Kristen Nelson-McKenzie was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She attended Milwaukee Public Schools. At Concordia-Milwaukee, she met Patrick McKenzie, a pre-seminary student. They married in 1980 and have three sons: Sean, Kyle, and Ryan. Through the years, they have taken in other teens that needed a home and parenting.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and Secondary Education from Valparaiso University, a Master of Religious Education from Bethany Seminary, a Master of Arts in School Administration and Curriculum from Concordia-Chicago. Her doctoral degree from American focused her studies on the emotional components of the learning environment. She, along with Pastor Pat, work with schools and congregations as human behavior consultants helping Christians understand each other better. Kristen has also worked as a paramedic in pre-hospital medicine in Illinois, and taught Advanced Cardiac Life Support courses for the Heart Association. She presently is finishing another Master’s program in Instructional Technology through the MTM program at Concordia-Wisconsin.
Kris and Pat have served several congregations and schools throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York. They now reside in Jacksonville where “Pastor Pat” will be assisting Hope Lutheran as their pastor and “Dr. Kristen” will be serving as Principal of our day school at Grace.
Kristen loves all kinds of art and music. She enjoys sports and has coached volleyball. She is not quiet watching from the stands! She is a Chicago Bears fan despite her Wisconsin upbringing, and she cheers for the New York Yankees. She loves animals, star gazing, and anything science.