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Cabinet Members

Kathy Niebuhr

Organizational Compliance Coordinator 

Kathy was raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education. She has spent her entire education career in Freeborn County, with two years at Freeborn High School as a business teacher and the remainder of her career in the Albert Lea Area Schools System. She earned a Master of Science degree in Library Media and an Education Specialist degree in K12 Leadership both from Minnesota State University Mankato. Positions held in the AL school system have included high school business teacher, middle school dean of students, K12 media specialist and technology integrationist, secondary curriculum director, executive director of administrative services, and currently is the organizational compliance coordinator.

Sheila Riebe

Executive Director of Special Services

Sheila Riebe is the Executive Director of Special Services.  Sheila began in the district in 1995 as a special education teacher.  She has also been in the special education lead teacher and special education coordinator role.  Sheila graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree, Master of Science degree, and a Specialist degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  Sheila’s areas of responsibility include:

  • K-12 Special Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Early Intervention Services
  • Health Services
  • Student 504 Plans
  • Third Party Billing
  • Transition Program

Jennifer Walsh

Executive Director of Finance & Operations

Jennifer grew up in St. Louis and remains an avid Cardinals fan.  She attended Indiana University and then spent 20+ years as the General Manager of Gunflint Lodge north of Grand Marais. In 2005 she and her husband moved to southern Minnesota. She started her school finance career in Owatonna before taking a position in Byron where she was the finance director for 11 years.  After a brief stint in Faribault, she became the Executive Director of Finance and Operations in Albert Lea in July 2019.  She oversees the district budget, payroll, benefits, food service, transportation, and facilities.

Jeff Halverson

Executive Director of Careers, Technology, and Innovation

Jeff grew up in Southern Minnesota, having graduated from Owatonna High School. He then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communications from Concordia College—Moorhead in 1998. Seeking to further his education, Jeff later earned a Master of Education degree and Minnesota grades 5-12 teaching licensure in Business Education from the University of Minnesota in 2001.  Jeff would eventually pursue and obtain his Minnesota K-12 Principal Certificate through the University of Minnesota in 2011.

With six years of experience in the classroom, Jeff has taught at both Mound Westonka and Medford High Schools.  Throughout his teaching career, he has taught a diverse range of courses to students in grades 7-12, including Economics, C++ Computer Programming, College Study Skills, Career Exploration, and Personal Finance, with a total of 24 different courses. 

Jeff has six years of experience as a business owner.  In 2005, he transitioned out of teaching to own and operate a real estate brokerage in the south metro Twin Cities.  The call to return to education never fully left him during his tenure as a real estate broker, and in 2011, Jeff would return to the classroom full-time as a secondary classroom teacher at Medford High School.

Jeff joined the Albert Lea Area Schools in 2013 when he was hired as the Secondary Programs Administrator.  Jeff was then asked to serve as Albert Lea High School Assistant Principal in 2014 and, in 2017, was awarded the Assistant Principal of the Year for the MASSP Southeast MN Division.  In 2020, he was named Associate High School Principal for Albert Lea High School.

In November 2022, Jeff accepted the position of Executive Director of Careers, Technology, and Innovation.  In this role, Jeff will work with his colleagues at District 241 and members of the Albert Lea community to enhance the learning experience for students from Pre-Kindergarten to post-graduation. 

Tonya Franks

Executive Director of Academics and Accountability

Tonya Franks, Executive Director of Academics and Accountability, received a B.S. in Elementary Education from University of North Dakota in 2000 and a M.A. in Education from Saint Mary's University - Winona in 2010.  As a life-long learner and a desire to serve in a leadership capacity, Director Franks went on to pursue Administrative Licensure from Saint Mary's University, securing K-12 Administration in 2015.

Director Franks taught second grade and special education at Cleveland Elementary before beginning her career with Albert Lea Area Schools in 2003.  At Albert Lea Area Schools, Franks has served as a special education teacher for K-6 students with emotional behavioral disorders, specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other health disabilities before moving to an administrative capacity in 2015 as Principal of the Area Learning Center for three years and Halverson Elementary for five years. "For eight years, I had the profound privilege to work alongside caring, compassionate and dedicated educators who were committed to meeting the needs of their students every single day. My time as a principal filled my heart."

