In addition to our fabulous facilities and outstanding programming, our staff truly separates us from other providers. Our culturally diverse multidisciplinary team is made up of Ph.D. and Psy.D Licensed Psychologists, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors, Registered Nurses, and Licensed Social Workers. Under the supervision of several doctoral-level Licensed Psychologists, our mental health team is made up of numerous psychology pre-doctoral interns and master’s-level psychology practicum students. Pre-doctoral interns and practicum students meet individually with clients in our Co Occurring Disorders Programs to assess needs, establish treatment planning goals, and provide individual therapy throughout treatment and aftercare. Our Social Workers help clients secure stable housing, medical assistance, and help in obtaining additional needed resources. The level of professionalism, education, and experience of our staff truly sets us apart from other providers.
Mark Casagrande, MA, LADCExecutive Director
Linda Casagrande, BACFO
Jennifer Hayes, LADCClinical Director, Women’s Program
Christine Pearson, MS, LPCC, LADCClinical Director, Men’s Program
Michelle Ruesink, BS, PHRDirector of Human Resources
Jen Stella, BSDirector of Operations
Joshua Weiler, PsyD, LPDirector of Mental Health Services
Mark Casagrande, MA, LADC
Mark is the Owner and Executive Director of Park Avenue Center. Having been in recovery since 1986, Mark is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who attended the addiction program at Minneapolis Community College (now MCTC), earned a BS in Marketing from St. Cloud State University, and earned his Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychological Services from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Starting with Park in 1994, Mark has had many roles including Counselor, Program Coordinator, Program Director, and eventually purchased Park in January of 2009. Mark is very active in the field of substance abuse and serves on the board of Minnesota’s largest substance abuse trade organization MARRCH where he has also served as President. He has also served on additional non-profit boards including EAGALA and Berkshire Horse Works. Mark regularly lobbies and educates state legislators in addition to working with MN DHS advocating for both clients and providers while implementing many evidence-based strategies. Mark’s passion is leading Park Avenue Center to continue to be “the solution to the broken system”.
Linda Casagrande, BA
Linda is responsible for the financial management of the company. She began her career with Park Avenue Center by spending three years in the billing office where she was responsible for implementing the current financial management software. She then returned to her prior career in retail management where she served as a district manager for a major retailer before rejoining Park Avenue Center in January 2009 as the CFO. She attended school at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and Metropolitan State University where she studied retail management and accounting.
Jennifer Hayes, LADC
Jennifer has been a licensed alcohol and drug counselor since 2004. She started her career at Park Avenue Center as a counselor in the women’s program. She then transitioned to a counseling role at We Care Counseling Center in St. Paul. During her time at We Care Counseling, Jennifer assisted in implementing the electronic charting system and developed a four-volume agency training manual. Jennifer returned to Park Avenue Center in 2013 as the Women’s Program Clinical Supervisor before assuming her current role as the Women’s Clinical Director. Jennifer grew up in South Minneapolis and feels her contributions make a difference within her community.
Christine Pearson, MS, LPCC, LADC
Christine (Chris) earned her Master’s in Community Counseling and Chemical Dependency from St. Cloud State University. She began her career after accepting a Float Counselor role in 2011 following her internship at Park Avenue Center. Chris then transitioned to a Co-occurring Counselor in the Women’s Program, and then to a Clinical Supervisor role in the Men’s Program before assuming her current position. Chris is inspired to work in this field to help clients believe in themselves so they can reach their goals.
Michelle Ruesink, BS, PHR
Michelle has over 15 years of experience working in Human Resources. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Corrections from Minnesota State University, Mankato and obtained her Professional in Human Resources certification in 2011. Michelle joined Park Avenue Center in 2017 after working in the home health care field for several years. Michelle is passionate about working for an organization whose mission is to help others improve their lives. When she isn’t working, Michelle enjoys watching sporting events and spending time on one of Minnesota’s many lakes.
Jen Stella, BS
Jen received her Associates Degree in Supervisory Management from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College and her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Capella University. Prior to joining Park Avenue Center in 2016, Jen spent over 17 years focusing on process and people management at Polaris Industries. She is experienced in implementing the principles of lean and change management, and helping to achieve strategic business objectives. Jen’s passion for efficient processes and continuous improvement allow for an effective focus on client care.
Joshua Weiler, PsyD, LP
Dr. Josh is a Licensed Psychologist and serves as the Director of Mental Health Services responsible for our training programs as well as the mental health clinic. Prior to his current role, Dr. Josh was the Clinical Director of our Men’s Programs. Dr. Josh obtained his Master’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and his Psychology Doctorate from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University. His professional training includes College Counseling Centers, Psychological Assessment, and Co-Occurring Disorders. In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Weiler enjoys working to find solutions in complex systems, conducting training seminars, and supervising staff.
