Distance Learning Team

Distance Learning Team

Staff and Consultants

Susan Wetenkamp-Barndt

Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt - Senior Manager, Ed. Tech. & Digital Literacy, Literacy Minnesota. Susan has worked with technology and online learning in adult education for over 20 years. She provides training, technical support, and consultation to adult education practitioners on effective practices in technology integration, digital literacy, and distance

Tom Cytron-Hysom

Tom Cytron-HysomGrants Consultant for the SS Tech DL Grant, Operations Consultant for Northstar Digital Literacy. Tom has worked for 25+ years in ABE. He currently serves as He is passionate about the need to help learners master digital literacy skills.

Cathy Grady

Cathy Grady - Cathy is currently assistant supervisor at St. Paul ABE (Hubbs Center), where her role includes managing the distance learning program for approximately 4000 students served annually. She has supported and trained ABE teachers and managers across Minnesota on educational technology and distance learning for the past two decades.

Adam Kieffer

Adam Kieffer - Adam is an ABE and digital literacy teacher at the Hubbs Center (St. Paul ABE). He facilitates DL 101 and 102 cohorts and provides professional development centered around digital literacy skills integration and instruction. He is also a member of the TVM Working Group and Review team.

Astrid Liden

Astrid Liden - Adult Education Professional Development Specialist, Minnesota Department of Education. Astrid coordinates the professional development system for Minnesota adult education and serves as the MDE liaison on the DL team.

Jason Brazier

Jason Brazier - Technology Administrator & Trainer, Literacy Minnesota. Jason oversees Literacy Minnesota’s technology infrastructure and provides program and administrative technological support and training.

Elizabeth Bennett

Elizabeth Bennett - Statewide Distance Learning Coordinator at Literacy Minnesota. Elizabeth also teaches English classes at the Burnsville School for Adults.

Nick Houlson

Nick Houlson - Digital Navigator, Literacy Minnesota. Nick is the Digital Navigator for the Open Door Learning Centers. He provides adult learner assistance and troubleshooting in areas related to basic digital literacy and platforms for distance learning.

Community Advisors

Melissa Brusacoram

Melissa Brusacoram - ABE Instructor, AEOA. Melissa lives, works and plays on the Iron Range in Northeastern MN. She has been teaching One Room Schoolhouse ABE for over 8 years, and has worked with distance learning platforms nearly all of that time. She feels the distance learning platforms are a crucial part of ABE as they help to eliminate barriers to education for many students.

Mary Kate Lewis

Mary Kate Lewis -Distance Learning Specialist for Mankato Area Adult Basic Education, and SW Regional Transitions Coordinator (with a strong focus on utilizing technology to enhance learners' access to education). Mary Kate has dedicated her career to breaking down barriers in Adult Education. By developing and implementing cutting-edge online learning platforms, she ensures that learners from all walks of life can access quality education regardless of their location or circumstances.

Tanya De La Riva Blinova

Tanya De La Riva Blinova - Tanya is a Distance Learning and Digital Literacy Teacher at Metro North ABE (Columbia Heights/Fridley). She believes DL is a vital part of ABE, and in helping support our students as they work towards their goals.

Heidi Kent

Heidi Kent - Heidi is new to ABE, starting at Alexandria Adult Basic Education as an instructor in 2022 after being a middle school science teacher for many years.  She is fascinated by the many distance learning platforms used in ABE and enjoys fine tuning familiar ones to suit adult learners

Jill Rivard

Jill RivardHiawatha Valley Adult Education Manager.  Jill has been the manager of HVAE for 9 years. She believes distance learning is a way to help reach students who have barriers to traditional classrooms. She also believes that distance learning is a vital part of adult education that will continue to grow in the future.

Jessica Ess

Jessica Ess, Distance Learning Specialist at Hubbs Center (St. Paul ABE) and manages the school’s device loaner program. Jessica loves advising students and helping them find distance learning platforms suiting their goals. She believes that independent DL study and blended learning have become essential in adult education.