Staff and Board

OSCS Administrative Staff

Sandy Aslaksen

Sandy Aslaksen

Executive Director

sandy@oscs-mn.org | 612.871.5900 x1

Read Bio

As executive director, Sandy has overseen the vision and growth of Our Saviour’s Community Services since 1999. Under her leadership, the organization has quadrupled in size, while remaining committed to a “small program” environment where personal relationships thrive. The dedication of her staff and the incredible resilience she sees each day in students and residents inspire Sandy and give meaning to her work.

Prior to working at OSCS, Sandy directed Southeast Asian Ministry in St. Paul, serving refugees from Southeast Asia. Previous to this, she served a congregation in Detroit, Michigan where she oversaw a rotating homeless shelter program. Sandy has a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and has taken extensive coursework in nonprofit management. Before her work in the nonprofit community, she spent 10+ years as a classroom teacher.

Carol Manthey

Carol Manthey

Development Associate

carol@oscs-mn.org | 612.871.5900 x5

Read Bio

Carol first came to OSCS as a volunteer English teacher and later joined the development team as an employee. She splits her time between applying for grants, communicating with donors, and managing the donor database system. If you have a question about a donation or need to change your address, Carol can help you with that! She loves seeing the generosity and commitment of donors and volunteers and admires the grace of residents and students. They have endured so many injustices and have the strength to keep moving forward.

Previously, Carol worked at RBC Global Asset Management as a writer and content manager. Before that, she earned a doctorate in English at Vanderbilt University and taught English, women’s studies, and cultural studies. She joined OSCS as Development Associate in August 2016.

Kathleen Olsen

Kathleen Olsen

Grants Specialist

kathleen@oscs-mn.org | 612.871.5900 x3

Read Bio

Kathleen loves being a part of helping people reach for their individual dreams. She works with residents and students at OSCS out of recognition of our common humanity. She wishes others could read beyond the false narratives that are often portrayed in the media and then projected onto our students and residents. Kathleen enjoys developing the “story of OSCS” to share with foundations, corporations, and supporters who just don’t know us yet!

Kathleen fulfills her deepest purpose when she connects people together through conversation, music, and spirituality. Prior to coming to OSCS, she managed the bookstore of St. Martin’s Table, a ministry of the Community of St. Martin. Kathleen studied at St. Olaf College and shares in music ministry roles within several communities of faith. Kathleen joined OSCS as Grants Specialist in February 2012.

Liz Rowe

Liz Rowe

Accountant

books@oscs-mn.org | 612.871.5900 x2

Read Bio

As bookkeeper, Liz tracks every penny in and out of OSCS. Among many other things, she ensures that rents for more than 100 residents in the Permanent Supportive Housing Program are all paid on time. Although Liz doesn’t work directly with students or residents, she’s motivated by knowing she’s making a difference in people’s lives. With an educational background in culture and language, she also loves seeing (and hearing) the variety of people that OSCS serves.

Liz came to OSCS in May 2006 with a B.A. in anthropology and French and six years of experience working in law firms. She had no bookkeeping experience but was good at math and detail-oriented. As OSCS grew, she returned to school and received a B.S. in accounting, followed by a M.S. in accounting.

Amanda Steepleton

Amanda Steepleton

Communications Manager

amanda@oscs-mn.org | 612.871.5900 x4

Read Bio

Amanda began working at OSCS through good timing and a series of fortunate events. She stays because of excellent colleagues, passion for the mission, and the chance to put her creative skills to use. As a resident of South Minneapolis, Amanda’s grateful to be working in her community and wishes more people recognized the disparities that exist in their own backyard. She spends her days sharing stories and connecting others to the work of OSCS. She’d love to hear from you!

Amanda has ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. One of the most transformational experiences of her life was serving as a full-time, live-in volunteer at Annunciation House, a hospitality house for immigrants and refugees in El Paso, Texas. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Organizational Leadership at the University of St. Catherine and sits on the board of Mary’s Pence. She joined OSCS as Communications Manager in July 2012.

Our Saviour’s Housing Staff

Krista Gibson

Krista Gibson

Program Director

krista@oshousing.org | 612.872.4193 x5

Read Bio

Krista felt called to this work by a strong commitment to equity and justice and a desire to leverage the privilege she experiences to serve those who are struggling. She wishes others truly understood all the obstacles working against people experiencing homelessness. The world often portrays homelessness as an individual failing or the result of a personal tragedy. Through her decade of work in homelessness, Krista has come to see that oppressive systems and inequity are more culpable causes. This leads her to believe that homelessness is a collective problem, not an individual one.