Chet Dixon, MA, LPCC, LADCClinical Supervisor, Women’s Program
Birgitte Eppel MA, LMFT, LADCClinical Supervisor, Mental Health Services
Michael LarsenMaintenance Manager
Morgan Liebenow, BS, LSW, LADCClinical Supervisor, Men’s Program
Sarah Lundgren, BS, LSWSocial Work Supervisor
Amber Marko, BA, LADCClinical Supervisor, Women’s Program
John Norwood, BS, LADCClinical Supervisor, Intake Team
Shilpa Patel, MA, LPCCMental Health Supervisor
Jeremy Roelofs-LynchBilling Manager
Chet Russell, BSInformation Technology Manager
Linda Santa Cruz, MS, LMFTMental Health Supervisor
Jon Seaburg, MA, LPCC, LADCClinical Supervisor, Men’s Program
Kelley Sehman, PsyD, LP, LADCClinical Supervisor, Mental Health Services
Angel WalkerOperations Supervisor
Joanne Weber, BSAdmissions Director
William Westberry, BS, LADCClinical Supervisor, Culturally Specific Programs
Chet Dixon, MA, LPCC, LADC
Chet obtained his Masters in Clinical Psychology and Addictions Counseling from Argosy University. He began his career at Park Avenue Center in 2013 as an intern. Upon completion of his internship he was hired as an Intake Counselor then moved to a Lead Counselor role in the Men’s Complex Co-occurring Program before landing in his current position as Clinical Supervisor. Chet has experience working with co-occurring clients with a full range of mental health conditions including personality disorders. Chet finds his job rewarding because he has the opportunity to assist others in their journey to recovery.
Birgitte Eppel MA, LMFT, LADC
Birgitte earned her Bachelor’s degree in Alcohol and Drug Studies from Minnesota State University and her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. In addition to her responsibilities as Park Avenue Center, she is also an adjunct faculty at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota teaching in the Addiction Studies Graduate Certificate Program. Birgitte’s prior experience includes working as a LADC for adolescents at On-Belay House, interning at Hazelden Center for Youth and Families, and interning at Central Freedom School, a sober high school in Mankato, MN. She joined Park Avenue Center in 2013 and in her current role runs the Addiction and Co-Occurring Internship Program and supervises the couples and family programming while also providing therapy from a systemic perspective for couples, families, and individuals. Birgitte is passionate about mentoring interns and developing professionals in the field of mental health, marriage and family therapy, and chemical dependency counseling.
Michael started as the Maintenance Manager at Park Avenue Center in March of 2018. He has a degree in Sales and Marketing from Mankato Technical College and most recently worked as the Director of Engineering at the Westin Edina Galleria. He has worked in the maintenance field since 1996 and considers his greatest strengths to be organization, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. He believes taking good care of the centers and homes has a direct influence on our clients’ well-being and he and the organization are willing to do what it takes to get it done. In his free-time he enjoys classic cars, motorcycles, and spending time with his sons and grandsons.
Morgan Liebenow, BS, LSW, LADC
Morgan earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and attended Metropolitan State University to pursue her LADC. She worked as a Program Assistant at Meridian Behavioral Health and a Resource Counselor at Kenneidigh KCQ – Dakota Outreach before joining Park Avenue Center in 2015. Morgan started her career as an Intake Counselor then transitioned to a Co-occurring Opioid Counselor. Another opportunity for growth arose and Morgan became a counselor in the Complex Co-occurring Program before landing her current position as a Clinical Supervisor. In the future, she plans to return to graduate school to earn her LPCC. Morgan is passionate about providing quality client care and encouraging self-advocacy and personal growth amongst staff and clients.
Sarah Lundgren, BS, LSW
Sarah Lundgren obtained her Bachelor of Social Work from Metropolitan State University. Sarah has over 15 years of experience in the social work field and has worked with clients who have co-occurring disorders, developmental disabilities, and the elderly population. For four years, she was a Long-Term Care Social Worker at Providence Place prior to joining Park Avenue Center in 2012. Sarah was the first social worker hired at Park Avenue Center and was integral in developing the Social Work Department and Social Work Internship program we have today.
Amber Marko, BA, LADC
Amber received her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Prior to joining Park Avenue Center in 2015 as a Counselor, Amber worked at Youth Service Bureau and metro-area ISD 622. She has experience in educating youth and communities on various topics involving chemical health. Seeing people flourish physically and emotionally through sobriety inspires Amber to work in this field.
