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Our Team

We have a dedicated group of staff and board members who make our work possible. Staff positions and short bios are below. You can access a list of our Board of Directors and their affiliations here.

2024 DULUTH COMMUNITY SCHOOL COLLABORATIVE BOARD MEMBERS

Officers:

Chair, Karl Schuettler, Northspan Group, Inc.

Vice Chair, Amber Lightfeather, Essentia Institute of Rural Health

Treasurer, Ted Hoffman, Community Action Duluth

Secretary, Beth Moncrief, Community Member

 

Members:

Kathy Bergen, retired – City of Duluth Parks and Recreation

Anthony Bonds, Duluth Public Schools

Jamie Delacruz, Duluth Public Schools

Jen Jaros, Duluth Public Schools

Heather Petrovffsky, United Healthcare

Brittany Robb, Safe Haven Shelter & Resource Center

Liza Williamson, Doulas of Duluth 

 

Ex-officio Members:

Kelsey Gantzer, Duluth Community School Collaborative

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Scott Cunningham 

DASH Lead Staff (he/him)

Scott Cunningham joined Duluth Community School Collaborative in Summer 2023, working with the Denfeld High School Out-of-School Time DASH program. Before joining the Collaborative, Scott had a 20 year career in educational technology content creation. Prior to that he taught 9th grade history and 12th grade government in Minnesota and Arizona. While in college Scott spent five summers working in K-5 youth recreation programs for Lincoln (NE) Parks and Recreation. From personal experience Scott knows how supportive schools and communities can enrich the lives of students and is committed to being an ally and advocate for our young people. Scott has a BS in Education for Secondary Social Science from the University of Nebraska.

Contact: scott@duluthcsc.org

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Kelsey Gantzer

Executive Director (she/her)

Kelsey brings experience in nonprofit management, educational leadership, and youth development to her work with the Duluth Community School Collaborative. Prior to joining the Collaborative, she served as Food Access Manager and Rutabaga Project Manager at the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency and the Operations and Communications Manager for the Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association. She has a passion for building sustainable community connections and holistically supporting youth. She holds a BA in Business Management and English from the University of St. Thomas. 

Contact: kelsey@duluthcsc.org or 218-212-5952

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Andie Heil 

Interim Myers-Wilkins OST Coordinator (she/her)

Andie comes from a background in education and a wealth of experience in non-profit out of school time childcare. Originally from the Twin Cities, Andie obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Spanish minor from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, and has been in non-profit childcare since 2015. Most recently, she comes from the Youth Development Coordinator role for the Duluth Area Family YMCA. Andie strives for equity and has a passion for supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. She enjoys reading a good book as much as hiking and traveling.

Contact: nd.andrea.heil@isd709.org

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Kellsey Firehammer

Myers-Wilkins Youth Development Coordinator (she/her)

Kellsey comes to the team with over ten years of experience supporting young people. She moved to Duluth in 2016 and has enjoyed working with youth in a variety of organizations including Neighborhood Youth Services, Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center, and the Duluth Area Family YMCA. Kellsey has a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota Duluth and is interested in exploring unique ways to connect people not only to resources and supports across systems but also to each other. In her free time Kellsey enjoys supporting food justice through the Duluth Community Garden Program and exploring Duluth's many outdoor spaces with her husband and dogs. She is excited to foster youth curiosity and connection at Myers-Wilkins Elementary!

Currently on leave

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Sadie Herbst

Community Health Coordinator (she/they)

She has spent the past six years learning about and connecting with the Duluth community. She holds a degree in Community Psychology and Health Promotion from the Southwest Minnesota State University and is a trained sexual assault advocate with Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assualt (PAVSA). 

 

Sadie strives to be a trusted friend and advocate, who can offer judgment free, culturally appropriate, and trauma conscious support and resources to those she meets. Her studies in psychology alongside her personal experiences with food, health, and wellness, led her to become deeply passionate about using food as medicine, uncovering what it means to truly be healthy, and sharing that knowledge with others.  

Contact: nd.sadie.herbst@isd709.org

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Jessica Hinrichs

Operations Administrator (she/her)

Jessica is a new addition to the team at the Duluth Community School Collaborative. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Cultural Studies. She has experience supporting student's and families at Robbinsdale Area Schools. Her work has provided her understanding of the unique barriers faced by folks within the school system and the passion to make those more navigable. She is excited to continue that work with the collaborative. Outside of work you can find her backpacking or riding her bike.

