Our staff is committed to delivering quality care.

Our staff come to us from all over the United States. Scroll through to see how God led each individual or family to work at Gateway.

Please pray for us as we strive to uphold our Christian values in a fallen world. The work of planting seeds can be tough, but our hope is in God giving us the increase.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. Colossians 3:23
Janice Anliker

Janice Anliker

Residential Support Staff

HOMETOWN: Elgin, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

Ever since I left the first time in 2001, I felt like I was not “done” with Gateway. I have enjoyed tutoring in the houses after school and always thought I would return to Gateway Woods School as a math teacher…never imagined it would be as the Director of Education.

Amy Austin

Amy Austin

Foster Care Case Manager

HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

My journey began five years ago when I became a licensed foster parent. My passion to advocate for children then led me to receive a Social Work degree to become a family case manager. I feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing organization. My mission has always aligned with Gateway Woods and that is to plant the seed in troubled youth so they may bless others.

Eric Bahler

Eric Bahler

Gateway Farms Manager

HOMETOWN: Wolcott, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

A desire to share the love of Christ, and to experience more of Him.

Kristi Baran

Kristi Baran

Supervising Counselor

HOMETOWN: Watford, MI

What brought you to Gateway?

When I first looked into Gateway I only sensed God’s interest in me coming here, so I begrudgingly complied. However, by the time I accepted the position He had changed my heart to want it, too. I remain grateful for the truth of Psalm 37:4 and the many ways He has continued to sanctify my heart to look more like His.

Hannah Beer

Hannah Beer

Office Coordinator

HOMETOWN: Leo, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

My parents worked at Gateway as houseparents for 5 years while I was growing up, and I came to love this organization: it’s mission, the hearts of the people working here, and the fact that God was so central to every decision. Then I fell in love with administration and accounting, which I went to college for. God opened doors like crazy my last year of school, and I started working full-time at Gateway the Monday after I graduated.

Heather Beer

Heather Beer

Business Coordinator

HOMETOWN: Bradford, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

Feeling the pull to some sort of family ministry, Joe and I considered adoption and other mentoring options, but it was made clear that was not where God wanted us. One morning while praying, God asked Joe, "Why not Gateway?", and we spent the next three months exploring, interviewing, and moving to Leo to be houseparents. After houseparenting, I was blessed to be able to continue serving in an administrative role.

Kody Beyer

Kody Beyer

Gateway Farms Assistant

HOMETOWN: Sabetha, KS

What brought you to Gateway?

God knew exactly what I needed and when I needed it. I am thankful for His grace to answer His call.

Kim Blanchard

Kim Blanchard

Foster Care Program Manager

HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

For many years I have known about and appreciated the mission of Gateway Woods. When God directed me to step out of my last job and into more full-time ministry work, I gladly followed His leading to be a part of the team at Gateway Woods. I want to experience more of God and help others to know Him more.

Kiera Carlisle

Kiera Carlisle

Adoption Supervisor

HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

As an adoptive mother, God has placed different things surrounding adoption on my heart. I have been praying for God to show me my purpose. God told me that ministry is my purpose. I did not fully understand what he meant until I attended the Replanted Conference hosted by Gateway. After Replanted, I prayed about the things God laid on my heart during the conference. He led me to Gateway. When he said ministry, he meant Gateway Woods.

Chelsey Conroy

Chelsey Conroy

LARC Coordinator

HOMETOWN: Massena, NY

What brought you to Gateway?

I have always been passionate about serving and helping others, but I found my purpose in working with kids who needed extra love and support. After years of working with Gateway residents through another agency, personal connections with Gateway staff, and completing my practicum, God's perfect timing opened the doors to LARC. I had been praying for a shift, and I am grateful I got to say "yes" to Gateway.

