Meet The Dream Team

Meet The Dream Team2019-01-08T17:06:48+00:00

Serena Butterfield | Office Manager

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I grew up in Spicer, MN. I graduated from New London-Spicer High School and received my cosmetology diploma from Ridgewater College. Shortly after college I became a stay at home mom and remained at home with my three kids, Kaydence, Kyah, and Kane until the summer of 2010 when I started working at Rice Hospital. I joined DREAM in the summer of 2014, because I believed in it’s vision and mission. I enjoyed being a part of the initial planning phases of the school and continue to enjoy watching it grow every year.

Tammie Knick | School Social Worker

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I’ve been a School Social Worker for 20 years working primarily in traditional public schools. I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work from MSU, Mankato and am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. In July of 2013, I joined the Technical Academies of Minnesota Board and started organizing a start-up advisory council for the Willmar location. In May of 2014, I was hired as the School Social Worker for DREAM Technical Academy in Willmar. My husband Doug and I live on a farm near Spicer with our 11 horses, 5 dogs and 1 cat. Between the two of us we have four daughters, their significant others, and five grandchildren. I enjoy spending time with family, reading, gardening, camping, and traveling. In the summer of 2016, Doug and I started our own business, Delta Equine Center, offering equine assisted therapy, riding lessons, educational programs and horse training. I chose to work at DREAM because I believe a small learning environment that offers individualized, project-based learning is what many students need in order to have a successful educational experience. I also like the staff-led school concept which allows the staff to make decisions collectively based upon what’s in the best interest of the students. If I were a student at DREAM my projects would be based on traveling to different parts of the country whether it be in person or virtually to learn about different cultures. My favorite quote is “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This is my hope for students that they will follow their passions or their dreams which will lead them to finding a career they love.

Callie Henscheid | Administrative Coordinator

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I am originally from Paynesville, MN, though I have lived in 4 different states. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work with minors in Spanish and Psychology from SMSU in Marshall, MN. From there, I headed to Utah and began working with clients with disabilities in a day-program and one on one. I met my husband and moved to Idaho, where I continued to work with individuals with disabilities in an apartment complex. When we relocated to Wisconsin, I worked in a group home and retail before returning to Minnesota this spring. Things I like to do include: spending time with my husband and poodle, traveling, being outdoors, visiting family, reading, catching-up with friends over coffee, crafting, watching football, yoga, and writing letters. I am excited to join the DREAM team and work in such a neat environment with many talented students and co-workers.

Jaime Larson | Title I / Testing Coordinator

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I grew up in the Willmar area and after graduating high school moved to St. Cloud to attend college at St. Cloud State University. I received my Masters in College Counseling and Student Development and worked as a Program Coordinator at SCSU for 6 years. I moved back to the Willmar area and left the education field for about 3 years until starting at DREAM as the Title One Community Coordinator/Assessment Coordinator last March. I choose DREAM because it brought me back to my passion of working with students. If I were a student at DREAM I would do a project on genetics and congenital diseases in children. I am married to my husband Josh and we have a son Henry and are expecting our second child.

Doug Knick | Advisor / Social Studies

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“Education has succeeded when students learn to question answers rather than answer questions.”
Background: BA: Gustavus Adolphus College
Masters of Divinity: Luther Theological Seminary
BS: Mankato State University
EdD: University of St. Thomas

Teaching experiences: 10 yrs GFW
8 yrs Luther College
Choose DREAM: Public education should create space for students to explore, to reflect, to create, and to dream while striving to establish a more just society. DREAM offers each student this learning environment. I was also blessed to receive a two year leave of absence from Luther College to work at DREAM.
Project: Horses, specifically, how to integrate horses into the school setting daily. Other info: two daughters and four grandchildren. Next projects: Establishing an equine therapy center and continuing to write books.

Michaela Bengtson | Advisor

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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!

Shelly Firchau | Advisor

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I am excited to start my first year as an Advisor at DREAM. I taught art for five years at a traditional school, before coming here to DREAM. I enjoy any kind of art/craft, hiking, canoeing,  and spending time with my family, my husband, our dog and our tortoise. I am excited to join DREAM this year and experience learning in a new way.

