Presenters are listed in alphabetical order. Click on the tabs below to view bios of this year’s breakout session presenters.
Stan Alleyne is an experienced school communications professional with extensive experience in both urban and rural districts. He has presented across the country on issues important to educators. He recently served as the Vice President for Diversity Engagement for the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).
Karsten Anderson has been the Superintendent of Schools in Red Wing since 2011. He is in his 21st year as a Superintendent, including 10 years at Watertown-Mayer. He has helped guide Red Wing Public Schools through difficult budget decisions into an era of budget stability that includes its new Career Pathways program to ensure that every student is career ready, college ready and life ready. A native of Montana, he is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead.
Mary Anderson is a FIRST Robotics Mentor/Science Teacher who accepted the request to become the FIRST Robotics mentor with no experience in FIRST Robotics.
Jenny Fraley is a licensed school counselor at Bemidji High School for the 9th grade and Bemidji Career Academies. Most recently, Jenny was a school counselor at Bagley High School in Bagley, where she assisted in implementing career exploration curriculum for students grades 7-12 through the Minnesota Career Information System, along with participating in the work experience program. Jenny is passionate about her local community and connecting students to hands on experiences, especially within Greater Minnesota.
Eden Bart has worked on a wide range of projects since joining MHC in 2003. In her current role as a Program Officer in K-12 education programs, she works with scholars and community members to develop educator resources and professional development workshops, and manages the Center’s extensive online Absent Narratives Resource Collection. Prior to joining MHC, Eden taught sixth grade in the Wayzata Public Schools.
Alesha Bates is currently teaching Special Education at Harrison Elementary in Brainerd. She recently completed her Masters degree in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership through Southwest Minnesota State University.
Bruce Bergeson has dedicated his career to K-12 education as a teacher and principal and is now the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director for the Minnesota River Valley CTE Collaborative. He leads a multi school, businesses and agency partnership that provides CTE experiences to students in five high schools.
Dr. Rhonda Bonnstetter is serving in her 14th year as a Professor of Education at Southwest Minnesota State University. She is a two-time alum of SMSU, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education in 1996 and her Master’s degree in Education with a Mathematics Emphasis in 1999. Dr. Bonnstetter started in the field of education as a paraprofessional at Murray County Central (MCC) High School for 5 years, before beginning her career as a high school math and computer science teacher at MCC for 9 years. Dr. Bonnstetter earned her Ed.S. in Technology for Education and Training from USD in 2005, followed by her Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from USD in 2007. Dr. Bonnstetter enjoys supervising student teachers and working with in-service teachers to improve their pedagogical practice.
Joe Brandmeier is an independent producer, director, storyteller, executive producer, editor, and businessman and has worked with Prince, U2, RunDMC, Wyclef Jean, Janet Jackson and many other artists. He has traveled the world to develop and collaborate with others to bring fun, meaningful projects to life, including 2 national Emmy-winning PBS specials, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, a live concert in Haiti with a crowd of 65,000, and a feature documentary called “I Do?” which won Best Documentary at Twin Cities Film Festival.
Kelly Braun is Director of Teaching and Learning for the Kasson-Mantorville Schools. Prior to her work at KM, she was a literacy specialist in the Rochester Public Schools and a classroom teacher in the Byron Public Schools. Kelly is an instructor for the St. Mary’s University Masters in Literacy program and lives in Mantorville.
Joe Cerar is a 28-year educator, the past 25 as a high school Social Science instructor at Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School. He serves on many committees in the PEM District and is a passionate advocate for improving teaching and learning, and a recent convert to all things PLC.
Rachel Cox Raverty, Mental Health Consultant at SWWC Service Cooperative, earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) at Minnesota State University, Mankato and then completed her Master of Social Work (MSW) in July 2019. She has completed internships with a juvenile detention center, outpatient chemical dependency program, county social services and school administration and worked 8 years as a children’s mental health/child protection case manager in a rural county setting and 5 years as a school social worker in a rural setting IV behavioral program. She is actively involved in the SWWC social-emotional-learning committee and dually licensed by the Minnesota Board of Social Work and the Minnesota Department of Education.