Megan Dean

Megan Dean

Foster Care Case Manager

HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

I always knew that God was calling me to ministry; specifically to kids with special needs. I saw a post that Gateway was hiring and I took a huge leap of faith out of my comfort zone. Everything seemed to line up with what God is calling me to do. I am excited to see how God uses me to work in the lives of kids and families.

Kate Dotterer

Kate Dotterer

Math Teacher

HOMETOWN: Sardis, OH

What brought you to Gateway?

For the last several years, my prayer has been that God would use me wherever there is a need to further His kingdom. During my last semester in college, as I was asking God to open doors for my future, Gateway Woods School became a reoccurring theme. The need for a math teacher kept coming up, and since my prayer has been that God would use me absolutely wherever, I found myself asking, “Why wouldn’t I be willing to teach there?” only to answer, “I’ll step out and see where God takes me.” And He brought me here!

Amber Ehnle

Amber Ehnle

Assistant Houseparent (Maple House)

HOMETOWN: Goodfield, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

I was at a point in my life where I didn’t have any reason to NOT think about Gateway as an option. I realized that all of my passions, dreams and desires that I had, lined up with Gateways mission. I just never thought God would be cultivating my heart for this specific mission. I’m excited to see God work in and around me and more importantly, to grow in Him!

Samantha Erickson

Samantha Erickson

Counselor

HOMETOWN: Elkhart, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

I’d been feeling that my time at my previous job was coming to an end but unsure where God would lead me. I’d been praying on what other opportunities and possibilities that God had for me. I didn’t even know that a place like Gateway Woods existed, but shortly after I was exposed to all that it is, it was pretty clear where God was leading me and later on my family too.

Travon Erickson

Travon Erickson

Director of Older Youth Services

HOMETOWN: Elkhart, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

I was very unhappy at my other job and I felt like God was calling me to do something in ministry. After spending a lot of time in prayer and really giving my life over to God, he brought me to this wonderful place that is Gateway Woods.

Phil & Janean Gerber

Phil & Janean Gerber

Lead Houseparents (Oak House)

HOMETOWN: Bluffton, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

God provided an unexpected opportunity to be Houseparents at Gateway Woods. It was both amazing and humbling to watch as God transformed each of our hearts to be willing to answer His call! Through confirmation that could have only come from God, we felt peace to join the Gateway Woods team!

Ed Graf

Ed Graf

Executive Director

HOMETOWN: Akron, OH

What brought you to Gateway?

Starting out in life I never dreamed I would be part of the Gateway Woods ministry. As a mechanical engineer working in management for an automotive manufacturer, I thought my career course was pretty well set. God upset my plans in 1993 when he orchestrated a confluence of events that would change the course of our family’s life for the better, and bring us into the Gateway Woods community.

John Harding

John Harding

Development Coordinator

HOMETOWN: Leo, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

After 23 years in sales with corporate America, I decided to step away to find an occupation with more meaning and purpose. It took over a year of searching before Gateway Woods was brought to my attention. After hearing about the newly created position of Local Development Coordinator, I believed my prayers had been answered. I am truly blessed to be part of this ministry that provides unconditional love and healing to children and families in a Christ-centered environment.

Nate & Haley Hartman

Nate & Haley Hartman

Alternate Houseparents (Oak House)

HOMETOWN: Goodfield, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

We didn’t know a lot about Gateway Woods until a friend of ours encouraged us to look in to it. As time went on, God opened a door and made it clear that we should walk through it. We are thankful to be a part of an organization that honors and obeys God by providing hope and healing to others.

Jill Hire

Jill Hire

Residential Nurse

HOMETOWN: Spencerville, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

As a nurse, I have a passion for helping others. I was brought here because whether addressing the needs of vulnerable children or the challenges they are facing, I love how Gateway Woods does it while serving God. It is clearly at the heart of everything Gateway Woods does! I feel very blessed to be a part of it!

