Staff Bios

Message from the Director

Nearly twenty years ago I visited a home in rural Wisconsin to provide therapy for a 3 year old newly diagnosed on the spectrum. When I arrived at their home my interview consisted of playing for a half hour. In those 30 minutes I discovered what I would spend the rest of my life working toward. What drew me to this profession so many years ago remains the same: Teaching, learning, and playing. Our Center opened its doors in 2004. In that time, we have grown steadily from our first two students to over 70 today. The Rochester Center for Autism works with families, schools, and other therapies to provide a seamless thread of services. Therapies include but are not limited to individual and family skills training, crisis assistance, workshop and consultation as well as presentations. Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for our students. Whether in the home, community, or on-site our students will enjoy their time as they learn critical skills. Please join me, our staff, and our board in providing the best possible services for children with autism. Thank you for visiting our website. We look forward to helping you in any way we can.

~Jon Sailer

Supervisors


Name: Molly Hill
Title: Manager/HR Director
Month/Year Started at RCA: : April 2004
Education/Experience: University of Minnesota- Twin Cities (Psychology)
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Wabasha, MN
Why I work at RCA: I have always loved working with kids and helping others and working at RCA helped me accomplish those goals. It was also important for me to work in a family oriented environment with people who shared the same values and had the same passion for the field.
Hobbies/interests: Playing sports, traveling, spending time with family and friends, boating, skiing
Family/Pets: Husband (Barry) and 5 kids


Name: Steve Bingner
Title: Clinical Director
Month/Year Started at RCA: 2004
Education/Experience: Southern Illinois University- Masters in Behavior Modification, Licensed Psychologist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Describe yourself using one word: Encouraging
Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
Why I work at RCA: I wanted the opportunity to support early intervention with children.
Hobbies/interests: Play the trumpet in a Big Band and Brass Quintet
Family/Pets: Wife of 35 years (Karel), Raised two daughters in Rochester that were born in 1983 and 1986


Name: Kelli Branstad
Title: Program Supervisor
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2004
Education/Experience: Bethel College- Psychology, St. Mary's University- Marriage and Family Therapy
Hometown: West Concord, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love being around the contagious energy of kids and knew I needed that as part of my day! Building relationships with all of the kids at the Center and their families and watching them grow and succeed is the most rewarding thing. It makes me excited to come back each day!
Hobbies/interests: Camping, being outdoors, spending time with family scrapbooking, reading
Family/Pets: Wonderful husband (Paul) since 2008, two beautiful daughters (Sophia and Eleanor), handsome son (George).


Name: Katie Meyer
Title: Care Coordinator/Administrative Coordinator 
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2004
Education/Experience: University Center Rochester- Human Service Specialist, PCA, Recreation Therapy at Rochester Park and Rec, Special Olympic coach
Describe yourself using one word: Organized
Hometown: Stewartville, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love making a difference in the life of a child! Team RCA is amazing! All of our therapists work hard daily to help each child we serve reach their highest potential in life. It is fabulous to be a part of so many children's and families lives as they grow and learn new skills. Every day a child makes me smile or laugh!
Hobbies/interests: Traveling, spending time with my family and friends, camping and watching my kids participate in their many activities
Family/Pets: Husband (Nate), Sons (Carson and Corbin), Daughter (Avery)


Name: Jaclyn Burton
Title: Lead Supervisor, Intake Coordinator
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2007
Education/Experience: Bethel University (Elementary Education)
Describe yourself using one word: Intuitive
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy working with kids and being able to make a difference in the life of families and children. It's great helping students learn new skills.
Hobbies/interests: Decorating, hanging out with family and friends, cooking, walking and running
Family/Pets: Husband (Tyler), 1 son


Name: Kris Helfer
Title: Business Officer
Month/Year Started at RCA: August 2004
Education/Experience: Winona State University- Recreation Therapist, Possibilities Youth Recreation, Certified American Sign Language instructor
Describe yourself using one word: Incredible
Hometown: Zumbrota, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy watching the children grow and learn day to day. I love knowing what I do every day helps them be successful. It means so much to touch their lives.
Hobbies/interests: Spending time with family and friends, attending my boys numerous activities, camping, vacations and coffee
Family/Pets: Husband (John) Sons (Ben and Tommy), Dog (Vader)


