Georgette Benton, Technology Director
As the Technology Coordinator, Georgette maintains the network, computers, and devices. Georgette earned her Associates in Computer Science from the Minnesota School of Business. Georgette previously served our country as a United States National Guard member in the 34th Infantry Division with the rank of Sergeant.
Louis Bakalars, Behavior Coordinator
Louie serves as a Behavior Coordinator at AOWL. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of St. Thomas. Prior to joining Academy of Whole Learning, Louie was a Program Coordinator for Fraser’s Supervised Living Department.
Collin Cooper, Registered Behavior Therapist
Collin is a Registered Behavior Therapist in the Upper School classrooms. Before coming to Academy of Whole Learning, Collin taught various forms of movement for 9 years including Parkour and Gymnastics, with an emphasis in connecting the body with the mind and learning to overcome physical and mental real world obstacles. He also worked as a performer for two NBA teams, the Timberwolves and Wizards. Collin attended University of Wisconsin for Sociology and Criminology.
Kelly Crampton, Social Studies Teacher
Kelly is the Social Studies teacher in the Upper School. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth in Teaching Social Studies with a minor in coaching. Prior to working at Academy of Whole Learning, Kelly worked at a Charter School teaching High School Social Studies.
Kade Drechsler, Classroom Teacher
Kade teaches in the Temperance, middle school classroom. Kade was selected as the Minnesota Independent Schools Forum (MISF) 2019 (K-8) Teacher of the Year. They received their Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Australian Catholic University in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Kade holds a Minnesota Teaching License in Elementary Education. Kade has presented at multiple STEM conference and as a member of AOWL STEM grant team has received multiple Innovation Grants from MISF.
Amy Epperson, Registered Behavior Therapist
Amy is a Registered Behavior Therapist in the Minnehaha, Middle School Classroom. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris, with Bachelors Degrees in Psychology and Liberal Arts for Human Services and a Minor in Vocal Music. She worked at South Dakota State University for 3 years as a Residential Hall Director. In 2018 Amy became a certified Registered Behavior Therapist (RBT) and worked at Behavior Care Specialists, in Brookings, SD. She implemented one on one Applied Behavior Analysis(ABA) therapy with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in-home, clinics, and school settings.
Mike Faeth, PhD Post-Secondary Career and Education Counselor
Mike is a Post-Secondary Career and Education Counselor assisting our students with transition planning. He earned his PhD in History from the University of Minnesota and holds an MA in History and BA in History, Political Science and Spanish. Prior to joining Academy of Whole Learning, Mike was an Associate Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and a Lecturer at the University of Minnesota with over 10 years of teaching experience.
Colleen Farley, Teacher Associate/Art Specialist
Colleen graduated from the University of Minnesota Rochester with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science. At Academy of Whole Learning, Colleen works with all groups of students through visual arts media. She also supports students and staff in the classroom as a teacher associate.
Jen Finger, Registered Behavior Therapist
Jen graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. At Academy of Whole Learning, she serves as a registered behavior therapist within the Gooseberry, lower school classroom.
Lizzy Freese, BCBA, Behavior Therapist
Lizzy serves as a Behavior Therapist. She graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences with a triple concentration in psychology, human development, and Business administration. Lizzy obtained her Master’s of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is also a licensed BCBA. Prior to Academy of Whole Learning, Lizzy worked with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in-home and clinic-based ABA therapy programs.
Courtney Glazier, Classroom Teacher
Courtney teaches lower school students in the Cascade Falls classroom. She graduated from Minnesota State University Mankato with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education – Academic and Behavior Specialist. Courtney has a Minnesota Teaching License for K-12 students with disabilities.
Paul Gloudemans, Director of Marketing and Admissions
Paul manages marketing and admissions. He received his B.A. in Advertising from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and his teaching certificate from the University of St. Thomas. He possesses an extensive marketing background, working for Best Buy, LifeTime Fitness, and various advertising agencies. After 12 years in the business world, Paul decided to shift his focus to education and worked for Richfield High School before joining Academy of Whole Learning.
Anita Haas, M.Ed. Classroom Teacher
Anita teaches in the Gooseberry, lower school classroom. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Studies and Theater from South Dakota State University and her Masters of Arts in Special Education from the University of St. Thomas with a teaching license in K-12 Developmental Disabilities and Birth-12 Autism Spectrum Disorders. Prior to joining the Academy of Whole Learning, Anita had many years of paraprofessional experience and teaching experience with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Cognitive Disorders.
Elizabeth Hall, Classroom Teacher
Elizabeth serves as a science teacher within the upper school at Academy of Whole Learning. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina. Elizabeth worked for many years as an analytical development chemist in the pharmaceutical industry. More recently she worked as an elementary school teacher assistant in Rhode Island.
Melanie Hendrickson – Social/Emotional/Physical Instructor (SEP)
Melanie is the SEP Instructor for all lower and middle school classrooms. Prior to AOWL she spent three and a half years serving as a Behavioral Therapist/ Mental Health Practitioner at the Minnesota Autism Center (MAC) in Eagan, providing one-on-one ABA therapy to elementary and middle school aged children with Autism. She received a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesotaand a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from St. Cloud State University.
