Leadership Team

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Liz Snyder

In addition to being Co-Director of the MNCWTA, Liz is the Director of Training Partnerships at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW). Liz has worked in the area of support and development of the child welfare workforce since 2008. Prior to her work with the Academy she managed the MSW Title IV-E Child Welfare Fellows program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

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Tracy Crudo

Tracy, manager of the Workforce Development and Training Unit in the Child Safety and Permanency Division, joined the Department of Human Services in 2015. She manages the training and workforce development and delivery to approximately 2,000 county and tribal workers and supervisors who provide child protection, foster care and adoption services throughout the state.


Traci LaLiberte

  • Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) Executive Director
  • lali0017@umn.edu

Traci has worked in a variety of roles in the field of child welfare for the past 30 years, including child welfare professional, supervisor, researcher, educator, trainer and policy advocate.  Traci’s research is focused in child welfare practice and policy with particular interest in the intersection of child welfare and disability, child welfare and educational experiences of youth, comprehensive assessment, evidence-based practice in treatment foster care settings, and the child welfare workforce. When she's not working, Traci is most likely hanging out with her two kids and their dog, Bear.  She is an avid hiker, traveler, and gardener. 


Jamie Sorenson

Jamie provides leadership to the state’s child welfare system. He oversees child safety and prevention; family support and placement services; adoption; Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy; American Indian child welfare; child welfare research, evaluation, data and continuous quality improvement; and legislative and policy coordination. Sorenson is responsible for leading and implementing a vision for the division’s future. 


Kia Moua

Kia has over 20 years of training experience in law enforcement, youth development, human service programs, and K-12. Kia has worked in the human services field from court ordered visitation, truancy, case management, domestic violence, and homelessness. Kia’s experience working with systems on centering equity through leadership, policies, processes, decision-making and cultural practices has been the common thread that weaves and connects her professional career. Kia has been involved in creating Decentering Whiteness which is rooted in the MNCWTA. Kia founded and Chairs the People of Color ERG and serves as a council member on the Cultural and Ethnic Community Leadership Council (CECLC) as a representative for DHS.


Lolita Johnson

Lolita has over 20 years of leadership, training, and design experience that relates to adult education and development. Analyzing, researching, and assessing educational needs serves as an important component in the ongoing effort to design meaningful curriculum that supports growth and engagement. Her dedication and commitment to education is grounded by her interest to help learners by interpreting outcomes that lead to success. Lolita plans to lead in meaningful curriculum development work that supports healthy outcomes for children and families.


Jane Fields

Jane has more than two decades of experience working with project leaders, staff members, participants, and communities in evaluating program designs, implementation, and impact as both an internal and external evaluator. She has worked with organizations to help them, for example, design logic models, surveys, and ongoing data collection systems in order for them to build their evaluation capacity. Her work evaluating professional development programs designed for adult learners is directly applicable to her role as Evaluation and Credentialing Supervisor. In this role, she will be developing systems to evaluate the work of the Academy and working with stakeholders throughout the state on a credentialing system for child welfare workers and supervisors.

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Bill O’Connor

Bill has been with the University of Minnesota for fifteen years, working in the Orientation & Transition Experiences office and overseeing communication for programs like New Student Orientation, Parent Orientation, and Welcome Week. Prior to that he provided project support to the Family Services department at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in St. Paul. Originally from Tennessee, Bill earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from the University of Tennessee, and later a Master of Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. 

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Connie Abbott-Foster

Ms. Abbott-Foster has a lifelong career of working with children and families. Her experience includes education, social work, program development, supervision and organizational consulting. She began working for the child welfare training system at the Minnesota Department of Human Services in 2005. 

All Training Academy Staff

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Connie Abbott-Foster

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Renee Armstrong

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Andrea Bartels

Emily Batts

Emily Batts

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Melissa Berg

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Anna Chaloupka

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Tracy Crudo


Cliff Dahlberg

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Jason Dalrymple


Nicole Davis

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Jane Fields

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Josh Geiger

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Jon Goldman

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Maddie Grover

Maddie Grover

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Kurt Hattenberger

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Tori Hensley

Tori Hensley

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Lolita Johnson

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Susan Jorstad

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Padma Kannan

Padma Kannan

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Myrna Klegin

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Eric Kratt

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Angie Lauer-Schaeppi

Angie Lauer-Schaeppi

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Nora Lee

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Kristin Malin

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Jessica McLain

  • Director of Professional Development for Educational Technology Innovations (ETI)
  • mclai003@umn.edu

Diana Miller

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Kia Moua

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Bill O'Connor

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Emily Odermatt

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Addie Smith

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SommerDey Rosette

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Liz Snyder


Ros Stack

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Stacey Steinbach

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Cheryl Stevens

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Krista Trempe

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Sandra Vega Carrero


Renetta Walk


Amy Walkner


Richard Webb

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