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The Academy for Leadership and Innovation is a model leadership program whose graduates emerge with a multidimensional perspective and competence needed to meet the challenges of a constantly changing environment, to think strategically, and to act collaboratively as they serve the educational needs of Wisconsin residents.

Academy for Leadership and Innovation

Biographies for the Academy for Leadership and Innovation
Class of 2014

Jayant Anand

Jayant Anand

Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Sociology
UW-Barron County

Dr. Jayant Anand came to UW-Barron County in fall 2008 after gaining eight years of teaching experience in multiple disciplines (anthropology, sociology, and business) at various institutions in India, Mexico, the United States, and Puerto Rico. At UW-Barron County, he teaches the disciplines of anthropology and sociology, and, since fall 2009, has been actively engaged in the Engaging Students in the First Year (ESFY) program and taught the First Year Seminar (LEC 100). He has conducted research and published on informal finance and retail businesses in Mexico and is currently working on a project to evaluate the impact of ethnic studies courses on students' attitudes and perceptions about minority groups. Dr. Anand is actively engaged in curriculum development, institutional oversight of research involving human subjects (IRB), and inclusive excellence. In summer 2011, he became the first and only faculty member in the University of Wisconsin Colleges to be certified to facilitate multicultural awareness workshops for UW Colleges & Extension.

Rose Brust

Rose Brust

Graphic Designer, Sr. in Marketing and Communications
UW-Marathon County

The Senior Graphic Designer at UW-Marathon County since 2002, Rose has also served as chair for the UW Colleges Classified Staff Advisory Council since March of 2013. She says her job as graphic designer gives her the creative challenges she continually craves while the chair position is growing her somewhat hidden leadership skills, both being put to good use serving the various department's graphic design needs at UWMC. When her youngest child began middle school and before owning her own graphic design business, Ms. Brust spent several years obtaining a degree in Graphic Communications/ Electronic Prepress as a non-traditional student and later attended UW-Stevens Point (Distance Ed) studying in the Web and Digital Media field. She has taught various subjects from Photoshop® for individuals and Moraine Park Tech classes, to baton twirling for 5 year olds and up. Rose enjoys the Wisconsin seasons, tinkering on the guitar, her grandchildren, and having a relaxing cup of coffee and conversation with a good friend, but also looks to a day when she will begin learning how to play the harp.

Kim Clist

Kim Clist

Program Coordinator for Leadership Wisconsin
UW-Extension, Cooperative

As the Program Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension's Leadership Wisconsin, Kim Clist works to make the LW vision a reality -- to Develop Leaders to Strengthen Communities. From curriculum planning and seminar logistics, to accounting and envelope stuffing; Kim is passionate about working collaboratively in a very small organization, to make very big impacts in people's lives. Originally hailing from Phoenix, AZ, Kim has put down deep roots in the Madison area. She has two teenage boys who are more out of the nest than in, these days with college looming on the horizon. When not chasing the children to and fro, Kim enjoys travelling with her partner Tom Hess, good wine, great friends, and cuddling with the assorted critters that are very much a part of her little family.

John Fons

Jon Fons

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Physics
UW-Rock County

John has been a faculty member of the Computer Science, Engineering, Physics and Astronomy department since 2003 and currently serves as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for UW-Rock County. Since joining the UW-Colleges, he has taken on a wide range of leadership activities including his positions as a Colleges faculty senator and member of the Concurrent Enrollment advisory board. On campus, John has served as Division Chair for Natural Science and Mathematics and as Chair of the Steering committee. As the current Associate Dean for UW-Rock County, his primary responsibility is to work with a wide-range of campus members to develop the AAS and BAAS degree programs.

John Gaddo

John Gaddo

Southwest Regional Manager for Public Radio at UW-La Crosse
UW-Extension, Broadcasting Media and Innovations

John Gaddo has been WPR's Southwest Regional Manager since 2006. His responsibilities include: managing WPR's local programming and staff based at its two La Crosse stations, coordinating outreach activities in communities from La Crosse to Platteville, and serving as a member of WPR's network-program leadership team. Prior to joining WPR, John was a manager and program producer for public radio stations in Minnesota. Family, various outdoor recreational activities, and supporting community arts, music and environmental organizations occupy John's time outside of work.

