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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.

Kristin Woodward-Vaassen

Founder & Creative Director

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. 

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Kristie Asay

Executive Director

Kristie is a Montana native who moved to Dubuque in 2023 to be close to family. Her career nonprofit experience spans healthcare, education, and the arts. Kristie’s heart lies with children with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. In 2004 she earned a Master’s in Nonprofit Management. A member of Rotary Club of Dubuque and Ambassador with the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce, she believes in giving back to our great community and building connections for our most valuable resource, children.

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!


Rachael Allen

Community Outreach Coordinator

Rachael lives in Kansas but grew up in Anamosa and has lots of family in Dubuque. She has spent the last 17 years in education and youth development including: coaching youth sports, teaching, mentorship and juvenile detention center ministries. She is also very active in fundraising and event planning for her church and school. Spending time with family, playing sports and DIY projects are among her favorite pastimes. She is excited to join the Two by Two team to continue helping our youth develop in positive and productive ways.

Julie Kuepers 

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!

Kirsten Weidemann

Lead Educator & Inventory Coordinator

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.

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!

Chelsea Pell

Marketing & 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!

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.

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Genevieve Twining

Administrative Assistant

Genevieve is a graduate of University of Iowa and has spent the last few years working in customer service management at a local financial institution. She has spent the bulk of her career in operations management with a focus on the distribution of local and near-regional media products. She is delighted to finally put her certificate of nonprofit management to use here at Two by Two! She lives here in Dubuque with her husband, little girl, and new baby boy. "Serving this community is important to us both, and being offered a chance to work for a much loved local nonprofit is an incredibly exciting opportunity. I look forward to supporting Two by Two and its wonderful mission of building character and changing lives."