Leadership Team

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Liz Snyder – Co-Director

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 – Co-Director

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.

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Traci LaLiberte – Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) Executive Director

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. 

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Jamie Sorenson – Director of the Child Safety and Permanency Division for the Department of Human Services

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. 

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Ryan Warren – Co-Director of Educational Technology Innovations (ETI)

For over 20 years, Ryan's career has largely been in higher education administration, with cumulative experiences leading to his founding the Educational Technology Innovations (ETI) in 2015. Through ETI, Ryan seeks to have modern, scalable and secure technology applications developed to meet greater societal needs. His interests are centered around partnership and achieving larger outcomes by identifying more comprehensive approaches to tackle society's toughest problems.

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Sarah Knoph – Training Unit Supervisor

Sarah has spent her career in the public sector, and after graduating from law school in 2007 she served on the Hennepin County litigation team that negotiated the settlement for the Twin’s Stadium. As a trainer for school leaders, she developed and implemented discipline disparities curriculum, and later consulted on disability services and Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan. Sarah has experience in immigrant advocacy, the courts, teaching elementary aged students, and in positive supports and person-centered planning. She is a supervisor on the management team of the MCWTA, and focuses her work on policy and operations.

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Kia Moua – Foundation Trainer

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.

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Lolita Johnson – Curriculum Supervisor

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.

Bill O'Connor

Bill O’Connor – Communications Specialist

Bill has been with the University of Minnesota for fourteen 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 Bachelors of Arts in Speech Communications from the University of Tennessee, and later a Masters of Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. 

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Connie Abbott-Foster – Leadership Consultant

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

Connie Abbott-Foster

Renee Armstrong

Andrea Bartels

Emily Batts

Gillian Burling

Anna Chaloupka

Tracy Crudo

Jason Dalrymple

Susan Jorstad

Myrna Klegin

Sarah Knoph

Eric Kratt

John Lukach

Diana Miller

Ed Morales

Heide Moris

Kia Moua

Bill O'Connor

Nicholas Palmer

Melissa Peterson

SommerDey Rosette

Liz Snyder

Ros Stack

Cheryl Stevens

Renetta Walk

Vicki White