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Our People

Everyone at DSAMn has a personal, profound commitment to the families we serve, and are here to connect, to listen, and to find answers for any question or need you have.


Sarah Curfman
President & CEO

Backstory: Sarah is here to lead in organizational strategy, fund development, member satisfaction and day-to-day operations. Sarah brings more than 20 years of nonprofit and leadership experience to DSAMn, and is the founder of Bridge Interim LLC, a firm providing interim leadership and capacity building services for nonprofit organizations, plus was the managing consultant for CLA’s nonprofit and public sector practice. She lives in Shakopee with her husband and three kids; her youngest, Felix, was born with Down syndrome.

Ashley Azar
Director, Office Administration

Backstory: Ashley is here to help with donation and program registration questions as well as anything related to office coordination. Ashley has a background in business communications, focusing on project management and enjoys helping nonprofits meet their goals by handling the details. When she is not at DSAMn she is working with other groups near to her heart including her two husband and children.

Tracy Hafeman
Director, New & Expectant Parent and Medical Outreach Programs

Backstory: Tracy is here to provide ongoing support for our parent groups, new family outreach, parent-to-parent connections program, as well as our medical outreach programs. Prior to joining DSAMn, Tracy spent 14 years teaching special education and was involved with the start-up and facilitation of the Roseville Area Parent Group. Tracy and her husband, Steve, have four children; their second child, Will, has Down syndrome.

Kassi Schimek
Associate Director, New & Expecting Parent Support

Backstory: Prior to joining DSAMn, Kassi worked as an Early Childhood Special Education Birth-2 Teacher for 11 years. She has experience with home visiting, caregiver coaching, service coordination, special education paperwork, and evaluation and assessment. Kassi is an advocate for individuals with disabilities, mental health, and antiracism work.

Erin To
Parent Group Coordinator

Backstory: Prior to joining DSAMn staff, Erin was a long time DSAMn volunteer as a facilitator of our South of the River Parent Group where she still enjoys connecting with families in her area. She lives in Lakeville with her three sons. Her youngest son, Ronin, was born with Down syndrome.

Heidi Gage
Southeaster Regional Coordinator

Backstory: In addition to her role as one of DSAMn’s new Regional Coordinators, Heidi is a Senior Loan Officer with Mayo's Employee Credit Union and the leader of the Rochester Area Parent Group. She and her husband live in Rochester and have two children. Their youngest, Josie, has Down syndrome.

Lizz Windnagel
Coordinator, Programs Teens & Adults

Backstory: Lizz is a theater-maker, director, musician, and educator based in the Twin Cities. As a truly multi-disciplinary artist, they have experience performing and directing opera, puppetry, experimental theater and more. As the program director for performing arts at DSAMN, Lizz encourages as many artist-led creation classes and performances as possible. At DSAMN they have taught classes in physical comedy, puppetry, movement, and devised theater.

Shelby Richardson
Program Facilitator

Backstory: Shelby Richardson is a trans non-binary artist and theater maker who has been living and working in the Twin Cities for the last decade. With DSAMN Shelby works to listen to students' interests and passions and helps facilitate their unique voices being at full volume on stage. They are the co-founder of WeAreMarried performance group; a pro-labor art business that strives to create sustainable employment and build thriving communities for and with artists in the Twin Cities. They are also an astrologer.

Anna Lindeberg
Bike Camp Coordinator/Intern

Backstory: While interning for DSAMn, Anna is a student at the University of Minnesota majoring in Economics and Strategic Communication. She became involved with DSAMn through her older brother John, who has Down syndrome.

Ashley Olthoff
Director, Family Connector Program

Backstory: Ashley is here to provide ongoing support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families as build connections with providers and community partners as DSAMn’s Family Connector Program. Prior to joining DSAMn, Ashley was the founding program manager of GiGi’s Playhouse – Twin Cities and has served as DSAMN’s Minneapolis/West Metro Parent Group facilitator for many years. In addition, she is a licensed early childhood and elementary school teacher. Ashley lives with her husband and two boys in Minneapolis. Her oldest, Oliver, was born with Down syndrome.

Lauren Kaplan
Associate Director, Family Connector Program

Backstory: Lauren comes to DSAMn with a background in education. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching and is licensed to teach Spanish and ESL. She has played a vital role in shaping the Family Connector Program at DSAMn since it began in 2020. She is passionate about helping families navigate complex systems and access supports and services. She is also focused on connecting with Spanish speaking families within the Ds community. Lauren has three children and her youngest daughter, Hollis, has Down syndrome.

Breanna Baker
Family Connector

Backstory: Breanna is a recent graduate Rasmussen College with a degree in health and wellness. She lives in Minneapolis and is a single parent to one son, who has Down syndrome.

Anushka Shiell
Family Connector, Emergency Financial Assistance Program Coordinator

Backstory: Anushka has an undergraduate degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and Disability Studies from the University of Arizona, and a master's degree in Gerontology from Oklahoma State University. She has worked in the area of patient education for individuals with age-related neurodegenerative illness since 2016. She has worked with DSAMn since September 2020, providing support and resources as a Family Connector. She also coordinates the Emergency Financial Assistance Program. Anushka enjoys research and working with families on issues involving adults, such as finding housing, activities, employment, and mental health support. Anushka lives in St. Louis Park with her husband.

Danyel Hinson
Family Connector, Transition to Adult Services

Backstory: Danyel is the mom to three adult children, including Tony who is her oldest at 24 with Down syndrome. She has been both a volunteer and staff member in various roles in service to multiple populations through advocacy, counseling, education and support. She is encouraged by the changes in the growth and progress of the Down syndrome community as well as the ongoing efforts for the continued pursuit of quality of life for all individuals. She is grateful for the opportunity to join in the work of DSAMn in their mission to empower individuals and their families in their obtaining of full potential reaching, rich, meaningful and rewarding lives.

Family Connectors

Here to: Help families connect with resources and navigate healthcare, county services, and educational needs.

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