About Bridges

Established in 2007, the Bridges Career Academies & Workplace Connection links K-12 and post-secondary education institutions, employers and local communities to prepare the next generation of students for the demands of regional employers.

The Bridges Career Academies & Workplace Connection focuses on two areas of development for students.

Bridges Leadership Council

The Bridges Career Academies & Workplace Connection is led by a leadership council made of up local business and education professionals. Current members include:

Chair, Twyla Flaws, Clow Stamping
Lisa Paxton, Ultra Paws
Matt Kilian, Brainerd Lakes Chamber
Christina Landree, Pro Staff
Paul Drange, National Joint Powers Alliance
Amy Sjoblad, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union
Sue Boehland, Central Lakes Carl Perkins Consortium Funding
Tim Bjorge, Little Falls School District
Andrea Rusk, Brainerd School District
Tim Houle, Widseth Smith Nolting
Jim Christiansen, Crosby Ironton School District

Steve Christenson, Ascensus
Paul Preimesberger, Central Lakes College
Mary Gottsch, Bridges Executive Director/Brainerd Lakes Chamber

Bridges Team

Bridges programs are coordinated by a collection of staff, independent contractors and dedicated volunteers.

Executive Director
Mary Gottsch, (218) 822-7117

Career Academies Coordinators (see map of region)
Northern: Judy Richer, (218) 760-7838
Southern: Betsy Picciano, (320) 260-1827

Special Initiatives
Becky Best, (218) 820-0721

Kathy Moore

Administrative Support
Katy Gottsch