Gene Taylor, MS, LPCC
Executive Director

Gene is originally from Huron, South Dakota. He received his Bachelors of Science Degree from Huron College in 1978 with a Major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. Gene received his Master’s Degree in Human Resource and Development from South Dakota State University in 2003. Prior to his position at Hoffmann Center, Gene worked in residential care with adolescents in South Dakota starting as a night youth counselor and working up to Program Director. He not only has administrative experience, he has extensive experience working on the clinical side with children, adolescents and families. He has over 30 years of working in various administrative roles within the residential field. Gene is the Executive Director of the Leo A. Hoffmann Center organization and Hoffmann Outpatient Counseling Service Centers. He is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.

Leah Davis
Office Manager/AR Billing Specialist

Katelyn Weckwerth, MSW, LGSW
Therapist, Evergreen Cottage, Wolves Unit

Katie graduated in 2015 from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in psychology. In 2019 she graduated from Simmons University with a Master’s of Social Work with a focus in clinical social work. Katie then became a Licensed Graduate Social Worker in August 2019. She has worked as a unit therapist on the Wolves unit since June 2019. Katie currently works as a unit therapist providing individual, family, and group therapy. In her free time, Katie enjoys spending time friends, family, and her pets.

Jessica Ortis, MA, LPCC
Therapist, North Cottage, Knights Unit

Jessica started her career in the human services field as a youth counselor at the Leo A. Hoffmann Center. After this, Jessica worked as a Case Manager and Unit Coordinator at Mille Lacs Academy. While working here, Jessica obtained her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University in 2018. She also obtained her Master’s Certificate in Forensic Psychology from Grand Canyon University in 2020. Prior to returning to the Leo A. Hoffmann Center, Jessica worked as an outpatient school-linked mental health therapist, working with children and adolescents from ages 4 to 18, providing individual, family and group skills therapy services. Jessica is a licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, with experience working with a variety of concerns ranging from communication, trauma, problematic sexual behaviors, anxiety, depression, phase of life adjustments and executive function concerns. Jessica is trained to provide diagnostic assessments, psychosexual assessments and DC: 0-5 assessments. She also has formal training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).

Allison Jensen, MA
Therapist, North Cottage, Phoenix Unit

Allison Jensen received a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology in 2018 from Argosy University. In addition, she received a Forensic Psychology certificate through Grand Canyon University in 2019. She began her career in the mental health field following her undergraduate degree here at the Leo A. Hoffmann Center in 2011 as a full-time youth counselor working with the younger children’s unit. To further her experience in a variety of settings she pursued an opportunity with outpatient services where she provided individual and family skills. Following the completion of her Master’s degree she returned to the Leo A. Hoffmann Center to be a therapist for the Phoenix Unit. Allison has experience treating individuals with depression, anxiety, trauma, attention and impulse difficulties, sexual behavior problems, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Ben Heeringa
Recreation Coordinator

Ben Heeringa graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation in December of 2020 and began working at the Leo A. Hoffmann Center in April 2021. Before being employed by Leo A. Hoffmann Center, Ben spent time interning at an inpatient behavioral health unit where he used recreation to enhance the mental and physical health of clients. Currently, Ben coordinates and facilitates the recreation activities here at the Hoffmann Center.

"What I enjoy about my position is being able to impact the lives of our clients in a positive way through recreation. It is rewarding seeing the clients smile, laugh, and having fun while having a positive influence on their mental and physical health.”

Morgan Buxengard
Unit Supervisor

Morgan attended Mankato State University - Mankato. In 2017 she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in sexuality studies. Morgan has worked at the Hoffmann Center since 2017. She started her employment here as a Youth Counselor, and later took a position as a Unit Supervisor in 2021.

Ricky Drenckhahn
Unit Supervisor, North Cottage, Knights Unit

Ricky attended Mankato State University - Mankato. In 2013 he graduated with a double major in psychology and cognitive science. Ricky has worked at the Hoffmann Center since 2013. He started his employment here as a Youth Counselor, and later took a position as a Unit Supervisor. Regarding his employment at the Leo A. Hoffmann Center, Ricky replied, "I enjoy having the opportunity to get to know each of our unique clients, and watching them mature and grow into respectful young men.

Taylor Vieaux
Unit Supervisor, North Cottage, Phoenix Unit

Taylor attended Mankato State University - Mankato. In 2020 she graduated with a major in Corrections. Taylor has worked at the Hoffmann Center since 2019. She started her employment through Leo A. Hoffmann Center as a Youth Counselor and then moved to a Unit Supervisor. In her free time, Taylor enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with her dog.

Brad Walsh
Residential Program Coordinator

Brad attended Minnesota State, Mankato and graduated in 2011 with a degree in Recreation with an emphasis on Program Planning and Facility Management. Brad worked his first 6 years at the Hoffmann Center as the Recreation Coordinator and has spent the past 4 years as the Residential Program Coordinator. In his free time Brad enjoys athletics, the outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.

Dr. Shane Wernsing
Psychiatrist

Dr. Wernsing graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota with a degree in chemistry. He then went on to earn his Medical Degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Wernsing completed his internship and residency in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and his fellowship in Wisconsin.

Heather Pautsch
HR/PR Specialist

Heather started her career working as a Youth Counselor in a Juvenile Detention Center in Grand Rapids, MN. Then for the last 11 years, worked at a non-profit in the area as their Business Coordinator. Heather has been employed with the Leo A. Hoffmann Center since December 2020 starting as Assistant HR and now as the Human Resource department. Having worked in different areas of the human service field, in particular non-profits, Heather understands the importance of teamwork and adaptability which are significant in the work we do here. In her free time, Heather likes to spend time with her friends and family, and being anywhere outdoors.

Madisen Hyatt
Office Assistant

Madisen attends St. Catherine’s University, working towards a major in Public Health with a biochemistry minor. She has worked in multiple non-profit group home and residential facilities and has a passion for the field. Madisen began working at the Hoffmann Center in March of 2021. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her dogs.

Mariah McGaha
Unit Supervisor, Evergreen Cottage, Wolves Unit

Mariah graduated from Minnesota State University Mankato in 2019 with a double major in Psychology, as well as Gender and Women’s Studies. Mariah has been working at the Hoffmann Center since 2018 where she started as a Youth Counselor and later accepted a position as a Unit Supervisor. Mariah is passionate about providing guidance and education to our clients, while still being able to have fun along the way. In her free time she enjoys long boarding, playing guitar, and spending time with friends.

Thomas E. Kelly, Psy.D., LP
Clinical Director

Dr. Kelly is a Licensed Psychologist with 35 years of experience treating children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Kelly has worked in a variety of mental health settings and with a variety of levels of care including residential treatment for children, inpatient treatment for children and adults, and outpatient treatment for children, adolescents, and adults. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology and worked in a variety of classroom settings for children with special needs. Dr. Kelly began his professional work in psychology as a Milieu Counselor for children and adolescents and has worked with this population in a variety of roles since 1986.

“The Hoffmann Center is a place to open youth’s eyes to how their behaviors have affected their families, friends, and themselves. We offer the youth an opportunity to set the stage for positive and healthy change, there by restoring balance back to their lives and opening the door to their future.”