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New Rice County Community Services managers re, clockwise from top left: Megan Thomas, Christine Sammon, Angela Brewer and Lisa Stadler. (Photo courtesy of Rice County)

A team of four Community Services managers has been announced, part of a county restructuring plan approved in late 2021 by the Rice County Board of Commissioners.

They are:

• Community Corrections Manager Angela Brewer

• Child and Family Services Manager Christine Sammon

• Operations and Family Supports Manager Lisa Stadler

• Adult Services Manager Megan Thomas

The four manager report to Deputy Administrator-Community Services Rick Gieseke.

“I’m excited and grateful to have this team of managers on board. Their skills, experience and knowledge of Rice County, its employees and the community will add valuable leadership to the organization,” Gieseke said.

“This is an evaluative group that gathers information and data, and using best practices, will help shape the county’s new Community Services The Board of Commissioners have approved the hiring of four department heads so that services are delivered in an even more efficient and cost-effective manner."

Angela Brewer

Brewer has worked for Rice County since 1994. A student internship led to a job as a temporary probation officer, which led to a permanent spot.

Six years ago, she became a supervisor in the Community Corrections Department, which serves clients of all ages – from juveniles to adults – and is involved in several programs, including Community Behavioral Health and Drug Treatment Court.

Rice County’s probation officers don’t just monitor their clients. The goal for Rice County’s Community Corrections employees, Brewer says, is to help clients gain skills that will help them move away from criminal behavior. Probation officers do that using programs that data shows are effective.

Brewer calls the county’s methods “very progressive,” and is anxious to help develop the new Community Services model with Gieseke and her fellow managers.

Christine Sammon

An Albert Lea native, Sammon spent a few months working for Rice County’s Children’s Mental Health Unit before heading back to Freeborn County where she worked for nine years as a Child Protection/Child Welfare supervisor.

In January 2017 she returned to Rice County as a Child and Family Services supervisor.

“I stay in the hard work because I know it’s the start of things getting better,” she said, explaining that her work often starts when a family’s in crisis and her task is to help the people involved get onto a better path.

Lisa Stadler

Stadler worked in her native Nicollet County for 26 years, including serving as county finance director before coming east in 2017 to take a post as Rice County accounting and collections supervisor.

As for her new role, Stadler said she looks forward to learning about county programs she’s currently unfamiliar with. “Continuous learning is exciting to me,” she said.

Among her goals: helping support the managers more effectively with policies and procedures. And, she wants to ensure staff members enjoy their work. That, she believes will help reduce turnover and retain great employees. “I want our staff to be happy when they come to work,” she said.

Megan Thomas

Thomas, who grew up in Faribault, worked in the private sector at Cennedeigh Inc. for 16 years before coming to Rice County more than four years ago.

Her experience includes overseeing group homes as a residential programs supervisor. In Rice County, she worked as a MNChoices assessor. She helped determine whether clients with physical and developmental disabilities were eligible for specialized services.

As the national movement to acknowledging the importance of mental health grows, Thomas wants to ensure Rice County’s services continue to keep pace with the needs. She also hopes to improve collections and work with her fellow managers to support Gieseke, who moved into his new role earlier this year.

“I want to make sure we’re always working together to provide the best possible service that we can,” she said.

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