Name: Katie Dolan
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2015
Education/Experience:  Masters in ABA
Describe yourself using one word: Passionate
Hometown: New Ulm, MN  
Why I work at RCA: I love watching our kids make progress and grow. The work environment is so positive here.
Hobbies/Interests:  Spending time with family, being outdoors
Family/Pets: Husband (Tom), son (Jay), dogs (Freddie & Dilly)


 

Name: Lisa Hanson
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: December 2008
Education/Experience: BA in Christian Education, I have worked with children with autism for over 20 years
Describe yourself using one word: Patient
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy working with children and seeing their progress. RCA has a great work environment.
Hobbies/interests: Spending time with my family, going for walks and hikes, reading
Family/Pets: Husband, Two kids


Name: Lindsey Hanson
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: April 2015
Education/Experience: University of Wisconsin- La Crosse (Psychology/Sociology)
Describe yourself using one word: Dedicated
Hometown: Sheboygan, WI
Why I work at RCA: I have always desired to work with children with Autism and help them achieve their potential.
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, swimming, volleyball, fishing.
Family/Pets: Husband (Herb), Dog (Eddie)


Name: Bethany Holland
Title: LeadTherapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2018
Education/Experience: Obtaining Master's degree in ABA
Describe yourself using one word: Outgoing
Hometown: Cresco, Iowa
Why I work at RCA: Education and experience
Hobbies/Interests: My kids, arts and crafts
Family/Pets: Turtle, Gecko


Name: Katie Jech
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: August 2016
Education/Experience:  Winona State University (Social Work)
Describe yourself using one word: Understanding
Hometown: Chatfield, MN
Why I work at RCA: I want to gain experience in my field and to continue my passion of working with children in the mental health field. Hobbies/Interests:  Being with family and friends, reading a good book, going on walks, watching and playing sports.


Name: Stephanie Johnson
Title: BCBA
Month/Year Started at RCA: July 2010
Education/Experience: UW La Crosse (Psychology), St. Cloud State (Applied Behavior Analysis, Board Certified Behavior Analyst)
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love watching kids grow in a fun learning environment alongside staff who are passionate about teaching chidlren on the autism spectrum.
Hobbies/interests: Spending time with family, running, and serving as the secretary on the Board of Directors for the RT Autism Awareness Foundation (RTAAF)
Family/Pets: Husband (Tucker) and Bernedoodles (Haddie and Mac)


Name: Alyssa Krampitz
Title: Lead Therapist, In-home coordinator
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2013
Education/Experience: University of Wisconsin- La Crosse (B.S. Psychology) University of St. Thomas- (M.A. Special Education-Autism Spectrum Disorder)
Describe yourself using one word: Dependable
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I interned at RCA in the summer of 2011 and fell in love! The atmosphere at RCA is one of a kind. I love making a difference in the lives of our kids and their families.
Hobbies/interests: Hanging out with friends and family, dancing, boating
Family/Pets:  Fiancé (Josh), Son (Charlie)


Name:  Katie Schnabel
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2016
Education/Experience:  University of Wisconsin- Stout (Psychology Major, Human Development Family Studies Minor). I also worked with the Wisconsin Early Autism Project.
Describe yourself using one word: Passionate
Hometown:  Kasson, MN
Why I work at RCA: I fell in love working with children with Autism during college and RCA seemed like a great fit for me upon graduation. I love what the children have to offer!
Hobbies/Interests:  Crafting, decorating, running, spending time with friends and family
Pets: 2 cats (Tiger and Felix)