Kyle & Lindsey Isch

Kyle & Lindsey Isch

Alternate Houseparents (Maple House)

HOMETOWN: Princeville, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

We have been involved with Gateway off and on since 2014 working as an Assistant Houseparent, Home Based Caseworker, and Teacher. As we begin our own family, houseparenting together is a great opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a family environment.

Chad Kaeb

Chad Kaeb

Development Director

HOMETOWN: Bloomington, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

God went to great lengths to persuade my wife Kristy and myself to pursue houseparenting at Gateway Woods in the fall of 2009. I am so thankful that He moved us out to Gateway Woods, as we learned much through our 4 1/2 years of working with hurting youth and their families. I am thankful to now have the opportunity to advocate for these individuals through the role of public relations and donor relations.

Katie Kaufmann

Katie Kaufmann

Adoption Case Manager (Illinois)

HOMETOWN: Cissna Park, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

I came to Gateway during a time when God opened a very different “window” for me. As an experienced teacher and single mother to an adult son, I was looking for another traditional classroom. I was also wanting the ability to share my faith without the world’s tightening constraints on Christians in the classroom. Little did I know just how powerfully God would use that desire at Gateway Woods School. Changing hearts is not something WE do, but it’s being an instrument through which God transforms those lives. God was not done with me though, because low and behold, another very different “window” opened up! Gateway Family Services Illinois! I was able to move back to Morton and work with single birth mothers and Christian families wanting to adopt. I had come full circle and richly blessed.

Hope Klopfenstein

Hope Klopfenstein

Adoption Case Manager

HOMETOWN: Leo, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

Spending my teenage years at Gateway as a houseparent kid tremendously influenced my choice of career in Human Services. I always kept Gateway in the back of my mind as a potential place of work if the timing and need aligned. Right when I was graduating college and wanting to try case management, that’s exactly what happened! It’s a huge honor to contribute to the mission here, and God shows more of His heart to me through every soul I meet and work with.

Luci Koch

Luci Koch

Executive Director (Illinois)

HOMETOWN: Tremont, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

I didn’t know where I would end up when God placed on my heart to get a Master’s degree is Social Work after working as a nurse for many years. After graduating the social work program, the right job did not open up in central Illinois, so I inquired about opportunities at Gateway Woods. They happened to be looking for someone to start the Illinois Adoption Program. Since that time, God has grown a passion in my heart for the orphaned and vulnerable and am humbled to serve birth and adoptive families in Illinois.

Heidi Knapp

Heidi Knapp

Adoption Case Manager (Illinois)

HOMETOWN: Morton, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

Adoption is something God gave my husband and I a heart for from the start of our marriage, and we have adopted two of our five children, working with Gateway Woods during that process. Adoption, and all that it entails, is my passion as well as my every day life. I'm honored to be a part of the amazing Gateway Family Services Illinois team and have the opportunity to come alongside families as they pursue God's calling in adoption.

Kiley Knoblauch

Kiley Knoblauch

LARC Coordinator

HOMETOWN: Woodburn, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

God has created me with a deep desire to love and serve people well. That desire has only grown deeper and wider, especially in the last several years. God has led me, our family, and my life in ministry to the most hurting and broken lives, to love and point people to health and healing through Jesus. It is my joy to join the purpose and mission of Gateway Woods and the LARC team.

Kelsey Laukhuf

Kelsey Laukhuf

Foster Care Case Manager

HOMETOWN: Leo, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

13 years ago, my parents were called to be houseparents at Gateway Woods. Even though I was terrified of the change, I quickly learned that God was going to use Gateway for amazing things in my life. God used Gateway to show me my gifts and passions. By watching my parents interact with the residents, I witnessed them show unconditional love and love like Jesus, and I knew that I wanted to be like them. Gateway, the staff, and the church have been huge supporters of me throughout going to college to obtain my degree in social work, prayed for me, and encouraged me. I always knew that I loved the mission and work that Gateway does. I have always wanted to give back to the organization that God used to grow me into who I am today. I believe that Foster Care and Social Work are where I can best utilize the gifts that God has given me for His glory.