Contact: jessica@duluthcsc.org

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Molly Larson

Myers-Wilkins Program Support Specialist (she/her)

Molly is a former MSW intern from UMD and has extended her time with DCSC. She is continuing to work at Myers-Wilkins supporting students during after-school programs. She is passionate about youth work and creating a supportive and encouraging environment for all students. She comes from International Falls, MN and has worked at the International Falls Public Library as a full-time Youth Library Associate. At the library, she ran STEAM programming for K-6th grade students. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UMD and a minor in Early Childhood Studies. She is currently working to obtain her MSW. In her free time, she likes to cross-country ski, take walks, read, and bake.

Contact: nd.molly.larson@isd709.org

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Anne Parish

Denfeld Out-of-School Time Coordinator (she/they)

Anne has been a youth work professional since 2003, coordinating programs that build opportunities for stronger youth-adult partnerships, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL),  Service-Learning, and youth leadership in both school-based and community-based settings. Before taking her current role at DCSC in 2023, Anne served in several youth-serving Minnesota nonprofits in Carlton County and the Twin Cities, as well as international NGOs. They have Master’s Degrees in Education and Youth Development Leadership from St. Catherine University and The University of Minnesota respectively. Anne authored a chapter in the book Service-Learning by Design for the National Youth Leadership Council. In 2020, they received a Fellowship from the National Mentoring Summit. Anne currently serves on the board of directors for The Minnesota Alliance with Youth

Contact: nd.anne.parish@isd709.org

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Saraiya Piantek

Denfeld Site Coordinator (she/her)

Saraiya began her position as Denfeld Community School Site Coordinator in 2020. She has been working with children in nonprofit settings, including the YWCA Duluth, Boys & Girls Club, and Northwood Children's Services since 2013. She attended the Education Studies Program at the University of Minnesota, focusing on Early Childhood Education and Special Education. Saraiya specializes in mental health, trauma, and emotional and behavioral needs. She currently serves as co-chair for the MLK Planning Committee of the Duluth NAACP. She enjoys going on hikes and spending time outside during her free time. Saraiya cares deeply about building a safe place for all students to meet their needs and reach their full potential.

Contact: nd.saraiya.piantek@isd709.org

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Cassie Seeley

Volunteer Coordinator (she/her)

Cassie Joined the Duluth Community School Collaborative in the spring of 2024. She grew up in Duluth and has 20 years worth of working experience in the community serving families, working in non profits, and she solely raised her 3 grown children here in the northland where they attended the Duluth Public Schools. Her work has provided her with the compassion, the knowledge, and the understanding needed to support our students and families that we serve here at the Collaborative. She looks forward to helping our Volunteers get placed properly, co creating lasting procedures for onboarding and tracking volunteers, is hopeful for building partnerships with like minded community members, and wants to be a continuous support to her team at DCSC.

When Cassie is out of the office, you can find her enjoying the outdoors. She loves flowers and planting, being out and about in her SxS, being by the lake, engaging with her friends, cooking awesome dinners, and lastly being home with her cherished loved ones.  

Contact: cassie@duluthcsc.prg

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Caitlin Smith

Myers-Wilkins Site Coordinator (she/her)

Caitlin Smith started with the Collaborative in September, 2021. She brings her experience working with youth who have been impacted by homelessness living in permanent supportive housing. She attended UMD’s Unified Early Childhood program and has a passion for understanding brain development and the impacts of trauma on the brain. She is an experienced Circle of Security Parenting facilitator and has recently been trained in Restorative Practices. Caitlin also serves on the board of The Duluth Center for Women and Children. She loves to spend her free time with her loved-ones. Any activity by a body of water is her favorite, including paddleboarding, rowing, swimming, fishing, rock-picking, and pontooning.

Contact: nd.caitlin.smith@isd709.org

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Rachel Thapa

Lincoln Park Site Coordinator (she/her)

Rachel works alongside a collaborative leadership team composed of families, school staff, and community partners to create, strengthen, and maintain the bridge between school and community. She has been in her current role since 2016 and has been involved with the Collaborative since 2003, including several years on staff at the Myers-Wilkins site. Rachel has a B.A. in Behavioral Arts and Sciences with emphases in Psychology and Education, and more than fifteen years of experience in youth development and full-service community schools. She is inspired by the strength and resilience of people around her and a vision of a more hopeful future. Rachel is committed to co-creating the conditions of well-being necessary for all people to learn and thrive through authentic connection and collaboration.

Contact: rachel.thapa@isd709.org

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