics, and US History...
  6. To complement the Early College Courses, CLS will continue to grow its Advanced Placement program. In 2009-10, CLS will offer AP Calculus, AP English Literature, and AP World History, along with a host of additional honors courses...
  7. CLS’s entire academic program will be hosted on Moodle, a collegiate web-based course management system used by Stanford and many University of California schools...
  8. Beginning next year, Crean Lutheran will employ three faculty members in the Visual & Performing Arts area. Together, they will support a dozen course offerings for students interested in the arts...
  9. Crean Lutheran will begin competing in the Academy League in 16 varsity sports, including the first varsity football team and the first softball team in school history...
  10. Saints Athletics will welcome its first full-time, certified athletic trainer and its first certified strength & conditioning coach as part of a multi-year plan to advance the school's training and conditioning resources to the upper echelon in Orange County. As part of this initiative, CLS will be investing sufficient resources this summer to purchase strength & conditioning equipment to create the school's own on-campus strength & conditioning facility.
February 2010
  • By God's grace, financing is approved -- in a three way loan with Lutheran Church Extension Fund, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and Farmers & Merchants Bank.
March 3, 2010
  • Closed on land purchase of 17 acres at Sand Canyon & Portola Parkway -- with an option to buy an additional nearby 11acres - with a lease to use during the option.
March 7, 2010
  • Ground-Blessing -Breaking Festivities at the New Site -- Sand Canyon and Portola Parkway, Irvine.
June 19, 2010
  • Graduation of First Senior Class

2010-2011 Academic Year
  • Start of 4th Academic Year, approx. 450 students.
November 6, 2010
  • Moved onto our permanent campus!  "Thus far the Lord has brought us!"  I Samuel 7:12.  The campus includes the following:  
...18 acres on Sand Canyon, with 12 additional acres currently leased with a 5-year purchase option;
...a 34,000 sf Academic & Administrative Classroom Building, which includes 22 classrooms, a conference room, all WIFI, offices, a 2-story lobby, and support rooms.
...a 20,000 sf Event Center which includes a large gym - sufficient for not only feature basketball court and volleyball court, but also sideways orientation for 2 basketball courts and 3 volleyball courts; a dance room, a band room, a choir room, a lunch serving room, 2 locker rooms, a training room.  The Event Center has theater lights, a PA system, scoreboards, and video projectors.
June 11, 2011
  • Graduation of First full 4-year Class -- 80 graduates.
July, 2011
  • Completion of Track & Field -- 9-lane, Atlas artificial track; natural turf field, full complement of track facilities including hurdles, high jump, long jump, pole vault, shot, discus, etc.

2011- 2012 Academic Year

August 29, 2011
  • Start of 5th Academic Year, approx. 550 students.
September 2, 2011
  • First home football game in our own stadium!  Crean Lutheran 36, Silver Valley 6!  First win on home field!
February, 2012
  • Crean Lutheran High School received a 6-year WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation term (the longest term granted by WASC).

  • CLHS Servant Leadership Team (SLT) received the Outstanding Activities Program Award from the California Association of Directors of Activities/California Association of Student Leaders (CADA/CASL) for the 2011-2012 school year
February, 2012
  • Graduation - 114 students!

2012-13, 6th Academic Year
August 28, 2012

  • 6th Academic Year: 605 students!

September 2012

  • Crean Lutheran was nominated as an "Exemplary School" by the National Lutheran School Accreditation association (NLSA). This is a great honor -- and responsibility. Out of just over 1,000 Lutheran schools across our nation, we are among a very few being singled out in the category of "Exemplary School."


Our Lord’s Fingerprints Are All Over This Ministry!

Then Samuel took a stone. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12

O LORD, You are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.  Isaiah 64:8

1. $350,000 start-up grant from Creans in 2004.

2. Board of Directors – all the needed permission givers.

3. St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church brand new school facility for 3 years.

4. Crean gift of $10 million (amount –sufficiency, and timing).

5. Staffing – first year, second year, third year, and fourth year. Excellent and faithful to Christ teachers, administrators, and coaches.

6. Crean Lutheran received full, three year, Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation in its inaugural year.

7. Community partnerships: Concordia University, Irvine Valley College, Novaquatics.

8. Real estate market – enabling us to purchase a great site – centrally located, easily accessible.  (If we had bought earlier, we could not have afforded as much acreage.)

9. Another needed anonymous multi-million dollar donation.

10. Due to TIC’s desire to keep project to 2 stories, they donated .8 acres.

11. Financing – in this economically depressed market through Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), Thrivent, and Farmers & Merchants.

12. Option on second nearby 11 acre parcel of land for ball fields – at a good price.

13. Great time to get bids for construction (better than when we began the project).

14. Assessment District was lowered, saving us $150,000 to $200,000 per year.

15. $950,000 savings from phase 1 became available, opening the door for track & field, & practice ball fields.

16. St. John Neumann Catholic Church, being a block away and having sufficient additional classrooms and sanct. Space.

17. 2011-12 enrollment of over 500, placing CLHS among the top 7 largest Lutheran high schools in the nation.

18. Ability to pay off Assessment District $1.2m to reduce annual operating line item by $350,000/yr.

19. Matching challenge donation of $250,000 if we raise $250,000 for a total of $500,000 (was 3 to 1, lowered to 2 to 1) for completion of athletic venues – and the response of other donors to meet that match.

20. A bequest of $160,000 from Saint Roy Uecker.

21. January, 2012:  WASC accreditation - 6 year term.

22. Fall, 2012:  Nominated as an Exemplary School by the National Lutheran School Association.

23. Expansion of academic program to include 17 AP courses and 13 ECP (early college program) dual-credit (high school and UC approved college) courses.

24. The Lord brought wonderful new faculty and staff (Christian disciples with a passion for excellence worthy of our Lord) to the Saints team.

25. 2012:  By God's grace, CLHS won its first two league championships:  Swimming and Diving - Spring, 2012; Cross Country - Fall, 2012.