John Norwood, BS, LADC
John obtained his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Counseling from Crown College. John is currently in grad school at Capella University pursuing his masters in marriage and family therapy counseling. John completed his practicums at Park Avenue Center and Recovery Plus giving him exposure to adolescent and adult client populations. After his internship at Recovery Plus, John joined the Park Avenue Center team in 2016 to continue his passion in empowering clients, encouraging families, and seeing client growth.
Shilpa Patel, MA, LPCC
Shilpa completed her Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology at the University of St. Thomas. She has returned to work with Park Avenue Center as a Mental Health Supervisor to support our clinicians’ growth and help them develop an understanding of self as a therapist and expand their clinical knowledge. She is passionate about the value and training process of our young professionals in the field, as well as working with our clients to assist and support them in overcoming challenges and painful obstacles in life. Shilpa has specialized in working with at-risk children, adolescents, and their families. One of her previous positions was providing services as a psychotherapist at Project Pathfinder where she provided therapy for adolescents in an outpatient and correctional setting and children facing sexual and physical victimization issues. She considers her strengths to be compassion and the belief in our work and the ability to make a difference, no matter how small or large.
Jeremy came to us with a wealth of experience in the insurance/healthcare field having previously worked with Medica, Healthpartners, and AllinaHealth. He has worked closely with the homeless LGBTQ community, educating individuals on resources available, as well as those struggling with substance abuse, mental health, homelessness, and poverty. He considers his greatest strengths to be his compassion, positivity, and great work ethic. His professional goals include continuing his career at PAC, always putting clients first, and helping in his local community. He is also currently practicing Park Avenue’s value of “Get Better” by attending Minneapolis College to obtain a Business Management degree. In his free time, Jeremy has volunteered with the Animal Humane Society, NAMI, and Common Hope and enjoys running the lakes in Minneapolis, working in his garden, and relaxing with his husband and dogs and cats.
Chet Russell, BS
Chet started at Park Avenue Center in 2015 as the IT Manager. He has two Associates Degrees from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) in networking and web & software development. Chet is a Cisco certified networking technician and an advisory committee member of WITC’s Information Technology Council. Chet’s passion lies in allowing technology to deliver the reliable tools necessary to our clients and staff so they can focus on delivering top client care.
Linda Santa Cruz, MS, LMFT
Linda attended California Lutheran University where she obtained her Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. Linda is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has worked in the field since 2004 with a variety of populations including children, adolescents, couples, and families/foster families. In 2005, Linda was the recipient of the Ventura County District Attorney Crime Victim’s Appreciation award. She considers her greatest strengths and skills to be her compassion, support, caring and teamwork. Prior to joining Park Avenue Center, Linda has most recently served as an Adjunct Practicum Instructor at St. Mary’s University, specialized in trauma work in the Gender Specific Program for Dakota County’s Juvenile Services program, and spent 9 years as a Clinical Supervisor for FACTS. As an MFT supervisor, Linda’s professional goals are to continue providing supervision to students and licensure candidates, teaching, and to continue developing her expertise in trauma and working with youth. She was inspired to work in the field because, “It just made sense. I belong in a healing profession and I hope that things can always get better.”
Jon Seaburg, MA, LPCC, LADC
Jon graduated with his Masters in Clinical Psychology and Addiction Counseling from Argosy University. Jon has been working in the chemical dependency field since 2012 when he began his internship with Park Avenue Center. In 2013 he joined the team full time as a counselor and in 2017 he transitioned to his current role of Clinical Supervisor. Jon leads different efforts at Park Avenue Center including the DWI One Day Program.
Kelley Sehman, PsyD, LP, LADC
Kelley earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University and has completed licensures for both LP and LADC. Kelley began her career at Park Avenue Center as an Intake Counselor, before transitioning as a Complex Co-Occurring Counselor. She then entered a leadership position as an Assistant Clinical Supervisor, before becoming a Clinical Supervisor in the Women’s program. Most recently, Kelley has transitioned to Mental Health Services as a Clinical Supervisor. Kelley was instrumental in developing the Complex Co-Occurring program’s curriculum and is passionate about working with under-served clients in the community. In her free time, Kelley enjoys fishing and camping with family and friends
Angel has been with Park Avenue Center since 2012. She started in the role of Driver before being promoted to Lead Driver, then Driving Supervisor. In 2017 she was named Park Avenue Center’s Operations Supervisor overseeing the Driving and Reception departments. Angel previously worked as an Office Manager with Just in Case and a Mortgage Auditor at U.S. Bank. She works at Park Avenue Center for the clients and to give back to the community. Angel enjoys spending time with family, reading, and cooking when she is not working. She also volunteers at Big Brothers/Big Sisters in serving as a positive role model for youth.