"I am elated to serve Albert Lea Area Schools in the capacity of Executive Director of Academics and Accountability.  I am committed to helping our students achieve excellence and supporting our staff in those efforts.  The mission of Albert Lea Area Schools is to to ensure individual academic, social and emotional growth that leads to engaged citizens and lifelong learners.  As an educator, I am wholeheartedly committed to serving students from diverse social, economic and ethnic backgrounds, as well as the development of staff to meet the needs of our students. It is imperative that we provide a safe and supportive environment that is sensitive and responsive to student needs so that students have opportunities to grow and flourish. This work starts with our educators. Teachers are the most important factor affecting student learning; therefore, we must invest in our teachers so that they can impact student learning that results in the desired growth.  In this role, I am excited to put my passions to work to strengthen and empower staff in their personal growth and development. It is the aim of our district to ensure effective teaching in every classroom that, in turn, creates optimal learning opportunities for our students."

Director Franks is a happy wife and mother of two wonderful boys.  Her favorite book to read to her boys when they were little was "I Love You Stinky Face".  She takes pride in supporting her children as they grow into confident, caring, and compassionate young men.  She loves cheering from the sidelines as they compete in football, wrestling and baseball.  During the summer you can find her and her family on the golf course, enjoying the beauty of the surroundings and striving to improve her short game.

John Double

Executive Director of Community Education

John Double was born in Winona, MN, and is the Albert Lea Community Education Executive Director.  His position serves learners from Birth through Senior Citizens in our community, encompassing the areas of Early Learning, Youth & Adult Enrichment Programming, Experiential Learning, and Adult Education.   He attended the University of Minnesota - Duluth and St. Cloud State University and achieved two undergraduate degrees, one minor, and five teacher licensure areas.  He then attended St. Mary's University (Winona) and Winona State University, earning his Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and two administrative licenses.  He is attending Minnesota State University - Mankato, earning his third administrative license.  He taught in the Lake Superior School District (on the North Shore of Minnesota) for 11 years and served as an administrator both at BOLD Public Schools and in the Albert Lea Area Schools for the past 17 years.   He grew up in the business world, working in several different career areas during his years preceding college graduation, including Manufacturing, Business, Transportation/Logistics, Hospitality/Tourism, Education, and more.  While teaching on the North Shore, he also served on ambulance and rescue squads and presented at regional EMS conferences.  His educational experiences include Distance/Correspondence Learning, Secondary Administration (6-12), Interactive Television (ITV) Courses, Activities Director (HS & MS), Career Pathways Programming, Online Education, Educational & Community Collaborations, and Community Involvement.  


Ashley Mattson

Executive Director of Human Resources 

Ashley Mattson started with Albert Lea Area Schools in January 2012 as a support staff media clerk at Albert Lea High School.  After transitioning to an administrative assistant position at Sibley Elementary from the fall of 2012 to 2014, Mattson moved to Executive Administrative Assistant to the Office of the Superintendent and School Board and is now in her current role as Executive Director of Human Resources.

Mattson graduated from Albert Lea High School and attended Riverland Community College before transferring to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Mattson graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota in the spring of 2007.

Ashley Mattson is an alumni of Albert Lea Area Schools, a member of the Minnesota Superintendents Office Personnel Association, involved with 4-H, and a volunteer volleyball and softball coach. Mattson enjoys living and working in the Albert Lea community.


Darci Rasmussen

Executive Administration Assistant to the Superintendent and School Board

Darci started with Albert Lea Area Schools in March 2004 as a para-educator at Hawthorne Elementary.  After 4 years of being a para she moved into the role of Health Clerk at Hawthorne for 7 years and then moved into the Administrative Assistant to the Principal for 8 years.  Rasmussen moved into her current position on June 1, 2023.

Rasmussen graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1989.

She loves spending time with her family and friends, camping, and reading in her free time.  The highlight of her day is when she can see one or more of her grandchildren.

Anna Dietrich

Communications Coordinator 

Anna grew up on a farm in small town in Iowa. After graduating from Central Springs High School, she went on to receive her Bachelor's degree in Communication from Luther College while also receiving a minor in Applied Leadership Studies. Anna has previous experience as a student ambassador and an HR intern. 

After accepting the Communication Coordinator job for Albert Lea Area Schools, she started in July 2022. Anna runs the website and social media, schedules facilities, and answers the district switchboard along with any other tasks.

In her free time, she likes to spend time outside planting her garden, grilling out, and taking her dog on long walks.