Ramona Gasper

Ramona Gasper

Administrative Assistant
UW Colleges and UW-Extension, Chancellor's Office

Ramona Gasper has worked in the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor's Office since June, 2011. She enjoys the wide variety of assignments and projects that comprise her role supporting the Chancellor and his team. The ten years prior to this position she served as the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Wisconsin Public Radio. She enjoys being involved in her community by actively volunteering with various groups. Ramona enjoys travel, shopping, knitting and, most of all, spending time with friends and family.

Joni Geroux

Joni Geroux

Professional Education Programs and Services / Professional Education and Partnerships at UW-Stout
UW-Extension, Continuing Education, Outreach, and E-Learning

Joni has over 17 years of marketing experience in a variety of industries that include responsibilities surrounding partnership, economic development, leadership and project/program management. She is currently charged with program management for business and industry continuing education and overall Discovery Center marketing. She lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with her husband, two children and two dogs. Her interests include music, sports and water recreation.

Jason Hausler

Jason Hausler

4-H Youth Development Educator - Dunn County
UW-Extension, Cooperative

Being an Educator with UW-Extension for the past two years, Jason works with the 4-H program in Dunn County. Through his work with county 4-H leaders, community partners and fellow colleagues, he has been able to increase enrollment and participation in 4-H programs while also infusing new approaches to traditional practices. Outside of the 4-H community club program, Jason works really close with other youth serving organizations, partners and coalitions to promote and increase positive youth development. When not working, Jason enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors.

Julie Janiak

Julie Janiak

Director of TRIO & Precollege
UW-Rock County

Julie Janiak has been working at UW-Rock since 1998 when she began as an advisor and learning skills specialist with the TRIO Student Support Services Program. She has worked her way up to the Director of the TRIO program at three sites and recently she became the Director for the Precollege Programs at ten sites for the UW Colleges. Prior to joining the Rock staff, Julie worked in residence life at private and public colleges in Indiana. Outside of work, Julie enjoys baking, is an avid cyclist, and loves reading, especially mysteries.

Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson

Program Manager of Bachelor of Professional Studies
UW-Extension, Continuing Education, Outreach & E-Learning

Emily Johnson is the program manager for the online collaborative Bachelor of Professional Studies degree completion program, combining the efforts of UW-Extension and UW-Eau Claire. Prior to becoming a program manager in 2011, she worked as an LTE and student worker in the Instructional Design department at CEOEL. She has a background in history and librarianship. Emily enjoys reading, cooking and baking, knitting and crochet, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and home projects with her husband and cat.

Debra Karp

Debra Karp

Director of Community Engagement at UW-Parkside
UW-Extension

Debra Karp has been with the UW-Parkside since 1998, first as Director of the Arts Management program, and since 2004, with the Center for Community Partnerships where she established its Nonprofit Development program. Currently, as Director of Community Engagement, she oversees nonprofit capacity building efforts include: a Nonprofit Leadership Certificate program, an annual Nonprofit Leadership Conference, sponsorship of a group of Americorps VISTA members and Mentor Kenosha Racine - a partnership that strengthens local mentoring programs. In addition, she is responsible for community based learning for over 1,000 UW-Parkside students each year for which she leverages relationships with local nonprofit organizations as partners for courses. She lives in Racine with her husband and two teenagers and has another child away at college.

Kurt Kaspar

Kurt Kaspar

Studio/ Remote Production Manager for Wisconsin Public Television
UW-Extension, Broadcasting and Media Innovations

Kurt has been an employee of Wisconsin Public Television for over 20 years, filling various positions. In his current role as Studio/Remote Production Manager, he leads a staff of about 20 full and part-time employees. Prior to being hired full time at WPT in 1998, Kurt split his time working on WPT's part-time production staff and directing the morning news for WISC-TV in Madison, WI. In his spare time, Kurt enjoys swimming, recreational volleyball and attending Badger football games.

John McCulley

John McCulley

Senior Student Services Coordinator
UW-Extension, Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning

In his role at CEOEL, John works with online degree programs. He assists in the development of new collaborative degrees, recruits and supports students into the existing degree completion programs. The primary program he currently supports is the online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Technology. Away from work he enjoys spending his time with his family and serving on a local school board.

