Brent Robins, Program Director —Brent is a graduate of Wartburg College where he earned his undergraduate degree in elementary education with a psychology minor. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Iowa State University. Brent’s professional career began in the West Des Moines Community School District where he served as a fourth grade teacher, immediately followed by several years teaching sixth grade students. He then served two years as an assistant principal, also in West Des Moines. Most recently, Brent was employed by Principal Financial Group as an Instructional Designer, where he focused on the design and development of materials for employee training. During that time, he was also actively involved in the company’s diversity programs and initiatives.

Brent is an experienced presenter and facilitator of training, as well. For the past decade, he has provided professional development courses to teachers, parents, counselors, administrators, and consultants both in West Des Moines Schools as well as through Heartland AEA. These classes have focused on the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach which offers an alternative to the typical model for working with challenging, and indeed all, children both in school and at home. Brent has also served as a mentor to many children outside of the school setting, including Orchard Place and through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program where he was honored as “Big Brother of the Year” in 2002. He is also the member of several boards in the Des Moines area, including Prevent Child Abuse, Iowa, and Heartland Youth Choir. He is interested in the concept of Restorative Justice, and spends time volunteering in a local program that focuses on this topic.

Kristin Aschenbrenner, Program Specialist —Kristin is an Iowa native and graduate of Drake University where she earned her undergraduate degree in history, graduating with honors. Kristin received her Masters of Education, graduating Magna Cum Laude, from DePaul University in Chicago. Kristin began her professional career as an elementary school teacher, where she implemented mentoring programs for at-risk students and helped the vast majority of her classes graduate at or above grade level in reading.

Recently, Kristin worked for South Dakota Advocacy Network for Women where she organized and represented twenty-one organizations on issues covering education, healthcare, reproductive rights, and poverty. Previously, Kristin worked for Equality South Dakota and developed expertise in ways to end bullying and violence in schools. Kristin also expanded her advocacy when she became the founding President of the South Dakota Young Democrats and built a grassroots network across the state. In her spare time, Kristin serves as the Vice-President of the national organization of Young Democrats for America.

Ryan Roemerman, Program Advisor —Creator of the Safe School Certification Program, Ryan has guided its development from concept to practice. In addition to the certification program, Ryan’s efforts through Iowa Pride Network to help marginalized youth, have brought national attention and acclaim. Under his leadership, IPN was instrumental in the passage of Iowa’s Safe School and amended Civil Rights laws, increasing the number of students protected from harassment and discrimination.

Ryan graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in Communication Studies in 2005 and was featured in the University of Iowa’s “Be Remarkable” campaign that shares the achievements of the people who shaped the University’s history. In 2007, Ryan was named Champion for Children for his advocacy on behalf of Iowa’s children and youth and most recently, received the prestigious 2010 USA Network Characters Unite Award®; one of only eight national awards recognizing extraordinary individuals who have made a significant and lasting difference in fighting prejudice.