MENTAL HEALTH

MEET OUR TEAM

CATHERINE RUHLMAN

CATHERINE RUHLMAN

School Psychologist: Ed.S; NCSP

Please visit - https://www.esu16.org/staff to contact her

I received my Bachelors of Art in Psychology with an Emphasis of Mental Health and minor in Sociology from Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. I then received my Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S) in School Psychology from The University of Nebraska at Kearney. I have my NCSP (Nationally Certified School Psychologist). This is my 11th year as a School Psychologist and have been with ESU 16 that entire time. For 11 years I have been a Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (CPI) Instructor. I am part of our Nebraska Crisis/Safety Team and ESU 16 Crisis Response Team Coordinator. Being a School Psychologist has been a lifelong dream of mine. I have always wanted to be an advocate for students. I am able to help in the area of academia, behavioral, social-emotional, and mental health. My hobbies include playing golf and tennis, reading, gardening, and baking. 

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Tonya Townsend

Tonya Townsend

School Psychologist: ED. S., NCSP

Please visit - https://www.esu16.org/staff to contact her

I received my bachelors degree from the University of Nebraska of Kearney in 1998 with emphasis in Criminal Justice and Psychology.  I continued my education graduating from UNK again in 2002 with a masters in Community Counseling and then an Education Specialist degree in 2004.  I have been a school psychologist for the past 19 years also working as an adjunct instructor for Mid-Plains Community College since 2011 and the University of Nebraska at Omaha since 2021 within the Sociology and Psychology departments. My internships included specialized clinical social work training in the inpatient unit and adolescent/adult partial care through Great Plains Health.  I’ve worked at a day mental health facility providing resources within the community and teaching daily living skills.  I have extensive training in Autism including both evaluation and programming needs.  In 2015, I presented alongside my NPPS District Autism Team (DAT) at the Nebraska Autism Conference. The DAT Team earned the NE ASD Puzzle Piece Award in 2016.  I am currently pursuing my National Dyslexia Specialist Certification through UNO. I am passionate about learning and forming relationships with families, children, and my colleagues. I enjoy swimming and traveling with my husband and two older teenagers for baseball and softball!

GWEN BERGSTROM

GWEN BERGSTROM

Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner (LIMHP): MS Ed.

Please visit - https://www.esu16.org/staff to contact her

I received my Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Management from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. I then received my Masters of Science in Education (MS Ed.) in Clinical Therapy from The University of Nebraska at Kearney. This is my thirteenth year as a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner and I have been with ESU 16 for 3 years. I am part of our ESU 16 Crisis Response Team. I previously worked for Mid-Plains Behavioral Healthcare in the roles of Foster Care Therapist and Intensive Family Preservation Therapist. I also worked in private practice for 6 years
My hobbies include running, fishing, camping, and growing pumpkins at Homestead Pumpkin Patch.

GWEN BERGSTROM

KEVIN BERGSTROM

Provisional Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (PLMHP)

Please visit - https://www.esu16.org/staff to contact him

I received my bachelor degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and had a glorious 24 year career in law enforcement with the bulk of my career with the Grand Island Police Department. I spent 5 years on the SWAT team and 9 years in the drug unit where I made many friends, no really, I did. My final years were as a Sergeant Conservation Officer (Game Warden) out of North Platte. While with the Grand Island Police Department I pursued a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduating in 2012. I have a passion for helping people and was fortunate to join ESU 16’s Mental Health Team in January 2022. I truly love working with and helping people as well as anything involving the outdoors, in my free time I enjoy digging post holes for my wife at the Homestead Pumpkin Patch.

JAMIE MEISMER

JAMIE MEISMER

MA, Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner (LIMHP) 

Please visit - https://www.esu16.org/staff to contact her

I have been working with students for around 15 years. Throughout my journey in education, my passion for wanting to further help students and families grew and grew. I found myself drawn towards the counseling path. After having been a teacher and school counselor, I gained my license to practice in mental health in 2015. I was in private practice for three years. As time went on in private practice, I found myself providing services to clients in their schools more and more. For some students, this was the best way to help them and their families. Eventually, I was very blessed to have the opportunity to work with ESU16. I absolutely love being able to work with families and schools to best help our children as these are huge components of a child’s identity and well-being.

SARA GENTRY

SARA GENTRY

School Social Worker

Please visit - https://www.esu16.org/staff to contact her

I earned my Bachelors of Science in Social Work from Molloy College in 2007 and my Masters Degree in Social Work through the University of Southern California in 2019. I have worked in a variety of different settings including; therapeutic foster care, child protective services, out-patient mental health and in law enforcement. I began her journey with ESU 16 as a Services Coordinator for the Early Development Network in 2017 until the agency developed the School Social Worker position in 2019. When I'm not at work I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, dogs, traveling and reading. 

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CASSIDY EGGERS

School Social Worker Intern

Please visit - https://www.esu16.org/staff to contact her

I received my Bachelors of Science in Social Work from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2019. I am currently pursuing my Masters Degree in Social Work through University of Nebraska at Omaha and will graduate in 2022. My internship experience includes working in a foster care agency and case management within a hospital setting. I also have experience with domestic violence and teen dating violence through my time of employment at Rape/Domestic Abuse Program. Following graduation in 2019, I worked at Boys Town in North Platte providing family support and crisis intervention. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, outdoor activities, sports, and traveling.