Joanne Weber, BS
Joanne has worked at Park Avenue Center since 2004. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education from University of Minnesota and worked at Minneapolis Public Schools and Northwestern Bell before joining the team. Joanne grew the admissions department from one person to a team of four. She is focused on developing and maintaining positive relationships with the community and committed to helping clients begin treatment to pursue their journey towards recovery.
William Westberry, BS, LADC
William has over 20 years of experience in the chemical dependency treatment field. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies from Metro State University. William’s previous experience includes working at House of Charity and HCMC. He worked at Park Avenue Center as a Counselor for five years before transitioned to Vallhalla Place Inc. where he started the outpatient program. William returned to Park Avenue Center in 2014 as a Clinical Supervisor leading the Culturally Specific Program and is involved with the Hennepin County Drug and DWI courts
Helen Adams, BA, LADCIntake Counselor
Dieudonne (Dee) Asambang, MA, LADCIntake Counselor
Tea Babic, AS, ADC-TChemical Health Assessor
Katie Beedle, MA, LADCLead Co-occurring Counselor, Women’s Program
Sarah Bixler, MA, LADCSenior Float Counselor
Paige Blasing, MA, LADCComplex Co-occurring Counselor, Men’s Program
Brandyce Edson, MA, LPCC, LADCComplex Co-occurring Counselor, Women’s Program
Matt Ellis, BA, LADCChemical Health Assessor
James Faust, BS, LADCIntake Counselor
Kaitlin Fear, BS, ADC-TCo-occurring Counselor, Men’s Program
Mindy Gruidl, MA, LADCCo-occurring Counselor, Women's Program
Sebastian Hearne, ADC-TCo-occurring Counselor, Men’s Program
Kayla Hicks, MA, LADCComplex Co-occurring Counselor, Women’s Program
Jessica Hinck, MS, LADCCo-occurring Counselor, Men’s Program
Thomas Hoffman, BS, LADCCo-occurring Counselor, Men’s Program
Melanie Ikola, MA LAMFTIntake Counselor
Katrina Jackson, BS, ADC-TCo-occurring Counselor, Culturally Specific, Women’s Program
Amber Jamelske, BS, LADCLead Co-occurring Counselor, Men’s Program
Sunni Myers, MS, LADCCo-occurring Counselor, Women’s Program
Gina Meier, LADCCo-occurring Counselor, Men’s Program
Marissa Melby-MSW, LGSWSocial Worker, Men’s Program
Jennifer Metzger, MA, LADCSenior Float Counselor
Melissa Mrozek, MA, LAMFT, LADCLead Co-occurring Counselor, Women’s Program
Becky Pierce, MA, LADCEvening Outpatient Counselor, Men’s Program
Katie Pilquist, LADCEvening Outpatient Counselor, Men’s Program
Kallie Reilly, BS, LADCChemical Health Assessor
Traci Scholtz, BSSpecialty Programs Coordinator
Brittani Senser-MS, LGSWSocial Worker, Women’s Program
Cheryl Smith, BS, LADCCo-occurring Counselor, Culturally Specific, Men’s Program
Aleda Snow, BA, LADCCo-occurring Counselor, Culturally Specific, Men’s Program
Natalie Thoresen, BA, LSWSocial Worker, Men’s Program
Mike Veldhuis, MA, LADCMental Health Float
Ashley Warhol, AS, ADC-TCo-occurring Counselor, Men’s Program
Diane Wellcome, BA, LADCLead Group Facilitator
Leah Wheeler, BA, LADCChemical Health Assessor
Jennifer Woods, BS, LADCChemical Health Assessor
Helen Adams, BA, LADC
Helen obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Alcohol and Drug Counseling from Metro State University. She began her career at Park Avenue Center in 2014 as an Intake Counselor. Helen plans to continue her education and pursue a master’s degree in alcohol and drug counseling. She attends church regularly and in her spare time, she enjoys volunteering at People Serving People. Helen loves being an Intake Counselor and is dedicated to helping people live successful lives.
Dieudonne (Dee) Asambang, MA, LADC
Dee attended the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY where he obtained a Masters in Addiction Counseling and a Masters in Mental Health Counseling. Prior to joining Park, Dee worked as a Program Counselor for 6 years with Meridian Services and as an Education Assistant with Intermediate District 287 for 5 years. Dee chose this career path because he enjoys talking to people and helping them through painful periods in their life. He is passionate about helping those in need and doing his part to keep individuals and society safe. Outside of work, he volunteers as a media and sound tech with his church and enjoys studying music and film.
