Staff

Dietrich Kirk - Executive Director

"Deech" Kirk served as the youth minister of Brentwood United Methodist Church for six years before becoming the Executive Director of the Center for Youth Ministry Training in 2006. He continues to serve as one of Brentwood's associate ministers.  He is the author of Raising Teens in an Almost Christian World: A Parent's Guide and one of the co-authors of Now What? Next Steps in Your New Life with Christ.   When he is not leading the CYMT, speaking at youth events, or training other youth workers, Deech enjoys spending time with his wife Keeley and daughters Carlisle and Hallie.
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Lesleigh Carmichael - Director of Coaching

Lesleigh directs the coaching process for the CYMT students. She has been with CYMT from the beginning and transitioned to her role of Director of Coaching in the Spring of 2008 from the many jobs she had before. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). When she is not working at CYMT, Lesleigh enjoys spending time with her husband, Jamey, and their two daughters, Anna Lauryn and Karaley. Lesleigh also serves as a lead consultant with Youth Ministry Architects.
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Andrew Zirschky - Academic Director

Andrew has more than a decade of experience as a youth and college minister at churches in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary where he is currently completing a Ph.D. in practical theology.  He has also been named a Timothy Scholar by the United Methodist Foundation for Evangelism based upon his research emphasis in youth and young adult ministry.  Andrew is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene and a staff consultant for Youth Ministry Architects.  Andrew has been married to his wife Kristina since 1995, and they have two children, Evan and Anna.  When he's not reading and writing, he enjoys various outdoor activities including snowboarding, white water rafting, running, and mountain biking.
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Margaret Ikard - Development Director

Bio coming soon.
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Kris Konsowitz - Memphis Regional Director

Kris has been the Director of Youth Ministries and Young Adults at Collierville United Methodist Church in Collierville, Tenn. for more than two decades.  She is married to Bob and they have three children: Melissa, Chris, and Laura. Kris serves the Memphis region coaching, supervising coaches, and partnering with churches to build foundations for effective youth ministry.
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Keeley Kirk - PR & Admissions Coordinator

Keeley specializes in public relations, marketing, graphic arts, and business organization. Keeley lives in Brentwood, Tenn. with her husband, Dietrich, and their daughters Carlisle and Hallie Mae.  Keeley manages all public relations activities and coordinates the admissions process for the CYMT.
Email Keeley

Julia Canada Wilburn - Editorial Director/Operations Manager

Julia directs the editorial efforts for the Resources section of cymt.org and manages operations and events for CYMT. She has an extensive background in marketing in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining CYMT she was a freelance marketing consultant. A native Tennessean, Julia, her husband Jonathan, and their son Malone live in Nashville with their dog, Elwood.
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Jim Edwards - Director of Finance

Jim Edwards volunteers his time as our Director of Finance.  Jim is retired from a life in business with Sage Employment.  He and his wife Katie have one son, Steven, and enjoy spending their time traveling and playing golf.
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Mark DeVries - Co- Founder

For over 20 years, Mark has served as Associate Pastor for Youth and their Families at First Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tenn., where he continues to oversee the youth ministry on a part-time basis. Additionally, Mark is the founder of Youth Ministry Architects, a hands-on coaching service for churches whose youth ministries are in transition (intentional or unexpected) or churches who hope to see their youth ministries move to the next level. Mark has trained youth leaders across the United States, as well as in Russia, Canada, Uganda, and South Africa, working with a wide variety of denominations. He is the author of Family Based Youth Ministry and Sustainable Youth Ministry.

COACHES

Tony Akers - Coach

Tony Akers has a Master’s degree in Christian Education/Youth Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary and recently entered his ninth year serving as the Minister to Youth and their Families at Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Ala. He is privileged to be married to Debbi and dad to Madison, Samuel, and Hannah Grace. When not doing youth ministry, Tony can be found at a soccer game, on the river, or reading.
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Christy Beesley - Coach

Christy Beesley has worked with youth in the Episcopal Church for 15 years at parishes in Nashville, Atlanta, and Memphis. She has been involved with Episcopal youth events, retreats, and camps on the diocesan, provincial, and national levels. She currently lives in Nashville and works at St. Augustine’s Chapel, Thistle Farms, and DuBose Conference Center. She loves live music, college football, and adventures.
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Robin Blakemore - Coach

