Janessa Jandt | Advisor
Janessa graduated from Minnesota State University Mankato (MSU) in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology & Criminal Justice. She graduated with a master’s degree in Sociology & Human Services in 2018 with an emphasis in victim services. Janessa will start the master’s degree in Social Work program at MSU Mankato fall 2019 for licensure to become a school social worker.
Janessa has worked as a direct support professional at REM Woodvale for 6 years. She was a previous Special Education Advisor at CHOICE Technical Academy. Janessa was a teaching a assistant at MSU Mankato for Victimology 2016-2018. She completed her internship as a victim services coordinator at Steele County State Attorney’s Office.
Most importantly, Janessa has two little boys, Jayden and Oliver Wilde. She enjoys traveling, camping and hiking state parks with them. Some of Janessa’s favorite things are yoga, reading, painting, live music, Halloween and the DC Comic series of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.
Sam Bultsma | Special Education Para | Advisor
This is Sam’s second year at CHOICE. She is 24 years old and lives in Lakeville. She earned her associates degree in Human Services from Century College in 2015. Before coming to CHOICE, Sam worked as a tutor and summer camp counselor at Lifetime Fitness and the Lakeville School District. She also worked as a sports coach and youth worker at the YMCA, as well as a special education paraprofessional in the Faribault School District. Sam enjoys working with the students at CHOICE.
Courtney Leyden | Special Education Para
Courtney Leyden is 28 years old, and has been living in Owatonna since 2007. This is her third year working as a Special Education Paraprofesional at CHOICE. In the spring of 2016 she earned her associates degree with an emphasis on Elementary Education through Riverland Community College. She plans on continuing her education in order to obtain her bachelors degree in Education through Winona State University. Courtney is hard working and a tremendous people person, and is excited to continue her journey at CHOICE Technical Academy.
Melissa Donner| Advisor
My name is Missy Donner and this is my third year at CHOICE. If you are interested in art, I am the one to see. I enjoy working with just about any medium and like to see the students push themselves while learning new things. Creativity is such a valuable outlet for expression. My husband Brad, (a wildlife artist) and I live in Waseca, MN where we raised seven children, and now have seven grandchildren, who are, unfortunately, not in Waseca. They are spread out all over the country. I love to read, and someday I want to have a house with a library in it so that ALL of my books can be out. I also like to sew dolls and animals from my own original patterns. It’s fun to see something that was two-dimensional become three.
Chelsey Nelson| Office Manager
Hello! I’m Chelsey & I am grateful to be a part of the team at CHOICE Technical Academy. I enjoy the opportunity to work alongside teachers and staff, helping to guide students to thrive and succeed. The youth is our future. My background as a yoga practitioner and teacher assists me in a classroom setting by allowing me to apply the skills of patience, focus, dedication and empathy. Some of my favorite things are deep belly laughs, spending quality time with family & friends, reading books, and the beauty of nature.
Jeff Phiefer | Fernbook – Skills Worker
Greetings! I am Jeff Phiefer and I absolutely love working with a variety of populations, including young children, adolescents, and adults, by helping people reach their full potential and becoming aware of how mental health affects each and every one of us. I have been a mental health practitioner for 7 years and have been employed through Fernbrook Family Center throughout this time. Prior to my years at Fernbrook, I worked at a local group home “Rainbow Residence” for 8 years as a direct care coordinator helping residents complete their daily routines as well as writing behavior modification programs for populations dealing with co-occurring intellectual disabilities and additional mental health diagnoses. I have additional experience working with specific populations struggling with addiction and anxiety diagnoses, and favor working with the adolescent population soon merging into adulthood. I have been working on behalf of Fernbrook in collaboration with schools around Owatonna for the past 5 years. Currently, I have my LADC (Licensed Alcohol Drug Counseling) license, as well as being a current student in my second year of graduate school pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology through Argosy University, Twin Cities. In my spare time, I enjoy gardening, spending time with my significant other and our pets, and being outside in nature. I am a fan of abstract art and lifelong learning, holding close to my heart that everyone has the capability of reaching their full potential if they are supported and provided with a helping hand.
Rochelle Shultz | Fernbook – Mental Health Therapist
Rochelle began her career at Lutheran Services in Iowa providing direct services to people with disabilities, adults with chronic mental health issues, families involved in child welfare services, and children and their families with mental health issues for 4 years. For the next 10 years, she managed 9 different programs in Cedar, Louisa, Scott, and Muscatine Counties and provided clinical oversight to mental health services. After moving to Minnesota in 2017, Rochelle joined Fernbrook Family Services and, now provides mental health services to students at CHOICE Technical Academy, the Alternative Learning Center, and Owatonna Middle School. Rochelle’s education includes a BA in psychology (2003), BA in sociology (2004), Masters of Social work (2013), and a Masters in Public Administration (2015). Rochelle is currently licensed to practice in Iowa (LMSW) and Minnesota (LGSW).
Scott Strusz | Math Tutor
Scott is a math tutor here at Choice Technical Academy. He has an undergraduate degree in biology and a master’s degree in science education. He enjoys working with young people, especially in the smaller group setting that Choice has to offer, and hopes to make a positive impact on students’ lives and learning.
Garret Bitker | Advisor
Born in NW Minnesota, I have lived in Mn my whole life. I have been teaching science for the past 21 years, prior to that I was a Licensed Practical Nurse. I have a wife and two grown daughters, one even teaches science as well. I enjoy mentoring and working with students on Projects. I coach swimming for Special Olympics. I enjoy outdoor activities, reading and role playing games.
Kelly Enriquez- Special Education Advisor
My name is Kelly Enriquez. I have worked with differently-abled people for the last 25 plus years. 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.
Matthew Toov-Special Education Para
Matt graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. Out of college he found a job as a car salesman. He sold cars for 9 months when he realized a career in sales was not for him. In 2016 he started working in the public school system as a substitute teacher in Marshall, MN working as both as a substitute teacher and as a substitute paraprofessional. Matt moved to Owatonna in the beginning of 2019 with his new wife, where he started working for Wegner. When an opportunity to work for CHOICE came up he had to apply. Matt has found his niche working with children and hopes to become a full time history teacher one day.