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Ann Langworthy

Ann Langworthy

Job Position

Ann has been employed by Maple River High School in Mapleton, Minnesota for nearly 20 years as a Licensed School Counselor. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout where she first earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Development & Family Studies and then her Master’s Degree in School Counseling. As a Licensed School Counselor, Ann has served as a PLC Department Chair, Student Support Team Leader, and Chair of the Regional Career Day event. Ann has served on the executive board of the Southeastern Minnesota School Counselor Association for nearly 10 years. She has twice been the recipient of “Teacher of the Year Award” by the Maple River Honor Society as well as once honored as “School Counselor of the Year” by the Southeastern Minnesota School Counselor Association.

April Hansen

April Hansen

Job Position

Since joining ACT 2008, April has assisted Minnesota’s, educational leaders, schools and colleges with the use of ACT research, data, and solutions that support student learning and success. Prior to ACT, April spent nearly 25 years in undergraduate admission and was Director of Admission at Loyola University Chicago.

April Schnell

April Schnell

Job Position

April is the Career Development and Work-Based Learning Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education. April started her career as a chemical engineer, later obtaining her masters in counseling and career development. April worked at the University of Minnesota in a variety of leadership and consulting roles related to career development. Prior to MDE, April was North American Director of Assessment for the Danish social enterprise “Specialisterne,” which assesses, trains, and employs people on the autism spectrum as IT consultants. She facilitates the marriage of classroom learning and meaningful work experiences, so that Minnesota students graduate life curious and career ambitious and Minnesota employers have access to our talented future workforce.

Arif Quraishi

Arif Quraishi

Job Position

Over the last 20 years Arif has been focused on working with greater Minnesota districts in the area of facilities, health and safety and funding. In the early 1990s Arif testified at the state legislature regarding indoor air quality and facility maintenance needs for schools. This led to the establishment of Health and Safety funding and alternative facility bonding legislation for school districts. Currently Arif assists schools with their strategic facility plans and assists them in securing funding through referendums and other means including tax credit financing, lease levy, LTFM etc.

Arthur Crusoe

Arthur Crusoe

Job Position

From Zondo, Liberia, Arthur arrived in the United States in June 2017 to join Bethel University’s graduate program. He graduated from the African Bible College University (ABCU) in 1989 with a bachelor degree in Biblical Studies with emphasis in teaching. He worked for 12 years at a Methodist school in Monrovia and another 12 years at a school in Zondo, a very remote village. His goal is to help transform rural education in his country and return with solutions to some of the problems that confront rural schooling, to make modern technology work in his village, to develop the leadership skills rural school administrators need to have, and to formulate guidelines that would help rural educators become people with integrity.

Bernadine Joselyn

Bernadine Joselyn

Job Position

Bernadine directs Blandin Foundation’s Public Policy and Engagement program area, where she leads efforts to facilitate the building of knowledge and catalyze community action around issues and opportunities that align with the Foundation’s mission of strengthening rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area. A native of Minnesota, Bernadine spent the first 15 years of her professional life in Soviet (and then post-Soviet) Affairs. She served seven years as diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, where she was assigned to Moscow, Russia, and Washington, D.C., focused on the U.S.-Soviet/Russian relationship. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bernadine left the diplomatic corps to work on international academic and cultural exchange programs with the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and subsequently the Eurasia Foundation, where she oversaw a $5 million annual grant program. Bernadine returned to Minnesota in 2000 to complete a second master’s degree in public affairs at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute. She also has an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in international security policy and certificate in advanced studies from Columbia University.

Beth Barsness

Beth Barsness

Job Position

Beth is the High School Specialist in the Office of Career and College Success at the Minnesota Department of Education. She is currently working with dual enrollment programs and career and college readiness trainings, initiatives and resources. Some of these projects include: Personal Learning Plans, College Knowledge Month, Ready Set Go MN and Shaping Your Future.

