Meet our Team

Board of Directors

Board of DirectorsThe governing body of SMILES is the Board of Directors.
Serving as a member of the Board of Directors is a volunteer position.  These members are not compensated for their work.

Mark Hanson, President
Retired Educator

Judy Atkinson, Interim Vice President
Retired HR Manager, City of Whitewater

Becky Dyckman, Treasurer
Retired Vice President, Administration, LFC Capital, Inc

Cassie Kriefall, Secretary
Title 1 Teacher, School District of  Janesville

Dennis Markley
Retired Educator

Bonnie Hoover
Retired HR Director & Accountant

Hamza Jaka
Contract Attorney, Gardiner Kock Weisberg & Wrona

Ken Monestero
Retired, AT&T Senior Instructor

Monica Uselding
Supervisor of Rehabilitation Services at Aurora Health Care and Physical Therapist

Dr. Ashley Slater, DVM
Veterinarian, Elkhorn Veterinary Clinic Ltd.



Meet the Staff

Sorted alphabetically by first name.

Ellie and Sarah

Ellie Money

HEARTS Program Coordinator/Instructor in Training

BA - Business & Fashion Merchandising

Ellie began her journey at SMILES as a volunteer, looking for an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. These extra couple hours at SMILES quickly turned into something larger and now she takes on the role of the HEARTS program coordinator and an Instructor in Training. From a young girl, she has always gravitated towards animals and has a strong connection to them. Being at SMILES gives her the opportunity to involve her love for animals and passion for people together by assisting in Equine-related therapeutic work.

Growing up all over the Midwest, and even Canada, she found herself back to where she's always called home, Delavan. Ellie attended the University of Alabama with a Double major in Business and Fashion Merchandising. Shortly after College, she found herself in New York City working at Kleinfeld Bridal. With many great opportunities in her past, she is so happy to have found herself here at SMILES with the wonderful Staff, Volunteers, Clients, and Horses.

She is so excited to begin her Journey at SMILES and to continue helping our community in SE Wisconsin!


Emily Willert

Marketing and Development Coordinator

BA-Integrated Studies - Secondary Fields of Study in Psychology and Business & Management

Emily calls SMILES her dream job when she started in mid-2022. She has a huge passion for equine-assisted therapeutic activities and riding. Emily grew up volunteering at nursing homes and assisted livings since her mother was a nursing home administrator.  Her experiences helped her discover she enjoyed helping others and sharing her joys with others.  Being around horses for 13+ years and volunteering with residents, frail elders, developmentally disabled, mentally ill, and with dementia residents.  In 2013-2018 she blended these two things to find a niche that gave her fulfillment by bringing her horse to the communities her mother ran for an annual fair day.  The pleasure on the residents’ faces was what she decided should become a career.

Emily attended Alverno College in Milwaukee and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in integrated studies along with secondary fields of study in psychology and business and management. She knows the positive effect animals can have on people and she knew she wanted to work at a facility that used animals for therapeutic activities. With her knowledge in websites, writing, and being certified in grant writing, she helps SMILES strive on social media, event planning, website updates, and writing grants.

Katie Boss and Ben

Katie Firn Boss

Equine Coordinator & Instructor

PATH Intl. CTRI, PATH Certified Mentor

Katie’s enthusiasm for Therapeutic Riding started at the young age of 13 when she started as a class volunteer at SMILES. Wanting to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a Program Coordinator, Katie knew she wanted to pursue Therapeutic Riding as a career. Starting as the Volunteer Coordinator in 2006, Katie went on to become PATH Certified as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor in 2008. In 2012, Katie took on the role of Program Coordinator and later became a PATH Certified Mentor in 2015.

Katie was fortunate enough to grow up in an equestrian household and spent much of her youth and amateur career competing on a national level in the all-around events on the International Buckskin Horse Association circuit, winning World Championships, and national titles. With her strong passion for horsemanship and her love for therapeutic riding, it has been a dream career for her.

