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University Leadership

President’s Senior Leadership Team

Jay Akkerman

Assistant to the President for Congregational Engagement

Jay Akkerman serves at NNU as the Assistant to the President for Congregational Engagement. In his role, he extends NNU’s relationship with pastors and congregations across the Northwest Educational Field using a variety of channels and deepens connections with those from other traditions beyond the Church of the Nazarene. Jay has been with NNU since 2003, most recently serving as Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and Director of the Graduate School of Theology. Besides being a member of NNU’s theology faculty and the Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, Jay is the Co-Director of Wesley Center Conferencing and is also an Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from NNU in 1989, followed by a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Theology from Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1993. In 2004 he earned his Doctor of Ministry from the Beeson Center for Biblical Preaching & Church Leadership at Asbury Theological Seminary. Jay is an Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene and has served in churches nationwide for over 20 years. He and his wife have three daughters.

Stacey Berggren

Vice President for Enrollment Management

Dr. Stacey Berggren is no stranger to NNU. She has previously served as an Admissions Counselor, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, and Vice President for Enrollment & Marketing, and most recently as Registrar. Stacey has a deep understanding of NNU, its people and its culture. She has extensive sales and customer service experience before coming to work for NNU initially. Stacey holds a B.S. from Troy University (AL), a M.Ed. from Northwest Nazarene University, and an Ed.D. from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Mark Cork

Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Mark Cork joined the staff of NNU in August of 2017 as Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications. Prior to this, Mark spent more than 13 years in the marketing and advertising industry working at two of Kansas City’s leading agencies. In addition, Mark is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene and has held pastoral roles in the local church, and administrative roles at the denominational level. Mark began his education at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, KS. He has also taken graduate courses at Point Loma Nazarene University and received a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation at Northwest Nazarene University in 2021. He and his wife Jacque have three married children and six grandchildren.

Steve Emerson

Vice President for Finance & Operations

Steve Emerson most recently worked as Senior Vice President (SVP) of Commercial Banking at the Bank of the Cascades. In addition to his role as SVP, he has held leadership positions at American Bank of Commerce, First Security Bank, KeyBank, Farmer’s and Merchants Bank and Home Federal Bank over the span of his career. Emerson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Accounting in 1992 and a Master of Business Administration in 1999, both from NNU. He also played on the basketball team. He is married to his wife, Jonna, and together they have four children: McKenna, Chandler, Ellie and Annabelle.

Brad Kurtz-Shaw

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Kurtz-Shaw comes to NNU from Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois in 1991. He has served as professor, coordinator of new faculty development and as interim vice president for academic affairs. Shaw holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Religion, a Master of Arts in English and a Ph.D. in American Literature. He was a Fulbright scholar and later a Fulbright professor of American Literature at University of Bergen, Norway.

Kelli Lindley

Vice President for External Relations

Kelli Lindley has served NNU for over 20 years, most recently moving into the position of Vice President for External Relations after serving eight years as the Director of Athletics and 12 seasons as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach. Since beginning her role as Director of Athletics, Kelli made a significant impact on NNU’s athletic department, realizing first-time accomplishments in the athletic competition realm, unprecedented academic honors by student-athletes and procurement of significant lead gifts for various projects. In addition, she established strong community engagement within the Treasure Valley, including the re-establishment of the Nighthawks Athletic Association. While coaching, Kelli compiled a 202-131 career record and led her teams to five NCAA Division II National Tournament bids. She earned a BA in Communication from Washington State University and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. As the VP for External Relations, Kelli will oversee NNU’s external relations sector, which includes marketing and communications, advancement, alumni relations, community and government relations, and the Northwest Nazarene University Foundation, Inc. and its Board of Directors. Kelli and her husband, Jeremy, have two sons, Tanner and Colton.

Grant Miller

University Chaplain

Grant Miller was recently appointed NNU’s next University Chaplain. As Chaplain, Grant provides leadership for campus spiritual life through responsibility for chapel programming, worship, discipleship, pastoral care, mission trips, administration and Christian community building. The Chaplain serves as a member of the Office of University Mission & Ministry, which oversees NNU’s institutional commitment to faith integration throughout everything the University does, as well as the University’s connection to local congregations and their pastors. Grant has been serving as NNU’s Director of Community Life for seven years and is currently the college pastor at Nampa College Church of the Nazarene. He graduated with a double-major in political science and public communications from NNU in 2010, returning the following year to get his third major in philosophy. In 2017, Grant received his Master of Divinity in Spiritual Formation from NNU and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Public Policy & Administration at Boise State University. Grant is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene and has served in the local church for 10 years. Grant and his wife Jen just welcomed their third child into their family in June.

Karen Pearson

Vice President for Student Life

Karen Pearson has served Northwest Nazarene University for over 30 years, the whole of her service in the area of Student Life. She has filled roles such as Resident Director, Director for Residential Life and most recently as the Associate Vice President for Student Engagement. Karen has given direction to New Student Orientation (NSO) and a variety of conferences and retreats for both regional and national Student Development organizations. Karen received both of her undergraduate degrees and her master’s degree from NNU. She is married to Joe and they have three grown children and one grandson.

Paul Rush

Athletic Director

Paul Rush is in his ninth year serving NNU, eight coaching basketball, and now is the Director of Athletics. Paul is looking to continue the direction the Athletic Department has been moving in with academic and competitive excellence by the student-athletes here through serving the incredible coaches and staff at NNU. While coaching, Paul set new standards in men’s basketball, leading the Nighthawks to two NCAA Division II National Tournament bids, including a Sweet Sixteen run. He also brought the Nighthawks their first GNAC Tournament Championship in 2023. Paul earned a BS in Psychology and some graduate classes from Boise State University and graduate classes at University of Idaho. He is currently working toward an Educational Leadership degree from Northwest Nazarene University. Paul and his wife Kylie have four boys, Jack, Timothy, Isaiah and Luke.

Michelle Kuykendall

Administrative Assistant to the President & Executive Assistant to the Board of Trustees

Michelle serves NNU as the Administrative Assistant for the President and the Executive Assistant to the Board of Trustees. She served for 19 years in both the College of Business and the Office of University Mission & Ministry before moving into the President’s Office in 2017. Michelle holds a BA in Business and an MBA, both from Northwest Nazarene University. She is married to Steve and they have three grown children and six grandchildren.