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Our Staff

Two by Two® Character Development is committed to growing responsible citizens of strong character who care for, respect, and appreciate people, animals, and the environment.  Our staff embraces this mission with lots of experience and passion.  Find out more below about these dedicated individuals.


Founder &
Director of Business and Curriculum Development

Kristin's passion and love for teaching started over 30 years ago in a 3rd grade classroom. In 2005, Kristin's dream of helping people, animals, and the environment came true with the creation of the nonprofit, Two by Two. With the support of an incredibly talented team, Two by Two is fostering positive character traits in thousands of youth and families across the nation. Kristin and her adorable husband, Steve, have a full house of 5 amazing boys and many furry, four-legged friends.

Elizabeth Heins

Executive Director

Liz has been in nonprofit leadership since 2006. She has a B.S. in Computer Science from UD, an M.A. in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development from UNI and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). Liz is excited to join the Two by Two team to help create a kinder, gentler world through innovative social-emotional learning curriculum. 

Icle Freeland

Community Outreach Director

Icle is an Illinois native who attended the University of Dubuque. He has experience working in elementary education, non-profits, disaster response, higher education, coaching, and sales. He and his fiance live in Dubuque with their two guinea pigs, Skunky and Dibby. In his free time, you will likely find him exploring Dubuque and the surrounding Tri-state area or at UD where he volunteers as an assistant lacrosse coach. He is excited to join the passionate team at Two by Two!

Jonny Carlson

Community Outreach Coordinator

Jonny graduated from Loras College in 2019 with degrees in Secondary Education and History. He has experience working as a youth camp counselor, after-school associate, and high school teacher. He and his wife, Ruth, and daughter, Gianna, live in Dubuque, Iowa. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, fishing, and hanging out with friends and family. He is very excited to have the opportunity to advance the mission of Two by Two and work with such a wonderful and dedicated team!

Jonny Carlson

Community Outreach Assistant

Julie was born and raised in Wisconsin but has lived close enough to consider herself a Dubuquer. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and lives with her husband, 2 kids, and "one of the cutest golden retrievers." She has a background in photography, massage therapy, CRM Administration, and as a PE teacher. She is excited and thankful to be a part of the team!

Becca Johnson


Becca taught for 37 years at Sageville Elementary School in the Dubuque Community School District. Becca's love for and belief in children, and her desire to help make the world a better place, brought her to Two by Two. She currently is serving as one of Two by Two's educators.

Shirley Koppes


Shirley recently retired from Eisenhower Elementary in Dubuque. She has seen Two by Two taught in classes since the beginning! As an educator for over 30 years, she knows the importance of caring for our children's social and emotional well-being. She has been married to Craig for almost 50 years and raised 3 beautiful daughters. She is so excited to help spread this impactful curriculum to many more children!

Kirsten Weidemann


Kirsten in an educator for Two by Two with 16 years of teaching experience. Her belief that every child, no matter their circumstances or abilities, should have access to the tools necessary to grow and learn is why she is enthusiastic about character education and the opportunities it creates for students.

Chelsea Pell

Marketing and Communication Coordinator

Chelsea moved to Iowa from Berkeley, CA, in July of 2018. She is an alum of California Lutheran University, earning both her undergraduate degree in communications and her master's in business administration. She recently transitioned to a new role and is looking forward to being a part of the amazing growth of Two by Two!

Melissa Oftedahl

Administrative Assistant

Melissa is a native Dubuquer, with several years working in finance and administration in corporate and non profit offices in the area. She is very excited to join the Two by Two Character Development Team. Her three children had the privilege of participating in the Kindhearted Kids Program with the Dubuque Community Schools 13 years ago! She has an amazing husband, Mark, 2 sons, 1 daughter and 2 granddaughters.

LaCretia Lage

Administrative Assistant

LaCretia is an Oklahoma native and moved to the Dubuque area within the last five years and now calls it home. She graduated from Friends University with a degree in Human Resources. She has a great husband, 2 boys and 2 furry kids! Her youngest son had the privilege of going through the Two-by-Two program, in which he absolutely loved it! She is very excited to be part of this team and program that makes a big impact on children’s lives, and in turn gives our world a touch of kindness to pass on.

Wendy Lyon


Wendy graduated from Buena Vista University in 1994 with a BA in Business Finance and Management. After working in various management and financial positions, she started her own business helping smaller companies set up bookkeeping and other business practices. She lives in Dyersville with her husband, Chad, and 3 sons.