Charla Leman

Charla Leman

Supervising Counselor

HOMETOWN: Sardis, OH

What brought you to Gateway?

When I was a kid my sister was an alternate houseparent at Gateway Woods and that was my first exposure. After graduating from college I was looking for a job as a counselor and Gateway had an opening. It has been a blessing working for such a great ministry.

Cindy Lemmen

Cindy Lemmen

English Teacher

HOMETOWN: Bluffton, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

I love serving God through serving people in need, and I learn so much from others. I am originally from Michigan. My family moved to Ossian, Indiana, in 2007. I taught English for several years in Bluffton at Kingdom Academy and loved serving in that Christian school. We moved to Leo this summer, not knowing where I was going to work, but I still felt called to teach in a Christian setting. For years, I had seen the sincere hearts of the staff at Gateway Woods, and that is what drew me to apply here. I enjoy being one of the team, teaching these teens and sharing the truth of Jesus in this confusing world.

Felix Luna

Felix Luna

Communications Coordinator

HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

I was praying for opportunities to use my creative gifts. I asked God to make it bright as day so that I knew that’s where he needed me to go. As I was going on my lunch break my friend from work told me that there was an opening at Gateway Woods for a Communications Coordinator and it described everything I wanted to do. I knew in that moment that it was where God wanted me to go. I am so fortunate to be part of Gateway Wood's Mission and team!

Mark Maibach

Mark Maibach

Chief Financial Officer

HOMETOWN: Sterling, OH

What brought you to Gateway?

In 2009, the company I was working for was going out of business. As I was looking for what God wanted next for not only me but my family, He laid Gateway on my heart. It is a blessing to use His gifts for Kingdom work.

Timothy Rassi

Timothy Rassi

Science Teacher

HOMETOWN: Champaign, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

I love learning how the world works and deeply care about the people God cares about (that’s everyone, by the way). That is why I earned my Master’s in Science and Math Education and work as a teacher. I am at Gateway because I have a heart for high schoolers and foster care. My career and these passions intersect in an exciting way with the position of Science Teacher at Gateway Woods.

Gabrielle Reutter

Gabrielle Reutter

Assistant Houseparent

HOMETOWN: Creston, OH

What brought you to Gateway?

I felt God put Gateway on my heart close to the end of my last job, and with prayer started the application process. God opened the doors to working here, and I feel so thankful and blessed. How could I not give of myself when He has given so much to me!

Wyatt Rocke

Wyatt Rocke

Assistant Houseparent

HOMETOWN: Goodfield, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

My aunt and uncle worked at Gateway many years ago, and though I did not realize it, God had already begun to weave together the many threads that made up His plan for me to serve here. I wasn’t expecting to be drawn to child services in any capacity, but it was clear to me that God intended for me to serve at Gateway. After all He has done for me, what else could I do but answer the call?

Sean & Sarah Ryan

Sean & Sarah Ryan

WillowBridge Community Advocates

HOMETOWN: Kokomo, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

Though we weren’t actively seeking anything new, we had sensed for some time that God was preparing us for something new. We learned about an open position at WillowBridge through our friends, and after much prayer and seeking (and some wrestling!) we were confident this was the new thing God was guiding us toward. We never expected to be a part of a ministry like Gateway Woods, but are eager to not only follow God’s commands to care for the vulnerable, but to make it the focus of our work at WillowBridge.

Keith Schambach

Keith Schambach

Manager of Compliance & Maintenance

HOMETOWN: Elgin, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

We have a long family history in the Leo area. Gateway Woods and similar ministries have been near to our hearts for a long time. We served at CVE in Mexico for three years and then lived in Leo and Elgin doing landscape and maintenance work. We felt the calling from God to get back into working with hurting families and teens as a career and God opened the doors to come to Gateway as alternate Hp's. We enjoy serving the residents and families at Gateway and need prayer to continue to share Jesus' love to all we meet.