Colleen Merrill

Colleen Merrill

Director Small Business Development Center, Executive Director Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UW-Oshkosh
UW-Extension, Division of Entrepreneurship & Economic Development
UW-Extension

Colleen Merrill embraces the diverse path she has traveled over the last 25 years of her career as it has given her valuable insight that helps guide her in her current role. Her involvement in a mechanical contracting firm, direct marketing sales, and multiple business ownerships have enhanced her consulting skills and serve her well in her current position as director of the Small Business Development Center and executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the UW Oshkosh campus. Colleen is an advocate of collaboration and works with multiple Chambers, economic development agencies, legislators, and financial partners to bring results to her clients. She earned both her B.B.A. in Finance and MBA from UW Oshkosh and enjoys reading, kayaking, running, hiking, fishing, boating, and anything else nature can provide.

Noah Ovshinsky

Noah Ovshinsky

Assistant News Director of Wisconsin Public Radio
UW-Extension, Broadcasting and Media Innovations

As the Assistant News Director at Wisconsin Public Radio, Noah helps coordinate the daily news coverage on this statewide network. He came to WPR from Detroit, where he was an award-winning journalist with that city's public radio station (WDET). While in the "Motor City", he covered virtually every beat there is in a newsroom. Noah's previous radio experience also includes a two-year stint at Chicago's WGN Radio, where he served in numerous positions including morning news producer. When he's not in the office (or working from home), Noah enjoys camping and fishing. He is also obsessed with apples and butter.

Mark C.E. Peterson

Mark C.E. Peterson

Professor of Philosophy
UW-Washington County

Mark C.E. Peterson (PhD, Toronto 1988) has taught Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Washington County since 1989. He has served as a department chair, campus steering chair, and is currently serving as the UW Colleges Senate Steering Committee chair and Faculty Representative to the University Of Wisconsin Board Of Regents. He is currently Treasurer and board member for the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, has authored articles for the Owl of Minerva on Hegelian natural philosophy, and is a contributor to the International Kierkegaard Commentary. Recent travels have included sabbaticals lecturing on environmental ethics in Riga, Latvia and 4 summers studying taijiquan in Shanghai, China. He has also emceed the Milwaukee Ukulele Festival for the past three years.

Jane Ritger

Jane Ritger

Client Relations Specialist for Wisconsin Public Radio
UW-Extension, Broadcasting and Media Innovations

Jane's past work experience is quite varied, with jobs ranging from computer programmer to children's librarian. With WPR, Jane is involved with many aspects of customer service and outreach in the Wausau office. She coordinates regional events with listeners and donors and assists with fostering partnerships with cultural/arts organizations in the area. She also maintains the regional website and facebook page, writes local promos and PSAs and is the call-screener for Route 51, the regional call-in show. Statistically and in reality, Jane has the ideal family; she is married, with a son, a daughter, a dog and a cat.

Kris Tiles

Kris Tiles

Regional Natural Resources Educator (CNRED)
UW-Extension, Cooperative

Kris joined UW-Extension as a Natural Resources Educator in April 2004. She primarily works on forestry outreach for family forest owners, but also does some work in water resources. After receiving her bachelor's degree in Forest Science from UW-Madison, she joined the Peace Corps where she worked as an agroforestry volunteer for two years. She returned to Madison, where she earned a master's degree in Social Forestry. Presently, she lives in Wausau with her husband and thrives on cycling, running, cross-country skiing and knitting.

Krystal Wambold

Krystal Wambold

Operations Director | SBDC Associate Director
UW-Extension, Division of Entrepreneurship & Economic Development

Krystal has 20 years of experience in customer service, operations, finance, information technology, personnel and small business ownership. In her role as operations director for the Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, she provides oversight for the division's financial, information technology, human resources and office operations. As associate director of the SBDC, she provides program management for the Small Business Administration's federally funded program hosted by UW-Extension and the 13 four-year campuses around the state. She and her husband also own and operate the Midas of Madison franchise, which includes three stores in Madison.

Sam Wiltzius

Sam Wiltzius

IT Services Manager for Instructional Communications Systems (ICS)
UW-Extension, Broadcasting and Media Innovations

Sam is a professional IT leader and contributor with a demonstrated record of utilizing industry knowledge and constituent support to meet organizational objectives. Sam has proven skills in IT systems design, total technology recommendations, training, and end-user support through collaborative leadership. As a senior leader, Sam contributes daily to the needs of clients across a spectrum of industries through insightful applications of technical knowledge, business systems skills, and a commitment to life-long learning. Sam is also a private pilot and has recently learned to play ice hockey.


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