Grace Figueroa-ghent | Advisor

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Hi, I’m Grace Figueroa-Ghent and I’m going to be an Art Advisor at DREAM Academy! I’m excited to accept this position and bring more of the fine arts to our school! Besides teaching, some other things I really enjoy are spending time with my husband and our 2 dogs, traveling, landscaping around and working on my house, and riding my motorcycle in the summer!

Josie Orlander | Paraprofessional

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I’m Josie and I am a paraprofessional here at DREAM. I’ve worked for 3 1/2 years as a para before joining the DREAM staff. I am excited for this new opportunity! Currently, I am pursuing a B.S. in Special Education through SMSU. I have 3 nieces and a nephew that I absolutely LOVE spending time with. They bring so much joy into my life! I enjoy writing, reading, wood burning, painting, and watching something good on Netflix in my spare time also. I have various goals that I want to achieve in life, including finishing school/becoming a teacher, and writing a children’s book.

Luz Juarez | Paraprofessional

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I’m Luz Juarez and I’m a para here at DREAM. I am on the school council and I represent our facilities. I graduated from Willmar before coming to DREAM I worked in a group home as a program coordinator. I worked with individuals with a wide range of disabilities. Then I went on to work in retail for a short time. I wanted to be a part of DREAM to make a difference in the students realize their potential, their passion, and their dream. My dream project would be to coordinate a homeless shelter in our community to help the less fortunate.

Vanessa Henjum | Paraprofessional

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Hello I am Vanessa. I joined the staff at Dream at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. I grew up in Belgrade and graduated from Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa High School. I then moved to Duluth to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth where I majored in Biology. I now live in Spicer with my husband, two kids, dog, fish, and snake. I love the water! If I could, I think I would live in the water! I am so excited to be apart of Dream where I get to help students grow! If I could do a project, it would be a project about lake water quality.

Melody Henscheid | Paraprofessional

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Hello, my name is Melody and being here at DREAM is unlike any experience I’ve had. I am thankful for every day that I get to be here, working with all the wonderful students and staff and watching the creative processes take place. My husband and I moved from Idaho to Willmar about 2 years ago to be close to our son and daughter-in-law and love Minnesota and all it has to offer, the lakes, trails, wildlife, and people. In my spare time I enjoy nature walks, bird watching, biking, kayaking, and ice skating, and when it’s too cold to be outside a good book or jigsaw puzzle.

Chris Sand | Paraprofessional

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Hi, I’m Christine Sand, a para at DREAM. Growing-up in Clara City in the 60’s and 70’s was great! In my family, we worked hard and played with enthusiasm. I love music, teaching, and games.

Amy Berghorst | Special Education Advisor

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Hi, I am Amy and I was raised in the New London-Spicer area my entire life. I have a husband and two young boys. {ages 4 1/2 and 2 months). I enjoy reading, gardening, working outside, kayaking, music and hanging out with Family and friends. I graduated from College with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and an Associates Degree. I worked as a EBD/SPED paraprofessional before joining the team at Dream Technical Academy, which I am very excited about.

Melissa Hoffman Bodin | Special Education Advisor

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Hello! My name is Melissa Hoffman Bodin, but you can call me Missy for short. I grew up in Atwater and am a proud graduate of AGC, now ACGC. I have lived in Clara City for the past 22 years with my husband. We have three grown children and one granddaughter who has completely rocked my world! I am passionate about the outdoors, trail running, education, human rights, learning, traveling, living authentically and intentionally, and spending time with family and friends. I also love to read, write, climb mountains, and thrift shop. Prior to coming to DREAM I worked in community education and as a para in a public school system and most recently, I worked as the director of a non-profit dedicated to serving trauma survivors.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from SMSU and a Master’s Degree in Education: Teaching, Learning, and Leadership, also from SMSU. I deeply value education and am super excited and extremely grateful to be part of the innovative and creative learning community at DREAM! I would have thrived in a school like this when I was growing up. So would have my children.

Current projects for me include: continuing my grad school studies regarding nature and the reflective process, writing regularly, and developing and leading nature retreats.

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