(See their photos are attached here)

Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA) recently welcomed several new employees to the organization:

Jill Bisenius earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design from Morningside College. She had eight years of experience in graphic design prior to coming to the AEA. Jill will use her talents to help educators in the Creative Services Department.

Heather Crichton has her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and is currently working towards completion of her master’s degree. Heather worked for Northwest AEA from 2001 until 2006 as an early childhood teacher/consultant and is now returning to work for the AEA in the same position.

Jodi Ryan has been named the chief financial officer for Northwest AEA. In her new role, she will be responsible for planning, organization and implementation of the fiscal operations of the agency, including business operations, budgeting, funds management, financial planning, forecasting, and analysis. She most recently worked at the Sioux City Community School District. Ryan holds an M.B.A. from the University of South Dakota.

Seth Piro was hired as a regional facilitator for the southern part of the AEA’s territory, where he leads a team to assist schools in the implementation of special education processes and procedures for improved student learning. He comes to Northwest AEA from Green Hills AEA where he worked as a school psychologist and was a lead on their Challenging Behavior Team. Piro has an education specialist degree in School Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado and is currently working through the Iowa Principals Leadership Academy to complete an administrative degree.

Alissah Albert, Daniel Broek and Alexa Mrla will serve as special education strategists. They will facilitate all aspects of the provision of special education and support and related services in assigned schools.

Albert has taught special education at various grade levels and most recently worked for the South Sioux City Community School District as a student assistance team coordinator before joining Northwest AEA. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Wayne State College.

Broek worked for the past 25 years as a school psychologist in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. He graduated with an Advanced Graduate Degree in School Psychology from Gallaudet University. He has a strong background in supporting teachers in the development of behavior support plans and has extensive knowledge of use of technology to support learning of students with disabilities.

Mrla worked for Nebraska ESU #1 as a School Psychologist prior to coming to Northwest AEA.  She holds a master’s degree in School Counseling from Wayne State College and an education specialist degree in School Psychology from the University of South Dakota.

Jordan Bursell, Patricia Kann, Devyn Sponder and Katie Van Den Hul are speech-language pathologists who will provide specialized evaluations, instruction and consultative services for children who have communication delays and disorders and by helping teachers with student skills in articulation, literacy, language curriculum, stuttering, and voice disorders. 

Sponder and Van Den Hul have recently graduated from the University of South Dakota with master’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology. Bursell also graduated from the University of South Dakota with a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She worked for the Harrisburg Public School District in Harrisburg, South Dakota, for a year and a half before coming to Northwest AEA.

Kann worked for several years at Nebraska ESU #1 and the South Sioux City Community School District in similar positions before joining the AEA. She holds master’s degrees in both Speech-Language Pathology (University of South Dakota) and Curriculum and Instruction (Wayne State College).

As an employee of the Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Jennifer Vorthems will be working out of the Northwest AEA office serving students throughout the region.