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Meet Our Staff

Lisa Peterson


Dr. Lisa R. Peterson serves as the Rock River Charter School Principal and as the Coordinator of Charter School Development for the Janesville School District. Dr. Peterson earned her Bachelor's degree from UW-La Crosse a double major in English and Public Speaking. For fifteen years, Dr. Peterson taught English and Public Speaking at Parker High School where she also advised the Yearbook, Key Club, and Human Relations.

For seven years, Dr. Peterson served as the Assistant Principal at Franklin Middle School. Dr. Peterson joined the Rock River Charter School team in the fall of 2011. A Nationally Board Certified Teacher, Dr. Peterson has a Master's degree from UW-Madison in Curriculum and Instruction as well as a Master's degree from Cardinal Stritch University for Educational Leadership.

In July 2014, Dr. Peterson completed her PhD; her dissertation focused on the efforts of educational leaders to close the achievement gap. Valuing social justice, Dr. Peterson believes that all students should have access to a high quality education in order to prepare them for post-secondary opportunities. A servant leader, Dr. Peterson is deeply honored to have the opportunity to help Rock River Charter School.


School: 743-7402 

Mrs. Angela Burdette has been employed at RRCS since August of 2012, and currently serves as the Dean of Students. As the dean, it is her responsibility to work along side Dr. Peterson to help ensure a safe and supportive learning environment. Additionally, Mrs. Burdette serves as one of two special education teachers/case managers. As a special education teacher, Mrs. Burdette supports, monitors, teaches, and provides interventions for students with special educational needs in RAMP, E-Learning, and GED02. Additionally, her responsibilities include case managing most seniors as well as being the liaison between both comprehensive high schools.

She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities. She also holds a Master’s of Science in Professional Education – School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership degree from Cardinal Stritch University. In addition, she holds certification in Alternative Education from the University of Milwaukee.

Prior to working at RRCS, Mrs. Burdette was a teacher at Parker High School for 13 years. Outside of school, Mrs. Burdette will most likely be found either at a baseball or basketball game watching her boys play and cheering them on.

Angela Crawford

Mrs. Crawford joined Rock River Charter School as the Title One Math Teacher in fall of 2019. She previously worked at Craig High School as a math teacher for five years. Angela received dual bachelor’s degrees from Judson University (2013) in Secondary Education and Mathematics. In her free time, Angela enjoys playing tennis, reading, and traveling with her husband, and she is also an avid Harry Potter fan.



Heather Bilke works as a member of the clerical staff team as well as an instructional assistant for the Alt Ed and SAPAR programs, since 2013. She graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2005 with a dual degree in early childhood education for both regular and special education.. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, watching and attending any and all kinds of sporting events, reading, and shopping.



Kelley Dammen has joined the Rock River Charter School as an Instructional Aide in the E-Learning program. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with a special emphasis in Sociology from UW-Whitewater and an Associate’s degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management from Fox Valley Technical College. Kelley co-owns a crop insurance agency with her husband. In her spare time, she can be found at the swimming pool or the baseball field cheering for her favorite athletes. She enjoys reading, crafting, and volunteering. 


Youth Advocate
School: 743-5829 

Stephanie Gates has been serving as a high school Youth Advocate since the 2014-15 school year. Stephanie helps to support our marginalized students in being successful in school and in the community. Stephanie has a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Central Arkansas.

She enjoys hot weather, laughter, and a movie with family .

miss givens

School: 743-7402 

Shelly has been an English Language teacher for the School District of Janesville for sixteen years prior to teaching for Minneapolis Public Schools for eight years. She currently provides English language services for students for Roosevelt and our Charter Schools. She received her Bachelor's degree from UW-Madison, ESL licensure from Hamline University, and Masters degree in Early Literacy from UW-Whitewater. She enjoys traveling, biking, and playing with her new therapy dog, Chewy who loves to read with students throughout the district. 

Ms helmmer

School: 743-7420 

Terra Helmer serves as the Graduation Coach for the Rock River Charter School. Mrs. Helmer earned her Bachelor's Degree in Human Services from Upper Iowa University. She is passionate about working with teens who encounter barriers to high school graduation.

Mrs. Helmer is excited about her work at Rock River Charter School. Prior to working at Rock River Charter School, Mrs. Helmer supported special education students at Parker High School with their academic coursework. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters bowling, camping, boating, and fishing.


