Name: Chris King – Board PresidentChris King

On PA board since 2012, member of the Finance Committee

Educational background: Attended UW-Eau Claire and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Criminal Justice. While in college, Chris was a member of the track and field team. Chris also attended Chippewa Valley Technical College, obtaining his law enforcement standards board certification.

Employment: Began law enforcement in 2003 with the Chippewa Co Sheriff’s Dept as a reserve officer. Before being hired by the Menomonie Police Dept he also worked with the Chippewa Co Jail and Bloomer Police Dept. In December of 2007 Chris began working for the Menomonie Police Dept. He spent approximately 5 years on patrol, where he served as a Field Training Officer.  Chris then served as the Youth Services Officer for the Department for 4 years, serving as school liaison officer and specializing in crimes involving children as suspects and victims.  Currently, Chris is back serving as a patrol officer for the Department.  Chris is also a MPD firearms instructor, field training officer, tactical response instructor, and is a member on the Eau Claire County Regional SWAT team.

Interests: When Chris is not working he enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, fishing, golfing, and attending dirt track races.

What interests you in PA, what excites you about PA, or some interesting fact about your relationship with PA:  Never in a million years did I ever envision serving on a Board of Directors or becoming Board President of anything.  The opportunity to join the Board of Directors was kind of by default when I took over as the Youth Services Officer for the Menomonie Police Department.  I was familiar with PA based on my occupation, but I knew very little else about the organization.  The experience has been truly rewarding and I have met some great people that do excellent work for Positive Alternatives!


Board PNName: Peter Nied – Finance Committee

On PA board since 2011

Educational background: Undergrad, Mathematics and Accounting from UWRF; Grad School, Finance and Banking from University of Minnesota and UW-Madison

Credentials: Certified Public Accountant

Employment: 38 years working in the banking industry, first as a bank examiner, the last 20 years for Bremer Bank as an accounting/finance professional

Family: Three adult children, one granddaugter.

Interests: Reading for both knowledge and pleasure; Food, nutrition, health & exercise; World sustainability, environment, & population issues.

What interests you in PA, what excites you about PA, or some interesting fact about your relationship with PA:  I am interested in the complexities involved in generating lasting positive outcomes for the youth who are given to the care of PA.  I relish the inputs from a diverse group of volunteer board members who together seek to provide the guidance which will lead to PA’s success.  I have been on the boards of several nonprofit entities that depend to varying degrees on governmental dollars.  I hope by sharing my financial knowledge, and my knowledge gleaned from other nonprofits, that I can help guide PA’s management in a direction that will lead to success in achieving P. A.’s Mission.


Jackie SteinhoffName: Jackie Steinhoff – Finance Committee

On PA board since 2013

Educational background: I earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from UW-Eau Claire and a masters’ degree in special education and administration from the University of Minnesota.

Employment: Currently Director of Student Services for the River Falls School District. I have 26 years experience in education that includes teaching regular and special education students as well as positions in administration.

Home: Home is in River Falls, Wisconsin with my family.

Interests: I enjoy spending time with my family, baking, watching movies, reading, following Wisconsin sports teams, and walking our dog, Cooper. Learning has always been a passion for me as I strive to continue to improve myself.

What interests you in PA, what excites you about PA, or some interesting fact about your relationship with PA: I am proud to be a member of Positive Alternatives (PA). PA provides a support and nurturing environment in which the organization strives to make a positive and hopeful outlook for students needing an alternative living environment. Is it an honor to work with a group who is committed to making this a reality for students in our state.


Name: Cynthia Welch –  Policy & ProcedureCynthia 2019

On PA board since 2011

Educational background: Graduated from UW-Stout with a major in Hotel and Restaurant Management and minors in Business Administration and English-Writing.  Completed her graduate studies at UW-Stout in the Career and Technical Education Program in 2015; graduate thesis was Availability of Career Guidance for At-Risk Students in Wisconsin Licensed Group Foster Homes.

Employment:  Mentor under the IRIS program for a young woman with cognitive and physical disabilities and substitute teacher for the Menomonie School District.  Retired after 5 years in the University of Wisconsin System, including 15 years at UW-Stout and the last 20 years at UW-Eau Claire. At time of her retirement, she was working with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities and Student Support Services, a federal program for first-generation and low-income college students.

Family: Welch and her husband, Gary, have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and six grandchildren.

Interests: Cynthia loves reading, gardening, sports, fabric arts, and her animals–five horses, one goat, one dog, two house cats, one wild barn cat, two rats, a snake, and a tortoise. Her community involvement includes volunteering at St. Joseph Parish in multiple capacities, serving on the Ministry Inc. board, serving on the MHS Alumni Awards selection committee, and as secretary of the Menomonie Women’s Group.

What interests you in PA, what excites you about PA, or some interesting fact about your relationship with PA: A key interest of mine is working with youth, especially those who struggle to be successful or are at risk of failure. Positive Alternatives as an organization works to assist youth at risk and their families achieve a positive future. working with youth, especially those who struggle to be successful or are at risk of failure. Serving on the PA Board is a way I can help impact a positive future for all youth.


Ursula BergerName: Ursula Berger – Policy & Procedure

On PA board since 2006

Educational background: BS, UW-Stevens Point; MSW, UW-Madison

Employment: County social worker, school social worker, nursing home social worker, UW-Stout Adjunct Faculty, Mental Health Therapist in Portage, Madison, Green Bay, Lake Mills, Menomonie and Eau Claire.

Family: Married. Husband is a retired UW-Stout professor. Three adult children living in Washington DC, Philadelphia & Milwaukee.

