Meet our team
Student Support Team
The members of the Student Support Team champion student success at Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA). Our team works with students and their families to remove barriers to academic success. In partnership with teachers, we support your child's active engagement and efforts in learning.
Our mission: The Student Support Services Team is committed to partnering with WIVA and Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin (Destinations) students, families, and staff to help each student achieve success through advocacy, engagement, and empowerment to become independent, lifelong learners.
Jodell Gagnow | Student Engagement Administrator (SEA)
Ms. Gagnow is passionate about transforming academic growth through motivation, encouragement, and supporting others in finding their inner spark. She has been affiliated with Stride K12 since 2015. Ms. Gagnow's education consists of master's and bachelor's degrees in social work and a technical degree in dental assisting. She also participates in continuing education.
Her personal mission statement is "Fear not! Every dawn opens hope and opportunity." Ms. Gagnow is an imaginative leader who focuses on each student's uniqueness as a strength. She can often be found outdoors on a walk with her dog or sitting in the sun reading a book during her downtime.
Justine Johnson | Community Engagement Support (CES)
Ms. Johnson came to WIVA at the beginning of the 2007 school year, bringing with her previous experience and expertise in leadership, not-for-profit business administration, customer support, sales and marketing, and executive administrative support. Her first endeavor was to assist in opening the WIVA high school, which launched in the 2007–2008 school year. In the years Ms. Johnson has served at WIVA, she's been in the capacities of administrative support, community development manager, state testing logistics, student/Learning Coach support, high school advisor, and now, CES. In her role, she is excited to bring her knowledge of curriculum and systems and her focus on creating a community for Learning Coaches and their students at WIVA and Destinations. Ms. Johnson is committed to the students at our schools and is dedicated to supporting Learning Coaches as they support learning and build fun and educational accountability for their children's schooling.
Jill Chandanais | Student Resource Coordinator (SRC)
Ms. Chandanais has dedicated over half of her life to helping kids of all ages as a teacher, a therapist, a social worker, and a mom. She has a master's degree in social work. She is a licensed school social worker and also an advanced practice social worker. Ms. Chandanais is looking forward to helping students and families as a member of an amazing student support team.
Kerry Marren | Student Resource Coordinator (SRC)
Ms. Marren has been working with at-risk middle school and high school students in Illinois, Washington, and Wisconsin for many years. She received her degree in communication journalism from DePere University in Chicago. She left the corporate world to pursue her passion for helping students achieve success both socially and academically through positive educational experiences. Ms. Marren is excited to continue serving WIVA students and families as the family resource coordinator, where she will continue to pursue her goal of helping every student have the resources they need to succeed.
Laura Dollar | K–8 Student Strong Start Lead
Ms. Dollar earned bachelor's degrees in family resources and consumer science and education with a pre-K through 12th-grade teaching certification. She has more than 20 years of experience in home-based education and five years teaching experience in a public brick-and-mortar high school. Ms. Dollar is passionate about education and is enthusiastic about assisting families who choose WIVA to educate their students.
Benny Delgado | WIVA HS Student Engagement Mentor
Mr. Delgado is from Chicago, Illinois, but was raised in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Besides being a 9th grade advisor at WIVA, Mr. Delgado is heavily involved with the youth, collegiate, and professional soccer scene in Madison. In his free time, he takes advantage of living in downtown Madison and goes out to as many new places as possible, if not Mr. Delgado is home playing video games!
Toni Flood | WIVA & DCA HS Student Engagement Mentor
Ms. Flood comes from a teaching family with a sister and brother who are or were teachers. She was a homeschooling parent and Learning Coach, having educated her three sons for all of their schooling and three nephews through high school (she taught world history so many times, she was able to CLEP out of western civilization when she returned to college). Toni and her family were a part of the first Wisconsin virtual charter school and were a part of WIVA from its beginning. When she was finished with the responsibilities of their education, Ms. Flood returned to being a student herself and finished her undergrad degree at the college her grandmother graduated from 75 years earlier—and, yes, her grandma was there for the graduation ceremony!
Nora Even | WIVA MS Student Engagement Mentor
Mrs. Even earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. After staying home with her two daughters for a few years, she became a preschool teacher in 2015 in the Kettle Moraine School District, spending time in both the 3K and 4K classrooms. Mrs. Even has also been a licensed substitute teacher for five years and has enjoyed a variety of experiences with elementary classes in nearby school districts. She strives for all students to feel confident and supported, no matter where they are in their learning journey. Mrs. Even also loves to see and celebrate the progress, no matter how big or small! She has a passion for dance and, throughout the years, has taught dance classes for a wide range of ages from 2 to 85 years old! She also worked as a coach for Jump Bunch, a mobile sport and fitness company for children, which could be found at the Waukesha Public library summer program and many after school programs. She is excited to be a part of the WIVA team and looks forward to supporting students on their learning path. In her spare time, you can find Mrs. Even hanging out with her husband and two children. They enjoy spontaneous adventures up north, spending time in nature, as well as exploring big cities and tourist attractions!
Abby Haufe | WIVA K–5 Student Engagement Mentor
Mrs. Haufe has worked with children in early childhood education for 15 years. She has also volunteered in youth horse therapy for children with disabilities and established and coached youth soccer teams in Alaska. Mrs. Haufe has an undergrad degree in science psychology from UWGB, where she discovered the truth of Aristotle's words, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” One of her favorite things about working with children and families is the chance to specialize each interaction and ensure positive and proactive results are reachable. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and daughter.
Colleen Podbielski | HS Student Strong Start Lead
Ms. Podbielski received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Marquette University. Her work in education began when her two children went to a parochial school, where she started as an aide in preschool and then moved on to being the school librarian/building substitute. When it was time for a change in their education, her family found Wisconsin Virtual Academy. Both Ms. Podbielski's son and daughter started at WIVA in elementary school, graduated from WIVA, and are attending college at Concordia University.
In her spare time, you can find Ms. Podbielski watching her two children compete in taekwondo events, hiking, gardening, or reading. She has seen firsthand the difference a virtual education can make for children and is excited to join the WIVA and DCA team!
Mary Price | WIVA HS Student Engagement Mentor
Before coming to WIVA and DCA, Ms. Price worked in a pharmaceutical manufacturing company as a purchasing and inventory control manager. She has an extensive background working with youth as an AWANA Commander and teaching lessons to youth at her church. She enjoys forming relationships and has a passion to serve others. Ms. Price is a strong advocate for education and is excited to begin her journey with students of WIVA and Destinations Career Academy. She is looking forward to serving others as a part of this team.
LeaAnn Steenis | WIVA HS Student Engagement Mentor
Ms. Steenis is excited to join the WIVA Student Support team. She comes to WIVA with a strong customer support background. Ms. Steenis also graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic as a Chiropractic Assistant. In her free time, she enjoys camping with family and spending time with her grandkids.
Erin Wermeling | WIVA MS Student Engagement Mentor
Ms. Wermeling joins the WIVA team with previous learning coach experience. She also coached students from 1st grade through 11th in the local and state competitions for Odyssey of the Mind. Two years in a row, the teams she co-coached earned a trip to the World Finals. Ms. Wermeling received her bachelor's degree in business through Viterbo University's online program. Because of this, she completely understands the technical difficulties that can occur with online learning. She is looking forward to helping the 8th grade students and families work through any issues that may arise.
Ms. Wermeling enjoys knitting, gardening, reading, and spending time with her family when not working. They are still working out the kinks of their new home that was built on the farm she grew up on. The entire family is looking forward to being back out in the country and being closer to her mother!