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Faculty

Elizabeth Lam
Elizabeth Lam
Program Director, MA in Special Education

(612) 238-4565
elam@smumn.edu

Elizabeth Lam is Director of the Master of Arts in Special Education program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Lam is committed to supporting students with disabilities and differences by preparing pre-service and in-service teachers to effectively meet student needs.
Troy Gonzales
Troy Gonzales, Ed.D.
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Associate Professor


tgonzale@smumn.edu

Dr. Troy Gonzales began his career as a middle school special educator in Denver Public Schools (DPS). He worked with DPS for seven years, finishing his time as a specialist, working with general and special educators to develop meaningful team teaching relationships.
Debra Castner
Debra Castner, Ed.D.
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Assistant Professor

(952) 491-8321
dcastner@smumn.edu

Debra Castner, Ed.D., has been teaching students who receive special education for more than 25 years. Since 2011 she has been with Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. During the day, Dr. Castner teaches grades 5-7 in the Westonka School District. She has been fortunate enough to have taught throughout the country, yet Minnesota is now her home.
John Fry
John Fry, Ph.D.
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Assistant Professor

(763) 550-3166
jfry@smumn.edu

Dr. John Fry is a passionate educator and leader who is committed to transforming both the academic and social-emotional trajectory of students. He is a licensed K-12 Principal and Director of Special Education. As a teacher, he is licensed in Social Studies, Emotional or Behavior Disabilities (EBD) and Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD).
Patrick Gordon, M.A.
EDSE Program - Adjunct Instructor


pgordon@smumn.edu

Pat Gordon has more than 15 years of experience in the field of special education, which has included many grade levels and public school settings. He has worked as a special education paraprofessional, teacher, coordinator, and director. Currently, Gordon serves as the director for student support services for Pine Island Public Schools #255.
Amber Haluska, M.S.
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor


azank@smumn.edu

Amber Haluska has been an adjunct instructor at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota since 2013. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology, her Master of Science in Education, and her Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She completed the Principal and Director of Special Education licensure program from St. Cloud State University.
Jason Haluska, Ed.S.
MA in Special Education Program - Adjunct Instructor


jhaluska@smumn.edu

Jason Haluska started teaching at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota after guest lecturing about assessing students with autism at Saint Mary's University in 2013. Since 2014 he has been an adjunct instructor. He’s previously guest lectured at the University of Minnesota for students in educational leadership and at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul for training students on reading curricular-based measurement and data-based decision making.
Larry Iwen
Larry Iwen, M.Ed.
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(651) 744-3900
liwen@smumn.edu

High School learning disabilities teacher, Highland Park Senior High School.
Dawn Kelly, M.A.
MA in Education - Adjunct Instructor


dmkelly@smumn.edu

After a number of years practicing as a social worker with juvenile delinquents, Dawn Kelly elected to change fields in order to become more proactive. Having an interest in working in the school setting and appreciating the diagnostic aspect of her role as a social worker, she chose the field of school psychology. She received her Master of Arts in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. However, some of the most rewarding courses she took were ones at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in the Counseling Psychology program.
Lois Kester
Lois Kester, M.S.
MA in Special Education Program - Adjunct Instructor

(507) 727-1262
lkester@smumn.edu

Lois Kester received her undergraduate degree in elementary education with a major in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. After graduation, she had a great teaching experience in Garden City, Kan., where she taught a variety of grades and subjects. After teaching for three years, she returned to La Crosse and received her Master of Science in Education in the area of School Psychology. She also completed advanced graduate work in order to obtain licensure as a school psychologist.
Nichole Kloss, M.S.
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(320) 296-9707
nkloss@smumn.edu

Nichole Neron Kloss has been working with students in special education for more than 15 years and is currently teaching in the Sauk Rapids/Rice Public School District. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education–Specific Learning Disabilities and a Master of Science Degree in Special Education–Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has experience working with students in all disability categories within special education.
Catherine Koehne, M.S.
EDSE Program - Adjunct Instructor


ckoehne@smumn.edu

Cate Koehne has worked in the field of special education for 19 years, focusing on the areas of specific learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder, and other health disabilities. She also serves as the staff development coordinator and Professional Learning Communities (PLC) coordinator for her school.
Shanna Lecy
Shanna Lecy
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(651) 213-2586
spaffrat@smumn.edu

Christine McClendon, M.S.
MA in Special Education Program - Adjunct Instructor


cmcclend@smumn.edu

Christine “Critty” McClendon is the manager for Out of District Placements, Extended School Year (ESY), and child welfare liaison for Denver Public Schools. McClendon has worked for Denver Public Schools for 26 years. She taught K-12 special education students for 12 years.
Rise Nybakke
Rise Nybakke, M.A.
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(612) 668-2121
rnybakke@smumn.edu

Risë Nybakke is an assistive technology specialist for the Minneapolis Public Schools. She has been serving in the role for 18 years and is on a team with two speech clinicians, an occupational therapist, and an associate educator. Her focus on the team is as a computer specialist and digital rights manager. As the latter, she’s the person who coordinates the process of obtaining texts in alternate formats for students with print disabilities.
Matthew Olmstead
Matthew Olmstead, M.Ed.
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(763) 428-
maolms04@smumn.edu

Matt Olmstead has been instructing EDSE courses at the graduate level as an adjunct professor at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota for more than two years. His background is in emotional behavioral disorder, specific learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorder. He holds multiple licenses and degrees, including Curriculum Design and Education Specialist. Olmstead recently completed a six-month stint as a special education building coordinator in Osseo School District. He devotes his craft to do what is in the best interest for students and their learning.
Sarah Papineau, M.A.
MS in Special Education - Adjunct Program Instructor


spapinea@smumn.edu

Sarah Papineau is a literacy coach at the district level servicing 18 elementary schools and six middle schools. As a coach in her district, she also continues to have a group of students for part of the day. She learns daily from what her students bring to her so that her coaching with adults is more authentic.
Maureen Parkes
Maureen Parkes, Ed.D.
Education - Adjunct Instructor

(651) 415-5424
mdpark03@smumn.edu

Maureen Parkes is program lead at Mounds View School Career and Life Transition Program. She is responsible for due process and student intakes for two special education programs. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at the College of St. Catherine and her Master of Education in Special Education at Bethel University. She is currently completing her Ed.D. at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Jennifer Radtke
Jennifer Radtke, M.S.
MA in Special Education - Adjunct Instructor

(507) 238-4215
jradtke@smumn.edu

Jennifer Radtke lived a varied and adventurous life working with our exceptional population. During the course of her career, she has worked as both an Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD) paraprofessional and as an EBD teacher. She spent four years as a Special Olympics coach for residents while employed at a group home, taught as an adjunct professor at Southwest Minnesota State University for four years, and served on the Community Transition Integration Committee in Marshall, Minn.
Keely Swartzer
Keely Swartzer, M.A.
Special Education Program - Adjunct Instructor

(763) 497-8025
kaswar05@smumn.edu

Education: Swartzer has a Bachelor’s of Science in Special Education, a Master’s of Arts in Education and both her Principal’s and Director of Special Education Licenses through the University of Minnesota.