Betsy Bahn

Betsy Bahn

Job Position

Betsy Bahn has worked with MN schools for many years through Schoolfinances.com and John Baylor Prep. She works with schools to help them increase test scores, which in turn changes the culture of their school and provides greater opportunities for students upon graduation.

Dr. Cammy Lehr

Dr. Cammy Lehr

Job Position

Dr. Lehr is Project Manager for GradMinnesota, a multi-partisan initiative of the Minnesota Alliance With Youth, Minnesota Department of Education and the Governor’s Office – with a goal of increasing the graduation rate for all Minnesota students to 90% by 2020. Prior to working with the Alliance, Cammy worked at the Minnesota Department of Education where she directed a federal grant promoting school completion. While at the University of MN, she researched and co-directed an application of Check & Connect. Dr. Lehr has also worked as a school psychologist and university instructor.

Carrie Bendix

Carrie Bendix

Job Position

Carrie is an experienced leader with 20 years of experience assisting people in fulfilling their potential. As a Rural Career Counseling Coordinator, she is strengthening partnerships and overall coordination to address community needs related to career and college readiness, career pathways, and education and employment disparities in the South Central and Southwest Minnesota region. Previously, she directed Employment Action Center, a nonprofit organization with 30 workforce development programs including customized programs for youth. Carrie has a Master’s of Business Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

Chad Duwenhoegger

Chad Duwenhoegger

Job Position

Elementary Educator, Middle and High School Principal. MASSP Principal of the Year 2015. Passion for innovation in education.

Chip Rankin

Chip Rankin

Job Position

Rankin, now Superintendent at Minnewaska Schools, was High School Principal at Pequot Lakes Public Schools since 2010. Other prior experience includes educational leadership and classroom positions at Bemidji Public Schools, Mora Public Schools and Litchfield Public Schools. Mr. Rankin has also served in the Minnesota Army National Guard since 1994 and is currently a Battalion Commander for the 2-135IN Unit based out of Mankato. Mr. Rankin completed his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, a Master’s degree at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and Administrative Credential at St. Cloud State University. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Educational Leadership.

Cynthia Koll

Cynthia Koll

Job Position

Cynthia (Cindi) is the facilitator of the Central Minnesota Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) Class. Her 34 years as a high school educator have convinced her that CEO class teaches young people “the stuff that they really need to know.” She is a Family and Consumer Science instructor and Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America adviser. She has a M.A. in Education from Hamline University, a B.A. in Family & Consumer Science Education from the College of St. Benedict, and a B.S. in Textiles and Clothing from the University of Minnesota. She and her husband and son also operate a dairy farm near Sebeka.

Craig Cegielski

Craig Cegielski

Job Position

Craig grew up in Marshfield WI, where he attended technical education classes in high school, as well as worked at the local machine and fabrication shop. He went on to earn a degree in Technology Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, WI. After Graduation, he taught welding and machining at Antigo High School and stated a very successful student-run manufacturing company called Red Robin Machining. Moving closer to family in western WI, Cegielski went back into manufacturing as a welder/machinist. After a year, he was able to re-enter teaching as the technology education teacher at Eleva-Strum High School, where he teaches various levels of CAD, welding, machine tool, automotive, construction, and woodworking. In 2007 the Cardinal Manufacturing program was started with the goal to provide a real life manufacturing experience for the students to prepare them for their future. Cardinal Manufacturing continues to expand and improve each year.

Craig B. Nathan

Craig B. Nathan

Job Position

Craig is the Director of Field Operations for Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. He has been working in the area of collaboration for career and college readiness between School Districts, Higher Education, and Work Force Development for over 17 years. In the past 10 years, Craig has helped develop Career Advising programs serving Rural School Districts, and thousands of students in Central and Northern Minnesota. Craig holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Bemidji State University with graduate coursework in Management from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth.

Craig Paulson

Craig Paulson

Job Position

Craig has been the program director of the Doctor of Education: Leadership in K12 Administration and Administrator Licenses at Bethel University for the past 11 years. He previously served for 30 years as a principal in the Cambridge-Isanti School District. Craig obtained his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Minnesota in 1983.