Krista is a compassionate professional who specializes in work with individuals experiencing homelessness or unemployment. In 2008, she began working with youth experiencing homelessness and poverty, before becoming the Shelter Manager at OSH in 2014 and Program Director in August, 2017. Krista hails from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s in English and is pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

La’Quadra Neal

La’Quadra Neal

Shelter Manager

laquadra@oshousing.org | 612.872.4193 x6

Read Bio

Ask La’Quadra why she chooses to work with individuals experiencing homelessness, and she’ll tell you that the work chose her. After volunteering in multiple homeless shelters, she realized that this is the field where she is supposed be. She believes it’s important to use her skills, privileges, and voice to advocate for those who are marginalized and wishes that others understood the road blocks many face in finding affordable housing. She spends her days at OSH assisting residents to get their basic needs met and tending to the operating tasks that keep the shelter running smoothly.

La’Quadra has worked in human services since graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2014. She joined OSH as Shelter Manager in October, 2017.

Tamara Patton

Tamara Patton

Volunteer Coordinator

volunteer@oshousing.org | 612.872.4193 x2

Read Bio

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.” This quote from Thomas Merton best describes why Tamara chooses to work with vulnerable and under-served populations. She wishes more people understood that individuals experiencing homelessness are human beings who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. In her work at OSH, she sees that everyone has their own unique story, and every life is valuable. From day to day, Tamara coordinates over 2000 volunteers and receives in-kind donations.

Tamara brings over 10 years of experience working in the nonprofit field and a B.A. in Arts Management. Previously, she worked for MN Adult & Teen Challenge, the Minnesota State Bar Association, and the HOPE Center in Rapid City, SD. She also spent a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA, coordinating the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau for the National Coalition for the Homeless. She joined OSH as Volunteer Coordinator in February, 2018.

English Learning Center Staff

Jennifer Compton

Jennifer Compton

Program Co-director, Internal Management

jennifer@englishlc.org | 612.874.9963 x4

Read Bio

Since beginning work with immigrants and refugees, Jennifer has probably witnessed nearly one hundred people over the age of 18 write their names for the first time. On each occasion, she’s convinced she’s bearing witness to students’ increased ability to write their futures. She believes that all people share an inherent right to define themselves and that communication and education help to make this possible.

Jennifer holds a Master’s Degree in International Development and a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from the University of Minnesota – Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is an AmeriCorps VISTA and Fulbright alum, both opportunities that helped lead to her career interests and to develop the community-building, teaching, and collaborative skills she uses daily in her work now. Before returning to the ELC as Program Director in June 2018, she worked for the organization as an education assistant and development associate.

Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith

PM Volunteer Coordinator

hannah@englishlc.org | 612.874.9963 x2

Read Bio

Hannah chooses to work with New Americans because in every chapter of her life abroad, she has been welcomed with radical hospitality. She feels called to offer the same welcoming presence to those adjusting to life here in the United States. She sticks around for the “Ah-ha!” moments, the smiles and high-fives when a student starts to feel welcome at school, and the occasions of kindness and grace that remind her she’s constantly learning alongside students too. When Hannah’s not ensuring volunteer teachers have what they need to be successful in the classroom, you might find her stopping by the mall down the street for a sugar boost of traditional Somali tea!

Hannah graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a double major in Spanish Language and Latin American Studies and then spent a year teaching English in Central Mexico. Shortly after moving to Minneapolis, she found the ELC in October, 2017, and has loved her role working with adult English language learners and volunteer teachers ever since!

Jenne Nelson

Jenne Nelson

Program Co-director, External Relations

jenne@englishlc.org | 612.874.9963 x4

Read Bio

Jenne has often thought of the ELC office as the brightest, most vibrant basement office she’s ever seen (as evidenced by the thriving office philodendron!). She finds joy in the many occasions students, teachers, and staff find to celebrate together – a new job, citizenship, finally getting that passport and ticket to visit family. Witnessing these real changes keeps Jenne going and affirms her belief that education is both transformative and a human right.

Jenne holds a B.S. of Secondary English Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from St. Cloud State University. She taught high school English and debate, including a semester teaching in Hangzhou, China, before finding the ELC in 2011. Since then, Jenne has filled multiple roles from volunteer teacher to Volunteer Coordinator to Program Director. In October, 2019, she returned as Program Co-director after more than a year of living in Dourados, Brazil.

