Meet the Staff

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Michelle Nielson

Executive Director

Michelle stepped into the role of Executive Director in April  of 2021. Michelle lives in Nebraska and will be relocating to the Keweenaw area. Michelle has a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Administration and a Masters in Education degree. She has many years of experience working in non-profit organizations, grant writing, project/program management, teaching, curriculum design, and partnership development.

Michelle and her husband, Clay, have two daughters. As a family they enjoy  activities such as golfing, boating, swimming, and traveling.

Michelle has a great appreciation for education and a passion for lifelong learning. She is always ready for an adventure and exploring new possibilities. She finds her motivation in the making a positive impact on those around her as well as the community she lives in.

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Erin Gregorcich

Programs Coordinator/Instructor

Erin is Kaleidoscope’s Programs Coordinator as well as an instructor for both virtual electives and in person classes. Prior to working for Kaleidoscope, Erin spent 20 years in the field of education. She holds a degree in Music Education with a minor in Early Childhood Education and has worked as an instructor in schools, community centers, camps, and in her own music business.

In addition to her work for Kaleidoscope, she currently homeschools her own children. In her spare time she enjoys knitting, playing board games with her family, and exploring the outdoors. Erin’s favorite thing about teaching is being able to provide opportunities for students to develop their own confidence and creativity.

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Erin Lempkowski

L’Anse Coordinator/Instructor

Erin is the Kaleidoscope L’Anse Coordinator and an Instructor. She has a BS in Equestrian Science and has worked in a variety of educational and therapeutic settings (sometimes with horses, sometimes not). Erin has been homeschooling since 2011. Her interests include sewing, knitting, natural living, reading, exploring the great outdoors, and playing the violin and piano. She also is a volunteer EMT in her community.

Erin is passionate about helping families find ways to meet their educational goals and helping students access a wide variety of opportunities so they can discover their passions.

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Megan Shaw

Hancock Coordinator

Meg was raised in the UP and grew up loving nature. She attended Michigan Technological University, where she earned a B.S. in Biology and Science Education and then an M.S. in Forest Ecology.

After many years teaching and many more great experiences in rural Alaska, she and her husband decided to move their family back to the Upper Peninsula. Meg has been homeschooling their 3 kids since 2020.

Meg loves to inspire students to fall in love with science and to make science visible and accessible to all learners. She enjoys photography, reading, hiking, snowshoeing, gardening, and, of course, adventures with her family — preferably with no cell service.

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Jessica Cadeau

Administrative Assistant/Instructor

Jessica is Kaleidoscope’s Administrative Assistant. Born and raised in Baraga County, Jessica left the area to attend Michigan State University and Northern Michigan University to earn her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. She and her husband worked their way back to the area to raise their three children close to family, the community, and the beautiful landscape they so love and appreciate. Jessica currently homeschools their 3 children on their small scale farm in L’Anse. In her spare time she enjoys outdoor adventures and travel, as well as crafting and hobby farming. Jessica’s biggest inspiration for working with Kaleidoscope is being able to make a positive impact in her community.

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Dan Choszczyk

Instructor

Master Dan is Kaleidoscope’s Martial Arts instructor. He holds the rank of Master in two types of martial arts and high ranks in other styles. He has been involved in martial arts training for over 45 years. He teaches Tae Kwon Do and portions of five different styles. He was the head instructor for the USAF at KI Sawyer for two years and has taught classes for various private schools, colleges, and universities, specializing in self defense training for law enforcement.

When not teaching and training, Dan is a custom knife maker who creates knives and other types of bladed weapons and enjoys gardening, fishing, hunting, and shooting sports with his wife of 37 years. 

Master Dan’s favorite parts of teaching are watching his student progressing through the various colored belts, and the moment when a student receives a promotion.

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Shannon Hilaire

Board Administrative Assistant

As Board Administrative Assistant, Shannon brings her love for organization and attention to detail to our organization.

Shannon also serves as the Communications Director for the American Heart Association, telling the stories of those affected by heart disease and stroke through digital strategies and media placements. Previously, she worked in the communications department for the award-winning Greater Omaha Chamber, where she helped create the city’s brand and retain talent to the area. Shannon has volunteered on many boards throughout her professional career, including serving as PRSA Nebraska President. She was awarded the “Newcomer of the Year” award from PRSA Nebraska in 2011 .

Shannon and her husband, Jimmy, have a daughter, Holiday, who takes up all of their free time — and they love every minute of it.

