Dr. Janet Gordon Vice President for Education Systems
Dr. Janet Gordon has more than 35 years of experience with research and evaluation of programs across multiple disciplines and social sciences including education, health, workforce development and computer science. She uses a participatory approach and works closely with many diverse communities building capacity.
Janet directs the conceptualization, planning, implementation and sustainability of work at KAI that is related to national-, state- and local education agencies.
Janet earned her doctorate in education from Montana State University, her master’s degree in Environmental Science from Northern Arizona University, and her bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Arizona State University.
Isabelle Penass Vice President for Training and Technical Assistance
Isabelle A. Penass (Nez Perce Tribe, Nimiipuu) has cultivated expertise in the promotion of behavioral health and family and community wellness for underserved populations. She has more than 9 years of experience working in Indian Country and with other resilient communities to address prevention needs through strengths-based, solution-focused, and community-driven approaches. She has dedicated her career to the prevention of behavioral health issues through understanding the gaps in resources and the symptoms of unresolved trauma, including substance misuse, suicidal risks, lateral oppression, and family and school violence.
Isabelle incorporates evidence-, practice-, and culture-based interventions in her team's training and technical assistance work across the country and monitors data-driven progress toward achieving results. She works with her team to change lives and communities by honoring cultural resiliencies, creating a sense of belonging, and building key relationships.
Isabelle earned her master’s and bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, with a focus on clinical mental health.
Crystal Tetrick Vice President for Health Systems and Policy
Ms. Tetrick has more than 20 years of experience supporting health equity and maternal, child, and infant health and compliance in Indian Country. She specializes in healthcare organization and community strategic planning.
Crystal provides Indian health subject matter expertise for materials and deliverables for many of KAI’s contracts, and she recently directed the healthcare operations of Urban Indian clinics and Parent and Child Health programs in Seattle and King County, Washington.
Crystal earned her master’s degree in public health and bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Washington.
Dr. Aislinn Rioux Vice President for Research and Evaluation
Dr. Aislinn Rioux (Blackfeet) is a research and evaluation professional with expertise in applied statistics, evaluation, research, and teaching for diverse audiences. She has more than 13 years of experience working with indigenous communities through quantitative and qualitative methodologies, data analysis and interpretation, representative data visualizations, and evaluation.
Aislinn works with her team to approach research and evaluation in a wholistic manner to provide clients with usable information that is embedded in context and has real world application.
Aislinn earned her doctorate in educational leadership, her master’s degree in applied statistics, and her bachelor’s degree in criminology/forensic anthropology from the University of Montana.
Kim Blessing and her team create award-winning communication products related to education, public health, safety, and support for vulnerable populations.
Kim has more than 10 years of experience in the communications field and oversees the development of all KAI communications campaigns and products, ensuring that high-quality deliverables are completed on time and within budget. She holds a master’s degree in rhetoric, composition, and technical communication from Eastern Washington University.
Dr. Iris PrettyPaint Vice President for Organizational Transformation and Vice President for Project Management
Dr. Iris PrettyPaint (Blackfeet Nation) is an internationally recognized expert in Native cultural resilience and indigenous evaluation methods. She has more than 35 years of experience as a researcher, evaluator, educator, and communicator.
Iris and her team support organizational transformation and work to open new doors and opportunities for the many communities and organizations KAI cares about and wants to help.
Iris earned her doctorate in social work with a focus on administration and evaluation and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota, and her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas.
Jennifer Gillissen Vice President for Meeting and Event Planning
Jennifer Gillissen has more than 20 years of experience in planning meetings and events, with numbers ranging from 10 to 14,000 participants throughout the United States.
Jennifer works with a wide variety of federal and tribal organizations. She is a board member of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals and holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Towson State University that includes a minor in business administration.
Josephine Keefe serves as KAI’s creative director and has 6 years of experience in the creative field. She ensures that the best ideas are executed for all of KAI’s clients and their communications products by directing and overseeing the creative process and facilitating brainstorming sessions. She is experienced in creating culturally competent, targeted communications products to support outreach to vulnerable populations, including minorities and at-risk youth, on public health topics. Ms. Keefe earned her master of fine arts degree at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Theater, Film and Television.
Shelley Merrill oversees KAI's corporate financial, contracting, and bids and proposal processes.
Shelley has more than 25 years of experience in accounting. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business with an accounting emphasis from Eastern Washington University, and she has held her CPA license with the Washington State Board of Accountancy since 1992. She served as a board member and president of the Washington Society of CPAs’ local Spokane Chapter.