OUR STAFF

Our therapists, equine professionals, and instructors understand the unique therapeutic value of the human-horse bond.

They have chosen to pursue additional training and certification with internationally recognized organizations, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) and the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA), in order to expand their professional skills and maximize the benefits for the wide variety of clients we serve.

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LISA KAFKA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

 

Lisa graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a degree on Occupational Therapy. She is currently both a clinician and Executive Director of Exceptional Equestrians and is the owner/administrator of Country Kids pediatric outpatient clinic.

 

Lisa has incorporated equines into her treatment of children and adults for over 25 years. She has multiple specialty areas including certification through the American Hippotherapy Association as a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist (HPCS), as well as certification through PATH, Intl. as both a riding instructor (CTRI), and an equine specialist in mental health (ESMHL).

Lisa is also a Neuro-developmental Treatment Association (NDT) certified clinician.

 

In her spare time, Lisa enjoys riding her horse Annie or working with the Exceptional Equestrians herd.

 

“Horses have long been an important component of both my personal and professional life. I became an OT to work with people and help them find strategies to overcome obstacles. The opportunity to combine these two passions is a dream come true.”

Contact Lisa at lkpediatrics@aol.com

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SAMANTHA BERGER, COTA

 

Samantha is a certified occupational therapy assistant who received her occupational therapy assistant (COTA) associate’s degree at Fox Valley Technical College. She has also recently been accepted at Concordia University where she will be working towards both Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Science and Master of Occupational Therapy degrees. 

 

Samantha grew up riding and showing horses, and she likes working at EE because it combines two of her passions: horses and working with people. She loves seeing her clients work hard towards their goals and achieve them because she knows that it ultimately improves their quality of live. Of course, she enjoys the smiles and laughs shared with clients, volunteers and therapist in the barn.

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CAROL KLAK, OTR, MA

 

Carol is a Registered Occupational Therapist with 30+ years of experience. A graduate of UW-Milwaukee in OT, Carol also has certification in Guidance and Counseling from UW-Whitewater and a Masters degree from St. Mary's University in Winona, MN.

 

Carol has been involved at Exceptional Equestrians for over 25 years and is also works in the Green Bay Area Public School District.

 

Carol has extensive experience in providing OT to individuals with autism, anxiety and children who have experienced trauma.She has also completed additional courses provided through American Hippotherapy Association and PATH, Int.

 

When not working, Carol enjoys spending time with family and friends, biking and walking her German Shepherd Shelby.

Contact Carol at cklak@exceptionalequestrians.org

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DIANE McINNIS, PT

 

Diane graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a degree in Physical Therapy.

She has worked at Country Kids for over 25 years while also working in the Green Bay Public Schools. Upon her retirement from Green Bay in 2013, she continues to work part-time at both Country Kids and Exceptional Equestrians.

Diane  has been involved with Exceptional Equestrians directly and indirectly since its inception and believes strongly in the therapeutic value of horse-based therapy.

According to Diane, "In my years as a therapist, my greatest joy and blessings have come from the many long lasting attachments that I have made with my clients and their families.  I have been so privileged to watch them grow, many of them into adulthood.  And I hope that I have helped in even a small way to make their lives better." 

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MICAH KESHEMBERG, CERTIFIED RIDING INSTRUCTOR

 

Micah has worked with horses since she was eight years old, and she began volunteering with a therapeutic riding program in 2006.

 

Certified as a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International Riding Instructor in 2013, Micah has worked with two other PATH International centers prior to joining the team at Exceptional Equestrians.

 

Micah is a woman of many talents but even with a B.A. in sociology, criminology and psychology from Marquette University as well as a degree in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, she still finds horses and teaching adaptive riding to be her true passion. 

 

“Seeing the physical, cognitive, and emotional changes in a client as they work with horses and learn to ride has been so inspirational and moving for me. I cannot express how grateful I am to be able to be part of that process!”

 

When not working, Micah loves spending time with her own mare and seeking out new opportunities to study natural horsemanship techniques. 

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ELIZABETH KARRMANN, CERTIFIED THERAPEUTIC RIDING INSTRUCTOR

Elizabeth is a graduate of UW River Falls with a B.S. in Animal Science and an emphasis in Equine Science.

She started riding when she was 14 through 4H and is experienced in western and English riding styles, as well as some driving. Her favorite riding style is dressage.

Elizabeth has extensive experience with equine-assisted therapy. At 14, she began as a volunteer with Free SPIRIT Riders in Fond du Lac and eventually served as their equine manager for four years before joining Exceptional Equestrians. 

 

Elizabeth is certified as a registered therapeutic riding instructor through PATH, Intl.

Contact Elizabeth at ekarrmann@exceptionalequestrians.org

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AARON GEITNER, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING

Aaron joined Exceptional Equestrians in 2020 and serves as Director of Development and Marketing. He is responsible for all development, fundraising, marketing, communications and public relations activities for Exceptional Equestrians.

 

He holds an undergraduate degree in Business/Communications from St. Norbert College with an emphasis in Leadership Studies and Nonverbal Communications.

 

Aaron brings extensive and diverse experience to the role, having held leadership roles in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. He began his career working in the insurance industry holding principal positions with State Farm and Allstate Insurance companies. He also served as General Manager with Russ Darrow Group, a leading automotive supplier with 15 locations around Wisconsin. Most recently Aaron served as Director of Vehicle Program, Marketing and Public Relations with Rawhide, Inc.

Contact Aaron at ageitner@exceptionalequestrians.org.

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MICHAELA DIEDRICK, OFFICE ASSISTANT

Micaela is tasked with greeting our clients and families. She holds a degree in business administration from St. Norbert College.

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MOLLY KAFKA, VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR

Molly has been involved with Exceptional Equestrians for over 20 years. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she received a degree in biomedical sciences. After spending some time with Colorado University’s School of Medicine, Molly returned to Exceptional Equestrians to fill in for the role of Patient and Volunteer Coordinator. She is also currently in the process of obtaining her doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy, specializing in pediatrics and mental health.

 

Molly has always had a passion for medicine and the healing power of horses. She is an avid runner and outdoors fan, and also has a hidden passion for mustard. Molly enjoys working with the many volunteers, riders, and families at Exceptional Equestrians as they remind her of why she chose such a unique and rewarding career.

Contact Molly at mkafka@exceptionalequestrians.org.

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KIM KLISTER, BUSINESS MANAGER

Kim comes to Exceptional Equestrians with more years of accounting and business operations experience than she's willing to admit.  With B.A.'s in Accounting and Business Administration, Kim spent most of her career working with large, local companies, specializing in accounting and financial analysis.  During one company's reorganization, Kim learned about EE and jumped at the chance to join our team, taking on various accounting and business administration tasks.

 

While much of her work is done behind the scenes, it didn't take long for Kim to experience the exceptional, "It was one of my first times helping out in the arena - a young rider made his way through the doors just ahead of his parents.  Once inside, he looked around, smiled, then exclaimed, 'Hi ... This is my faaav-rit place!'  In that moment, I knew we were not only impacting the daily lives of our participants, they were also enhancing ours."

Contact Kim at kklister@exceptionalequestrians.org.