Jessica Denter been in public education as a former middle and high school English and reading teacher, Reading Specialist and Instructional Coach for the past 14 years. She started teaching Texas and then moved to Rochester and Kasson. This is my second\t year as the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for Byron Public Schools. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Secondary teaching Communication Arts and Literature from Winona State University, a Masters of Arts in Literacy Education and K-12 Reading Specialist licence from Hamline University, and an Educational Specialist Degree in K-12 Administration from Minnesota State Mankato University.
Annie Dettman is a speech language pathologist who has been working for SWWC Service Cooperative for the last 11 years, providing speech services to students who attend the Educational Learning Center in Cosmos. In the last year, she has been trained through New Teacher Center to work as a coach for teachers at the Educational Learning Centers within SWWC. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Language Hearing Science from Minnesota State University Moorhead and her Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders from Minot State University.
Mark Diehl, Director of Information and Technology Services, has continued to foster innovation at Little Falls Community Schools. He was the runner up for the 2011 Tech and Learning Magazine Leader of the Year selection. In 2012 LFCS won the MREA Profile of Excellence Award for Project REAL, a vision for an iPad for every student that was led by Diehl. He has also served on the MASA Board of Directors as one of the founding members ot the MASA Technology Component Group.
Dennis Duffy, School Improvement Program Manager with Minnesota Department of Educaion, got his start teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer in Dashoguz, Turkmenistan. After returning, Dennis spent three years working in schools in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. He now works with MN schools to plan and implement school improvement initiatives. Dennis has a bachelor’s degree in English from North Carolina State University and a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Amanda Durnen was an elementary teacher for 19 years including 18 years as a kindergarten teacher. She holds both a Masters Degree in Teaching and Learning and Ed.S Degree in K-12 Administration and served as Assistant Principal at Byron Elementary School before becoming Principal at Byron Primary School which serves students PK-2. She is a doctoral candidate at Winona State University.
Erin Engness has been in education for 20 years. She worked ten years as an elementary teacher before transitioning to become a district PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) and RtI (Response to Intervention) Coach. Erin has been the PBIS Coordinator for the northern region of Minnesota for the last three years to support almost 200 schools with PBIS implementation from urban to rural areas.
Maria Erlandson is a retired principal with 22 years leadership experience at the elementary level. She is currently working as a Principal Leadership Specialist, coaching principals in the northwest part of Minnesota.
Eriann Faris received her B.A. degree in Sociology and completed her Master of Science degree in Education with an emphasis on Teaching, Learning, and Leadership at Southwest Minnesota State University. Eriann is the Youth Program Manager with the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council (PIC) in southwest Minnesota and has worked with youth and young adults for over 10 years in various wonderful and challenging capacities.
Jeff Flaten is the Buildings and Grounds Assistant for Brainerd Public Schools. He and his team provide a healthy and safe learning environment and ongoing maintenance and custodial services for all District owned buildings so that their students, staff and public have access to clean and safe buildings and grounds. Jeff has 15 years of experience implementing health and safety and project management in educational facilities.
Connie Forster is the Safe Schools Facility Coordinator for the MN Department of Public Safety’s School Safety Center. She has previously served many years as a command fire officer and community safety specialist. Connie oversees K-12 school facility assessments and liaisons with state and local fire marshal’s in all-hazards emergency planning.
Jenna Fromm is the CEO of Palmer Bus Service who got her school bus license in September of her senior year in high school and drove bus that year. She graduated from Bethel College and was tenured at Coon Rapids High School as a High School Spanish Teacher and later received her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. Jenna never thought she would find herself in business, until Palmer Bus Service was transferred to Jenna and her sister in 2012. She stepped into the CEO role in 2015 and satisfies her passion teaching leaders to create a culture of engagement, both in business and in education.
Lisa Gregoire was a teacher for 17 years before starting as a School Improvement Specialist for the SWWC Service Cooperative in 2009. She is now the Director of Teaching and Learning for SWWC and serves as the regional program lead for the Region 6 & 8 Innovative Teacher Support Network and Alternative Teacher Licensing. Lisa received both her Bachelor and Master’s degree from Southwest Minnesota State University.
Matthew Hammer joined the Ehlers’ Education Team in 2019 in the MN office assisting school districts with designing and implementing financial solutions. Prior to joining Ehlers he worked with Fridley Public Schools for over 10 years, most recently as Director of Finance and Operations. Matthew received his Bachelor’s Degree Cum Laude from Creighton University and his Masters of Business Administration from St. Cloud State University.
