Staff Bios


  • Pastor Len Brokenshire, Senior Pastor

    Pastor Len grew up in Southern California. He met his wife, Beth, at Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle, WA. His seminary work was done at the Haggard Graduate School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University and the American Lutheran Theological School. While working toward ordination, he served as a youth director at three California churches from 1997-2006: Prince of Peace Lutheran in Costa Mesa, Emmanuel Presbyterian in Thousand Oaks, and St. Peter's Lutheran in Elk Grove. Pastor Len was ordained at St. Peter's Lutheran in 2004.  In March of 2006, he accepted the call as Associate Pastor of Ascension and has served as Senior Pastor since March of 2009.  Commissioned in 2007, he also serves as a chaplain in the United States Air Force Reserve.    Pastor Len enjoys all sports, especially waterskiing, volleyball and swimming, and also loves playing with his four young children, Rachel, Matthew, Grace and Ben. 

  • Pastor Michael Badenhop, Associate Pastor

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  • Shanda Knight, Director of Children and Family Ministries

    Shanda Knight grew up in Sheldon, Iowa.  Shanda graduated with an Elementary Education major and Christian Education career concentration from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA.  During her college years, Shanda enjoyed working at Christian camps in the summers and volunteering with a local church's youth ministry program during the school year.  God used camp and her volunteering to open her heart to youth ministry. In the fall of 1994 Shanda attended Tentmaker Training in Minneapolis, MN and was commissioned into youth ministry.  Shanda served part-time as a youth director in Dike, IA from 1994-1997.  Shanda came on staff as Youth Director at Ascension in the Fall of 1997 and served in this capacity until fall of 2004 when she moved to the position of Director of Children and Family ministries where she currently serves.     Shanda met her "knight in shining armor" here at Ascension and was married in April of 2005. In May of 2007 the Knights welcomed their daughter Lydia into their family. In her free time she enjoys time with her husband and daughter, cheering for her daughter's sports teams, working around the house and in her garden.

  • Candie Grimstad, Administrative Secretary

    Candie is originally from Missouri, but has lived in Iowa for most of her adult life. Candie graduated from Cedar Falls High School and went on to obtain a practical nursing license from Hawkeye Institute of Technology. Candie worked in a nursing home for ten years, resigning after her daughter was born, to be a full time wife and mother.    Candie and her husband, Alan, joined Ascension in 1992. Candie joined the Ascension staff as a part-time custodian in 2005 and in July of 2008 Candie became Parish Secretary.    In February of 2019 she became Administrative Secretary.  Candie enjoys spending time with her husband and children, Josh and Alana. She also enjoys scrapbooking, making cards and reading. 

  • Jamie Olsen, Parish Secretary

    Jamie grew up in Illinois close to the St. Louis, Missouri area.  While attending college at Illinois State University in Normal, IL she met her husband, Brett.  They were married at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Normal in October of 1995.  After being married for 8 years and having their first two children, Sam (1999) and Cooper (2003), the family moved to Columbia, Missouri for Brett to get a Ph.D. in Finance.  While in Columbia they were blessed with the arrival of their third child, Elliot, in 2006.  Upon graduation, the Olsens, then numbered 5 in total, moved to Moscow, Idaho for Brett’s first teaching position at the University of Idaho.  In 2009 their family was made complete with their fourth son Oliver.  Wanting to be closer to both their families in the Midwest, the family decided to pursue a different teaching position for Brett and landed here in Cedar Falls at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in 2010.  The Olsen Family have been members at Ascension since 2011.  Previously, Jamie had been a secretary at Illinois State University and a few private companies.  Upon the arrival of Sam, the firstborn, she remained a stay-at-home mom until accepting the part-time secretarial position here at Ascension in 2019.  In her spare time, she enjoys attending her boys’ many activities including football, cross country, band, track, church programs, and piano.  She also plays sports herself, volleyball mostly and occasionally softball, and of course backyard sports with her family.  She also enjoys reading, watching movies and laughing with Brett, in order to recover from those activities. 

  • Candis Smith, Organist


  • Kathleen Schuhmacher, Pianist

    Kathy has been a pianist at Ascension for 20+ years. She serves as the pianist for the 8:30 traditional service playing in tandem with the organist. She is also the pianist for the summer midweek services. Throughout the Sunday School year Kathy accompanies the Children's Choir. Kathy has also taught piano lessons, and she has had a career in teaching pre-kindergarten in the Waterloo Community School district. Most recently, she has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Northern Iowa. Music has always been an important part of Kathy's life. She also sings in Ascension's Chancel Choir. One of her favorite Bible verses is from Psalm 100:1-2:  "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!"

  • Mary Potter, Chancel Choir Director

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  • Elizabeth Wild, Director of Contemporary Worship

    Elizabeth became the contemporary worship director in January of 2018.  She and her husband, Derek, started attending Ascension in 2012.  They have two young children.  Prior to the birth of their first child, Elizabeth was a music teacher for 9 years.  Elizabeth and her family would love to worship with you at Ascension!  

  • Ashley Hanson, Custodian & Nursery

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  • Cady Burrington, Nursery

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