Dan Swenson, Retired, M.S. Experiential Education – Board Treasurer

Dan Swenson is retired and was a 4-H member as a youth. He received his BS from the U of M, Twin Cities and recently an MS in Experiential Education at MSU, Mankato. Dan is a volunteer judge at the regional Science and Engineering Fairs held each year in Mankato. He is a former member of the Waseca City Police Reserve and past board member and treasurer of the Waseca County Historical Society. Dan Swenson can be reached at [email protected]

Mike Millerbernd – CHOICE/Owatonna- Board Chair

Mike is an advisor at CHOICE. He graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2012 with a B.S. in Mathematics. After working through the first three actuarial exams, he realized that his true calling was teaching when a friend told him to sit in a math class one day. Before the end of the first period class, he had already determined that he needed to be a secondary teacher and went to Bemidji State University to get his teaching license. He is now dedicated to exploring how to best present mathematics in a project-based learning environment. Mike can be contacted at [email protected]

Billie Johnson – DREAM/Willmar

This is my first year on the board but have been with TAM from the beginning on various committees where I have served as a project coordinator and volunteer for many projects. I work full time at Life-Science Innovations in the research and development department, recently graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Masters in Ecology and Environmental Science and in the process of earning my certification as a Certified Safety Professional.

I am also the founder of the 10 Pin Youth Scholarship Program that assists kids of all ages in the opportunity to earn college scholarships through the sport of bowling and get the pleasures of being a part of building their future by mentoring, coaching the high-school bowling team, youth league and a travel league.

I have worked with many drop out students on my own time and have assisted each and everyone of them in earning a GED or passing high school so they could attend college or apply for a job. I am the founder of a scholarship program which allows me to work with kids who don’t normally have a good structure at home or have been lost in the loop of the traditional learning atmosphere.

My biggest passions are writing music, the bowling scene, my St Bernards and most of all….. building things. I like to build homes for people and/or revamp living spaces, and most of all , I enjoy building people. I have worked with many organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, F.O.R Community, the United States Bowling Congress, and last but not least, TAM. It’s been a pleasure to serve on the board so far and I have enjoyed getting to know about what has made this organization such a great community asset; especially for our youth. Billie can be reached at [email protected]

Jim Barnes – CHOICE/Owatonna

After a short leave of absence Jim is serving as a parent representative for the Technical Academies of Minnesota board. Jim has spent many hours volunteering with Technical Academies and is always willing to help parents, students and the other TAM directors. Jim can be reached at [email protected]

Elise Hageman – CHOICE/Owatonna- Board Recorder

Elise is an advisor at CHOICE Technical Academy. She grew up in Mankato and went to college at the University of Minnesota Duluth (Go Bulldogs!). Elise is in her third year of teaching and is enjoying every minute of it. She is excited to be on the Board to help bridge both sites together in the vision of TAM. Outside of work, Elise enjoys camping, cooking, knitting, and spending time with friends and family. Elise can be reached at [email protected]

Michaela Bengtson- DREAM/Willmar, Board Vice Chair

Michaela joined the TAM board in June 2018. I was born and raised in Kandiyohi, Mn. I grew up on a dairy and crop farm, which has now transitioned into being a beef and crop farm. I love agriculture. I went to school to obtain my degree in Agricultural Education teaching. I completed my college by completing my first two years at Ridgewater College in Willmar, and the last two years at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Go Gophers! I enjoy all sorts of different activities from sports, painting, musicals, being outside,volunteering, playing with my niece and nephews and kayaking. I chose DREAM because it is the kind of school that I wish I would have had the opportunity to go to. I also chose DREAM because I will get to help students spontaneously explore the world around them to find their passions and dreams in order to prepare themselves for their futures! If I was a student at DREAM one of the projects that I would have picked would have been a project on looking at the ideal traits of a Red and White Holstein cow and then painting those traits! Michaela can be reached at [email protected]


If you would like to get involved, learn more about the Technical Academies, or help with recruitment and our start-up fundraising, please contact any of our board members or email us for information. Board meetings are open to the public. Email [email protected] for more information and to contact board members.