Interests: Reading, playing piano, gardening, traveling, playing cards & board games, cooking & playing tennis.

What interests you in PA, what excites you about PA, or some interesting fact about your relationship with PA: I am interested in supporting the organization that provides important services to youth by giving guidance, companionship, & education when youth are unable to be with their families. PA becomes their family. Volunteering is an opportunity to combine my professional interest with the commitment and values of PA services.


G. NiedbalskiName: Gretchen Niedbalski – Policy & Procedure

I have been on the PA Board since February of 2015

Educational background:
High School diploma – Stevens Point Area Senior High
Bachelors of Science in Psychology- Viterbo College
Masters of Science- Education and Counseling- University of Wisconsin-Superior

1998-2001- The State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
2001-Present – Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools- School Counselor

Family: My husband Chris and I have 3 sons, Jacob (16), Joshua (14) and Henry (11).

Interests: Running, kayaking, biking, coaching youth sports and woodworking.

What interests you in PA, what excites you about PA, or some interesting fact about your relationship with PA:
I believe in helping make a difference in the lives of others. This being said, I have a strong interest in volunteering my time and embrace opportunities to serve others. I am active coaching middle school soccer and track and supporting my boys with sporting events and Boy Scouts. I love being in nature camping with family and friends and traveling to explore new places. Something that people may not know about me is that I collect tea cups and love having high tea with friends.
I am honored to have been asked to serve on the PA Board of Directors. I look forward to being part of a program that helps strengthen families and enhances the lives of youth at risk. I am particularly interested in helping breakdown barriers to mental health services and work together with Positive Alternatives to enhance and enrich the communities of Wood County.


N. FerrisName: Nathan Ferris – Personnel Committee

On PA board since 2015

Educational background: Graduate of Edina High School, BA from Luther College

Employment: Deputy Sheriff with Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Family: Linda and I have been married for 17 years and have three boys: Lincoln (8), Otto (2) and Roman (1)

Interests: Running, kayaking, biking, coaching youth sports and woodworking.

What interests you in PA, what excites you about PA, or some interesting fact about your relationship with PA: I was first introduced to PA when I responded to the Amery group home to investigate an incident there. I was impressed with the level of dedication and professionalism displayed by the staff towards me and the clients. I believe PA plays a much needed role in society today by providing a home with structure and consistency to young lives that desperately need it.


Name:  Allyson Moore – Personnel CommitteeCapture

On PA board since 2017

Educational background:  Bachelor of Science – University of      Wisconsin La Crosse- Business Management / Human Resources    Emphasis

Juris Doctor Degree – William Mitchell College of Law

Employment:  Present:Associate Attorney at Weber Law Office – based  in River Falls.  Primary areas of practice:City Prosecutor for the City of  Menomonie, WI, Private Attorney for Family Matters, Court Appointed  Guardian ad Litem in juvenile and adult matters (Guardianships, CHIPS, Family Cases, etc.)

Previous:Associate Attorney at Schofield, Parent, Mayer & Huff, Judicial Assistant for the Dunn County Judges, Deputy Clerk of Court for the Dunn County Clerk of Courts

Family:  Recently married – two fur-babies (dogs☺)

Interests:  I love going for hikes in the summers or snowshoeing in the winter (assuming we have snow of course). I am also experimenting with gardening, not a green-thumb yet but I’m working on it. I enjoy traveling to new places and boating.

What interests you in PA, what excites you about PA, or some interesting fact about your relationship with PA:  I am excited to be joining such a well-established, and rapidly expanding, organization that gives back to the community in so many ways. I am particularly excited about the creative and collaborative initiatives offered by PA to assist families and youth through various challenges. I am looking forward to bringing my legal and business background to promote the values and services of PA.


julie pic
Julie Bates-Maves, PhD, LPC – Personnel Committee

On PA board since 2015

 Educational background:

Ph.D., Counselor Education and Supervision

The Pennsylvania State University, 2012


M.S., Rehabilitation Counseling

Concentration: Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling

Springfield College, 2007


B.A., Psychology

University at Albany (SUNY), 2005

Employment: The University of Wisconsin-Stout: Assistant Professor, Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Family: My husband Korey is a firefighter/paramedic for the Eau Claire Fire Department. We have one son, Ben, who was born in March 2015. We also have two cats, Stevie and Johnny.

Interests: I love being outside both in summer and winter, and I’m also a shopper! I have a passion for people though, over everything else. My favorite populations to work with are those that are seemingly tossed aside by society–individuals who are incarcerated, people with addiction, etc.

What interests you in PA, what excites you about PA, or some interesting fact about your relationship with PA: Beyond the current services, I’m very interested in PA’s ability to expand and provide more comprehensive mental health services. There’s a shortage of quality care in our community and I’d love to be a part of that expansion. Good counselors are so important and I’d love for the clients of PA, and everyone else in the community, to have the ability to choose their provider–that is, having multiple providers to choose from rather than a smaller pool.



Name:  Andy Grimm – Personnel Committee

On PA board since 2017

Educational background:  B.S. Vocational Rehabilitation, M.S. School Counseling, M.S. School Administration

Employment:  Wausau School District School Counselor and Coordinator of Counseling Services 1998 and Lakeland University Adjunct Instructor 2011

Family:  Jackson 9th grade at Wausau East and Carter 7th grade at Horace Mann Middle School

Interests:  Youth athletics: coaching and being a fan, Fishing, Camping, and Exercise – running 5-10Ks and 1/2 marathons

What interests you or excites you in PA:  Interests: Being involved in creating positive changes in youths’ lives.  Excitement: learning about and contributing to PA’s treatment model.