Hayat Mohamed

Hayat Mohamed

AM Volunteer Coordinator

hayat@englishlc.org | 612.874.9963 x3

Read Bio

Hayat works at the ELC out of a sense of community. As the product of a refugee family from Somalia, immigrating to the U.S. in 2000, she relates to the students’ experiences. Seeing their determination and drive to succeed fuels her to continue to do the work she does, connecting volunteer teachers with students in the classroom. Regardless of the setbacks students have faced in life, they do not let those experiences stop them from pushing forward. They inspire her every day to continuously be a better version of herself.

Hayat graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a degree in Family Social Science and is pursuing a graduate degree in Social Work. She joined the ELC as AM Volunteer Coordinator in September, 2017.

Board Officers

Nathan Hallanger

Nathan Hallanger

Co-chair

Augsburg College

Read Bio

Nate first heard about OSCS through his colleagues at Augsburg University. When he began to learn more about OSCS, he discovered an organization that lives out its mission, serving its neighbors in ways both large and small with a dedicated staff and a broad network of loyal volunteers. He’s proud to represent an organization that connects with people along their own individual journey, while functioning in community. He believes the type of belonging and connection that OSCS offers can make an enduring, positive impact, not only in our individual lives but also in our communities.

Nate is a graduate of Augustana College (SD), Harvard Divinity School, and the Graduate Theological Union. He currently serves as the director of academic administration at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, where he is involved in budgeting, planning, and accreditation for the academic programs at the university. He has served on the OSCS board since May 2014.

Angela Willson

Angela Willson

Co-chair

University of Minnesota

Read Bio

Angela was drawn to OSCS because it combines two branches of service that are personally meaningful to her. Growing up in SE Asia among refugees and immigrants cemented her commitment to advocating on behalf of these populations. Angela has also worked with people experiencing homelessness and is convinced that homelessness can be solved through evidence-based, compassionate, and person-centered programs like Our Saviour’s. She appreciates that OSCS is truly of the community, responding to the direct needs of our neighbors in South Minneapolis, while also advocating for equity, sustainable solutions, and lasting change.

Angela is Interprofessional Continuing Education Director at the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at the University of Minnesota, providing resources and support to health care teams. Her background is in nonprofit administration, workforce development, and homeless and veteran’s services. Angela holds a Master’s of Public Health Administration and Policy from the University of Minnesota and has served on the OSCS board since February, 2015.

Jane Dunlap

Jane Dunlap

Secretary

Self-employed

Read Bio

Jane believes that OSCS is doing two really important things in the community simultaneously— providing a safe and positive space for people to learn English skills AND providing emergency, transitional, and permanent housing! Each of these branches alone is challenging for an organization to provide, but doing both successfully is truly amazing. She is most passionate about how empowering and life changing the programs can be and loves to hear the stories of those who have felt ready to start the next chapter in their lives.

Jane was born and raised in the Twin Cities and attended college at the University of Minnesota, earning a degree in biology. She has worked in education, environmental management, and urban farming and joined the OSCS board in May 2018. As a board member, she hopes to better educate the public in issues surrounding homelessness and immigration and to help facilitate an active and dynamic group of board members!

Daniel Bain

Daniel Bain

Treasurer

Project for Pride in Living

Read Bio

Daniel serves on the board because the Twin Cities has so much wealth yet such large disparities. He believes it is our responsibility as a community to use that wealth to create opportunities for those who need it most, and OSCS’ work with shelter, housing, and English learning is doing just that. Daniel especially resonates with OSCS’s mission of welcoming immigrants, which he views as more important now than ever.

Daniel works as the controller at Project for Pride in Living. He seeks to use his accounting and finance skills to look out for both the long-term and short-term sustainability of OSCS. Money holds a lot of power for nonprofits, and budget decisions affect how the programs are delivered. Daniel hopes to do his part in ensuring that OSCS will have the resources to deliver its mission for a long time to come. He has served on the OSCS board since April 2018.

The Rev. Laurie Eaton

The Rev. Laurie Eaton

Ex-officio, Senior Pastor

Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church

Read Bio

In accordance with OSCS’ founding documents, Pastor Laurie has served as an ex-officio member of the board since becoming pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in October 2009. She was delighted to be joining a congregation that was so committed to meeting the needs of the neighborhood and was eager to learn how the organization continues its work of “welcoming the stranger” as a standalone nonprofit.

In her role, Pastor Laurie sees herself as a bridge between OSCS and Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. It’s very important to her that OSCS and the church maintain a strong connection, embracing a common vision for what it means to care for our neighbors. She’s grateful that the two share a space and that the building is full and well-used all week long—not just on Sunday mornings. As the neighborhood changes and OSCS and Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church plan for the future, Pastor Laurie hopes to ensure that both may continue grow together.