Danielle Dupuis

Danielle Dupuis

Job Position

Dr. Dupuis is Assistant Director for Research and Assessment Services in the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI). Previously she worked as a Research Associate/Assistant on several large federally-funded research projects examining the effect(s) of various instructional interventions on student achievement, and in test development for Assessment Product Solutions, NCS Pearson. She has also worked as a statistics & methodology consultant in the Office of Research Consultation Services and privately. In addition to her work in research, Danielle has also taught graduate and undergraduate courses in statistics, survey design, and survey analysis.

Dawnette Cigrand

Dawnette Cigrand

Job Position

Dr. Cigrand is currently an associate professor and coordinator of the school counseling program at Winona State University. She received her MA in School Counseling from the University of Iowa, served as a teacher school counselor in rural Iowa schools for 14 years, then returned to complete her PhD in Counselor Education. Dr. Cigrand’s research interests include school counselor development, professional advocacy and leadership, and elementary school counseling interventions, especially for students with disabilities.

Diane Cordes

Diane Cordes

Job Position

An educator for almost 30 years, Diane spent 23 years with the Minnewaska School District in a variety of roles. She has experience as a school counselor, curriculum coordinator, district assessment coordinator and principal. She has also worked in private practice as a therapist and at a church as a youth and families ministry director. Cordes is currently the superintendent of Breckenridge Public Schools. She holds an education specialist degree and a master’s in educational leadership and administration. She is passionate about student mental health, student-centered classrooms, 21st-century learning, innovation, and much more.

Dr. Fred Nolan

Dr. Fred Nolan

Job Position

Fred has been Executive Director of Minnesota Rural Education Association since 2011. Prior to that he served 15 years as Superintendent of Schools in Foley and Eden Valley-Watkins districts. He also served

for 16 years as a middle and elementary school principal in Cambridge-Isanti and BOLD districts and has taught sixth grade. He also consults with E&F Services to assist districts to improve their instruction and efficiency.

Gail Polejewski

Gail Polejewski

Job Position

Gail has a unique role in education. She is employed by two organizations, Minnesota West Community and Technical College and the SWWC, as part of their secondary and post-secondary Carl Perkins programs. She works with 40 high schools in southwest Minnesota to help CTE teachers improve their programs and to develop new programs that serve the region's economy.

Jennifer Berkner

Jennifer Berkner

Job Position

Jenn has 14 years of experience as an ELA classroom teacher as well as six years’ experience in technology integration for Blue Earth Area. Currently, she is the district technology director and media specialist. She holds a B.A. from South Dakota State University in English Education and a M.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato in Library Media Education. She is a member of ITEM and Digital Education Leaders of the South Central Service Cooperative as well as holding two national certifications with Leading Edge Blended and Online Learning and Leading Edge Leading Educator. Connect with her on Twitter @jberkner.

Jeremy Kovash

Jeremy Kovash

Job Position

Kovash started his career teaching at Perham Schools. He is now in his 11 year as executive director of Lakes Country Service Cooperative in Fergus Falls. In addition to earning his master’s degree and administrative licenses, he lead the teachers union and was a head coach. He was president of MREA Board of Directors in 2016 and has served on the board since 2008.

Jessica Espinosa

Jessica Espinosa

Job Position

Jessica Espinosa is the director of college transitions at the Minnesota State system office where she provides system-level support in college access efforts, dual enrollment programs, developmental education and collaborations with K-12 and adult basic education.

Jim Sheehan

Jim Sheehan

Job Position

Jim Sheehan has worked with Minnesota schools for many years, most recently as the owner of Schoolfinances.com and the Minnesota rep for John Baylor Prep. Jim provides schools with data to help them make informed decisions for their school district.

