IPL Staff Information

Dr. Linda Couri, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., D.Min.,  Director of Institute for Pastoral Leadership

Dr. Couri is an Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake.  She holds a BA in English Literature from Drake University, a Master in Social Work from U of I, Urbana and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In 2018 she obtained her Doctor of Ministry Degree from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake.  Linda also serves as the  Director of Pastoral Formation for Mundelein Seminary.


Dave Retseck, M.Div., Associate Director

Dave has a BA in Communication from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, a Master in Divinity through the Institute of Pastoral Studies from Loyola University, and is certified as a Pastoral Associate in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Dave is directing the Lay Ecclesial Ministry Formation Program and the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies Degree Program at USML. He is also responsible for director-level certification for the Archdiocese (DREs, PAs, DAFFs, and DYMs) as well as commissioning of Lay Ecclesial Ministers.


Michelle Shaffer, M.A.P.S., ​Associate Director

Michelle holds an MA in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union, and a Post Master’s Certificate in Pastoral Theology from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. She is a Commissioned Lay Ecclesial Minister for the Archdiocese of Chicago and in the first graduating class of the Chicago Catholic Scripture School, 4 year program.

Michelle Shaffer is directing the Lay Leadership and Catechetical Coordinator programs, and is also responsible for coordinator-level certification (CREs, CAFFs, CYMs).  Michelle is program manager for the Summer Scripture Conference held at the end of June each year.


Dr. Paul Hilliard, Ph.D., Director of the Doctor of Ministry Degree Program

Dr. Paul Hilliard, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Church History at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. He holds a B.A. in History, with concentrations in Classics and Medieval and Renaissance Studies, from the University of Dallas.  He holds an M. Phil. in Medieval History and Ph.D. in History from the University of Cambridge.   He is the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program and the Chair of the Department of Church History.


Rev. Anthony Muraya, STL., Ph.D, Associate Director, Institute for Pastoral Leadership; Associate Professor, D.Min. program.

B.A., Catholic University of Eastern Africa; M.Div., STL., University of St. Mary of the Lake; Ph.D., St. Thomas University, Miami, Florida. Author of Corruption in Kenya and Communities of Interpretation: A Sacramental Pneuma-Ontological Approach. Former associate Pastor, St. Paul of the Cross, Parkridge; former resident priest, St. Maximillian Kolbe Parish, Pembroke Pines, Florida; former chaplain, St. Thomas University, Miami Florida. Member of the American Academy of Religion; member of the International Academy of Practical Theology; member of the International Society of Empirical Theology.


Mary Gebelhoff, Administrative Assistant

Mary has an Associates Degree from Triton College.  She is a graduate of the IPL Lay Leadership and Catechetical Coordinator Programs.  Mary was the Director of Religious Education at Transfiguration Parish in Wauconda before coming to the Institute.

Mary assists in the Lay Leadership and Catechetical Coordinator programs as well as with CAFE and retreats.


Kathy Szamocki, B.M., Program Coordinator

Kathy holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned her Professional Educator License at the Music Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts.  She has 10 years of teaching experience in the public schools and teaches voice in her private studio to students grades 6-adult.

Kathy is the Program Coordinator for Lay Ecclesial Ministry, MAPS, Doctor of Ministry and the Post-Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Leadership.