We’re Here to Help!

Not sure where to start? Ask one of these friendly people.

General Office Hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

CCHE Staff are available outside of office hours by appointment (email or call). Need a place to study after hours? Ask us about our 24/7 access option!

I wish that more people knew that CCHE applies for funding and requests donations to help provide college scholarships to those that want to stay and learn in our community. Each year we give out over $40,000 in college scholarships!

Adrea Beres, Administrative Assistant

Doing the research for going back to school can be difficult and time-consuming – that’s why the Student Services Specialist position exists. I wish the community knew that and took advantage of this FREE resource!

lenna steverLenna Stever-Sobanja, Student Support Specialist

I wish more people knew about the program scholarships. No one should let finances be a barrier in attending workshops and events at CCHE.

Kelsey Rogers Kennedy, Program Director

I wish more people knew that CCHE supports and encourages members of our community to teach at our facility. If you are an expert in a field or have a passion to share, we can help create a class or workshop for you to lead.

karen blackburnKaren Blackburn, Executive Director
karen blackburn

Karen Blackburn (she/her/hers)
Executive Director

The Executive Director’s role runs the gamut from changing lightbulbs to testifying at the Minnesota State Legislature. As Karen sees it, her job is to keep the organization running smoothly: secure funding, lead the fantastic staff, make the hard decisions, maintain the campus, manage the financials and interact with the Board of Directors. Karen has worked for CCHE since 2017.

Office Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Education: B.S. Economics, Yale University; Blandin Leadership Graduate; Upper Iowa University distance learner.

Previous work: Controller at Lutsen Mountains for 10 years, Financial Coordinator at Cook County for 3 years, and private bookkeeping for local non-profits and businesses for 20 years.

Other: Karen’s goal each summer is to sleep in a tent for 20 nights. She also loves to act, sing and dance, and can occasionally be found on the stage of a Grand Marais Playhouse Production.

Kelsey Rogers Kennedy (she/her/hers)
Associate Director – Program Director
CCHS Graduate

Kelsey works with businesses and the community to help assess programming needs and wants, then develops events, workshops, and classes based on those requests. She continually looks for ways CCHE can offer you the education you want where you live! Kelsey has worked for CCHE since 2012.

Office Hours: Monday – Thursday 9 am – 5 pm

Education: B.A. Social Marketing, Northern Michigan University; M.S. Organizational Leadership, St. Mary’s University; and a Blandin Leadership Graduate.

Previous Work: K-12 substitute teacher for 2 years; former administration assistant/registrar, career services advisor, and career development instructor at Rasmussen College for 7 years, Business Owner.

Other: Kelsey enjoys seeing the world through the eyes of her young daughter, eating good food, exploring new places with her husband, pontooning with her family, and hibernating in the winter with a good book. Kelsey is passionate about quality education being accessible to everyone!

Lenna Stever-Sobanja (she/her/hers)
Student Support Specialist
CCHS Graduate

Lenna focuses on making school accessible. This means something different to everyone, but it can include FAFSA assistance, researching online courses or programs, choosing a major, editing essays, paying back student loans, and more. Whatever challenge you are facing as a student or potential student, she is here to assist you. Lenna has worked for CCHE since 2019.

Office Hours: Monday – Thursday 9 am – 4:30 pm, and by appointment

Education: B.A. in English Literature, University of Minnesota.

Previous Work: English as a foreign language to adult learners both abroad and in the U.S.

Other: In 2011 Lenna founded the Cook County Dance Program, where she delighted in sharing the joy of dance with her community. She brings this passion for both education and her community to CCHE.

Adrea Beres (she/her/hers)
Office & Website Administrator

Adrea manages event registration, provides administrative support for events, and manages the website. She has worked at CCHE since 2019.

Office Hours: Monday – Thursday 9 am – 5:30 pm

Education: B.S., Health Education, Touro University; M.S.W., Multicultural Clinical Social Work, Augsburg College.

Previous Work: Adrea worked in public health prior to becoming a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW). Adrea worked for many years in Minneapolis assisting adults experiencing chronic homelessness and serious and persistent mental illness. Additionally, she worked in a group practice as a mental health therapist.

Other: She is also a clinically trained herbalist, and a ceramic and jewelry artist.

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