Jodee Lund

Jodee Lund

Job Position

Jodee taught social studies for five years at Blue Earth Area while also serving as their high school technology coach. During that time, she obtained her Master's in the Science of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership through Southwest State University. Currently, she is the Technology Integration Specialist for Minnewaska Area Schools. She is a Nearpod author, certified trainer & PioNear and Seesaw ambassador. In addition, she holds a national certification through Leading Edge in Blended and Online Learning. Connect with her on Twitter @JodeeLund.

Jodie Zesbaugh

Jodie Zesbaugh

Job Position

Jodie joined Ehlers’ Roseville office as a Municipal Advisor in 2009. She previously worked as Director of Financial Operations at South Washington County School District. One of Jodie's greatest contributions to Ehlers clients is her hands-on experience with the many challenges faced by school districts today and her added insight in helping find financial solutions.

John Baylor

John Baylor

Job Position

John Baylor graduated from Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts and then Stanford University. John Baylor Prep (now OnToCollege) began in 1994 and now employs 20 professionals singularly focused on helping schools and families create two and four-year college graduates with minimal debt. Tens of thousands of students have taken OnToCollege with John Baylor’s in-person and online ACT® and SAT® Prep courses and used OnToCollege College Counseling Tools for schools and families.

John Wicklund

John Wicklund

Job Position

John began working at TRA 25 years ago, bringing solid accounting and financial skills from his previous work experience at the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor. He has been responsible for budgeting, accounting and financial reporting for the Association. He graduated from the University of Minnesota–Minneapolis with an Accounting degree and has been licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1988. He is also a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) as designated by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). His philosophy for the Association is to maintain a strong actuarial funding position.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown

Job Position

Joseph E. Brown, Sr. Minnesota Principal for 10 years and Superintendent for 12 years. Former Iowa State Senator for 8 years. Original career: Rock and Roll Drummer. Former High School Government and Economics Teacher.

Judith Anderson

Judith Anderson

Job Position

Judi has been a faculty member, administrator and academic advisor and transfer specialist at Alexandria Technical and Community College for over 21 years. She has a Master’s Degree in Higher Ed Administration from St. Cloud State University. As Steering Committee Chair for the Online College in the High School Program, she and administrators from Northland Community and Technical College, Northwest Technical College and Distance Minnesota strive to fill the gaps in college course offerings at high schools across the state while providing an economical option to school districts compared to traditional PSEO. The program has been recognized several times by the Minnesota State Legislature as well as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Office.

Julie Frame

Julie Frame

Job Position

Julie has served in numerous roles at Metro ECSU over the last 30 years prior to serving as Executive Director, including Director of the Metropolitan Principals Academy.

Julie Sweitzer

Julie Sweitzer

Job Position

Julie Sweitzer is Executive Director of the College Readiness Consortium at the University of Minnesota, and co-directs the Educational Equity Resource Center. The Consortium created Ramp-Up to Readiness™, a school-wide college readiness advisory program for grades 6-12. She served three terms as an elected member of the St. Louis Park School Board and represented St. Louis Park on the West Metro Education Programs board. Previously Julie was Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action and Associate General Counsel for the U of M. She holds a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Katherine Kersten

Katherine Kersten

Job Position

Born and raised in Iowa, Katherine is a writer, attorney, and Senior Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment. She served as a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune until 2013. She was a founding director of the Center and served as its chair from 1996 to 1998. She has written on cultural and policy issues for the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Christianity Today, Policy Review, American Enterprise, and First Things, and served as a regular commentator for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Prior to leaving the workforce, she worked as an attorney, a banker and an administrator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, holds a master’s degree from Yale University, and a JD from the University of Minnesota, where she was a member of the Law Review.

Katie Melgaard

Katie Melgaard

Job Position

I have been teaching at Marshall County Central High School since 2013, and had taught eight years before that at various schools. I received my bachelor’s degree from University of Minnesota, Morris and my master’s degree from Hamline University. In 2016, I was awarded the MN Science Teaching Award from Minnesota Science Teachers Association.