Social Worker

Marilyn Henrich joined the School District of Janesville in 2014, and she accepted the position as a Student Services Specialist supporting all four of the charter schools in 2015. Mrs. Henrich is a licensed school social worker and has many years experience working with middle and high school students in a variety of environments.

She is passionate about ensuring that all students receive the education they deserve. Mrs. Henrich is married with children and grandchildren. She is the proud owner of two cats (Leo and Flash). In her free time she enjoys gardening, reading, swimming, camping, skiing, and spending time with her family.


Lexie Kruchten serves as the Social Studies teacher and parenting teen adivsor in the Alt Ed program at Rock River Charter School. She began working at RRCS in 2019. Ms. Jordee graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from UW Madison in 2014. She received her Master’s Degree in History from UW Milwaukee in 2017 where she focused on twentieth century African American History and Social Justice. 

Ms. Jordee spent the last 4 years teaching pre school while simultaneously working to earn her teaching license in secondary social studies education.  She enjoys playing and coaching volleyball, walking her dog, and hanging out with her friends, family, and fiancé. 

Michael Katzke

Mrs. Michael Katzke is the lead RAMP teacher. She graduated with her bachelor degree in education from UW-Platteville in 2001. Mrs. Katzke spent several years working in early childhood before teaching middle school in the Madison area. She joined the Janesville school district in 2016 teaching middle school at ARISE Virtual Academy. Mrs. Katzke received her master’s degree in School Counseling in 2017. She was able to do this by completing her internship at Rock River Charter School. Mrs. Katzke is excited to be working in RAMP!

When she is not teaching, Mrs. Katzke enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She and her husband play board games and rpgs. During the school year her time is taken up by attending her daughter’s many activities including show choir, dance, orchestra, musical and theater. She and her son enjoy watching movies together. When she can get some time to herself, she enjoys reading and listening to music and hanging out with her dog, Bella.


School: 743-7410 

Kathleen Kleisner started teaching in 2002 as a Family and Consumer Education Teacher at Fort Atkinson Middle School. In 2007, she was hired in Janesville and has taught in four schools, which means there is a good chance she has known many of the Rock River Charter School students before they enrolled at Rock River Charter.

Currently, Mrs. Kleisner teaches in the E-Learning Program. Similar to her teaching career in Janesville, she also attended several colleges and but received her Bachelor’s degree from UW Madison. After working in business, she returned to school to obtain her teaching license in 2001.

She earned a Master’s degree from National Louis University and her Alternative Education license from UW Milwaukee. When not teaching, she likes to read, exercise, bike, swim, spend time with her family, and travel. If there were one thing most people don’t know about her, it’s that Mrs. Kleisner spent three years in the Army before going to college.


Homeless Advocate

Carrie Kulinski serves as the Homeless Liaison for the School District of Janesville. Mrs. Kulinski earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Masters Degree in Community Counseling from UW-Whitewater. For thirteen years, Mrs. Kulinski served as the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs of Abuse (AODA) Coordinator for the School District of Janesville.

Mrs. Kulinski also was instrumental in opening one of three Recovery Schools in the State of Wisconsin. She served as the CRES (Community Recovery Education and Service) Coordinator from 2008-2011. Mrs. Kulinski is the Author of the Delta-9 Marijuana curriculum and is currently co-writing a textbook for College level social work students. Mrs. Kulinski is happy to call Rock River Charter School her home base.

Amee Nelson


Amee Nelson has been with the Janesville School District since 2006. She started teaching in the Alternative Education program at Rock River Charter School. In 2011, she transitioned to Craig High School, teaching English for four years. In 2015, she came back to RRCS and the Alternative Education Program where she serves as the Instructional Manager of the Alternative Education Program and teaches English and Life Skills Seminar.

Mrs. Nelson holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. In her spare time, Mrs. Nelson enjoys reading, yoga, and spending time with her family and friends.

Adam Petersen

Mr.Petersen is the special education case manager in the alternative education program. Mr. Peterson earned his bachelor's degree and teaching license from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. He enjoys spending time with his family and bike riding in the summer.



