School of Nursing Mission and Philosophy


In accordance with the mission statement of Rasmussen University, the School of Nursing mission is to cultivate a learning environment that develops a skill set for critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and clinical judgment. The School of Nursing strives to educate students in the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to provide safe and competent nursing care in the diverse communities we serve.


The School of Nursing Philosophy is anchored in the belief that nursing education should prepare students to function safely and effectively in the role of the nurse. We believe that nursing education should provide students an opportunity to progress within a laddered curriculum in order to enhance the profession of nursing and to serve as a foundation for life-long learning.

Nurses should be prepared to provide ethical, holistic, and compassionate care to diverse populations in a variety of settings. These goals are accomplished by including the standards set forth by our governing bodies, as well as evidenced-based research provided by our colleagues, and the values and criteria promoted by our national nursing organizations into our curriculum.

School Leadership

John Smith-Coppes, EdD

Vice President and Executive Director of Nursing

Education: EdD, Benedictine University; MBA, Bethel University; BACC, University of San Diego

Alexandra Torres, DNP, RN

Regional Dean of Nursing, North Central

Education: DNP, South University; MBA and BSN, University of Tampa; BSN, University of South Florida

Joan Rich, DNP, RN, PHN, FCN

Vice President of School of Nursing

Education: DNP, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing; MLS, University of Minnesota; BA, College of St. Scholastica

Kari Luoma, PhD, RN

BSN Program Director of School of Nursing; Interim Dean of Nursing, Mankato

Education: PhD, Capella University; MSN, Clarkson College; BSN, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Georgia Vest, DNP, RN

Assistant Vice President of School of Nursing

Education: DNP and MSN, University of Southern Indiana; BSN, Eastern Kentucky University

Lynn Bilder, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC

Director of Curriculum of School of Nursing

Education: PhD, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; MSN, University of Cincinnati; BSN, Marywood University

Kelly McCullough, DNP, ARNP

Regional Dean of Nursing, South Central

Education: DNP, University of South Alabama; MS and BS, University of South Florida


Dean and Graduate Program Director, National Online

Education: DNP, Rush University, Chicago; MS and BS, University of Wyoming; AS and ADN, Casper College

Michelle Howard, MSN, RN, CNS, CHSE

National Simulation Director

Education: MSN, Liberty University; BSN, Southwest Baptist University

Deanna Wolfskeil, MSN, RN

Associate Director of Faculty Development

Education: MS, Florida Atlantic University; BSN, Mississippi University for Women


Krista Hoekstra, EdD, RN, PHN

Area Dean of Nursing, Bloomington, Blaine, Lake Elmo/Woodbury

Education: EdD, MA and BS, Bethel University

Shantelle Smith, MSN, RN

Dean of Nursing, Moorhead

Education: MSN, Sacred Heart University; BSN, Medcenter One College of Nursing; BA, St. Cloud State University

Kristopher Kallies, MSN, RN

Dean of Nursing, Bloomington

Education: MS and BS, The University of Arizona; ADN, Minneapolis Community and Technical College; LPN, Hennepin Technical College

Audrey Charchenko, DNP, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Fargo

Education: DNP and MSN: Nursing Administration, University of Mary, Bismarck, ND; BSN, Dickinson State University, Dickinson, ND

Cheryl Lassen, MSN, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Bloomington

Education: MSN, Western Governors University; BSN, College of Saint Benedict

Sarah Kacena, PH, MSN

Dean of Nursing, Blaine

Education: In process of receiving Doctorate of Nursing Practice, Grand Canyon University; MSN, Western Governors University; BSN, University of North Dakota; ADN, Northland Community and Technical College

Naomi Thomas, DNP, RN, PHN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Bloomington

Education: DNP/Health Innovation and Leadership, Post-baccalaureate degree/Nursing, BA/Psychology and Master’s level certificate/Healthcare Design and Innovation, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; Industrial Relations certificate, University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management

