Our Board of Directors
Easterseals Wisconsin’s Board of Directors is made up of individuals from throughout the state of Wisconsin. The board consists of 18 individuals who dedicate their time to support Easterseals Wisconsin programs that assist people with disabilities across Wisconsin.
CHAIR OF THE BOARD: Jason Klawonn, Kenosha
Northwestern Mutual, Vice President & Chief Actuary
“My family became acquainted with Easterseals Wisconsin through its Respite Camp – a camp that my son, Casey, has benefited from for several years and that has benefited my family by providing respite and the chance to reconnect while having the confidence that Casey was being taken care of with the utmost care.”
“I don’t have a favorite Easterseals Wisconsin program as there are too many great services to choose only one. I like how Self-Employment Services empowers people to work for themselves and fosters each individuals’ unique skills set. I like how the Camp/Respite programs allow kids to have a summer camp experience which brings joy to their lives (while also giving a needed break to the campers’ parents or caregiver). I like how the FARM Program finds custom solutions to unique injuries and allows farmers to maintain their livelihood and continue to provide for their families.”
TREASURER: Pat LeMire, Madison
M3 Insurance, Senior Account Executive and Partner
“The Camps, in particular Respite Camp, got me involved with Easterseals Wisconsin, and not only what it brings to the individuals attending but their families as well. This service to the families that provide 24/7 care to their family members is a real difference maker. The respite time not only allows the kids to have a special time at camp but gives the families caring for the individual that respite to enjoy other facets of life they may not be able to while caring for their child or loved one.”
SECRETARY: Pam Birschbach, Verona
First Weber Group Realtors, Realtor
“One of my favorite memories was when I was at Camp Wawbeek for our board of directors meeting and we had a few campers come speak with us during the meeting. One of the campers said she met her now husband at camp and being able to see camp in action was amazing. Seeing how comfortable all the campers were with being at camp and just being around other people who were not judging them was really touching and also very sad they could not live every day that way.”
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Eric Blankenheim, Appleton
Ergofactor, Owner-O.T., Ergonomist
“All the Easterseals Wisconsin programs are great, but camp will always have a special place in my heart. I started working there in 1981 and it truly changed my life.”
Charles F. Buell, Middleton
C. F. Buell Company, LLC, Owner & Developer
Wayne Corey, Madison
Wayne has been an Easterseals Wisconsin volunteer since 1975 because, “Easterseals creates solutions and changes lives for people with disabilities.” He has served 28+ years on the board during that time and is the longest serving board member in Easterseals Wisconsin’s history. Personal highlights of his Easterseals life include chairing the board of directors in the early 1990s when both the Respite Camp and FARM Programs were started. Wayne served on multiple committees with the National Easter Seal Society and chaired the State of Wisconsin Americans with Disabilities Act Statewide Coordinating Committee.
Born and raised and currently residing in Athens, WI. I’m the VP of Funding for Aqua Finance and just celebrating my 16th work anniversary in December. My intro to Easterseals ties to my uncle Sylvester “Skip” Ellenbecker and his memorial golf outing. I golfed and participated the first few years which turned into being asked to be on the golf planning committee a few years ago.
This year, I was surprised and flattered by the request to consider being on the board for Easterseals Wisconsin. I have tons to learn, but the minimal exposure I’ve had so far has been very exciting. I look forward to learning more and being more immersed in all the amazing things Easterseals Wisconsin brings to so many and helping expand exposure in central Wisconsin and the Northwoods.
Joe Gussel, Wisconsin Dells
Holiday Wholesale, Manager
Alan Kaltenberg, Arlington
As a farmer, I was introduced to Easterseals Wisconsin through AgrAbility Wisconsin, where I worked with the Easterseals Wisconsin FARM Program. They helped me by making suggestions for changes and improvements that would make my farming operation safer and easier. I have spoken at both Starry Night and Blizzard Blast fundraising events about my experiences with the FARM Program.
I serve on the Leeds Town Board, am past-president of Equity Columbian Co-op, and have worked on the Columbia County Board of Adjustment, my Church Council, and the Columbia County Snowmobile Council.
I’m looking forward to working with an organization that helped me and so many other people.
Jeff Lyon, Middleton
FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, General Manager
“Throughout my career I have worked with farmers who have been involved with Easterseals Wisconsin’s FARM Program and AgrAbility and I have witnessed the benefits to our state’s farmers. My wife and daughter, who are teachers, work with children with disabilities and I have seen the satisfaction they get when helping their students. Being on the board is one way that I can give back to the community.”
Jeff has many years of experience in the field of agriculture. He began his career as a writer at The Country Today, then as a legislative aide in Washington DC, assistant director for National Commission on Dairy Policy, 22 years at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, and most recently, the general manager at FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. Prior to joining FarmFirst, Lyon served for nearly eight years as the Deputy Secretary at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Jeff resides in Middleton with his wife Karen. They have two adult children.