Mary Harding, MAED, BA, 2002 National Dance Teacher of the Year, has been head of the dance program at the Perpich Arts High School since 1990. Her research, “Peer Coaching in the Arts Classroom”, received multiple awards and was published in the June 2009 edition of JODE. Her article, “Assessment In The High School Technique Class – Creating Thinking Dancers,” was published in the August 2012 edition of JODE. She has presented at multiple national conferences on assessment, curriculum, and standards. She was a member of the Minnesota Standards writing team and was on the National Core Arts Standards dance writing team. She currently works as the Perpich Center Dance Education specialist across the state of Minnesota.
Kristi Hastings is a partner at the Fergus Falls office of Pemberton Law, primarily representing public entities in litigation, human resources, and collective bargaining. She is a Board Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association. She grew up on her family’s dairy farm in North Dakota and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Communications at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. She received her Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law and began working for Pemberton Law as a legal clerk during law school before becoming an associate and later a partner.
Josh Heggem, partner at Pemberton Law in Fergus Falls, is a recognized expert in the practice of Labor and Employment Law, which makes up 90 percent of his practice. He has been certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) as a Labor and Employment Law Specialist and by the Minnesota Society for Human Resource Management and the HR Certification Institute to teach continuing education workplace investigations courses. He was recognized as a Minnesota Rising Star in law from 2015-2018. An Aitkin native, Josh graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Financial Economics and a minor in Political Science and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Jordan Herman graduated from Central Lakes College and University of MN-Duluth with AA & Teaching Life Science degrees and then student-taught in San Jose, Costa Rica. Upon returning he taught Physical Science and Biology at St. Paul Harding for 8 years and middle school sciences/chemistry in Pillager for 4 years. He earned a Master’s in Literacy Education and was nominated for an Educator of Excellence award and MN Teacher of the Year award twice. Seeing opportunities to make education even better for kids, Metier was born, leading to an opportunity to work for Sourcewell as a Metier Education Consultant. Jordan is an avid outdoorsman looking to instill work ethic and growth mindset.
Tom Hoff works for the SWWC Service Cooperative and has been providing student enrichment programs and experiences to k-12 students for over 20 years. He is currently providing leadership for the LYFT Career Pathways project.
Tom Jerome, Greenbush-Middle River/Badger Superintendent has spent 27 years in education, 9 of themas a Superintendent. He is passionate about serving students and making great things happen for others.
Carey Johnson is the Secondary School Principal in Parkers Prairie. She leads a staff of 30 and a building of 270 students. Carey is passionate about rural education and has been studying equity in education to support her staff and by taking part in the equity support group of Otter Tail County.
Randy W. Johnson serves as director of the Emergency Management Certificate Programs for the MN Department of Public Safety and the MN School Safety Center. He served 32 years in law enforcement and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
Dr. Shirley Johnson earned her Ph.D. in teaching and learning with a teaching emphasis from the University of North Dakota. She is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Her educational interests include designing and supporting inclusive education for all students, the use of positive behavioral supports to foster emotionally safe learning communities within classrooms, implementation of evidence-based practices, and improving collaboration to address the needs of today’s diverse classrooms. She also consults with Moorhead Schools in their beginning teacher Induction and mentoring program.
Jamie Juhl, M.S., served Pipestone Area Schools for the past 8 years as 3rd-grade teacher, Special Education teacher, and Special Education Assessment Coordinator. She began a new position as Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of Sioux Falls this fall. Prior to this, Jamie taught Kindergarten and Special Education in Boise, Idaho. She has been a mentor/coach for several Community Expert Special Education teachers and has also provided several workshops for teachers on how to modify and adapt lessons to meet the needs of Special Education students. Contact Jamie at Jamie.Juhl@usiouxfalls.edu or find her on Twitter @coachjuhl.
Sharon Kipka has been privileged to represent her rural community of Foley as a board member for almost two decades. Her background is business with an emphasis on inventory control, job costing, and accounts receivable. Continuous improvement and success for all students is her passion.
Angie Klassen was appointed to the Windom school board in June 2018 and was elected in November 2018. Prior to that, she was on the facility task force with fellow community members to discuss the concerns and solutions for the overcrowding in the school district. When the school board made the decision to move forward with a public vote, she co-chaired the “Vote Yes” committee which resulted in the passing of the bond referendum allowing the district to build a new elementary school and expand the CTE program.
