Meet Our Staff
Meet Our Online K-12 Education Team
MNVA’s staff is composed of professionals and specialists dedicated to making a virtual academy a very real learning experience. Here are a few of the people who work behind the scenes to keep MNVA responsive to your needs.
Leah Stinson | School Operations Manager
Mrs. Stinson has been a part of the team since 2020. She started with MNVA as an operations support specialist and has been the operations manager since 2022. Prior to joining MNVA, Mrs. Stinson held data management positions in the medical industry.
Zeb Baumann | Operations Support Specialist
Louise Budde | Operations Support Specialist
Rose Sires | Registrar/MNVA MARSS Contact
Ashley Olson | Special Services Administrative Assistant
Melissa Soland | Principals’ Administrative Assistant
Mattie Hellerud | Truancy Officer/Family Liaison
Kitt Patton | Engagement Counselor
Tina Barness | Elementary/Middle School Counselor
Ms. Barness joined MNVA in 2007. She earned a BA in psychology from Wartburg College and MS in counselor education from Winona State University. Ms. Barness holds K–12 school counseling licensures in Minnesota and Iowa and is a nationally certified counselor. Ms. Barness is passionate about supporting students in finding success in all aspects of their lives, including their academic, future career, and personal/social lives. Ms. Barness is the Section 504 Plan coordinator for kindergarten through 8th grade at MNVA. Ms. Barness enjoys working with a diverse student body throughout the state and feels that online learning can provide an opportunity for students to find success when they are determined to learn.
Jodi English | Elementary/Middle School Counselor
Mrs. English joined MNVA in 2011. She brings more than 20 years of experience in education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the University of St. Thomas, and her master’s degree in guidance counseling from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She also holds an online teaching certificate. Mrs. English likes to see students thrive in the online environment. She believes that online learning gives students a safe environment in which to learn.
Ricky Smith | High School Counselor
Mr. Smith started with MNVA in 2013. He has experience working with troubled youth as a program consultant for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, where he organized and ran a youth program that helped high school students gain employment. He earned his BA in psychology and his MS in educational counseling from Winona State University. He also obtained a coaching minor and coaches football and track and field around southeast Minnesota. Mr. Smith feels online learning allows students to work from the comfort of their own home and in their own environment. This can reduce the amount of outside stressors associated with a typical high school environment.
Stirling Foley | High School Counselor
Nicole Kaiser | High School Counselor
Erin Frauenkron | Academic Placement Advisor
Ms. Frauenkron holds an associate degree in applied sciences-marketing from Western Wisconsin Technical College. She has been involved in online learning in the Houston Public School District since March of 2008, having worked in support of the Minnesota Center of Online Learning before joining MNVA. Since the fall of 2010 she has worked directly with MNVA high school students as an advisor and is passionate about helping students find success. She is currently in charge of monitoring student attendance and mediating truancy concerns.
Dale Moga | PT Student Support Advisor
Mr. Moga is a part-time student enrollment specialist who joined MNVA in 2011. He first started with MNVA as a K–5th grade student advisor, and then transitioned into a high school advisor before holding his current position. Dale earned a BA in physical education with a minor in management from Luther College. Mr. Moga feels online learning gives students a chance to learn in a different atmosphere without distractions and offers some course options that their resident districts might not be able to offer.