Tea Babic, AS, ADC-T
Tea obtained her Associates of Science in Addiction Counseling from MCTC. Prior to joining Park Avenue Center as a Chemical Health Assessor, Tea completed her internship hours at Vinland specializing in working with those suffering from TBI. Tea has plans to now obtain her Bachelor’s degree and to pursue her social work licensure. Tea chose this line of work and Park Avenue Center because she is truly passionate about helping others and wants to make a difference in the life of those who are struggling with addiction. While Tea is not working or studying, she enjoys watching and researching unsolved mysteries and conspiracy theories.
Katie Beedle, MA, LADC
Katie obtained her Masters in Psychotherapy and Co-occurring Disorders from Adler Graduate School. Katie worked as a Mental Health Counselor at South Metro Human Services for two years prior to joining Park Avenue Center in 2015. She began as an intern and then moved into the role of an Intake Counselor, before assuming her current position. Katie is currently seeking supervision towards her LPCC. She is rewarded by working with clients, setting positive examples, and seeing clients reach their goals.
Sarah Bixler, MA, LADC
Sarah attended the University of South Dakota where she received her Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (Addiction Medicine, Clinical Psychology, Educational Psychology, Counseling and Guidance, Criminal Justice, and Sociology). She is an LADC and is currently in graduate school at Saint Mary’s University – Twin Cities, to pursue her remaining coursework for LPCC licensure. Sarah previously worked for ten years at The Superior Treatment Center as Program Director/Clinical Supervisor. She initially began working at Park Avenue Center as a Mental Health Intern, and then transitioned to the role of Senior Float Counselor. Sarah has been awarded numerous scholarships in the field of addiction and compulsive gambling treatment, including scholarships through The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) in 2016 and 2017. Sarah has been an executive board member with The National Rural Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse since 2012. She is passionate about working with underserved clients in the community and loves seeing the progress throughout the client’s journey. Sarah spends her free time swimming and golfing.
Paige Blasing, MA, LADC
Paige attended the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies to obtain her Master’s in Addiction Studies: Integrated Recovery for Co-Occurring Disorders. Paige completed her internships at Park Avenue and Wayside House before joining Park Avenue Center in her current role in 2017. Paige is passionate about the work she does and chose to work in this field because she feels compelled to help others. Paige enjoys cooking, spending time with her pup and seeing live music in her free time.
Brandyce Edson, MA, LPCC, LADC
Brandyce earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University. Brandyce completed her practicums at Ramsey County Mental Health Center, Rum River Counseling Center, as well as Park Avenue Center. She then accepted a role as an Intake Counselor at Park Avenue Center in 2016 before transitioning to her current role as a Complex Co-occurring Counselor at the Women’s Program.
Matt Ellis, BA, LADC
Matt graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and obtained an Addiction Counseling diploma from MCTC. After two chemical dependency internships with Park Avenue Center’s chemical health assessor department, Matt earned his LADC licensure and became a part of the assessor team full-time. After working in a harm reduction program for chronically homeless, active alcoholics for three years, Matt developed a passion for working with clients in this underserved population. He seeks to provide support and find proper treatment opportunities for clients based on their individual needs. Matt enjoys playing ukulele, watching Alabama football, going to music concerts, and traveling in his free time.
James Faust, BS, LADC
After a 25-year career in commercial photography and design with Dayton Hudson, Jim switched gears and found his true calling in substance abuse counseling. Jim says that is, “the ability to use my best attributes, which are written and verbal communication skills, to their fullest in serving Park Avenue Center clients in a positive, supportive and caring environment”. Following completion of his degree and internships, Jim was offered a position at Park Avenue Center, in January of 2017. He felt that Park Avenue Center was an ideal professional setting to begin and grow his counseling experience. When Jim is not working, he divides his time between the study of politics, history, psychology, being a fan of alternative pop music, and an aficionado of all things Mid-Century Modern. He is also an avid supporter of events associated with National Recovery Month along with MCTC as an alumnus.
Kaitlin Fear, BS, ADC-T
Kaitlin obtained her Bachelor of Science in Alcohol and Drug Studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Prior to joining Park, Kaitlin interned at Cedar Ridge – Meridian Behavioral Health and worked at Wellcome Manor Family Services. Kaitlin began working at Park Avenue Center in 2017 as an Intake Counselor before transitioning to her current role as a Counselor in the Men’s program. Kaitlin was inspired to work in the field after witnessing family members and friends fight addiction. She has compassion for her clients and desires to give every client a chance to change their lifestyle and succeed in achieving their sobriety goals. In her free time, Kaitlin enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching Netflix, and playing with her two dogs and cat.
