SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Evangel University welcomed 14 new full-time faculty members for the Fall 2022 semester.
Erica Daniels is an assistant professor of counseling in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department. She brings over 15 years of experience as a high school counselor to the position, and has presented at conferences on mental health, self-care, supervision, and leadership in school counseling.
Daniels was recently selected as an emerging leader for both the Virginia Counseling Association and the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision. She also serves as president of the Richmond Area Counselors Association.
Daniels holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the College of William and Mary, a master’s in Professional School Counseling from UNC-Pembroke, and a Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Regent University’s Counselor Education and Supervision program.
“It is indeed a blessing and a privilege to be a part of the Evangel Valor family,” said Daniels.
Tiffany Dirks is an assistant professor for the doctoral programs within the Education Department. In this role, Dirks will oversee doctoral dissertations in education administration and teach courses in finance, leadership, grant writing, and assessment.
Prior to her arrival, Dirks oversaw Washburn University’s physical education and coaching degree. Previously, she served as assistant superintendent of Pierce City Schools, where she directed the district’s curriculum practices and evaluated teacher effectiveness.
Dirks holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and a Master of Science in Physical Education from Pittsburg State University, a master’s in Education
Administration and a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Emporia State University, and a doctorate in Education Administration from Lamar University.
“I could not be more excited to join the Education Department,” said Dirks. “It is an amazing opportunity to work with believers as we further God’s kingdom through education.”
Christine Flores is an assistant professor of social work and coordinator of field education in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department. She has served as an adjunct professor since 2018, and prior to joining the full-time faculty at Evangel, she served as the residence director of Spence Hall and worked as a clinical therapist at a community mental health center, where she continues to practice part-time.
Flores’ practice experience includes violence prevention, drug and alcohol treatment, research and prevention of unhealthy behaviors, case management, advocating for refugees, child welfare, and adoptions.
She earned a bachelor’s of Social Work from Evangel University and master of Social Work from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is also certified as a State of Missouri prevention specialist.
“I feel so honored to be able to educate and equip future social workers through my position at Evangel,” said Flores.
Kevin Holle is an assistant professor of criminal justice in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department. Holle retired from the Springfield Police Department in 2016 after assignments in patrol, vice/gang investigations, community policing, and the training division/range operations.
Holle previously served as an adjunct instructor at the Drury University Law Enforcement Academy, chief ranger for the Springfield-Greene County Park Ranger unit, and taught basic military/leadership studies at Missouri State with the ROTC Bear Battalion. He is a retired U.S. Army/National Guard first sergeant with varying overseas deployments as a cavalry scout, infantryman, and military police officer. In 2021, Holle served as a task force officer with the South Central Drug Task Force assigned to the DEA.
Holle holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Missouri Southern State University and a master’s in Criminology from Drury University.
“This position a great opportunity to serve on a campus I have always admired from the outside as a police officer in Springfield,” said Holle.
Michelle Jacobs is a professor of business in the Business Department. She began her career as a registered nurse, working in clinical and community health settings for over 10 years.
Jacobs transitioned to higher education after several years in healthcare administration. Prior to Evangel, Jacobs primarily taught leadership and management courses to nurses.
Jacobs holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Missouri State University, a master’s in Business Admininstration in Strategic Leadership from Amberton University, and a doctorate of Business Administration from Liberty University.
“I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the amazing EU family,” said Jacobs.
Preston Kness is an instructor of history in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department, where he has been an adjunct professor since 2019. Kness also serves as the EU Scholars coordinator, overseeing Evangel’s honors program.
Kness holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Evangel and a Master of Arts in History from Missouri State University. He is also a film enthusiast, a fan of Nebraska football, and a lover of professional tennis.
“I am honored and excited to be a faculty member at Evangel, an institution that had such a great impact on my own academic and spiritual life,” said Kness.
Lori Lawley is an instructor of humanities in the Humanities Department, specializing in theatre and acting classes. In this position, she also helps oversee the EU Theatre program, directing multiple productions each year.
Lawley is a seasoned actor, with several leading and supporting credits. Her most notable roles include Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Lizzie in “The Rainmaker,” Mrs. Gibbs in “Our Town,” and Eulalie Shinn in “The Music Man.” In 2000, she appeared to rave reviews as Maddie in “Touch Felt Round the World” in the Indianapolis RCA Dome.
Lawley holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from EU. She has directed several productions, and her Evangel credits include “Hello, Dolly!,” “Into the Woods,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “My Fair Lady,” “A Christmas Carol,” and others.
Lori and her husband, Mark, have three grown children and five grandchildren, with a sixth due to arrive in December 2022.
“My love for theatre and all performing arts runs deep, and I am honored to return to my treasured alma mater to share this art with students,” said Lawley.
Lisa Millen is an assistant professor of church history at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS). Prior to joining the faculty of AGTS, Lisa served as senior pastor for a two-point United Methodist parish in rural Iowa while teaching part-time for the University of South Dakota and Regent University’s School of Divinity.
Previously, Millen taught at Trinity Bible College in North Dakota. She is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God.
