Michaela Bengtson- DREAM/Willmar, Interim Board 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] or [email protected]

Elise Hageman – CHOICE/Owatonna- Secretary

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]

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]

Marie Hoff – Board secretary

Garret Bitker – Board Chair

My name is Garret Bitker and I have been in education for over 21 years. I have taught High School, Middle School and ALC science. I was a LPN before becoming a teacher. I have a wife and two grown daughters. I enjoy reading, medieval reenactment, outdoor sports and hanging out with friends.

Jacklyn Skrukrud – DREAM

I was born and raised in Kandiyohi County with a few detours to other states. I’ve been living back home on our family’s farm for the last twenty-five years.

I work locally as an American Sign Language interpreter. I’m also an area musician and I’ve been lugging my bass guitar across the country since my teen years. I even traveled 6,000 miles, across ten time zones and experienced a 120 degree difference in temperature (from -40 degrees to mid 80 degrees) to play with my brother’s band on the tropical island of Saipan.

I currently have two daughters and two nieces that attend DREAM Technical Academy.  As a parent, I’m grateful that there is a school like DREAM in our area. I’m grateful that students have the opportunity to experience the creativity and critical thinking that project based learning provides.

Kelly Enriquez

My name is Kelly Enriquez. I have worked with differently-abled people for the last 25 plus years. This is the first time I have been a board member, however I have attended many board meetings as a teacher and parent. As a board member, I will be learning a lot and working to make sure staff and students grow. I am a mother of three grown children, and a nana as well. I have a master’s degree in Special Education. I am licensed in DCD and LD. I live with my husband, son, and one of my daughters and her son.


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.