Board Members

Elena Geiger-Simpson

Elena Geiger-Simpson

University of Minnesota

Read Bio

Elena serves on the board because she believes in the valuable services that OSCS provides for our community. Over the last decade, she has worked with many individuals who have experienced housing instability. As a health care professional, she’s seen firsthand how stable housing lays the foundation for healing mind, body, and spirit. She also believes that immigrants and refugees enrich our community and wants to provide a place where students can feel welcomed.

Elena works as both a clinical assistant professor for the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Prior to these roles, she worked for several years as a registered nurse in community mental health. Elena holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree specializing in psychiatric mental health from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and nursing from Luther College. She has served on the OSCS board since May 2014.

Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson

Self-employed

Read Bio

Craig has a nerdy passion for efficient, well-run organizations that serve the common good—which makes OSCS a perfect fit! He joined the board to support the people delivering and receiving transformative services. For years, Craig and a group of friends have also provided meals at the shelter, and this remains a rewarding, bonding experience. He would like to tell others to not be fooled by the churchy name. All are welcome. All can serve. All can receive. No exceptions.

In his professional life, Craig is a freelance theater artist working as an actor, director, writer, and teacher at many area theaters. He has served as Congregational President of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and Vice President and Chair of the Minneapolis Area Synod Council (ELCA). He is the former director of the James J. Hill House in St. Paul. Craig has served on the OSCS board since April 2018.

Tom Mulhere

Tom Mulhere

Retired

Read Bio

Tom enjoys a long history with OSCS, having served on the board when the organization became an independent nonprofit in 2004. He and his wife are members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities, and he is humbled and proud to once again join the board as of April 2019.

After working 30 years in international commodity trading, Tom began a new career working 13 years in the non-profit sector as a fundraiser and administrator, primarily for an organization focusing on homelessness and hunger issues.

Tezra Osthus

Tezra Osthus

Apple Valley High School

Read Bio

MTezra originally became involved with OSCS in 2014 as a volunteer teacher at the English Learning Center. After a few years of volunteering, she realized that she loved teaching English to immigrants and refugees so much that she decided to change careers and go to school to become a licensed English Language teacher. Now, she serves on the board because she believes the work OSCS does is important and makes a difference during vulnerable times in people’s lives. She likes feeling inspired and being part of a force for good in the world. She also believes that those who serve at OSCS are changed just as much as those who are served.

Tezra has a Master’s in Social Work and a Master’s in Education. She has worked in nonprofits directly with clients, as well as in fundraising. She currently works full time as an English Language teacher. Tezra has served on the OSCS board since April 2019.

Nicholas Smith

Nicholas Smith

TCF Bank

Read Bio

Nick was introduced to OSCS through a former board member. He quickly learned that the organization is full of passionate and humble people who truly believe in the mission, and he’s honored to offer his own insights and expertise. Nick appreciates that OSCS is a diverse organization providing tools and opportunities to people in many situations. He’s most passionate about combatting homelessness and seeking to give individuals a safe and stable environment, especially as the problem continues to grow across Minnesota.

Nick holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School and has three years of experience in business and regulatory law, as well as in tax and finance. Prior to moving to Minnesota in 2015, Nick participated in various non-profit organizations, including faith-based ministries. Nick has served on the OSCS board since March 2019.

James Unglaube

James Unglaube

Carthage College

Read Bio

James feels drawn to organizations that provide human services out of the simple Gospel call to care for the needs of the neighbor, the stranger, the person in need. As a member of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, he frequently describes how the congregation served as a birthing center for OSCS. He’s most passionate about the way the English Learning Center assists those who come to the U.S. with no English language knowledge and opens up a “new world” for them.

James has spent his career in Lutheran higher education at two colleges and as a member of the churchwide staff, in roles as varied as a college professor of chemistry, a college’s chief academic officer, a churchwide staff member who advocated on behalf of church-related higher education, and as a college’s chief development officer. He joined the OSCS board in April 2019.

Make a donation today to change lives

2315 Chicago Ave. So.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Phone | 612.871.5900
Fax | 612.871.0017

communications@oscs-mn.org

Our Saviour's Housing

2219 Chicago Ave. So.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Phone | 612.872.4193
Fax | 612.872.4442

English Learning Center

2315 Chicago Ave. So.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Phone | 612.874.9963
Fax | 612.871.0017