Kathleen Smith, DNP, RN, PHN, MSL

Dean of Nursing, Brooklyn Park/Maple Grove

Education: DNP, St. Catherine University; MSN and BSN, University of Miami

Shirl Pelham-Bennett, DNP, RN, CHE

Associate Dean of Nursing, National Online

Education: DNP, Chamberlain University; MSN, Regis University; BSN, East Stroudsburg University, School of Nursing

Sandra Bogenrief, MSN, MBA, RN

Dean of Nursing, St. Cloud

Education: MSN and MBA, Grand Canyon University; BSN, Bethel University

Megan Leach, MSN, CEN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Eagan and Lake Elmo/Woodbury

Education: MSN, Western Governors University; BSN, College of Saint Scholastica; ADN, Anoka-Ramsey Community College; LPN, Anoka Technical College


Laila Torres, DNP, RN

Area Dean of Nursing, Aurora, Mokena/Tinley Park, Romeoville, Rockford

Education: DNP and MSN, Chamberlain University; BSN, South University; ADN, William Rainey Harper College

Dana Pesavento, MSN/Ed, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Aurora

Education: MSN, University of Phoenix

Linda Taylor, PhD, RN, CNE

Associate Dean, Rockford

Education: PhD, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee; MSN, Northern Illinois University; BS, Rockford College

Denise Brown, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CNE

Associate Dean of Nursing, Romeoville/Joliet

Education: MSN and BSN, University of Texas – El Paso

Lydia Falbo, DNP, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Mokena/Tinley Park

Education: DNP, MSN and BSN, Rush University – Chicago


Elizabeth Pacheco, DNP, RN, CWCN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Tampa/Brandon

Education: DNP and MSN, Chamberlain University; BSN and ADN, Columbia College Recinto de Yauco

Karen Guty, MSN, RN

Area Dean of Nursing, Ocala

Education: DNP and MSN, Duquesne University; BSN, Penn State University

Brooke Cobb, MSN, MHA, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Tampa/Brandon

Education: MHA, MSN/Ed and BSN, University of Phoenix; ADN, Fairmont State University

Dawn McLaughlin, MSN, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Ocala

Education: MSN-MHA and BSN, University of Phoenix; ADN, Central Florida Community College

Lisa Johnson, MSN/Ed, RN

Dean of Nursing, Fort Myers

Education: MSN/Ed, Walden University; ADN, Rasmussen College; LPN, Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology

Alexandria Carey, MSN, MBA-HC, RN, CNE, CPEN, CEN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Ocala

Education: MSN and MBA-HC, University of Phoenix; BSN, California State University Northridge

Terri Hothem, MSN, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Fort Myers

Education: MSN, BSN and ADN, Kaplan University

Heather Smith, MSN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Ocala

Education: MSN, University of Central Florida; BSN, University of Florida

Mary Kohler, PhD, RN

Dean of Nursing, Central Pasco

Education: PhD, University of South Florida; MS in Nursing and BSN, Florida Atlantic University; AAS, Salem College

Allison Hamilton, DNP, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Ocala School of Nursing/Orlando

Education: DNP, Nova Southeastern University; MSN, University of Phoenix; BSN, Florida A&M University

Kara Walls, MS, APNP-C

Area Dean of Nursing, Central Pasco

Education: DNP, University of North Florida; MSN, University of Tennessee; BS, East Tennessee State University

Miriam Steil, DNP, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Central Pasco

Education: DNP and MSN, American Sentinel University; MPA/MADIR, Seton Hall University; BSN, Oral Roberts University


Julie Williams, MSN, RN

Area Dean of Nursing, Wisconsin and part of MN

Education: MSN-Ed, University of Phoenix – Nursing Education; BSN, University of Phoenix – Nursing; ADN, Bay De Noc Community College – Nursing

Jennifer Koback, MSN, RN

Dean of Nursing, Wausau

Education: MSN, Grand Canyon University; BSN, University of WI – Eau Claire


Jamie Magana, MSN, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing, Topeka/Overland Park

Education: MSN, University of Kansas; BSN, Emporia State University

Sharon White-Lewis, PhD, RN

Dean of Nursing, Topeka/Overland Park

Education: Ph.D. UMKC, MSN and BSN, Webster University; Diploma, Research School of Nursing

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