Monica Kramer McConkey, LPC has 25 years of experience in behavioral health as a counselor, program supervisor and administrator. She has primarily worked with child and adolescent populations. Monica’s career focus has been to increase access and remove the stigma often attached to mental health services. She grew up on a farm in northwestern Minnesota and has intimate understanding of the dynamics leading to farm stress and its impact on farm families. She is Director of Business Development at Prairie St. John’s in Fargo and received her B.A in Psychology from Southeastern University and an M.A. in Counseling from Regent University. She is licensed as a Professional Counselor in Minnesota.
Dr. Courtney LaLonde earned her PhD in teaching and learning with a teacher education emphasis from the University of North Dakota. Currently she is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum & Instruction in the School of Teaching & Learning at Minnesota State University Moorhead teaching online graduate education courses. She is a former middle- and secondary-level Spanish and English teacher and also has experience teaching undergraduate education foundations courses. She stays connected to PK-12 classroom practice through mentoring novice teachers. Her most recent research focuses on teacher inquiry/action research, collaborative practices, and learning environments.
Trent Langemo was a high school social studies teacher and coach in Alexandria and Kingsland (Spring Valley) before serving as principal at Pine River-Backus High School for 4 years. He has been Principal at Kasson-Mantorville HS for 4 years. He is the Secretary/Treasurer of Southeast Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals and lives in Kasson.
Jenny Larrive currently serves as School Resource Officer Coordinator for the MN Department of Public Safety, MN School Safety Center. She has over 15 years of experience in law enforcement with over 10 of those years as a school resource officer at Henry Sibley High School. Jenny works closely with K-12 schools throughout Minnesota as a resource and support for emergency planning efforts and training.
Alex Liuzzi is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB). He has worked as a teacher in early childhood, special education, elementary and middle schools, an alternative high school, teacher education, and with adult English language learners. Alex has worked for public, private, and charter PreK through grade 12 schools as well as undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs. He is midway through a Ph.D. on Comparative and International Development Education. In his work, Alex continues to focus on increasing teachers of color, identifying indicators for measuring teacher effectiveness, and researching instructional and relational strategies that engage students across the globe.
Rachel Logan has been a K-6 classroom teacher in a variety of rural, urban and suburban settings in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Texas. The last 4 years she has served as an education consultant at Sourcewell serving mostly rural school districts in Central Minnesota. Rachel has supported educators at all levels to champion equitable educational environments. She is a nationally trained SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) facilitator and hosts regional SEED groups in Staples. She completed her undergraduate degree at Concordia College, Moorhead and holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and K-12 Reading License from Concordia University, St. Paul.
Logan Luedtke is a senior at Little Falls Community High School. He participates in a variety of activities and is a quiet leader within the school who is highly respected by his peers.
Tim Lutz is the superintendent of Bemidji Area Schools. He started his educational career as a high school English/Language Arts teacher and was later hired as a school counselor. He spent 4 years as a school principal and was Kelliher Schools superintendent 10 years before becoming Bemidji Schools superintendent in 2018. He is serving his second year on the MREA Board of Directors.
Stephanie Mercil has been in education for 16 years working as a substitute teacher, school interventionist, and most recently a 2nd grade teacher for 14 years. She started a mentorship program in Park Rapids Schools 5 years ago and has served as mentorship coordinator all 5 years. She took on the role of Organizational Leader when the school was awarded a Striving Reader’s Comprehensive Literacy Grant and works closely with MDE. This year she is the K-8 Coordinator of Educational Services serving as District Manager for the new assessment tool and leading the school intervention team.
Meg Moynihan, M.S. currently oversees the MDA’s efforts to support farmers and other agricultural professionals who are experiencing financial, emotional, and mental stress in their lives and communities. She previously worked as a program director, educator, and evaluator, and served with the U.S Peace Corps-Thailand. She also co-owns/operates an organic dairy farm for which she took a leave of absence in 2016 to run the farm singlehandedly, encountering the stress, anxiety, burnout, and depression so many farmers experience.
Jodi Munson is enjoying her 19th year of teaching. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in elementary education, with a minor in early childhood education from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse and earned her Master’s of Science degree from Walden University with an emphasis on Reading and Literacy. She has taught kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade and 6th grade reading and language arts, 8th grade reading, and College Now Introduction to Education with juniors and seniors.