Mindy Gruidl, MA, LADC
Mindy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Metropolitan State University and her Master’s in Counseling Psychology and Addiction Studies from Saint Mary’s University. Prior to being offered a role as a counselor, Mindy worked as an intern with Park Avenue Center and Fairview Recovery Services. Mindy has been working within the chemical dependency and mental health field for 5 years and her previous roles include working as a Psychiatric Associate at the University of MN Medical Center and Wayside Recovery Center as a Recovery Advocate. She also has prior training as a Women’s Advocate with the Alexandra House which specializes in serving women who’ve experienced domestic abuse and sexual assault. Mindy considers her strengths to be humor, being present with others, and empathy. Her skills include providing client-centered care and teaching mindfulness skills. Mindy’s professional goals are to obtain her LPCC, receive training in EMDR, and advocate for the integration of co-occurring disorder treatment. Mindy was inspired to work in this field because it allows her to use her strengths and contribute to the lives of others in a meaningful way. Mindy wanted to work with Park Avenue Center because she is passionate about working with women in gender-specific and trauma-informed settings from underserved and diverse backgrounds.
Sebastian Hearne, ADC-T
Sebastian is currently studying at North Central University and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Alcohol and Drug Counseling. Sebastian started at Park Avenue as a Part-Time Float Counselor but was soon promoted to a Co-Occurring Counselor position. Prior to joining Park Avenue Center, Sebastian interned with the Hazelden Betty Ford Center and Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. Sebastian also volunteers with Family Means and is a board member for Next Gen. He feels it’s important to give back to the community and support mental health and well-being. His professional goals are to receive his full LADC licensure in 2018 and work towards his LPCC or LICSW license. When asked what inspires him to work in this field, Sebastian states that “I feel called to help people turn from the grip of their addictions and provide them with the opportunity for hope in a fresh start through acceptance, support, and grace.”
Kayla Hicks, MA, LADC
Kayla obtained her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University. Prior to joining Park Avenue Center as an intern, she completed an internship with Safe Haven Domestic Violence Shelter. Kayla plans to work toward her LPCC while she begins her career as an LADC. Kayla is passionate about working with underserved populations and enjoys integrating her interest in the criminal justice system into her work. In her free time, Kayla enjoys spending time with friends and family and cheering on all Minnesota sports teams.
Jessica Hinck, MS, LADC
Jessica began working in the Chemical Dependency Treatment field in 2012 before joining Park in 2017. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with AODA Concentration from University of Wisconsin – Stout. Jessica joined Park in 2017, as a Primary Co-Occurring Counselor in the Men’s program. During the fall of 2018, Jessica took the opportunity to transition to Park’s Women’s building to fill in for a co-worker and gained experience working with the Hennepin County Drug Court Team. Upon her return back to the Men’s Program, Jessica accepted the role of Lead Complex Co-Occurring Counselor. She has the goal of becoming a Clinical Supervisor and working with other clinicians in-training. In her free time, Jessica enjoys meal prepping, working out, and spending time with family and friends.
Thomas Hoffman, BS, LADC
Tom earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from St. Cloud State University and his Diploma in Addiction Counseling from MCTC. Tom has been in the field since 2014, beginning as a Youth Counselor at St. Cloud Children’s home providing trauma-informed care to clients. He then transitioned to be a CD Tech at Anthony Louis Center prior to beginning his internship at Park Avenue Center. Tom joined the Park Avenue Center team in 2016 as a Clinical Support Specialist before assuming his current role as a Counselor. Tom is passionate about empowering clients to improve their lives.
Melanie Ikola, MA LAMFT
Melanie attended St. Mary’s University and graduated with a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. Melanie completed an internship with Park Avenue Center and worked as a school-linked Family Therapist with the FACTS program prior to returning to Park Avenue as a full-time Intake Counselor. Her professional goals are to complete her LMFT and develop into a culturally responsive therapist. Melanie considers her greatest strength and skills to be compassion, building relationships, managing big emotions, creativity, and remaining open-minded. She was inspired to work in this field and at Park because she is passionate about helping underserved clients overcome barriers and strive for positive change. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing with her pets, painting, and restoring her 100 year old house.
Katrina Jackson, BS, ADC-T
Katrina obtained her Bachelors’ degree from Metropolitan State University and is currently an ADC-T working towards full-licensure as an LADC. She came to Park Avenue Center from Transformation where she worked as a counselor for the past 5 years and previously completed her internship with Catholic Charities.
