Elyse Rethlake focuses on building CESO brand awareness with school districts across the country. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the College of St. Benedict and over 14 years of sales and marketing experience in the home improvement and powersports industries. Energized by crafting marketing strategies to boost awareness and strengthen client loyalty, she merges her fresh perspective with CESO's expertise to create tailored marketing solutions.

She enjoys the local food and live music scenes and can often be found taking art classes, gardening, reading, trying (and failing) to make the perfect pie crust, and planning her next travel adventure.

As Senior Strategy Consultant, DeeDee Kahring maximizes clients' operations across the board with a focus on Finance, Thought & Strategy Coaching. and Superintendent Aftercare Solutions. Previously the Executive Director of Finance & Operations for Wayzata Public Schools (Minnesota), DeeDee is well-known in K-12 education and brings a wealth of knowledge to her clients from her highly successful career. She has also led finance and business operations for other Minnesota school districts including Eastern Carver County Schools and Cambridge-Istanti Schools as well as public companies like Springsted Incorporated and Emerson Automation Solutions.

Her comprehensive experience managing complex projects - like long-range planning, capital project funding, special project planning, referenda, negotiations costing models, property purchases, and construction budgeting - combined with her passion for coaching fellow leaders make her an ideal partner to drive financial stability and leadership retention for our clients.

DeeDee earned her Bachelor's in Finance from Minnesota State University-Mankato and her Master of Business Administrator from the University of Iowa. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and enjoys time with her grandchildren while also staying active through curling, golf, and travel. For her next adventure, she is setting sail on a Danube River Cruise.

Jason Mutzenberger grew up in West Fargo, North Dakota and graduated from North Dakota State University with an Accounting & Business Administration degree. His 20+ year career spans private business, higher education, and city government organizations as well as Minnesota K-12 districts including Richfield Public Schools, Inver Grove Heights Schools and Eden Prairie Schools.

Highly-respected by his peers for his innovative, proactive approach to school finance, Jason spent the past 10 years prior to joining CESO building an unparalleled foundation for Eden Prairie Schools as Executive Director of Business Services. In a time when many districts have faced budget cuts, Jason's leadership and prioritization maximized all resources for sustainable stability. The breadth and depth of his experienced combined with his deep understanding of finance and operations makes him a perfect partner for fractional CFO, Controller, and Business Manager support for our clients. In addition to being a certified SFO, he is also a former Minnesota Association of School Business Officials (MASBO) board member.

Outside of work, Jason enjoys time at the lake with his wife, Adrienne, and daughters, Belle and Lily. He also spends as much time as he can on the golf course and dreams of playing Pebble Beach one day.

With a career spanning over 28 years in public education, Dr. Bob McDowell has held various pivotal roles including superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, technology coordinator, teacher, and coach. He has honed his expertise in operations and systems development, Human-Centered Design, leadership development, continuous improvement, adaptive strategic planning, coaching, and school board relationships.

He hold's a bachelor's degree in Technology Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, a master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of St. Thomas, a specialist degree in Educational Administration from Minnesota State University-Mankato, and a doctorate in Education from St. Mary's University.

Lauren joined CESO in 2022 as a Finance Consultant after spending over a decade in finance and accounting roles. Her combination of big-picture strategic thinking and in-depth knowledge of K-12 finance operations makes her a powerful resource for school district teams.

Prior to being the Director of Finance for Orono Public Schools (MN), Lauren spent four years in the private sector serving as Accounting Manager and Senior Financial Accountant for a Minneapolis-based Fortune 100 company. Prior to that she spent three years as a Governmental Auditor for several Minnesota school districts.

She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and earned her MBA from Hamline University in 2019. She has been a licensed Certified Public Accountant since 2012.

With more than ten years of experience as a human resources professional, Christa is passionate about putting care for people at the heart of HR functions and  supporting organizational decisions using data analytics to shed light on key questions. Prior to joining CESO, she was the backbone for all human resources in Spring Lake Park Schools (MN). As Vice President of Consulting Practice, she now focuses on developing processes, systems, and analytics to ensure we are delivering the biggest impact and results for our clients.

