Meet The Staff

Meet the Community Services Staff

Erin Bailey
Director of Community Services

For the past nine years, Erin has lived in Northfield and worked for the Community Services Department of the Northfield Public Schools.  Erin serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Community Education Association and Women in Northfield Giving Support (WINGS).  She is a past Rotary Group Study Exchange participant to Brazil, has participated in the Blandin Community Leadership Program and was selected as one of Northfield’s “25 on the Rise” for individuals working to improve the community.  Erin received an undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato, her Masters from Hamline University and her Community Education Director’s Licensure from the University of St. Thomas.

The most rewarding part of Erin’s position is that it allows her to interact with all members of the community.  She is a promoter of life-long learning and enjoys providing services that allows Northfield residents to interact with their community and the Northfield Public School district.

Erin loves spending time with her friends and family, traveling, walking her dog, going to yoga and reading.  Future goals include becoming an even better cook and learning how to knit.

Sara Boran
Administrative Assistant to the Director

Sara has worked for the Community Services Department for 13 years; nine as the Administrative Assistant to the Director.  As an Administrative Assistant in the Community Services office, Sara enjoys talking to people and helping them find what they need.

When not at work, Sara enjoys spending time with family, reading and doing crossword puzzles.

Judy Becker
Administrative Assistant/Facilities Scheduler

Judy started at Northfield Public Schools Community Services in 2007, prior to which she worked for Search Institute. One of the things Judy enjoys most about her position is hearing about all the positive experiences our participants enjoy in their classes/events and strives for customer service with a smile!  Judy has also participated in the first Northfield/Dundas Blandin Community Leadership Program which included the cities of Farmington and Rosemount.  She is often the first voice you encounter on the line when you call the Community Services office.

Judy loves to read, read and read and her two cats!  She is also known to be an avid birdwatcher.

Clarice Grabau
Adult Basic Education Site Facilitator and Instructor

Clarice and her family have lived in Northfield for 15 years. She is now in her 6th year of teaching and has been an ABE Instructor for four. She holds a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s in Administration. She received her science licensures from St. Olaf College and her ABE licensure from the University of Minnesota.

Clarice loves working with adults and helping them attain goals that have meaningful impact on their lives, whether that means going to college, earning a high school credential, or securing employment. Her favorite subjects to teach are math and science.

In her free time, Clarice enjoys walking her two rescue dogs, a Coonhound named Scout, and a funny-looking Chihuahua named Rosie Cotton. She loves learning about photography, reading, cooking, traveling to new places, anything with dogs, and attending her children’s orchestra and sporting events.

Alissa Jorgensen  
Auditorium Technician

Alissa went to college for technical theater so this position is a perfect fit for her.  Alissa enjoys the variety of events she gets to help with.  She also loves the people she works with.

Alissa enjoys spending time with her husband, two daughters and one son.  She also enjoys going to theater productions.

Linda Oto    
Connected Kids and Youth Development Coordinator

Linda has worked in Community Services since 2001 in various roles, as a Volunteer Coordinator at Bridgewater Elementary, leading after-school programs and now coordinating the Connected Kids mentoring program as well as overseeing the Middle School Youth Center.  Linda is active in the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota which recently awarded Connected Kids with the Bob Dayton Legacy Award for commitment to quality mentoring.

Linda has discovered her passion in working with kids who face greater than usual challenges in school, and in their lives.  It is extremely rewarding to watch them grow into young adults who have overcome many obstacles to become contributors to the school and community.

Linda enjoys reading, knitting and playing with her two dogs in her free time.

Mary Hansen
Early Childhood Administrative Assistant

Mary has been employed with Northfield Public Schools for over 30 years.  She started as the administrative assistant to the principal in the kindergarten building, before kindergarteners were placed in all the elementary buildings.  It served Mary with an opportunity to help families enroll their children into the great public school system of Northfield.

Mary says it is fun to work with new families to the district and to be able to provide the help and information for a smooth transition for them into the schools or community services classes.  She also enjoys getting to see all the little children coming to Early Childhood Family Education classes each week.

Mary enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and just recently got back into knitting with more challenging projects.  She also loves going out with her friends.

Niki Kolb
Enrichment & Project ABLE Coordinator

Niki is new to the Northfield area, but has worked in youth development and education for over 15 years in various capacities within operational administration, program management, human resources and marketing communications.  She served as a director for many different experiential educational and recreational programs and organizations in South Africa, Wisconsin, California and Minnesota.  Niki actually grew up in South Africa, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Information Design.