Amber Jamelske, BS, LADC
Amber obtained her Associates degree in Addictions Counseling from MCTC in 2016 and Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in 2010. Amber previously worked for four years at Eau Claire Academy learning creative and effective skills to work with adolescents in crisis situations. She interned at Park Avenue Center in 2015 and joined the team as a counselor in 2016. Amber chose to continue her career at Park Avenue Center because she believes in the work we do with our clients.
Sunni Myers, MS, LADC
Sunni earned a Master’s in Child Development and Family Relations from East Carolina University and a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. Prior to joining Park Avenue Center for her MICD internship, Sunni worked at Marathon County Special Education as an Elementary Education Special Education Teacher. Once finished with her internship, she joined the team as an Intake Float Counselor, before moving into her current role. Sunni is working toward obtaining her LPCC and when she has free time enjoys traveling, playing board games and spending time with family.
Gina Meier, LADC
Gina earned her Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies at Metropolitan State University and her Diploma in Addiction Counseling from MCTC. She joined the Park Avenue Center team in 2015 and is passionate about helping others make a positive difference in their lives. Gina volunteers in the community and enjoys helping clients navigate through obstacles in their path to recovery.
Marissa Melby-MSW, LGSW
Marissa attended St. Catherine’s University, where she earned her Bachelor of Social Work and a Student Leadership Award, and completed her Master of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. She started at Park Avenue Center as a Medication Observer and we were pleased to offer her a position as a Social Worker upon her graduation. Marissa most recently worked as a Men’s Therapist at the Domestic Abuse Project and as a Men’s Social Worker at Eastside Neighborhood Services. She chose this field because she is aware of the grip that addiction and mental illness has on many people and is passionate about providing resources, fighting stigma, dismantling oppressive systems and spreading knowledge. She considers her strengths to be communication, empathy, compassion for all, resilience, and creativity. Her professional goals are to obtain her LADC and LICSW licenses. In her free time, Marissa enjoys hanging out with her adorable German Shepherd, gardening, and exploring nature.
Jennifer Metzger, MA, LADC
Jennifer began her career at Park Avenue Center as a Counselor in the Women’s Program before going back to school to pursue her Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling from St. Mary’s University. Jennifer completed her practicum at Park with the Mental Health Team and then was hired as a Mental Health Float Counselor before landing in her current role. Prior to Park Avenue Center, Jennifer worked in outpatient treatment as a Program Counselor and Team Lead at River Ridge, Minnetonka. Jennifer is currently pursuing her LPCC licensure and has chosen to work for Park Avenue Center because it is at the forefront in MICD programming and for its passion of prioritizing the clients above anything else.
Melissa Mrozek, MA, LAMFT, LADC
Melissa obtained her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at Argosy University. Prior to her current role, Melissa was an intern at Park Avenue Center, a member of the Marriage and Family Therapy Team, a Float Counselor, and a Co-occurring Counselor. Melissa is inspired to work in this field because she recognizes how important relationships matter and their influence on the individual in recovery. In her free time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her German Shepherds and figure skating. In 2007, she won the title of International Competitive Figure Skating Champion, with Team USA.
Becky Pierce, MA, LADC
Becky has over 20 years of experience in the chemical dependency treatment field. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Metro State University and later earned her Master’s in Human Development from St. Mary’s University. She started her career at Hazelden working in a variety of roles with the most recent being a Primary Unit Supervisor before transitioning to the Program Director at Maple Lake Recover Center for two years. Becky then made a career change working at Heartfelt Homes Inc. as the HR & Training Manager for eight years before coming to Park Avenue Center in 2011. Becky promotes a holistic view of wellness with clients. Becky has a busy life filled with dancing, singing, cooking, reading, and maintaining her entrepreneurial spirit with two small businesses.
Katie Pilquist, LADC
Katie graduated from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls with a Bachelor of Science. After an internship at Park Avenue Center, Katie obtained her LADC license and was hired to work as a full-time counselor. Katie was inspired to work in this field because of the variety of individuals she gets to meet and a passion for being able to see people change their lives. She chose to work at Park due to the wide variety of backgrounds and experiences the clients have. She considers her strengths to be her open-mindedness and client-centered focus.
Kallie Reilly, BS, LADC
Kallie attended St. Cloud State University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Dependency and Community Psychology. Prior to joining Park Avenue Center, Kallie worked as an Addiction Counselor at Hazelden for 2.5 years while serving as the primary handler for the therapy dog. One professional goal of Kallie’s includes continued growth in her career. She joined Park Avenue Center to help her in reaching this goal through experience working with a different client population. Kallie enjoys running, baking and crocheting during her free time.