Watching the program grow over the years into the successful organization it is today leaves Katie feeling grateful to be a part of something so wonderful, and that improves the lives of the clients, volunteers, and staff every day.

Katie L. edited

Katie Luessenhop

Program Coordinator & Instructor

BSE-Elementary/Middle School Education, PATH Intl. CTRI, PATH Certified Mentor

Katie joined the SMILES team as a staff member in 2013, however, she was involved with the program as a volunteer for much longer.  Like many young girls, Katie loved being around horses, and since the SMILES facility was only a mile away from her childhood home, it was an ideal place for her to volunteer.  After graduating from UW-Whitewater with a degree in Elementary/Middle School Education, her passion for teaching, helping people, and being around horses called her back to the SMILES program.  Having witnessed the positive impact of equine-assisted activities during her time as a volunteer, Katie knew that continuing her involvement with SMILES would be the perfect fit for her.

Katie is the Program Coordinator and has been a PATH Intl Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor since 2014.  In 2015, Katie also became a Certified Mentor for new instructors and has successfully mentored several individuals through the PATH Instructor Certification.  Working as an Instructor at SMILES has made Katie a firm believer that horses help bridge the gap between disability and ability. Katie is incredibly grateful to work with an amazing group of clients, and a hard-working team of volunteers and staff.  Together, this team makes a difference in the lives of individuals with special needs.

Leslie and Bullet

Leslie Warnecke

Office Manager

BA-ART, Associate of Applied Science - Accounting

Leslie began as a volunteer in 2015, became a board member in 2016-2022, and became Office Manager in mid-2022. She has always had a “soft spot” in her heart for horses as she rode often as a child. Growing up in Delavan, she knew about SMILES and the wonderful work they do with the students. She wanted to become involved and was fortunate enough to volunteer to see firsthand all the benefits equine-assisted therapeutic activities bring to the students and the self-fulfillment for herself. She continues to volunteer when and where she is able.

Leslie graduated from UW-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art with an emphasis in graphic design. She worked in the marketing department for a few businesses before starting a career in accounting. After receiving her associate degree in accounting, she has worked 20+ years in the accounting field.


Melinda Ludlum

Volunteer Coordinator & Instructor


Melinda was born in Cedar Rapids, IA, and lived there until she was 12. She then moved to Beloit, WI. Her fondest memories of living in Iowa were caring for her chickens and sheep on her family's farm. She's always been an animal lover and it was her dream to one day have her own little farm.

In 2014, her family moved to a farm on the west side of Beloit. Her husband of almost 21 years have three incredible teenage boys (17, 15, and 14). Her family enjoys sporting events, hiking, and swimming together in the summer. They also enjoy taking care of their farm together. They have three horses, one mini horse, three dogs, two goats, chickens and ducks.

Melinda and her sons volunteered together for Meals on Wheels throughout the years. Melinda then saw the volunteer opportunity for SMILES come across her Facebook feed and knew it would be the perfect spot for her! Her loves for horses, combined with helping people, brings her so much joy. She's very excited to learn and grow with the SMILES family!

Troy and Rodney

Troy Moldenhauer

Executive Director

MS - College Student Personnel and Counseling

BSE - Communicative Disorders

Troy, a long-standing friend of SMILES, is delighted to assume the role of Executive Director within the organization. With close to 15 years of volunteering and having four out of his five children benefit from SMILES' services, Troy regards this opportunity as the realization of a dream. He has personally witnessed the invaluable impact of equine-assisted programming and holds the rewards it offers in high regard.
Throughout his professional journey, Troy has predominantly served as an educator, particularly in the capacity of a university administrator. His dedication to lifelong learning aligns seamlessly with the educational mission of SMILES, emphasizing the value it brings to our community.
Troy's newfound passion is the quality time he gets to spend with the exceptional SMILES staff, volunteers, students, families, and community partners.