Millen holds a Master of Arts in History from the University of South Dakota, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from AGTS, and a Ph.D. in the History of Global Christianity from Regent University.
In her free time, Millen enjoys reading and travelling. She and her husband, Jon, have been married for 29 years and have two grown children, Chloe and Nicholas.
“There is such a wonderful synergy of faith and learning at AGTS and Evangel,” said Millen. “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to serve the academic community, the Church, and God’s kingdom in my role here as a church historian.”
Sergio Navarrete is director of Hispanic Initiatives at AGTS. In this role, Navarrete advances the seminary’s focus of providing theological training and resources to Hispanic ministry leaders.
Previously, Navarrete served as district superintendent of the AG Southern Pacific District and as academic dean for the Latin American Bible Institute (LABI). He is also vice president of the AG’s Global Hispanic Fraternity.
Navarrete holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University, a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, a Master of Business Administration from Vanguard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from LABI.
“The Hispanic population has been growing tremendously in the U.S. and worldwide, and one thing our ministers desire is higher education,” said Navarrete. “I want to help these ministers earn their bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and AGTS provides the premiere training they need.”
Jeremy Osborne is an associate professor of mathematics in the Natural and Applied Sciences Department. Prior to joining the EU faculty, Osborne and his family served as missionaries to Ukraine. He has a passion for teaching and enjoys making connections between mathematics and faith in God.
Osborne holds a Master of Science in Mathematics from Missouri State University and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His area of research is in geometric group theory, a branch of topology.
“I have dreamed for years of teaching math at Evangel and am very grateful God has placed me here,” said Osborne.
John Patton is a professor of biology in the Natural and Applied Sciences Department. Patton joins the Evangel University faculty after spending 18 years as a professor at Southwest Baptist University (SBU), including 11 years as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics.
Patton holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from SBU and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri, where his research focused on the regulation of mammalian gene expression.
Patton and his wife, Hillary, have five children, all of whom were adopted from China.
“I am excited to join the Evangel University faculty where I can teach students while also ministering to them and helping them fulfill God’s calling on their lives,” said Patton.
Blake Petersen is an assistant professor of English and the director of Evangel’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program. In this role, Petersen trains students to partner with multilingual families in their efforts to learn the English language.
Prior to joining the Evangel faculty, Petersen worked as an ESL teacher for Willard Schools. He also worked as an adjunct professor of writing and TESOL at Baptist Bible College.
Petersen holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and TESOL and a Master of Education in Literacy from Evangel. He and his wife, Dodi, have three daughters.
“Originally, I came to Evangel as a student to pursue excellence in my faith and in music,” said Petersen. “I return now as a musically trained, Spirit-filled, passionate advocate for English language learners.”
Jane Williams is an assistant professor of Intercultural Studies in the Theology and Global Church Ministries Department. She is also the director of Global Connections, overseeing Evangel’s annual service and education trips, as well as Intercultural Studies program coordinator.
Williams and her husband, Jason, spent the last 20 years serving Assemblies of God world missionaries, teaching and training pastors throughout Asia. Williams previously taught at the Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in the Philippines, Southeastern University, and throughout China.
Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Portuguese and a Master’s of Education from the University of California-Los Angeles, a Master’s of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, and is currently a Ph.D. student in Intercultural Education at Biola University. Williams speaks five languages and has travelled to 21 countries.
“I love the community at Evangel University,” said Williams. “This is a loving group of professionals who are passionate about Jesus and God’s mission.”
Piper Wright is the physical education coordinator in the Kinesiology Department. She brings over a decade of teaching and coaching experience to the position.
Prior to joining the Evangel faculty, Wright taught health and aerobics and served as head volleyball coach at Parkview High School. In 2011, Wright was named head volleyball coach at Republic High School and accepted a position as an elementary physical education teacher, where she remained for 11 years.
Wright holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Health Education and a master’s in Athletic and Activity Administration from Southwest Baptist University. She has taught students from kindergarten through twelfth grade and has coached volleyball, basketball, and track.
“From the moment I got here, Evangel felt like home,” said Wright. “I could not be more excited to join the Valor community and be a part of such a wonderful team!”
Evangel University, with its embedded Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Spirit-led Christian university located in Springfield, Missouri. It is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Under the leadership of Dr. Mike Rakes, EU is committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the Church and society globally and becoming compassionate innovators in their chosen vocations. EU offers more than 70 degree programs, including cutting-edge majors, pre-professional programs, and affordable and flexible online degree options.
EU is highly regarded and has been ranked:
- US News & World Report Best Colleges Top Performer in Social Mobility
- Colleges of Distinction Best Christian University
- Top 10 Best Universities by AcademicInfluence.com
- Third Most Beautiful Campus in the Midwest by Christian Colleges & Universities
- Top 10 Best Colleges in Missouri by BestColleges.com
With additional accreditations in business, counseling, music, social work, and theology and certification as an Excellence in Giving university, EU is focused on providing students with hands-on experience and real-world training for today’s professional careers. Learn more about the university at evangel.edu.