An experienced educator and professional learning leader, Laura Eiden began her career as a teacher before falling in love with professional and personal development work as a teacher innovation coach and student teacher supervisor. As the Vice President for CESO Human Resources, Laura now focuses on building authentic relationships with clients through thoughtful questioning and deep listening to help them think differently about systems and practices that impact the experience of each person within their organizations.

Bob Noyed left a short career as a starving journalist to pursue a 30 plus year career in school communications. He accepted his first school communications job because, well, he needed a job. This gainful employment quickly turned into a passion for public education, and he has not looked back. He served as director of communications for a handful of districts in suburban Minneapolis (Minn.) before joining CESO Communications in July 2019.

He has been a member and leader of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) including service as president in 2006-2007, as well as the Minnesota School Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA), where he served as president twice. He writes and speaks about school communications to anyone who will listen. He has a deep dislike for the status quo and is known for more than his fair share of crazy ideas (some of the craziest ones actually worked). He loves wine, food, travel and can easily be talked into skipping work to take in an afternoon baseball game. He lives in the St. Paul suburbs with his wife Susan, and more wine than two people should own.

Ryan Stromberg brings 22+ years of comprehensive human resources experience to his current co-CEO role. In addition, he has been an executive leader in public education since 2007 and an executive coach for the past 10 years.

He received his master's degree in Organizational Development & Leadership from the University of St. Thomas, was past president of the Minnesota Association for School Personnel Administrators (MASPA) and formerly owned Walker Thomas Consulting.

Ryan is passionate about collaborating with district leaders to rethink what's possible for the education system. He lives in Medina, Minnesota with his wife, Katy, and their two sons.

In addition to his senior leadership responsibilities as co-CEO, Ron Meyer also leads CESO's finance team providing consulting, management and staffing support for organizations across all areas of their business and finance departments.

With over 15 years of experience in finance and operations, he began his career in the education space in transportation operations. Since then, he's held several transportation leadership roles and has been a controller, CFO and COO at several districts across Minnesota. He currently serves on the Business Advisory Committee at Bethel University and has also served on the Eastern Carver County District School Board.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master of Business Administration from Bethel University. Prior to education, he owned and operated insurance businesses. He lives in Chaska, Minnesota with his wife, Erin, and their three children.

Mike has advised over 100 school districts throughout his 13+ years of experience in school transportation operations. He has served as a GIS specialist, routing and planning manager, operations manager and consultant. Mike brings expertise within the areas of GIS mapping, technology implementation, analytics, and change management. He consistently leverages data analysis to support recommendations for his clients and to effectively manage daily operations. In addition to his work with pupil transportation, he also has experience with trucking and public transit. Mike holds a bachelor's degree from Penn State University.

Nikki has been with CESO since 2019, where she specialized in helping secure stable transportation for kids experiencing homelessness. Since then, she has served in a number of transportation leadership roles, most recently as our Director of Transportation Management Services. In her current position, Nikki works directly with school transportation and business leaders, sharing and facilitating best practices as they relate to transportation planning, vendor relations, student safety, and beyond.

Nikki loves working with schools to help students start and finish their day with positive, reliable bus community — consistent routes, pickup times, and drivers — throughout their childhood.

Tom has more than 30 years of professional experience, over 20 of which have been providing consulting services. His work has focused on operations, logistics, and complex problem solving for hundreds of public and private sector clients. Tom has been at the forefront of change management and operational improvement within the student transportation and government services sector. He has developed a unique and nuanced understanding of how logistics impacts successful education and government service delivery. Awareness of cross-functional connections, the importance of data-supported analyses, and the critical manner in which complex subjects are communicated to diverse groups of stakeholders have each been developed and refined over Tom’s career as a trusted advisor to his clients.

Tom’s work is grounded in the understanding that informed and thoughtful decision making coupled with empowered leadership can drive lasting and meaningful improvement within any organization. Tom holds a degree in Maritime Transportation from the Maine Maritime Academy, and a Master of Business Administration from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.


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