Staff Directory

Youth Center
Mental Health & Wellness
Futures Education & Employment
Safe Harbor


Maude Dornfeld, Executive Director
(218) 722-7431 x110
Maude joined Life House in 2013 with more than 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector and market research. She holds an MA in Sociology from the University of Minnesota, with a focus on domestic violence, sex offenders and juvenile delinquency and a certificate in nonprofit administration from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Ryan Irlbeck, Finance Director
(218) 722-7431 x115
Ryan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Ryan spent 10 years with Minneapolis-based Regis Corporation, most recently as Vice President of Operations. He is a former Certified Public Accountant and has served as the Finance Director for Animal Allies Humane Society and Community Action Duluth.

Erich Lutz, Program Director
(218) 722-7431 x114
Erich has extensive experience with supportive housing programs and services that assist homeless youth to achieve the skills necessary to obtain and maintain safe and affordable housing. Erich began his career at Life House in 2001 as the Transitional Services Case Manager. In 2009, he worked for the Human Development Center, providing intensive case management services to long-term homeless individuals and families in Duluth. Erich returned to Life House in 2010 as the Housing Lead and was promoted to Program Director in 2014. Erich is considered the area’s expert in housing policy and regulations.

Beth Elstad, Operations Director
(218) 722-7431 x118
Beth joins Life House with nearly 20 years of experience in non profit finance and administration, in the field of domestic violence. She earned her BA in Accounting and Management from The College of St. Scholastica. Outside of work Beth enjoys volunteering, the beach, and spending time with family.

Karen Harden, Development Director 
(218) 722-7431 x122

Margie Nelson, Development Associate
(218) 722-7431 x111
Margie received her B.A. in 2012 from the College of St. Scholastica and Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) in 2014 from the University of Minnesota Duluth concentrating in Nonprofit Management and Public Policy.  In addition to being owned by a cat named Bruno, she actively volunteers in the Duluth community.  She is currently involved with the Homegrown Music Festival, Duluth Curling Club, and Duluth-Superior GLBTAQI Pride.

Youth Center

Ahna Pelto, LSW, Youth Center Manager
(218) 722-7431 x126
Ahna graduated from the University of Wisconsin Superior with a B.S. in Social Work in 2010. Ahna started at Life House in October 2011 as a Youth Center Advocate and then transitioned into Youth Center Lead until 2014 when she was promoted to Youth Center Manager. Prior to working at Life House, Ahna worked with children & young adults in the Duluth community through volunteering projects, interning as an Alcohol and Drug Intervention Specialist with the Duluth Public Schools, and working with individuals who have developmental disabilities.

Gabe Mayfield, Youth Specialist/Activities Coordinator
(218) 722-7431 x120
Gabe graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 2001 and has extensive community involvement—from the Lyric Opera of the North to the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. He has been a Crew Leader and Program Manager for Duluth Stream Corps, but is passionate about basketball and the arts. He shares those passions here at Life House as the Activities Coordinator, taking youth to the YMCA for basketball or teaching weekly song writing classes.

Renita Syas, Youth Specialist/Outreach Coordinator
(218) 722-7431 x120


Eric Goetz, Housing Program Manager
(218) 722-7431 x113
Eric earned a B.A. in Social Work from The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota. He joined Life House in 2012 as the Employment Case Manager. Shortly thereafter Eric transitioned over to the Housing Program as a Transitional Housing Case Manager/Intake Specialist. In 2014 Eric was promoted to Housing Program Manager where he’s responsible for the oversight of all the Life House Supportive Housing Programs as well as administering homeless and prevention crisis funding.

Kyle Naalsund, Senior Housing Case Manager
(218) 722-7431 x116
Kyle graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 1998 with a BS in Secondary Education, Mathematics. He has more than 12 years’ experience working with youth ages 13 – 21, specializing in at-risk and homeless youth.

Jennifer Salo, Senior Housing Case Manager
(218) 722-7431 x116
Jenn joined the Life House team in 2013. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 2007 with a MA in Art Therapy. She studied child development and Psychology as an undergraduate and received her BS in Art Therapy with a minor in Psychology. Jenn has worked in the health-care field with at-risk youth and adults for 15 years. She has a deep passion for working with children and young adults who have experienced family violence in all its forms; to help them heal through art and advocacy. She enjoys creating her own art, reading, and spending time outdoors with family and friends.

