Staff

Dietrich Kirk - Executive Director

"Deech" Kirk has been in youth ministry for 20+ years. He 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.
Email Deech

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.
Email Lesleigh

Andrew Zirschky - Academic Director

Andrew holds an M.Div. and a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He oversees the development of our academic program and also teaches many of our youth ministry courses offered through Memphis Theological Seminary. He has 20 years of ministry experience as a youth and college minister at churches in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. 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.
Email Andrew

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.
Email Julia

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.
Email Jim

Margaret Ikard - Development Director

Margaret is the Development Director for CYMT. She joined the team in 2014 with a background in fundraising and special events. She is responsible for achieving the CYMT’s fundraising goals and engaging donors in our ministry mission. Margaret is a native Nashvillian and lives in Brentwood with her husband, Matt, and their children Matthew and Eleanor.
Email Margaret

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

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.
Email Kris

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.
Email Tony

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.
Email Christy

Joanna Cummings - Coach

Joanna Cummings is the Minister of Children and Spiritual Formation at Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Brentwood, TN where she has served since 2009. Previously, Joanna has worked in youth ministry, serving churches in middle TN as well as middle school camp ministries. Joanna is an alumnae of CYMT with a Master's degree in Religion from Memphis Theological Seminary. Additionally, Joanna is a curriculum writer and enjoys resourcing others in ministry and in faith. She is passionate about nurturing the spirituality of children, their families and bringing generations together in the faith community. Joanna is married to Chris, and they have a dog named Shalom. You can usually find them creating up-cycled art and doing DIY projects around the home.
Email Joanna

Mark Curtis - Coach

Mark Curtis is the pastor at Lake Forest Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, TN. Mark has nearly 20 years experience working in youth ministry. Mark is married to Diana, and has two boys, Daniel, 6, and Asher, 1, and spends most of his time chasing them around. When he is not on the move after them, he loves playing softball, and riding his bike through beautiful East Tennessee.
Email Mark

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.
Email Darin

Jim Hinkle - Coach

Jim is a youth minister at Sycamore View Church of Christ, Memphis, TN. He’s been in full-time youth ministry for 20 years and has been serving in Memphis since 2005. Jim has had the opportunity to adjunct at several universities and seminaries, and he’s passionate about connecting the mind and heart in ministry. Jim lives intentionally in an inner city neighborhood in the heart of Memphis with his wife, Stacy, and their five children.
Email Jim

Darin Miller - Coach

Darin Miller is the Family minister at The Cove UMC in Huntsville, Alabama.
Email Darin

Jennifer Smith - Coach

Jennifer Smith is the Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries at St. Elisabeth's Episcopal Church in Memphis, TN where she has served since 2008. Jennifer has coordinated the Happening movement for the Diocese of West TN for the past six years. She has served children and youth in churches in Missouri and Florida as well as staffing "Youth Week" at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC since 2007. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies and reading. And once...she was a contestant on The Price is Right!
Email Jennifer

Bart Styes - Coach

Bart Styes is the Director of Student Ministries at Bluff Park UMC in Hoover, Ala. He has also served in camping ministry at Camp Sumatanga with a focus on programming and marketing. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in Communication Studies from the University of Alabama. He lives in Birmingham with wife Shannon, sons Josh and Sam and daughter Lily. Email Bart

Sean Williams - Coach

Sean began working in youth ministry in 1997 and has served as Youth Minister in United Methodist Churches in Texas, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. He is currently the Youth Minister at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. Sean graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX with a B.A. in Theology. Sean lives in East Nashville with his wife, Jenn, their son Parker and daughter Sybil. He likes watching movies & TV, reading for fun, anything with a frisbee, napping and hanging out with his family.
Email Sean