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Christy Wilson

Instructor

Christy teaches Art and Tinker Lab at Kaleidoscope L’Anse. She has worked with kids all of her life! When she was 20, she starting working with Youth Programs in the Air Force. She worked in the Youth Programs for over 15 years, working with children ages between 5 and 18. She has 3 children and has been married for over 20 years.

Christy  has wanted to teach and work with kids since she was a kid herself! Christy has been going to college on and off for years and hopes to soon finish her degree. Until then, she’ll stay creative and have fun teaching kids for as long as she’s allowed!

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Tiffany Nygord

Instructor

Tiffany was born and raised in the UP, which is where her love for nature and art began. She wanted to draw all of the beautiful nature that surrounded her.

She has been a Certified Nurses Aide for 16+ years and plans to continue her education to become a nurse. Helping others has always been important to her.
Tiffany has been homeschooling her son since 2020 and loves developing fun and creative ways for him to learn.

In her free time she enjoys reading, going for hikes, gardening, drawing, and painting.

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Emily Svenson

Instructor

Emily is a Functional Medicine Health coach and the virtual Health class instructor for Kaleidoscope. In the past, she has taught Healthy Living, Kids Cooking classes, and Zumba, and was the Wellness Coordinator for the Keweenaw Co-op. Emily is currently pursuing yoga teacher certification and board certification for Health Coaching.

Emily is a mom of three amazing kids who enjoys dance, yoga, fitness, adventure, nature, and great books. Emily has dealt with her own health struggles such as asthma and allergies and disordered sleep. She has significantly improved her own conditions through lifestyle change, and has a passion for helping others do the same. Emily loves to be an ally for others on their journey towards better health and a more fulfilling life.

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Catherine Hiltunen

Instructor

Catherine is the owner of Magic Kiln Studio in Hancock. Before opening the Magic Kiln, Catherine was an elementary school teacher in Texas. She has worked in the community for over 8 years providing a place where families can be creative. She has also coordinated with Great Explorations after school, summer programs to bring art projects to the schools, and has offered workshops and art classes through her studio.

Catherine is a proud mom of two teenagers and one dog and is passionate about allowing kids opportunities to express themselves through art.

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Zack Osborn

Instructor

Zack Osborn has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He’s spent time working at biotech companies and with the Center for Sustainable Science and Planning at UCSD, where he also ran a farm and garden program (both at the University and at Elementary schools across San Diego). He also currently works with the Center for Science and Outreach part of Michigan Tech University doing environmental science field trips with schools across the U.P.

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Chris Amidon

Instructor

Chris wants to empower kids of all ages to learn in their own way—have adventures, solve mysteries, and follow projects that capture their imagination.

Kaleidoscope is an opportunity to encourage these nontraditional learning opportunities through financial backing, resource sharing, and family support.

Chris works as a park ranger for Isle Royale National Park and volunteers as the Kaleidoscope Board of Directors President.

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Mallory White

L'Anse Admin Assistant

A hair stylist turned homeschool teacher, Mallory began homeschooling her four children in 2020. Mallory has lived in the UP since 2011. She likes to get creative with sewing, crocheting, and crafts. In her free time, you can also find her hanging out with her family and their three dogs or working in her garden. Mallory brings her love of helping others, playing office, and multitasking to keep Kaleidoscope L’Anse running at its best.

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Andrew Shaud

Instructor

Andrew is the Executive Director of the Copper Country Suzuki Association. He is the CCSA’s cello instructor as well as the Conductor of the Keweenaw Youth Symphony Orchestra. Andrew teaches students of all ages and abilities in his studio.

Andrew holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Cello Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. As a performer, Andrew has played with the Keweenaw Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Maryland Symphony and Gettysburg Symphony Orchestras.

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Amanda Knapp

Substitute Instructor

A homeschooling mom since 2008, Amanda brings a love of learning to her work for Kaleidoscope. Amanda has taught  several different classes to groups of homeschoolers, such as cooking and DIY projects. Amanda is the go-to substitute for both teaching classes and supervising the Kaleidoscope L’Anse facility, where she is known as the “Kaleidoscope Fairy” for filling in wherever needed. Her favorite thing about working at Kaleidoscope is when students tell her they are doing something at home that she taught them about or introduced to them.
In her free time, Amanda can be found helping others or going for walks and hikes with her family to spend some time in the great outdoors.