Zach Morley, Middleton
Wisconsin Financial Group, Financial Advisor
Zach Morley grew up in Maryville, Missouri and moved to Madison to attend the UW and play basketball for the Badgers. After retiring from professional basketball in Europe, he decided it was time to focus his attention on finding ways to be more involved in his own community here in Wisconsin. Zach attended the Starry Night event with a friend, was impressed by the Easterseals Wisconsin programs he was introduced to that night and knew that he’d found an organization he’d be proud to be a part of. When asked to serve on the Board, he quickly accepted and he’s excited to do his part in helping enhance the lives of those with disabilities. Zach is a financial advisor with Wisconsin Financial Group and lives in Middleton with his wife, Rachel, and kids Rowan, Fallon, and Collins.
Joy Royston, Wisconsin Dells
JustAGame Impressions, Owner
After four years of teaching and two years at home with her young children, she and her husband Dave opened up a screen printing and embroidery business called JustAGame Impressions, located in Wisconsin Dells. Printing shirts and working with the Camp staff is how she first became aware of Camp Wawbeek and the wonderful programs they offer. Joy has been a participant in the Camp Wawbeek 5k Run, Ramble, & Roll event, and attended the picnic dinner following the Golf for Kids outing for a number of years.
Sara Schoenborn, Fitchburg
Wisconsin Agri-Business Association, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Wisconsin Corn Program, Communications Director
Sara is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association and the Communications Director for the Wisconsin Corn Program. She previously held roles as the Director of Communications for Cooperative Network, Wisconsin FFA Foundation Executive Director and Assistant Editor for Agri-View. She is a proud alumnus of UW-Madison, where she majored in Dairy Science and Life Sciences Communications and completed her Master of Agribusiness degree from Kansas State University in May 2018.
When approached to serve on the Easterseals Wisconsin Board of Directors, she enthusiastically accepted, noting “It is a privilege to be asked to be a part of this exceptional organization. I consider it an honor to work with the Easterseals Wisconsin Staff and Board of Directors to further the opportunities available to children and adults with disabilities across the state.” Sara most looks forward to assisting with the FARM Program and visiting Camp Wawbeek.
John Teevan, Milwaukee
Home Care Medical, Inc., President (retired)
“Every time I attend an event, visit one our marvelous camps, or meet a client, I am amazed by the spirit, resilience, courage, and determination of all those I meet. None of that could happen without the compassionate, professional, and caring leadership and staff at Easterseals Wisconsin. I am honored and blessed to have served Easter Seals since the mid-1970s.”
Nehomah Thundercloud, Black River Falls
Ho-Chunk Nation, Executive Director – Education Department
Nehomah is serving her second term as the Executive Director of Education for the Ho-Chunk Nation. She previously held roles as a board member of the Black River Falls School District, Director of the School-Community Relations Division for the HCN Education Department along with being the Senior Public Relations Director for Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells.
Nehomah grew up in Black River Falls, was a Rotary Exchange Student to Bacolod City, Philippines, and holds degrees from Dartmouth College and UW-Stout. As the PR Director for HCG – Wisconsin Dells, Nehomah had the opportunity to attend a few Starry Night and Golf Outing events. There were other opportunities to participate in activities at Camp Wawbeek during the winter months.
Thundercloud shared, “I am impressed by Easterseals Wisconsin. I have family and friends who are thankful for the opportunities the organization has provided them, as campers and as parents. Now as a board member, I look forward to learning more and offering my help in expanding the Easterseals Wisconsin community. ”
Tom Woodward, Madison
Madison Lighting, Owner
“Although our camps for children with physical and cognitive disabilities are certainly higher profile, I am very proud of the work we do with our FARM Program. This program continues its unique success and partnership with Wisconsin DVR and UW Extension to keep farmers with disabilities engaged in what is often the only occupation and lifestyle they have ever known or wanted. While I am very pleased by our service accomplishments, I am even more amazed by the energy, determination, and accomplishments of the very people we serve. In the end, the quiet confidence of their renewed personal and financial independence is most rewarding.”
Before being named CEO in September 2020, Paul held various leadership positions within the agency. He is known best for his deep commitment to the clients served through Easterseals Wisconsin and has spent much of his career leading the agency’s nationally honored FARM Program since its inception in 1989.
In response to his promotion as CEO and President of Easterseals Wisconsin, “I’m fortunate to have had the chance to work with and learn from Christine Fessler for so many years and am grateful that she is leaving the agency in a stable and strong position,” says Leverenz. “It’s also been a true privilege to work with the talented and skilled staff that we have in the organization. I look forward to collaborating with them to move our services forward.”
William J. Holley, Middleton
Community Representatives & Committee Members
Dan Paltz, DeForest | Carol Peirick, Middleton | Terri McCarthy, Madison | Melissa Warner, Madison