Lindey Peterson joined the School District of Janesville in August of this year when she accepted the position as Alternative Education and E-Learning teacher supporting the students at Rock River Charter School. This is Ms. Peterson’s 16th year teaching, with nine of those focusing on her passion--alternative education. She is married and has a fabulous French Bulldog named Max. Her family time is very important to her, especially time with her nieces Olivia and Madelyn. She loves to camp, bike, and cook with her wife. And travel is always on her mind. She is very much looking forward to being a part of Rock River Charter School.


Ms. Melissa Riggs has joined RRCS for  the 2019-20 school year as a special education teacher in the Alternative Education program.  She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and is currently pursuing a Master’s in special education at UW-Whitewater. Ms. Riggs has been an employee of the school district of Janesville for three years, previously serving as a paraprofessional at Craig High school. Ms. Riggs is also an employee of United Cerebral Palsy of greater Dane county providing respite services to families for more than ten years.  In her limited spare time, she enjoys camping at her seasonal camper (canoeing, kayaking, and tubing), hunting, snowmobiling, and most other outdoor activities.  Mother of four boys, Ms. Riggs is a second-degree black belt and has a passion for martial arts, football, and travel. She travels often to Upper Michigan and has dreams of traveling the world even though she has never been out of the country. 



Heidi Russell has been working with children for 25 years. She has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood. She has two children of her own. Her son is 21 yrs. old and she has a 26 year old daughter who lives in Texas. In her spare time, Heidi loves to support her Chicago "Cubbies", collecting Betty Boop memorabilia, and being outdoors. She loves life and laughter and firmly believes that everything in life happens for a reason.


Phone: 608-743-7412

Coleen Shaw has been a School District of Janesville employee for nine years. Prior to working in the School District of Janesville, Ms. Shaw taught special education in both Missouri and Florida. Ms. Shaw obtained her Bachelor's degree in Special Education and her Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Central Missouri State University. She also has obtained an Alternative license. Ms. Shaw currently teaches in the GED-Option 2 program.



Deborah Straw is one of the GED Option 2 teachers at Rock River Charter School. She graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Health Education and Psychology from UW – LaCrosse. She received her Master’s Degree in School Guidance Counseling from UW – Whitewater. She is also certified by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to teach in Alternative Education Programs. She has taught at Rock River Charter School for 13 years. Prior to coming to RRCS, Deborah taught in an HSED program, so she has been involved with teaching the GED tests for over fifteen years. Deborah grew up in Janesville herself, and raised her family in Janesville.

Steve Stathopoulos


Steve Stathopoulos is the special education teacher in the alternative education program. Steve has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Steve attended the University of Saint Mary's to obtain his teaching license.



Betsy Steuck joined Rock River Charter School as the Title One Instructional Aide working primarily with GED Option 2 and E-Learning programs. She received her Bachelors Degree in Psychology from UW-Stevens Point, and earned the Wisconsin Social Work Certification. She worked for ten years in Rock County and Walworth County as a Domestic Violence Youth Advocate, and then as a Social Worker.

After taking a few years off to be a full time stay at home mom, she returned to work as an Instructional Aide for the Milton School District. In 2015, she began working at RRCS. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, which often includes hockey games, baseball, and other sporting events.



Michael Tess has been an alternative education teacher at Rock River Charter School since 2007. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin Madison and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Michael teaches biology, physical science and geometry in the Alternative Program. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing and home improvement projects.



Robin Wauchop is the Title One teacher for Rock River Charter School, teaching in both Alternative Education and GED Option 2. Before joining the Charter team she worked with teen parents through Head Start. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater in 2012 earning a Bachelor's degree in Regular Education and Special Education.


Graduation Coach

Michelle Wales started working for the School District of Janesville as a Graduation Coach with the InSPIRE program in January of 2015. She enjoys the relationships she builds while being able to help parenting and pregnant students attain their graduation goals. Michelle graduated from UW-Milwaukee with Bachelor's degrees in Psychology, Sociology and Criminal Justice. During her spare time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her husband and four children and cheering all of them on in their many sports!



Cathi Wnuk works as a paraprofessional in the RAMP program at Rock River Charter School. Cathi received her Associate Degree in Police Science from Blackhawk Technical School in 1990. She came to the Janesville School District after retiring from Community Corrections where she was a Probation and Parole Agent for 21 years. When she is not in school, Cathi enjoys spending time with her family -- especially her grandchildren.