Robin serves Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church as the Director of High School Ministries and has served in youth ministry to more than 16 years. She and her husband Stan live in Birmingham, Ala. with their two daughters, Linnea and Kallan. Robin is the Director of the Academy for Student Ministry in the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church and has a passion for equipping youth workers. In her spare time Robin enjoys reading and playing in the dirt.
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Earle Burkley - Coach

In various capacities, Earle has served the students of Galloway Memorial UMC in Jackson, Miss. for more than 25 years. He has also volunteered in a prison ministry for 20 years. When not involved in ministry, Earle spends enough time practicing as a CPA to be able to buy whatever he wants from the local thrift shops.
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Mark Curtis - Coach

Rev. Mark Curtis is the pastor at Lake Forest Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.
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Darin Easter - Coach

Darin Easter is both the Director of Student Ministries and Director of Discipleship at Medina First United Methodist Church in Medina, Tenn. Before coming to Medina FUMC in 2010, Darin ministered to students in three churches throughout North Alabama. Darin is married to Kelly in 1994, and they have two incredible kids Thomas and Sarah, and a Dalmatian named Lily. Darin holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Auburn University and completed a Master of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary in the spring of 2001.
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Autura Hampton - Coach

Autura Eason Hampton is an ordained elder in the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church and has served as the pastor of Capleville UMC in Memphis,Tenn. since 2008. Previously, Autura has served in many youth ministry roles including Associate Director of Connectional Ministries. Since 2006, Autura has facilitated Formation For Ministry classes at Memphis Theological Seminary enjoying the opportunity to walk alongside seminarians of all ages as they respond to God's calling on their lives. She is also a devoted mother of four cute kids: Ayanna, John, Terence, Jr., and Gwendolyn.
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Samantha Hassell - Coach

Samantha has served the Cumberland Presbyterian church as a Christian Educator working with children and youth for nearly 12 years. She has served the denomination as well as presbyteries and churches in both Tennessee and Kentucky. She and her husband, Victor, currently serve the Sturgis CPC in Sturgis, KY. Samantha and Victor have three children: Victoria, Mallory, and John.
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Hank Hilliard - Coach

Hank has been in full-time youth ministry since 1995. He is currently the Director of Youth Ministries at Franklin First United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tenn. Previously, Hank served as Director of Young People’s Ministries Development for the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church where his focus was training and equipping church leaders, creating youth ministry networks, and developing original resources. Hank has had two resources published: The Leadership Lab and Reentry: What I Learned on My Mission Trip. Hank is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College. He currently lives in Franklin, Tenn. with his wife Amy and two sets of twins: Tanner and Kendall and Connor and Will.
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Darin Miller - Coach

Darin Miller is the Family minister at The Cove UMC in Huntsville, Alabama.
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Jason Sansbury - Coach

Jason Sansbury is the youth minister at Belle Meade United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn.  Previously, Jason has worked in youth ministry, serving churches in Franklin, Tenn. and Georgia as well as being on staff for Young Life.  Additionally, Jason was one of the founding partners of Crossed-Up Ministries, a ministry specializing in putting together large worship events for youth groups.  He has a heart for helping young people find their call into ministry and succeeding early in their ministry and careers. For fun, Jason loves movies, music, and television. He is a fount of useless pop culture trivia and dreams of being a winner on the TV show “Jeopardy.”
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Jennifer Smith - Coach

Jennifer Smith is the Director of Children, Youth, and Families at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church.
Email Dee

Bart Styles - Coach

Bart Styles is the youth minister at Bluff Park UMC in Hoover, Alabama. Email Bart

David Thompson - Coach

Rev. David Thompson has been that Pastor of Student Ministries at Trinity UMC in Birmingham since May 2005. David was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and is the son and grandson of United Methodist pastors. David earned a B.S. in Art from the University of Alabama and is currently in seminary at Memphis Theological. He is married to Tina and they have three daughters, Madelyn, Anna Blakely and Lily. David is a member of the USA Team Handball team.
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Dee Wells - Coach

Dee Moore Wells is a third generation Disciple minister and has spent many years at Bethany Hills as a counselor or director of camps. She earned her Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. and is serving as Senior Minister at First Christian Church in Livingston, Tenn. She is married to Al Wells, and they live together on a 10 acre mountainside with dogs, cats, a brood of chickens and a host of goats. She has two children, David and Dana, and two grandchildren, Lizzy and Clay. Dee enjoys camping, boating, golfing, backpacking, entertaining friends, vegetable gardening, watching good movies, and reading.
Email Dee

Sean Williams - Coach

Sean Williams is the youth minister at West End UMC in Nashville, Tennessee.
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