Dan Sparling

Dan Sparling

Director of Child Placement

HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

Since I was in high school I felt God’s calling on my life to help kids who are involved in the child welfare system. God gave me a true heart to serve these kids in many capacities. I worked for the Department of Child Services for several years and learned of Gateway Woods as part of that work and the reputation that Gateway has of truly impacting the lives of children. After much prayer I made the decision to apply to work at Gateway Woods and am truly blessed to be a part of this ministry!

Maya Spearman

Maya Spearman

WillowBridge Community Advocate Support

HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

Gateway Woods was a perfectly timed blessing for me. I was in a season of searching for purposeful work when Chelsea told me about the opportunity to become a community advocate at WillowBridge. I am so grateful for the chance to do what I love and pour into young people. I hope to contribute my small part in pointing them towards purpose and the full life God has for them.

Laura Steffen

Laura Steffen

Dean of Students

HOMETOWN: Latty, OH

What brought you to Gateway?

My first experience at Gateway was a time of incredible spiritual and personal growth. Gateway’s mission is forever on my heart, and I was glad to be able to once again participate in what God is doing here.

Quinn Steffen

Quinn Steffen

Development Coordinator

HOMETOWN: Princeville, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

Over the weeks leading up to my application to Gateway, God had been making changes in the work environments for both my wife and I. When God made His call clear to us that we should be considering Gateway, we were both hesitant to make that step. Our parents helped us approach the call to Gateway as an opportunity to know and serve Him rather than just finding a new job. God continued to work on our hearts and showed His will very clearly so that by the time we moved, we both knew “This IS God’s will and by His design”.

Ben & Christa Stoller

Ben & Christa Stoller

Lead Houseparents (Cypress House)

HOMETOWN: Junction, OH

What brought you to Gateway?

We both deeply desire to serve the hurting and teach others of our joy in Christ. God kept knocking on our hearts to come to Gateway, and when we could put our personal circumstances aside, we knew it was only our next step to follow that call and move here. We trust in faith that He will make all things good as we step out.

Toby Steidinger

Toby Steidinger

Residential Case Manager

HOMETOWN: Fairbury, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

I first became acquainted with Gateway Woods through summer volunteering and, while I was studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, the Home-Based summer internship program. The mission mindset, devotion to the residents, and passion for community was profoundly evident. As I continued to seek out where God would use my skillset and passions, Gateway Woods was a clear answer to my prayers.

Traci Steidinger

Traci Steidinger

Counseling Assistant

HOMETOWN: Fairbury, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

I originally came to Gateway with my family to work in the residential program. After our time there I was later offered a position in the office and felt I should take it so I could continue to be a part of "helping the hurting" in a small way.

Nichole Suvar

Nichole Suvar

Systems Coordinator

HOMETOWN: Briceton, OH

What brought you to Gateway?

Paul and I have felt led to missions for quite some time, but overseas missions just weren’t panning out. We felt led to live/work/serve at Gateway as Houseparents as a state-side missionary role. 8 years later I’m still here serving in a more behind-the-scenes supportive role.

Jeff Waibel

Jeff Waibel

Director of Residential Services

HOMETOWN: Bay City, MI

What brought you to Gateway?

In 2001 I graduated with a degree in social work and my first thought was to work for Gateway Woods. I had spent some time at Gateway Woods as the volunteer coordinator and I had become convinced that the work being done at Gateway was extremely important. In many ways, it is the front line of the gospel. Since I had a professional degree I was hired as a counselor and have spent the last 15 years trying to create the sort of setting where young people can feel safe, work on the challenges in their lives, and interact with people who were truly trying to follow Jesus. I’ve seen a lot of change over the past 15 years, but my belief in the work we do has not changed. If anything, I have become more convinced of the necessity of our work here at Gateway Woods.

