Meet the Promise DVR Counselors

Amy Ten Haken

“things you’ll find in Amy’s office include a smile, personal choices, a sense of humor, lots of patience, and a judgment-free zone…”

Amy Ten Haken is a Licensed Professional Counselor working in the Green Bay area. She holds a Master’s Degree in school counseling and she’s been employed by DWD since 2006.  She’s excited to be involved with the Promise Grant as it allows her to collaborate with transition students and their families. She uses a comprehensive counseling approach to help teens reach their unique educational and vocational goals. Some of the things you’ll find in Amy’s office include a smile, personal choices, a sense of humor, lots of patience, and a judgment-free zone.


Tania Hanford

“ask me about how to use assistive technology for work and school…”

Tania Hanford is a Promise Grant vocational rehabilitation counselor in the Fox Valley Area. Previously, she had been with the State of Wisconsin – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in Walworth County for over 4 years. Tania also has experience providing in-home mental health counseling for youth and their families in northern Illinois. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from UW – Oshkosh and Master’s Degree from UW – Milwaukee. Tania has specialty training in working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population. She has experience in both the vocational and personal realm working with assistive technology and employment and post-secondary education.


Heidi Aringer

“everyone has the ability to reach their goals if given the right tools”

Heidi Aringer is a recent graduate from Marquette University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has a background in working with youth and their families, as well as those who have substance abuse problems. Heidi believes in an open, honest, relaxed and client-driven approach to vocational counseling, and feels that everyone has the ability to reach their goals if given the right tools. She is committed to providing efficient and effective services for her clients and strives to be a resource families can count on to help make life a little easier.


Kitra Thomas

“Ask me about some of my first jobs…”

Kitra Thomas is a Promise Grant Counselor/Case Manager in the Kenosha, Racine and Walworth Counties. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has been with the State of Wisconsin – Department of Workforce Development’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation as a Vocational Counselor in Kenosha County since 2006. Formerly, Kitra worked with adult/youth criminal offenders and veterans in Kenosha and Racine Counties for 2 years. Prior to that, Kitra worked with adults with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders in Racine County for 4 years. Kitra earned her Master’s Degree on-site at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex because she always wanted to become a DVR counselor. Kitra has been a Wisconsin resident since 1996. Prior to that she worked for the Lake County Fighting Back Project in Illinois, as a Community Coordinator working with groups dedicated to fighting alcohol and drug abuse among Lake County high school students. She worked for Manpower placing customers into temporary employment for over 2 years. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology at a State University and her Associate’s Degree at a community college. Some of her first jobs included working at Six Flags Great America in their Entertainment department, Carson Pirie Scott as a Gift Wrapper, and Eagle Food Centers as a Utility Clerk.


Sue Kratz

“dedicated to empowering youth and their families with sufficient skills and knowledge to reach their vocational and financial goals…”

Sue Kratz  is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Wisconsin and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. She has a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Carroll University.  Sue worked with urban and suburban youth for the past 8 years providing transition services through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and through collaboration with various transition agencies in southeastern Wisconsin. She is dedicated to empowering youth and their families with sufficient skills and knowledge to reach their vocational and financial goals.


Mike Johnson

“So, what can we do together?”

Mike Johnson earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Special Education-Adolescent Focus in 1975. He began work in an alcohol detoxification unit immediately thereafter. He earned the Masters of Science degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling in 1980. He began working for DVR in 2004, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Mike has served people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, traumatic brain injury, chemical dependence, physical disabilities, autism spectrum, and extensive legal histories. He has been trained to provide several kinds of therapy. This includes advanced training in family-systems therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. As a result, Mike serves people from the perspective that will work best for them. Mike believes that “PROMISE provides services with the flexibility to bring wonderful changes to reach individual’s and family’s goals.” Mike’s mantra is “If you’re willing to do the work, I’ll bring your shovel.”


Jackie Meyer

“has a passion to help youth make a good transition…”

Jackie Meyer has a Masters in Counseling Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has worked with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for the past four years. Since coming to DVR, Jackie has worked in the rural areas of the state including Central/North Central and Northwestern Wisconsin. This experience has helped her to be prepared to address the concerns and barriers that living in a rural community may present. Before coming to Promise, she was very active in transition with students and she finds that this a passion to help youth make a good transition from high school to the adult world.


Roxanne Powell

“My approach to engaging youth includes being a creative advocate and nurturing their self-determination…”

Roxanne Powell is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Roxanne has several years of customer service experience and she worked for a Community Based Rehabilitation Facility as a casemanager/employment specialist and program coordinator before moving to Wisconsin. For the last 17 years, she’s been working for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation where her passion for working with youth and transition teams has flourished. Roxanne’s approach to engaging youth includes being a creative advocate, nurturing their self-determination and collaborating with other resources/partners. She believes the innovative services woven into PROMISE will cultivate exciting opportunities that encourage youth and families to reach their full potential.


Annie Mesich

“…unconditional positive regard, hope, and respect are paramount to helping clients be successful.”

Annie Mesich obtained her Masters in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2004. Her first job in the field was a Limited Term Employee with DVR in 2005. Annie has now been with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for 10 years and holds a professional counselor license. Annie is really excited about the opportunity to work with the PROMISE program and to serve transistioning youth and their families. Annie believes that unconditional positive regard, hope, and respect are paramount to helping her clients be successful.


Crystal Kothbauer

“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” (George Lucas)

Crystal Kothbauer earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from UW-Stout and Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling with a heavy emphasis on Educational and Career Counseling from UW-Superior. She has also completed Post Master’s coursework in Rehabilitation Counseling. Her passion lies in helping individuals discover their true potential and understands the supports needed to do so. She really enjoys working with youth because of the energy that population brings and the creativity it allows. She has a comprehensive background in family services, student support services, career counseling/employment training, and disability services. She has also managed an At Risk Youth Program and has worked in Higher Education. She is excited by the opportunity to work with PROMISE as it allows her to bring all of her skills together into one setting. She believes it’s never too early to start looking at vocational goals as the sooner a young person learns what they have the talent and passion for, the sooner they can do something about it!