Kim Kaukl

Kim Kaukl

Job Position

Kim grew up in southwestern Wisconsin in Richland Center. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from UW-La Crosse and his Masters in Educational Administration from UW-Madison. Kim’s education career spanned 34 years with 31 as a high school administrator. The majority of his work was in rural schools, making rural schools near and dear to his heart. Kim retired in June of 2015 and in July he took over as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA). Kim’s goal is to fight to maintain competitiveness for the students and communities of rural Wisconsin. Kim serves on the DPI Wisconsin Rural Advisory Council, the NREA Perkins CTE Work Group, and Battelle for Kids National Rural Collaborative and is Board Member for the Midwest Rural Education Research Alliance.

Lee Westrum

Lee Westrum

Job Position

Lee Westrum has served as Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools Superintendent since 2013. Before that he was Superintendent of Benson Public Schools for 6 years. Lee has been a member of the Central Minnesota CEO Board of Directors since its inception 2014.

Lisa Gregoire

Lisa Gregoire

Job Position

Lisa is Senior Director of Teaching and Learning at the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative. She has been in education for over 20 years, including 18 years in the classroom in multiple roles and serving on numerous committees. Her initial role at SWWC was in School Improvement. She received both her bachelor and master’s degree from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN, where she has also served as an adjunct faculty member.

Luke Greiner

Luke Greiner

Job Position

Luke Greiner is the Department of Employment and Economic Development’s regional analyst for central and southwestern Minnesota. Luke conducts research, writes publications, and provides presentations about Greater Minnesota's economy, job market, industry trends, workforce availability, and hiring demand. He has a bachelor's degree in management from Park University in Parkville, MO. Luke worked in workforce development for DEED before becoming an analyst and currently serves on the Minnesota's State ACT Council.

Marcio Thompson

Marcio Thompson

Job Position

Marcio joined the agency in 2015, and worked previously at the University of Minnesota in Student Affairs, Financial Aid, and Admissions. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas, Master of Arts in Education in Human Resource Development and a Certificate in Equity and Diversity from the University of Minnesota. He is currently a member of the Mission Impact Council, a local organization that works to create opportunities for underserved youth, and is also the co-chair for Minnesota’s FAFSA completion initiative and for the Minnesota Reach Higher Team.

Mary Cecconi

Mary Cecconi

Job Position

Mary engages parents and community members across the state in appreciating the complexities of 21st century education. In her current role, she assists school boards in doing their work more efficiently while authentically involving their stakeholders. Involved in the classroom, administration, as an elected official and in policy work, Ms. Cecconi has been in the education arena over 35 years. She has earned awards from the Minnesota School Boards Association, Schools for Equity in Education, AMSD and Distinguished Service Awards from both MREA and the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.

Mary Mortier

Mary Mortier

Job Position

Career Assessment Coordinator for the SWWC Service Cooperative, Mary works with Project Discovery which is a state-approved transition disabled program. She also coordinates the Southwest Minnesota Career Expo, in which a number of education & workforce agencies and regional businesses provide “career exploration days” for high school students. She has her degree in elementary and special education.

Maureen Burke

Maureen Burke

Job Position

Maureen has been an educator in urban and suburban schools across the country. She began her career as a reading interventionist, has been a classroom teacher, literacy coach, and data coach. Throughout her teaching experiences, she had the opportunity to teach students in kindergarten through eighth grade and was a Literacy Coach with the Path to Reading Excellence in School Sites project. Maureen holds a M.Ed. in Elementary Education and a K-12 Reading credential from the University of Minnesota, as well as a B.S. in Psychology from Metropolitan State University. She is currently a PRESS Literacy Specialist for the Minnesota Center for Reading Research.

Megan Peterson

Megan Peterson

Job Position

Megan is Technology Integration Coordinator at Lakes Country Service Cooperative in Fergus Falls. She graduated with her degree in education from MN State University Moorhead and received her Master’s Degree and Education Administration Certificate from St. Mary’s University. Through her principal internship she found a love for educational technology and helping others to leverage this powerful tool.