Kandy Noles Stevens is a STEM teacher educator and regional outdoor education advocate and presenter. She is passionate about connecting teachers with resources to succeed in STEM/outdoor education as well as introducing young learners to the possibilities of a career in education. Kandy is a speaker and author who travels nationwide addressing the impact of grief on communities, schools, families, and learners. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi and is a recent recipient of the Graduate Excellence in Teaching award from the University of South Dakota.
Paul Neubauer’s 36 years in education is highlighted by his commitment to connecting mission, vision, and core values to actionable strategies that support a more global vision of education. Prior to joining Foley School District as Superintendent, Paul worked for the St. Francis school district as an Assistant High School Principal, High School Principal, and Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Paul holds a B.A. in German and B.S. in English through Dickinson State University in North Dakota as well as his M.S. in Athletic Administration through South Dakota State University and his Administrative Licensure through St. Cloud State University.
Shamus O’Meara, Construction Attorney with O’Meara Leer Wagner, has over 21 years of experience representing and guiding a diverse group of clients from school districts and educational institutions to multinational corporations. He is highly skilled in construction law including contract placement, public and private bidding, insurance and bonding issues, and more. He has been recognized as a Minnesota Law Attorney of the Year and Minnesota Super Lawyer and is rated AV Preeminent by his peers for excellent legal abilities and professional ethics.
Jon Peterson is a retired high school science teacher who began his career in rural Wisconsin and then moved to the Osseo school district. He taught science and coached 37 years in middle school and high school. The last 10 years of teaching he was also the International Baccalaureate (IB) coordinator at Park Center High School. Since 2015 he has been the Executive Director at MNIB supporting schools and staff with training, MDE reimbursements, the MNIB Summer Conference, and educator workshops and roundtables.
Arif Quraishi, Principal with ICS Consulting, Inc., has over 27 years of experience overseeing construction, design, and facility planning of K-12 facilities across North America. He has managed the delivery and execution of over $1 billion of construction in the public sector. He has extensive knowledge and experience partnering with public sector clients on successful projects of all sizes.
Todd Rapp has spent more than 30 years at the center of some of Minnesota’s most complex public affairs challenges, providing strategic counsel and communications services to non-profits, local governments, state agencies and private companies. In the past decade, they have assisted 28 school districts with community engagement and public outreach activities to support $1.5 billion in school construction projects and over three dozen successful referendum questions.
Jessica Robinson received both her Bachelor and Master of Arts in Communication Disorders form the University of South Dakota. She has been with the SWWC Service Cooperative as a Speech Language Pathologist since 2008. She now is in the role of Instructional Coach, providing support for new teachers in the SWWC Educational Learning Centers.
Alaine (Lainey) Sandberg has been a special education teacher for 14 years, earning her undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She began her teaching career at Aitkin Public School District as a special education teacher. She also has taught in and Brainerd. She is currently teaching at Aitkin Public School as a high school special education teacher. She earned her Master’s degree in Teaching, Learning, Leadership from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2019.
Amy Satterfield is a Sr. Project with IEA, Inc. and has over 20 years of experience providing environmental, health and safety services to school districts, commercial, industrial and healthcare clients. IEA and Amy’s involvement with the district facility programs as well as relationship building with the governing agencies provides a well-rounded view of safety challenges and needs.
Matthew Scheidler is currently a Principal on Special Assignment-IB Implementation at Rockford High School and is collaborating with RHS students, staff, and families as well as MNIB representatives to create the best possible learning environment. RHS has applied for candidacy for the Middle Years Programme (MYP), Diploma Programme (DP), and the Career-related Programme (CP). Prior to becoming the RHS Principal in 2014, Matthew taught social studies and served as a peer coach from 2000-2014. He earned his social studies teaching certificate, Masters in Education (M.Ed.), K-12 Principal License, Superintendent’s License, and Doctorate of Education (Ed. D.) at the University of Minnesota.
Wendy Schoolmeester, Ed.D., has been an educator for 33 years. She began as an elementary teacher, moved to the principalship, and is currently a Professor of Education at Southwest MN State University in Marshall, sharing her education passion with teacher candidates and assisting them to become top-notch teachers. Wendy was a school board member for Pipestone Area Schools for 5 years, serving as the Chairman her last 3 years. She is the co-author of POWERFUL Teaching (2019) Kendall-Hunt Publishing. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org, find her on Twitter @kiddielitprof, and follow her and Dr. Sonya Vierstraete’s blog at educonnections.org.
