Student Support Services Team

The members of the Student Services  Team supports student success at Wisconsin Virtual Academy. Our team offers support to the student, including working with the family as a unit, by removing barriers to the child’s academic success. We work in partnership with your teachers to support your child’s active engagement and efforts in learning. Please take a moment to get to know your support team.  

Our mission: The Student Support Services Team is committed to partnering with Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA) and Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin (DCA) students, families and staff to help each student achieve success through advocacy, engagement, and empowerment to become independent, lifelong learners.

 

Jodell Gagnow, Student Support Administrator (SSA)

Jodell Gagnow is passionate about transforming academic growth through motivation, encouragement, and supporting others in finding their inner spark. She has been affiliated with K12 Stride Learning since 2015. Jodell’s education consists of a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and she has a technical degree in Dental Assisting. She also continues to participate in continuing education.

Her personal mission statement is “fear not, every dawn opens hope and opportunity.” Jodell is an imaginative leader that focuses on an individual’s uniqueness as a strength.

Jodell can often be found in the outdoors on a walk with her dog or  sitting in the sun reading a book during her down time.

Justine Johnson, Community Engagement Support (CES)

Justine Johnson
Justine 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 she has served at WIVA, she's been in the capacities of admin support, community development manager, state testing logistics, student/learning coach support, high school advisor and, now, SSA. 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 DCA. She 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.

Kerry Marren, Family Resource Coordinator (FRC), SSST

Kerry Marren
Kerry Marren has been working with at-risk middle school and high school students in Illinois, Washington State and Wisconsin for many years. Kerry 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. Kerry is excited to continue serving students and families of Wisconsin Virtual Academy as the Family Resource Coordinator where she will continue to pursue her goal to help every student have the resources they need to succeed.

Traci Brande, 2nd-3rd Grade Student Advisor


Traci Brande joined WIVA during the 2019-20SY. Traci started her post-high school education with a 2-year Accounting degree. She worked in the business field until their oldest child was born and then chose to be a
stay-at-home mom. Traci and her husband are the proud parents of 6
teenage children; one adopted at birth, two biological, and three
adopted as “older” kids through the foster care system. Traci
home-schooled their children for several years and loved it! She was
able to help her children to discover their learning styles and
strengths and watch them grow. Traci also has experience helping her own children with learning disabilities of various types as well as working
through trauma.Traci and her family have been very involved in
horse rescue over the last decade. They have intervened in over 60
horses lives to help them find safe places to land. The horses have
played an integral part in healing for her children. Traci and her
daughters love to ride and do so every chance we get. Other hobbies
include reading, photography, scrapbooking and hiking with her husband
and family.

Laura Dollar, Grades 6th-7th Student Advisor

Laura Dollar
Laura Dollar earned a 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. Laura is passionate about education and is enthusiastic about assisting families who choose WIVA to educate their students.


Mary Price, 7th Grade Student Advisor

Mary Price
Before coming to WIVA and DCA, Mary Price worked in a pharmaceutical manufacturing company as a Purchasing and Inventory Control Manager. She has extensive background working with youth as an AWANA Commander, and also teaching lessons to youth at her church. She enjoys forming relationships and has a passion to serve others. Mary 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. 

 

Rebekah Kellogg, WIVA 9th Grade Student Advisor

Michelle Patterson
Rebekah Kellogg is a former WIVA student herself. She is now married and she and her husband have been hosting exchange students for several years! They have hosted exchange students from Norway, France, Germany and Thailand. They have two dogs and a cat. In her free time, she enjoys escape rooms, board games and spending time with family. Rebekah is excited to join the Student Support Services Team at Wisconsin Virtual Academy and looks forward to supporting the students here.

Jennifer Macdonald, WIVA 10th Grade Student Advisor

Jennifer Macdonald
Jennifer Macdonald earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She did take three semesters of calculus as well. She taught elementary school for two and a half years on the Tohono O’Odham reservation outside of Tucson before having the first of four sons and staying home to raise them. During that time, she provided in home daycare and taught step aerobics classes at the local YMCA. She moved to Wisconsin in 1997 and has moved once again since then but luckily stayed in WI. When her youngest entered kindergarten, she began substitute teaching and subbed in all classrooms throughout her home district. This gave her rich and varied experiences working with students in all grade and ability levels. She joined WIVA in 2016 as the math intervention teacher and transitioned to middle school advisor in the 2019-20SY. Jennifer has really enjoyed the online environment and getting to know the students with whom she works. She runs 42 miles per week outside all year long and loves the time she has spent over the years watching her sons play soccer, football, hockey and baseball.

Rachael Trittelwitz, WIVA 11th Grade Student Advisor

Photo and bio coming soon!

 

Toni Flood, DCA High School Student Advisor

Toni Flood
Toni Flood comes from a teaching family with a sister and brother who are or were teachers. She was a home-schooling 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 very first Wisconsin virtual charter school, and were a part of the very first year of WIVA. When she was finished with the responsibilities of their education, Toni returned to being a student herself and finished her undergrad degree at the college her grandmother had graduated from 75 years earlier - and, yes, her grandmother was there for her graduation ceremony!

Colleen Podbielski, WIVA 12th Grade Student Advisor

Mary Price
Colleen received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Marquette University. Her work in education began when their two children went to a parochial school and 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, they found Wisconsin Virtual Academy. Both Colleen’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 Colleen watching their two children compete in taekwondo events, hiking, gardening, or reading.

Colleen has seen firsthand the difference a virtual education can make for children, and is excited to join the WIVA and DCA team!