Name: Meggan Sprout
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: Aug. 2009 (restart date)
Education/Experience: University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, BA Sociology, Minor: Family Studies
Describe yourself using one word: Kindhearted
Hometown: Edina, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love helping and watching the kids and their successes. First, from small tasks that build towards the success of harder and larger tasks are all accomplishments and is very rewarding.
Hobbies/interests: Boating, waterskiing, swimming, snowmobiling, ATVs, reading, scrapbooking
Family/Pets: Husband (Kyle). 2 Sons (Lucas and Parker), Dog (Cooper)


Name: Adam Will
Title: Lead Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2006
Education/Experience: Luther College (Psychology)
Describe yourself using one word: Fun-loving
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: During my internship I immediately fell in love with the kids and the atmosphere of learning, compassion and growth.
Hobbies/interests: Video and board games, Reading
Family/Pets: My wife and I are raising 3 boys

 

Senior Therapists


Name: Sara Crissinger
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: December 2019
Education/Experience: Psychology degree from Luther College
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Faribault, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love working with these kiddos. After taking a couple of years off teaching music, I realized how much I missed it and am happy to be back!
Hobbies/Interests: I love music! Being, outside, hiking, or running, rock climbing
Family/Pets: 1 crazy dog named Toby


Name: Maddie Hettinger
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: August 2017
Education/Experience: Minnesota State University- Mankato (Social Work)
Describe yourself using one word: Hard working
Hometown: Stewartville, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love working with kids and getting experience for the next chapter of my life
Hobbies/Interests: Running, decorating my house, being with family and friends
Family/Pets: I am the 2nd oldest of 6 kids and have a Labrador Retriever (Maverick)


Behavior Therapists


Name: Briana Brelje
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2019
Education/Experience: Social Work Degree
Describe yourself using one word: Driven
Hometown: Mankato, MN
Why I work at RCA: I want to use my social work degree to assist children with disabilities
Hobbies/Interests: Makeup, interior design, and organizing
Family/Pets: Husband: Matt, Mother: Kelly, Father: Matthew, Brother: Alec, Pets- 2 cats: Gizmo and Yoda


Name: Taylor Brown
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2019
Education/Experience: Bachelor of Science Degree (Speech-Language-Hearing Science) Nearly two years of prior experience in ABA providing both center based and in home based services.
Describe yourself using one word: Spontaneous
Hometown: New Prague, MN
Why I work at RCA: I want to gain experience providing quality therapeutic services to children as I will be pursuing a Master's Degree in Speech Pathology in the fall of 2020.
Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with friends and family, shopping, running, exercising, traveling and learning new things.
Family/Pets: Parents (Randy and Therese) and two sisters (Kendra and Ellie)


Name: Ashley Courneya
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2020
Education/Experience: Working on Elementary Education degree, 3 years of teaching preschool at Meadow Park preschool
Describe yourself using one word: Passionate
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love working with kids and learning from them
Hobbies/Interests:  Hiking, Kayaking, shotgun sports, bird hunting with my dog
Family/Pets: I live with my mom, dad, brother (Eric) 4 dogs; (Asia, Timber, Luna, K.O.) and pot belly pig (Rudy)


Name:  John Crecca
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: March 2020
Education/Experience: Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Luther College. Direct Support Staff at Ark Regional Services
Describe yourself using one word: Responsible
Hometown: Laramie, WY
Why I work at RCA: To help people with autism and prepare them for life outside of RCA
Hobbies/Interests: Hiking, Exercising, reading, and riding a bike
Family/Pets: One older sister

 


Name: Paige Derke
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: July 2019
Education/Experience: Bachelor of Science in Teaching (Special Education –Developmental Disabilities) from WSU. I was a PCA for 6+ years and a DSP for 2 years.
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Bloomington, MN
Why I work at RCA: To get to know and support the children. I learn  something new every day and it is such a great place to work, the staff are great.
Hobbies/Interests: Baking, spending time with family and friends, camping, hammocking, canoeing, fly fishing, concerts, watching movies and board games.
Family/Pets: Mom (Deb), Dad (Kyle), Sister (Megan), Twin Sister (Nichole), Dogs (Remi and Dixie)