Jennifer Stefan is in her fourth year as the elementary principal at King Elementary School in Deer River, Minnesota. Prior to entering administration, Jennifer taught first and second grade for 16 years. Jennifer believes that she will always be a teacher first and approaches her role as the school leader with that at the forefront of her decisions.
Brian Stefanich has been an administrator for 18 years and is currently Bemdji Area Schools Alternative Education & Bemidji Career Academy Principal. He served as the high school principal for 9 years and earned his degrees from Bemidji State University and St. Cloud State University. He has been influential in starting the Academies and connecting with community partners, serving as the Sunrise Rotary President and numerous leadership and foundation boards including Northwest Technical College. Brian earned the Principal of the Year honors for the Northern Division in 2016.
Jake Sturgis worked in public schools in Minnesota for more than 12 years before starting a communications business that helps schools and districts tell their stories. He is an experienced visual storyteller who knows how to help communications professionals plan and execute authentic, heartfelt videos. Jake also is a skilled strategic communications professional who earned his accreditation in public relations (APR) in 2013. He has presented at local, state and national conferences.
Kevin Votaw is a graduate from UW-La Crosse teaching six years as a middle school ELA teacher in Pillager Public Schools. Along the way he coached multiple sports (baseball, softball, football) at multiple levels in both Pillager and Central Lakes Community College. After starting Metier as a 5-week class, he and partner Jordan Herman received Sourcewell Innovation Funding, training through the Bush Foundation and 2Revolutions design institute, a 2018 Local Government Innovation Award, and eventually, positions as Metier Education Consultants at Sourcewell. He is also a graduate of the Flow Genome Project’s Flow Fundamentals and Flow Performance courses and a member of the first Flow Coaching cohort.
Nate Walbruch attended Winona State University, University of Minnesota and Wingate University. He served as a social studies teacher for Union County Public Schools and North Carolina Virtual Public Schools before becoming an assistant principal. He is currently working as Principal at Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School.
Michelle Wang is the Educator Director at Resource Training and Solutions, a Minnesota Service Cooperative. Prior to joining Resource, she served as an elementary principal, district curriculum coordinator, and elementary teacher. Michelle holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Bethel University, where she also serves as adjunct faculty in their doctoral program.
Cheri Weber has a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in Art Education and works with Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School as a Visual Arts Education Specialist. She is a practicing artist in many mediums (including drawing oil painting, ceramics, printmaking, stained glass and other glass techniques). She has had exhibitions at many Minnesota and east coast galleries (e.g., Minneapolis Institute of Arts). Artistic commissions include major Minnesota companies and the Arch-bishop of Minnesota. Her many years of teaching experience covers all age levels (Kindergarten through Twelfth grade, University, International, and ages 50+ Senior College.
Dr. Kayla Westra, Minnesota West Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Liberal Arts, has spent 18 years working in concurrent enrollment. She has worked as both a concurrent enrollment mentor faculty, as well as the dean responsible for the concurrent enrollment at Minnesota West Community & Technical College for the past 9 years.
Cheryl Whitesitt is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Future Problem Solving Program (FPSP) and has been teaching critical and creative thinking skills to students and adults since 1985. She evaluates student work at the State and International levels and serves on the International FPSP Governing Council. She trains adults and children in the Creative Problem Solving Process to predictable challenges of the future. Having served 15 years on her local school board, the MREA Board, MREA Legislative Action Committee, and the Hiawatha Valley Education District, she sees the challenges for both teachers and administrators.
Wayne Wormstadt has served as the superintendent of Windom Area Schools in Windom for the past 11 years. Recently, the community recently passed a bond for a new K-5 elementary school and an addition to expand the career technical educational center to support these efforts. Prior to work at Windom, Wayne was the Superintendent of Canistota School District in South Dakota. He holds a Masters and Specialist in Educational Leadership and is currently pursuing National Superintendent Certification through AASA.
Jodie Zesbaugh joined Ehlers’ Roseville office as a Municipal Advisor in 2009 to help Minnesota school districts design and implement financial solutions. Prior to joining Ehlers she was an Education Industry Specialist for Sunergi, Inc. and previous to that was Director of Financial Operations at South Washington County School District for 15 years.