Traci Scholtz, BS
Traci obtained her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Baker College. She began at Park Avenue Center in 2009 as an Admissions Coordinator, before becoming Park’s Specialty Programs Coordinator. In 2015, Traci received an award from The National Society of Collegiate Scholars for her commitment to leadership and service. Traci has spent much of her time volunteering at different organizations such as Turning Point, Bolton Refuge House and Dorothy Day Center. Traci works in this field because she is passionate about helping others to realize they are capable of more than they believe. Outside of volunteering in her free time, Traci enjoys spending time with family, scrap booking, watching the Red Wings, and playing board games.
Brittani Senser-MS, LGSW
Brittani completed her Master of Social Work at the University of St. Thomas. She previously interned at Park and we were pleased to have her return to join our Social Work team. She has most recently worked at Metropolitan State University as a Practicum Counselor. Brittani has experience working in the field of addiction and chemical dependency and child protection. She considers her strengths to be empathy and being open-minded and is a team player whose goal is to make a difference in the lives of the people she works with. She chose to work in this field because she is passionate about working with people and helping them find the resources they need to live successful lives. In her free time, she enjoys watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette and hanging out with her child and making music.
Cheryl Smith, BS, LADC
Cheryl earned her Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies at Metropolitan State University and an Associate of Science in Chemical Dependency from Century College. Prior to joining Park Avenue Center in 2014, Cheryl worked at Transformation House, Meridian Behavioral Health, Emma Norton’s Residence, and Health East Assisted Living. Cheryl is planning to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor and looking forward to continuing her education towards an LMFT. Cheryl enjoys working with clients in the Men’s Culturally Specific Program as well as working in a teaching facility where she learns something new every day.
Aleda Snow, BA, LADC
Aleda has over 20 years of experience in the chemical dependency treatment field. She obtained a certification in Chemical Dependency Family Treatment from St. Catherine University and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Counseling from Metro State University. Aleda’s previous experience includes working at RS Eden and African American Family Services. In 2007, Aleda was recognized as the MAARCH Counselor of the Year. Aleda’s personal experiences are an important contribution to Park Avenue Center because she is an alumnus of its treatment program and can attest to clients that treatment does in fact work!
Natalie Thoresen, BA, LSW
Natalie went to the University of St. Thomas where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and attained her LSW. Natalie began at Park Avenue as a social work intern during her last year of undergraduate school. She thoroughly enjoyed her experience as an intern especially the opportunity to help clients and learn about the chemical dependency field. When she was offered a job after graduation, it was an easy “yes”! Natalie is passionate about helping clients access resources and advocating for affordable housing and health care for those in need of the services. Outside of work, Natalie enjoys playing piano, reading, and spending time with friends and family
Mike Veldhuis, MA, LADC
Mike attended the University of St. Thomas where he obtained his Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. His professional goals are to earn his LPCC licensure and gain experience with a large and diverse client population. Prior to joining Park, he worked as a Psychiatric Associate with Fairview and as a Youth Care Professional with Nexus Glen Lake. Mike considers some of his greatest strengths/skills to be his experience providing Existential, Narrative, and Psychodynamic therapies. He chose to work in this field because he is passionate about promoting self-awareness and change for people searching for ways to improve their lives. In his free time, Mike enjoys playing and watching baseball and football, reading books on world history, and creative writing.
Ashley Warhol, AS, ADC-T
Ashley obtained her Associates of Science in Addiction Counseling from MCTC. Ashley began working at Park Avenue Center in 2015 as an intern where she transitioned to a Group Facilitator prior to her most recent role as a Counselor. Ashley was inspired to work in the field after being in recovery herself. She has compassion towards clients and displays this in her client first mentality helping others change their lives.
Diane Wellcome, BA, LADC
Diane joined the team in 2016 after obtaining her Diploma in Addiction Counseling at MCTC and Bachelor of Arts in Speech-Communication from the University of Minnesota. Diane chose to make a career change into this field due to her passion for helping others struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. She feels it is essential to offer the best possible client experience as she is the first person the client interacts with at Park Avenue Center. Diane also enjoys volunteering with Help at your Door, a social services organization for homebound seniors.
Leah Wheeler, BA, LADC
Leah received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Chemical Dependency from Metro State University. She began her career at Park Avenue Center in 2010 in the billing department, then moved to Intake Counselor before assuming her current role. Leah has worked in both the men’s and women’s co-occurring disorder programs. Leah likes to help people overcome their addiction and improve their quality of life for themselves and their families
Jennifer Woods, BS, LADC
Jennifer Woods is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling from Metro State University. She’s been in the field since 2006 and has spent the bulk of her career in the hospital system with Allina Health working within her strengths of intake and assessments. Jennifer is passionate about working in treatment and helping clients get the help that they deserve the way that it was done for her.