In a unanimous vote, the Board of Directors for Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSS) approved a contract extension for current chief executive officer Dr. Kurt Senske at a quarterly board meeting held on Friday, May 13. Dr. Senske’s contract extension secures his position as CEO through the end of 2018. He has served in that capacity since 1997 and started with the agency in 1994. As chief executive, Senske led the growth of the 130-year-old agency to its current status as the largest provider of children’s services in Texas, broadened and diversified the senior services portfolio, and guided the successful conclusion of thousands of claims made by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike victims while strengthening fiscal agency health and improving the quality of LSS programs.
Lutheran Social Services of the South is a multi-service nonprofit agency with 31 locations in Texas and Louisiana. It operates continuum of care retirement communities, residential treatment centers for abused and neglected youth, a shelter for refugee minors, foster care and adoption services, disaster response, community assistance programs, and charter schools. The current operating budget of LSS is approximately $100 million, and the agency employs about 1,000 people. LSS raises about $25 million annually from private donors and grants in order to meet the highest quality standards of care and operating expenses.
“With state budget cuts looming and change the only certainty, we’re privileged to have Kurt’s leadership secured during this critical time,” said Allison Mull of North Richland Hills, chair of the LSS Board. “The Board is confident in Kurt’s abilities to channel the agency’s resources to where they are needed most while continuing to guide LSS to a position of strength. His proven track record as leader of LSS over the past 14 years, his diverse educational background, and his focus on the mission give the Board that confidence.”
“The legacy of LSS is its ability to adapt to change and continue to serve our most vulnerable citizens while remaining fiscally sound and true to the original intent of the mission,” said John Long of El Paso, LSS Board member and chair of the Personnel Committee. “Dr. Senske’s proven leadership has positioned LSS well to be flexible during uncertain times.”
“The social services world in which LSS operates is rapidly changing. Programs are facing significant funding cutbacks and we’re being asked to serve more with less,” said Senske. “What has not and will not change is that LSS will continue to provide quality Christian care for all our existing clients, and seek every opportunity to expand our services to the least of these.”
Dr. Senske holds a degree in law from the University of Illinois, a Ph.D in government from the University of Texas in Austin, a master of arts in international relations from Schiller International University in Paris, France, and a bachelor’s degree in business from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. He also serves as chairman of the Board for Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 500 financial services organization. Dr. Senske has authored three books, his latest entitled The Calling: Living A Life of Significance, is available on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and at other book retailers.