Lea Ichimura, Behavioral Therapist
Lea received her Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Prior to joining Academy of Whole Learning, she provided behavioral therapy services to clients ranging in age from 2 to 12 years old, where she worked in the clinic, residential, and in the community. Lea has also provided cognitive behavioral therapy and applied behavioral analysis for children with behavioral, emotional, and learning disabilities, as well as children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and co-occurring disorders. She also conducted diagnostic assessments and taught American Sign Language for 3 years to students ranging in age from 5 to 12 years old.
Lisa Janisch, Director of Behavior Education
Lisa received her undergraduate degree in Recreational Therapy from the University of La Crosse and her Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud University. She has worked in the field of Autism for 20 years doing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. Lisa has been a Behavior Therapist, a Lead Behavior Therapist, Treatment Supervisor, and Clinical Skills Supervisor. She has provided 1:1 skills training, family skills training, implementation of skills, programming and managing behaviors with children ages 2-18 years old.
Maggie Jensen, M.A. Sped. Classroom Teacher
Maggie Jensen is the Lower School classroom teacher in the Wolf Creek classroom. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from UW-River Falls and began working in the behavior therapy field upon graduation. Maggie returned to earn her graduate degree from Bethel University and graduated with a master’s in Special Education and her ASD teaching licensure. In addition to applied behavioral analysis and behavior management experience, Maggie has earned certification in the Orton Gillingham Language Arts model.
Paige Knorek, Office Manager
Paige is the Office Manager at Academy of Whole Learning. With a variety of previous professional experience in teaching, non-profit ministry, and corporate administration, a Concordia College (Moorhead) graduate, Paige has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an Endorsement in Communication Arts and Literature. She is licensed to teach grades K-8 in Minnesota and assists with Spanish classes at Academy of Whole Learning.
Sunni Myers, Mental Health Therapist
Sunni received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She earned her Master of Science Degree in Child Development and Family Relations from East Carolina University as well as her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Prior to joining Academy of Whole Learning, Sunni has provided services to address mood disorders, trauma, social skills, co-occurring chemical dependency/mental illness, and school based services. Sunni focuses on cognitive behavioral, systemic and strength-based views..
Anna Myrand, Classroom Teacher
Anna Myrand teaches English Language Arts in our upper school at Academy of Whole Learning. She holds teaching licenses in ASD, Learning Disorders (LD), Emotional Behavioral Disorders (EBD), and Developmental Disorders (DD). She is also licensed in Teaching Communication Arts and Literature, grades 5-12. Prior to joining Academy of Whole Learning, Anna served as a high school special education teacher at a twin cities public school for five years. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Mike Onan, Director of Finance
Mike is the school’s Director of Finance. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in business teacher education and a Masters of Business Administration in accounting from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He worked in accounting and finance Cargill and U.S. Bank before moving into non-profit accounting as Director of Finance at the United Way of Portage County in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Regina Porter, Registered Behavior Therapist
Regina serves as a registered behavior therapist in the Cedar Lake, middle school classroom at Academy of Whole Learning. She graduated from S.U.N.Y. Cortland with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Masters in Reading. Regina has previous experience working as a Reading Specialist for middle school and high school students.
Karla Przybylski, Therapy Services/Human Resources Manager
Karla serves as the Therapy Services Manager/Human Resources Manager. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, WI. Karla has experience in marketing, management, and small business operations. Prior to joining the team at Academy of Whole Learning, Karla was part of building and selling a successful startup company.
Hannah Ramberg, Registered Behavior Therapist
Hannah serves as a registered behavior therapist in the Cascade Falls, lower school classroom at Academy of Whole Learning. She graduated from the University Of Wisconsin, River Falls, with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Hannah worked as a Personal Care Assistant in Summer School aged care programs. She has five years of experience as a martial arts instructor, and teaches a martial arts club at AOWL.
Luella Ramberg, Executive Director and Board of Trustees Executive Assistant
Luella provides administrative support to the Executive Director, the Board of Trustees, students, parents, and staff. Prior to her employment at Academy of Whole Leaning, she served as a Librarian at a community library, providing resources for individuals of diverse backgrounds. Lue also served as a leader of a 4H Club and on the 4H Leader Council, promoting the development of a wide variety of skills in young people between the ages of 4 and 18.
Carly Kortuem, Director of Strategic Advancement
As Director of Strategic Advancement, Carly leads our school’s advancement strategies and development. She graduated with high honors from the University of Minnesota. Prior to taking on this role, Carly was the Business Manager at AOWL for 4 years, where she managed the school’s finances, tuition, HR and facility operations. Carly comes to AOWL with a background in nonprofit management as the founder of a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Peerly Social: An Autism Network, a buddy program for young adults with ASD.
