Leadership at DeLaSalle comes in many forms – from the teachers who instruct students in their classrooms, to the coaches and moderators who prepare their athletes for competition, to the administrators who oversee day-to-day operations of the school.

Administratively, DeLaSalle operates under a President-Principal model. The President, similar to the chief executive officer of a corporation, oversees external operations of the school and is responsible for fundraising and hiring of non-teaching staff. The Principal, similar to the chief operating officer of a corporation, is responsible for day-to-day operations, including hiring academic staff and overseeing development of the school’s curriculum.

Meet the President and Principal

Barry Lieske has served DeLaSalle in a variety of administrative capacities since 1979 and oversaw an era of significant growth and notable accomplishments at DeLaSalle during his nearly two decades as principal.

A native of Mankato, Minnesota, Lieske earned his undergraduate degree at Hamline University, and advanced degrees at Minnesota State-Mankato and the University of St. Thomas. The “AFSC” attached to his name refers to Lieske being named an Affiliated Christian Brother, an honor afforded to only a select number of lay colleagues who have shown significant leadership and accomplishment in Lasallian schools, historically known as Christian Brothers schools. Lieske currently sits on the Mission and Ministry Council of the Midwest District of the Christian Brothers, headquartered in Illinois.

In addition to his service to DeLaSalle and Lasallian education, Lieske has served on many related boards and councils, currently as a trustee at Cretin-Derham Hall and as a director with the Minnesota Independent Schools Forum, the largest consortium of private and parochial schools in Minnesota. Along with his wife, Barbara, herself an alumna of DeLaSalle, he has three daughters, members of DeLaSalle’s Classes of 2007, 2009, and 2013. The Lieske family are all active members of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Minneapolis.

James Benson, a New York native, grew up in Rockaway Beach, NY and moved to Brooklyn Park, MN with his family in 2005. He earned undergraduate and advanced degrees from the State University of New York, College at New Paltz and St. John’s University in Queens, NY respectively.

Benson taught English at DeLaSalle from 2005-2008 and served as the Vice Principal for Academic and Student Life from 2008 until his appointment as Principal in 2012. Benson has also provided leadership to the Men’s Association of Competitive Readers, Student Council, and announcing DeLaSalle home football games.

Before transitioning to DeLaSalle, Benson served as Freshman Dean, English Teacher, and Head Baseball Coach at St. John’s Prep in Queens, NY from 1992-1999. From 1999 to 2005, Benson was the Assistant Principal for Student Affairs at St. Edmund Prep in Brooklyn, NY.

Benson resides in Brooklyn Park with his wife, Pam and four children, including triplets Jack, Megan and Matt and son James. Benson and his wife are active members of the St. Vincent de Paul Parish where he has also served on a leadership team. Benson continues to share his love of baseball as he volunteers his extra time as a coach with the Brooklyn Park Baseball Association.


Leadership Teams

The President’s Cabinet meets bi-weekly to create and execute DeLaSalle’s strategic initiatives and advise the President on important policy decisions. These senior administrators make up the Cabinet:

  • President: Barry Lieske, AFSC
  • Principal: James Benson
  • Assistant Principal: Martha Coughlan
  • Dean of Students: Carrie Gillund
  • Director of Communications: Matt Lehman
  • Director of Technology: Dave Petermeier
  • Executive Director of Operations: Nicholas Grue
  • Vice President for Lasallian Ministry: Peg Hodapp
  • Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing: Mike O’Keefe

The Principal’s Council meets every week to address academic, student life and scheduling issues in the school. The Council is made up of:

  • Principal: James Benson
  • Assistant Principal: Martha Coughlan
  • Dean of Students: Carrie Gillund and Chas Lemon
  • Director of Facility Operations: Kathy Busch
  • Director of Guidance: Stacey Carter
  • Director of Marketing and Communications: Matt Lehman
  • Director of Service Learning: CJ Hallman
  • Director of Student Activities: Keelie Sorensen
  • Executive Assistant: Mary McLaren
  • Registrar: Shari Gallagher
  • Vice President for Lasallian Ministry: Peg Hodapp