Dr. Miriam Tobola

Dr. Miriam Tobola

Job Position

Dr. Tobola is a former K-12 art teacher, instructional designer, and instructional coach. She has worked in 1:1 districts using laptops, iPads, Android tablets, and Chromebooks over the course of almost two decades of teaching and educational leadership. She currently enjoys creating professional learning experiences to help teachers innovate in their classrooms. She holds a master’s in ed leadership and an educational doctorate in adult learning. She is passionate about technology integration, 21st-century learning, innovation, student-centered classrooms, and much more.

Nina Englund

Nina Englund

Job Position

Nina has worked with the program for the last 10 years in various capacities, including College & Career Specialist and Program Supervisor. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a Master’s in Leadership in Student Affairs from the University of St. Thomas. She currently holds a K-6 teaching license for the state of Minnesota.

Noam Wiggs

Noam Wiggs

Job Position

Noam joined the MN Alliance with Youth 2 years ago. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he taught math in Minneapolis Public Schools and obtained his Masters in math education. He has also worked with Breakthrough, an educational nonprofit that provides academic enrichment programming to under resourced students. He is currently Director of Evaluation and Training which includes working with host sites in northern Minnesota and their AmeriCorps Promise Fellows – who help ensure youth success by connecting young people to caring adults, service and leadership opportunities, and high quality in- and out-of- school supports.

Pakou Yang

Pakou Yang

Job Position

Pakou is system director of P-20 and college readiness at the Minnesota State system office where she provides system-level leadership and support in the areas of: secondary and postsecondary partnerships, dual enrollment programs, college access, course placement assessment, and developmental education. She works collaboratively with K12 and higher education leaders and educators to better align secondary and postsecondary, enhance college readiness and access, and build stronger college transitions for students.

Paula Palmer

Paula Palmer

Job Position

Paula is Director of the Career and College Success Department at the Minnesota Department of Education. She oversees early college programs, partnerships, and strategic initiatives with PreK-20 including Career and Technical Education, High School to Postsecondary Initiatives, Adult Basic Education, Online Learning, and Alternative Programs. Prior to coming to MDE, Paula spent 36 years as an elementary and secondary classroom teacher and district coordinator in both rural and urban schools. Paula served as a parent representative on the Northwest Suburban Integration School District Board for several years. She also has extensive experience serving at the Minneapolis Public Schools district office as a Reading and Math Coach, Literacy Team Lead, Magnet Schools Coordinator and Advanced Course Program Coordinator.

Rick Sansted

Rick Sansted

Job Position

Secondary Social Studies Teacher - Parkers Prairie, MN and Edina, MN Middle School Asst. Principal and Elementary Principal - Edina, MN Asst. Superintendent - Alexandria, MN Research experience on gender differences in learning, Participant in Learning Forward National Cohort - Learning School Alliance.

Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown

Job Position

Dr. Brown works at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) at the University of Minnesota. Until recently, she was the Chief of the Bureau of Learner Strategies and Supports at the Iowa Department of Education. She has also served as a special education administrator and has worked at multiple levels of the educational system to impact system improvement.

Sarah Haugen

Sarah Haugen

Job Position

Sarah earned her double Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Physical Education with a Developmental Adapted Physical Education licensure from Winona State University. She began her career teaching elementary and middle school physical education and adapted physical education. She then became a Peer Leader for the Q-Comp program in School District 196. In 2008, she completed her Master of Education in Teaching and Learning from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. She has facilitated the Saint Mary’s M.Ed. Teaching and Learning Program ever since. She serves as the Associate Director of the M. Ed. Program and as a Professional Development Specialist for the Professional Development Initiatives program at Saint Mary’s. Certified in Cognitive Coaching® and experienced in teacher development, her professional interests include teacher identity, concept-based instruction, constructivist teaching, and best practices in instruction.