Name: Anika Evers
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2020
Education/Experience: UMR- B.S. H.S. Over 4 years working as a PCA
Describe yourself using one word: Driven
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I'm passionate about working with children with Autism and this job will prepare me to better serve my future patients as an occupational therapist.
Hobbies/Interests: Board games, photography, art
Family/Pets: Mom-Janis, Dad- Paul, Sister- Kaylie, Brother- Drake, Dog-Rocko, Cat- Call


Name: Christy Henry
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2019
Education/Experience: B.A. in Psychology and 6 years teaching preschoolers in a daycare center.
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Spring Valley, MN
Hobbies/Interests: Reading and working on various arts and crafts.
Family/Pets: Husband (Dagan) Son (Johnathon) Daughter (Etta) 2 cats- Marbles and Starsky


 

Name: Ana Hughes
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: March 2020
Education/Experience: B.A. (St. Olaf College 2010) in liberal arts, integrative degree with social work, family studies, psychology and theology.  Currently enrolled in MSW program at St. Mary’s University
Describe yourself using one word: Passionate
Hometown: Minnesota Lake, MN
Why I work at RCA: I’ve always had a passion to work with young kids and their families. 
Hobbies/Interests: Cats, music,COFFEE! travel, all things Scandinavian, thrifting and antique shopping
Family/Pets: Husband Michael, our pet cat Padme


Name: Ruba Kenyi
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2019
Education/Experience: Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, AmeriCorps
Describe yourself using one word: Grateful
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love working with kids!
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, writing, watching films and jogging.
Family/Pets: 5 siblings- no pets


Name: Kirstin Lahti
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: July 2020
Education/Experience: Community Psychology and School Counseling at St. Cloud State University 
Describe yourself using one word: Kind
Hometown: Meadowlands, MN   Far from here!
Why I work at RCA: I have a strong passion for working with children and find it to be the most rewarding experience. I love to watch children learn and grow!
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy going on hikes and find new places to explore. I love to take my dog Milo on walks outside. I enjoy watching Minnesota sports and spending time with family.
Family/ Pets: I have younger cousins and a nephew that I love to spend time with.  I also have a crazy lovable dog named Milo!


Name:  Matt Mulvihill
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2016
Education/Experience:  Minnesota State-Mankato (Elementary Education)
Describe yourself using one word: Fun
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy working with kids and to help anyway I can.
Hobbies/Interests:  I love the Pittsburgh Steelers, music and bird watching.
Family/Pets:  Wife (Lindsay), Sons (Garrett and Crosby)


Name: Lisa Munkel
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: November 2018
Education/Experience: Mayo HS, College for medical secretary, Working with individuals with special needs for over 6 years
Describe yourself using one word: Kind
Hometown: Cresco, IA
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy seeing smiles on the faces of children and making a difference in their lives!
Hobbies/Interests: Scrapbooking, reading, shopping, sleeping and watching TV
Family/Pets: Mom, 1 brother, 1 sister and 2 dogs


Name: Jennifer Rudolph
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2019
Education/Experience: BSW
Describe yourself using one word: Positive
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy the magic of children.
Hobbies/Interests: I like hiking, crafts and watching Christmas Movies.
Family/Pets: I have 3 kids- Baylie, Aidan and Jordan!


Name: Alexis Thompson-Langley
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: April 2019
Education/Experience: Working with adults and children with  disabilities since 2015.
Describe yourself using one word: Extroverted!
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love kids and I’ve always wanted to help them grow.
Hobbies/Interests: Hiking, visiting museums, watching movies  and doing art projects.  
Family/Pets: I have a big beautiful German shepherd named Fida and two mice named Pip and Chip.


Name: Sarah Visser
Title: Behavioral Therapist

Month/Year started at RCA: February 2020
Education/Experience: B.S. Kinesiology from Michigan State University.  OTD in progress at University of Minnesota (Doctorate of Occupational Therapy)
Describe yourself using one word: Fun
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Why I work at RCA: I work at RCA because I love kids.  RCA is an amazing place!
Hobbies/ Interests: Sports, puzzles, reading, card games.  I love elephants
Family/Pets: Cat- Mason