Wyayn Rasmussen, Ed. D. Executive Director
Dr. Wyayn Rasmussen is in her eighth year advocating for the mission and vision of the Academy as Executive Director. Wyayn earned her Masters of Education in Special Education and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Bethel University, a Masters of Art in Organizational Management from Concordia University – St. Paul, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Oklahoma. Wyayn serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Independent School Forum, as an Accreditation Chair for the Minnesota Nonpublic Schools Accrediting Association and is an active member of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce Executive Director’s Sounding Board.
Greg Saunders, Director of Exceptional Learning
As the Director of Exceptional Learning, Greg supports the school’s vision as it relates to academics. Greg graduated from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, with a degree in Secondary Education. He also received his Master’s Degree in Education from St, Mary’s University, St. Paul and his Administrative License from St. Cloud State University. He has over 20 years of educational experience that include classroom and administrative roles. His instructional technology expertise provided him the opportunity to serve as an Innovation Coach helping teachers integrate technology in their instruction.
Katie Thormodsgaard, MSW, LICSW, Director of Therapy Services
Katie serves as the Director of Therapy Services at Academy of Whole Learning. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, WI and her graduate degree in Social Work from the University of St. Thomas/St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN. Prior to joining Academy of Whole Learning, Katie provided (ABA) therapy. She also has been a behavior therapist, a lead behavior therapist and a supervisor providing 1:1 skills training, family skills training, implementation of skills programming and managing behaviors in children ages 2 to 19 years old at home and in a clinic setting. Katie was instrumental in the development of clinical services for AOWL focussing on providing a holistic approach so students and families feel supported in all areas.
Keera Tijerina, Registered Behavior Therapist
Keera is a Registered Behavior Therapist in the Temperance, Middle School Classroom. She graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor degree in child adult and family services. Before coming to AOWL I worked at Woodward Academy as a Youth Counselor for boys and girls ages 14-18 years old. She also volunteered at a group home for girls through Youth Social Services in Ames, IA.
Kelsey Toetschinger, M.Ed. Classroom Teacher
Kelsey is a teacher in the Minnehaha Falls, middle school classroom. She also manages Scholastic book orders and is the Hopkins School District Liaison for IEPs . Kelsey earned her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato and her Masters in Special Education from St. Mary’s University, Twin Cities. Kelsey has her LD, EBD, and ASD licenses and is licensed in both general and special education. Previous to Academy of Whole Learning, Kelsey has had experience working in a transition program. She was able to contribute her experience last year when helping students start AOWL’s first concession stand, Owl Foods.
Kelsey Wall, Advancement Coordinator
Kelsey serves as an Advancement Coordinator at the Academy of Whole Learning. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology at Wheaton College in Illinois. Prior to AOWL, Kelsey worked as a mental health counselor at Chicago Lakeshore Hospital in the children’s pavilion serving a diverse population with a wide range of mental illnesses and trauma.
Kaitlin Walsh, Beyond the Bell Coordinator
Kaitlin is the Beyond the Bell Coordinator, but previously worked for Academy of Whole Learning as a Teacher Associate and ASL teacher. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech-Language-Hearing Science. Prior to joining Academy of Whole Learning, she was a Personal Care Assistant for children with developmental disabilities, a case manager at a vocational day program for adults with disabilities, and volunteer classroom assistant at Northern Voices Oral School for the deaf.
Michelle Williams, Grant Writer
Michelle is the Grant Writer for the Advancement Department. She earned a B.A. in English from Georgetown University, and holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Prior to making the shift to Advancement, she was an English teacher and Department Chair at independent schools in the South. Her greatest job, however, is as the parent of an AOWL student.
Amanda White, Classroom Teacher
Amanda is a teacher in the Cedar Lake, middle school classroom at Academy of Whole Learning. She also teaches life skills across all grades at AOWL. She received her undergraduate degrees in K-8 Elementary Education and K-12 Special Education from the University of South Dakota and continued her post-undergraduate work at Cal State Sacramento. In Oakland, Ca, Amanda taught at Spectrum Center, an ABA school, as an Autism-Specific teacher for students ages 12-21. Amanda worked at Lionsgate Academy, a charter school, helping to create the foundation of the AIM transition program. Amanda led the site’s behavioral team, participated in designing courses and related coursework, taught social skills, and organized regular trips into the community to allow for students to generalize skills learned across settings.
Molly Zupon, Performing Arts Specialist
Molly iteaches drama and music education. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in theater and one in vocal performance. She received her K-12 Theater/Dance teaching license from Hamline University and taught at a Minneapolis Public School in both general education and special education. Before becoming a licensed teacher, Molly worked as a Special Education paraprofessional in the St Paul Public Schools at Creative Arts Secondary, as well as in a program called Check and Connect at Northeast Middle. Molly has been a performer for 30 years. and can be seen singing and playing her violin in her Irish comedy improvisation band, The Dregs. She also teaches private violin and viola lessons. During the summers, Molly serves as the Music Director for the Sabes Jewish Community Center musical theater youth camp.