The most rewarding part of Niki’s position is that it allows her to be creative with both marketing and programming for both adults and youth. She is a firm believer in life-long learning and loves seeing community learners of all ages, be able to explore new knowledge, adventures and even make new friends during some of the enrichment classes she helps to coordinate.

Niki loves spending time with her family and two Beagles, and also likes cooking, doodling and painting as a hobby, canoeing Up North and traveling to new places when she is able too.

Annie Kruse
Early Childhood Coordinator

Annie is a Northfield native, returning after earning her undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and graduate degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  She currently resides in Northfield with her husband, daughter and crazy golden retriever. Annie has taught early childhood for 19 years.  Most recently, she taught for the Northfield Public Schools as an Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education teacher for 7 years before transitioning into the role of the coordinator.  Annie loves making connections with the parents she works with as well as her colleagues, but most importantly the children!  She enjoys collaborating with other professionals who are dedicated to the success of all children.

Annie enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She also loves reading and traveling.

Cheryl Strike
Mentoring Specialist

Cheryl thoroughly enjoys getting to know both the mentors and mentees that she works with in her position.  She loves the reward of seeing a mentoring relationship grow and turn into a comfortable, trusting relationship built around support, encouragement and fun.  She knows from experience that “regular people” really can make a lasting difference in a child’s life!

Cheryl enjoys the people that she is fortunate enough to cross paths with every day and says, “Mentoring isn’t rocket science; you just need to enjoy the one-on-one company of a child to make a difference.”

When not working, Cheryl enjoys attending her children’s sporting events and cheering for the Northfield Raiders.  She is also an animal-lover who fosters puppies for an animal rescue association, and loves feeding all the birds that come to her home in the countryside.

Melissa Bernhard  
Recreation Coordinator

Melissa has been involved in recreation for a while including her position of Program Coordinator for the Northfield Gymnastics Club, and has been instructing gymnastics at all levels and ages for over ten years.  She is currently the head coach of the Northfield Raider High School Gymnastics Team and is an assistant of the gymnastics team at Gustavus Adolphus College.  Melissa was a three sport athlete in high school while also participating in barrel racing and marching band.  She has also aided the Northfield Retirement Community with fitness instruction and activities.  Melissa is also knowledgeable about outdoor educational opportunities, as a lead instructor for backpacking and canoeing trips, and also in the facilitation of teambuilding and challenge courses.  She obtained a B.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and received her Masters in Experiential Education while studying at Minnesota State University Mankato and at Wheaton Colleges’ Honey Rock Camp in the north woods of Wisconsin.

Melissa enjoys meeting the needs of the various programs throughout the community and values the relationships that are built from having contact with a number of people and organizations.  She loves the opportunity to be creative and to develop new programming.

Melissa loves spending time with family and good friends.  She is a big believer in the outdoors providing many growth opportunities, and enjoys spending time out in the nature.  Whether it is snowboarding, horseback riding, participating in an adventure race, or hiking through the woods, she is always up for an adventure!  Melissa also plays a variety of instruments and enjoys composing and singing songs.

Brianne “Breezy” Barrett
Ventures Coordinator

Breezy has worked in the area of school age care for the past nine years, serving as both a child care assistant and site coordinator for Minneapolis Kids, the Minneapolis Public School’s school age program. Through her time in Minneapolis, she worked closely with MAAP (Minnesota After School Accreditation Project), successfully coaching three sites through the accreditation process. Breezy has also worked for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for eleven years, teaching a wide variety of classes for youth ages three to eighteen as well as coaching volleyball for middle school girls. Although Breezy grew up in Minneapolis and has worked in the city for a number of years, she is no stranger to Northfield as she is a St. Olaf alum, graduating with a degree in psychology and family studies.

Breezy enjoys interacting with families and being a part of the tight-knit Northfield community. She also enjoys working closely with the site leaders to ensure a high quality program that eases children’s transition from the school day to out-of-school time.

Breezy enjoys spending time with family, walking her dog, reading, traveling, leading an active lifestyle, and everything summer!


Northfield Public Schools • ISD #659 • 1400 Division Street South • Northfield, MN 55057 • p 507.663.0600 • f 507.663.0611 •