Emily Wiegand

Emily Wiegand

Social Studies Teacher

HOMETOWN: Philadelphia, PA

What brought you to Gateway?

In 2020, I felt like I needed to start praying about Gateway. I had no idea where the Lord would lead, but a year later when the Social Studies position opened up, everything seemed to fall into place. I'm so thankful that God always has a plan and that His ways are greater!

Gabriella Wiegand

Gabriella Wiegand

Assistant Houseparent (Oak House)

HOMETOWN: Denver, CO

What brought you to Gateway?

I desire to love God and love people. Gateway is a place that will grow me in both of these areas.

Brock Williamson

Brock Williamson

Director of Education

HOMETOWN: Latty, OH

What brought you to Gateway?

There was a need. I prayed. They hired me.

Lydia Williamson

Lydia Williamson

Adoption Case Manager

HOMETOWN: Sabetha, KS

What brought you to Gateway?

I had the opportunity to volunteer at Gateway one summer and was moved by the ministry and the houseparents who worked in the residential program. Two years later I learned about the job opening as an Assistant Houseparent, and God nudged me to apply. Throughout the hiring and cross country moving process God granted me a wonderful peace which gave me the courage to follow Him where He wanted me to go, and that was Gateway.

Danielle Wirtz

Danielle Wirtz

Foster Care Licensing Worker

HOMETOWN: Luverne, MN

What brought you to Gateway?

I worked at Gateway as a counselor from 1998 to 2002. For the last 15 years I have stayed at home raising our children and running our home. After learning about the need for help in the Foster Care Program, the Lord provided me with another opportunity to serve at Gateway.

Bethany Young

Bethany Young

Communications Coordinator

HOMETOWN: Leo, IN

What brought you to Gateway?

I grew up around Gateway Woods through junior high and high school. The mission and people here have always held a special place in my heart, and I am so thankful that God has led me to be a more direct part of this mission!

Mark & Grace Zeller

Mark & Grace Zeller

Alternate Houseparents (Cypress House)

HOMETOWN: Alto, MI

What brought you to Gateway?

Grace and I both felt the call to minister. I always had a desire to work in missions, but I couldn't visualize the whats and hows of the mission field. We pursued foster care in Michigan but were kept from placement for about a year by a house fire. Soon after, we became members of our church in Alto, and soon after that, we heard the announcement of the need for houseparents over the pulpit. We decided to let the call simmer in our hearts instead of dismissing it and saying, "Someone else will go." We talked to some connections at Gateway and prayed about it. The more we prayed, the more excited we became. We realized that houseparenting was like what we wanted to do with foster care but with more support and community! We are excited to serve and to allow the Lord to use us as He will!

Jesse Zimmerman

Jesse Zimmerman

Houseparent Manager

HOMETOWN: Forrest, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

After adopting our daughter, Wren, and personally building a relationship with her birth parents for the 6 months before Wren was born, our hearts broke for those who come from difficult places. Seeing firsthand the daily reality of teens/young adults trying to manage their lives when they haven't been taught about God or provided with stability and loving nurture throughout their childhood gave us a passion to do something more. God led us to Gateway Woods to begin doing our part to heal the hurts from childhood instability. We view our daughter's birth mom as our "burning bush," as God used her to get our attention and show us how He wanted to use us for His purposes. After being a houseparent for 5 years and having a passion for the mission and the staff that work in it, God opened the opportunity for me to become the Houseparent Manager.

Pete & Jolene Zimmerman

Pete & Jolene Zimmerman

Lead Houseparents (Maple House)

HOMETOWN: Forrest, IL

What brought you to Gateway?

Ever since we met we both had a heart for children in need. God led us through a journey of foster care. Throughout that He put the need of houseparents on our hearts and now we look forward to serving here at Gateway.

What We Do

Restoring Hope: Discover Gateway Woods Services

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Restoring Hope through Christ-Centered Staff and Culture.

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