Sheila Nelsen-Amado

Sheila Nelsen-Amado

Job Position

Nelson-Amado is a Program Supervisor specializing in curriculum and instruction. For the past 15 years, Sheila has developed and taught the Get Ready College & Career Readiness Curriculum. Her commitment to anti-racism, LGBTQ inclusion, diversity, and educational equity are cornerstones of her work with GEAR UP students, families and community partners. She holds a Bachelor of Elective Studies in Social Science from Saint Cloud State University and has completed coursework at Metropolitan State University in Urban Elementary Education.

Shelby McQuay

Shelby McQuay

Job Position

Shelby joined Ehlers' Education Team in 2016 as a Municipal Advisor in the Minnesota office. Prior to joining Ehlers, Shelby was employed at the Minnesota Senate for 12 years as a non-partisan research analyst and a fiscal analyst, working on education finance and tax policy. Most recently, she helped craft language and review the financial implications of the School Building Agricultural Credit, and the tax credit for Maximum Effort Capital Loan districts.

Tammy Berg-Beniak

Tammy Berg-Beniak

Job Position

Tammy is the Superintendent of the Pine Island School District. She previously served as a principal in Pine Island and also in the Zumbrota-Mazeppa School District. Tammy previously worked closely with the Prairie Island Tribal Council as the Director of Early Childhood. She obtained her Doctor of Education degree at Bethel University in 2015.

Tanya Yerigan

Tanya Yerigan

Job Position

Dr. Yerigan holds a doctorate in education; a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in teaching, learning and leadership; a bachelor’s degree in social work, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Additionally, Dr. Yerigan holds several mental health, education and social work licensures and certifications. She has served these fields in multiple capacities for over 20 years. Dr. Yerigan worked as a school social worker, social studies teacher and prevention educator in the K-12 system for 13 years. As an education professor, she has taught at SMSU for the last 18 years. Additionally, Dr. Yerigan owns and operates two Minnesota-based businesses. More than all of this, Dr. Yerigan is a mother and grandmother who is dedicated to bringing relevant academic issues to the forefront for the betterment of our youth.

Terri Yetter

Terri Yetter

Job Position

Terri Yetter is the Assistant Director of School Finance in the Minnesota Department of Education. She has been with the department for 27 years and has worked in a number of areas including property tax levy administration, general education and other categorical revenue programs. Prior to that, she was a legislative fiscal analyst for the Education Standing Committees of the Iowa Legislature. She holds a MS degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa.

Thomas Hoff

Thomas Hoff

Job Position

Tom has been working in the field of career and technical education for over 20 years and has formed hundreds of partnerships with business, college, and agency staff over the years in an effort to provide enrichment opportunities for youth that would not normally be available in the region of southwest Minnesota.

Tracy Lysne

Tracy Lysne

Job Position

Tracy is the program director of the M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning Program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She began her career as a math teacher, teaching mathematics in both middle school and high school. Most recently she worked at two primary schools in Loxton, South Australia as a pastoral care worker, where she supported students, parents, and staff. Tracy has been a workshop facilitator for The Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs for Middle School and is currently completing her StrengthsFinder® coaching certification. She is an instructor for the M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning program where she has facilitated 7 learning communities. Tracy is passionate about brain-based teaching, inner life of the teacher, equipping parents, and nurturing potential.

Troy Haugen

Troy Haugen

Job Position

Troy Haugen currently serves as the Career and Technical Education Coordinator at Lakes Country Service Cooperative in rural, west central Minnesota. He has a background in PreK-grade 12 public education as a teacher and administrator an serves as an adjunct instructor in the graduate program of Education Leadership at a local Minnesota university. He chairs the regional Labor Force Development Council, holds a seat at the Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program's Youth Council, chairs the regional Family Economic Success Jobs, Careers & Employability Workgroup, is a board member of the Minnesota Association of Career & Technical Administrators, and just completed serving as the co-chair of the Minnesota Career & Technical Educator Licensing Task Force. Troy has a passion for CTE, education policy, and nontraditional education.