Mike Hartley, Housing Case Manager
(218) 722-7431 x130

Holly Samuelson, Housing Case Manager
(218) 722-7431
Holly graduated from The College of St. Scholastica in 2006 with a BA in Social Work. She has a history with Life House, working as the Leasing Program Case Manager and the Futures Employment Case Manager from 2009-2012. We are glad to have her back as a Housing Case Manager.

Mental Health & Wellness

Julie Flint, MSW, LICSW, Mental Health Professional
(218) 722-7431 x129
Julie is a 2007 MSW graduate of University of Minnesota, Duluth. She went on to earn her LICSW in April 2010. As a licensed clinical social worker, Flint has extensive experience counseling at-risk youth. Prior to joining Life House, Flint worked at North Homes Children and Family Services as a Certified Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (TF-CBT).

Sheri Johnson, MSW, Mobile Mental Health Advocate
(218) 722-7431 x124
Sheri earned a B.S. degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1995, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from The College of St. Scholastica in 2016. She has over 10 years of experience working with persons who live with symptoms of mental illness, and believes all people have the potential and should have the opportunity to create personally fulfilling lives. She is also passionate about LGB and Transgender advocacy. Sheri was an intern and volunteer at Life House during graduate school and is very excited to join this dedicated community in the role of Mobile Mental Health Advocate.

Allie McDevitt, Substance Abuse Counselor
(218) 722-7431 x125
Allie graduated from University of Wisconsin, Superior earning a B.A. in Social Work. She was an intern with Life House before she took on the position of the Youth Center Specialist. Allie has always had a passion to work with at-risk-youth, uplifting those around her. As a Youth Center Specialist, she may assist youth in obtaining necessary identification.  Outside of work, Allie is an accomplished athlete, excelling in soccer and basketball.

Jennifer Keuten, Transitional Assertive Community Treatment (T-ACT) Case Manager
(218) 727-4200

Futures Education & Employment

Luke Morcomb, MSW, Futures Program Manager
(218) 722-7431 x127
Morcomb recently completed his MSW at University of Minnesota, Duluth and has many years’ experience working with youth. Most recently he was a Street Outreach Worker at Lutheran Social Service but has also served Mentor Duluth through TrueNorth AmericCorps and has a long volunteer history. As the Employment Case Manager, he will work to assist youth to find and maintain work through job coaching, skills training, and placement services.

Amber Sadowski, Futures Education Case Manager
(218) 722-7431 x112
Amber received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College, Moorhead in English Writing and Environmental Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Minnesota. Prior to Life House Amber spent 6 years educating in school settings before taking time off to stay home with her family. During this time she opened an outdoor education and child centered home day care. Outside of her role at Life House, Amber enjoys various outdoor activities, reading and traveling.

Safe Harbor

Ashley Luna, Sol House Supervisor
(218) 722-7431 x125

Kristi Burton, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 x125

Marie Gibson, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 x125
Marie joined the Life House team in December 2015.  Marie graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in communication. Prior to Life House, Marie worked at Wells Fargo and at Hotel 301 as a server. Outside of Life House, Marie enjoys cooking, shopping, movies, and relaxing.

Ericka Holtz, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 x125
Ericka graduated from University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2015, earning a BS in Social Work. She joined Life House in 2014 as an intern in the Youth Center, working alongside our Youth Center staff to put her classwork into practice. She has a long history of volunteer and service commitments in the Twin Ports community and a deep passion for working with homeless and street youth.

Rebecca Lester, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 x125
Rebecca (Becca) graduated from University of Minnesota, Duluth with a double major in Women’s Studies and American Indian Studies in 2012. She has been a long-time advocate for social justice and women’s issues, volunteering for a variety of organizations in the Twin Ports (including PAVSA, Seeds of Success, Girl Power!, and others).

Tarra Lind, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 x125
Tarra is a Native American lesbian who is a descendant of the Fond Du Lac Band of Ojibwe. She brings her own healing from family domestic violence, sexual violence, youth homelessness, and the foster care system experience. She most recently was a Resident Assistant for two years for San Marco, advocating on behalf of the men and women who were chronically alcoholic and residing there, assuring they were safe and secure. This last year Tarra became a Program Assistant through Duluth Regional Care Center (DRCC) working with Developmentally Disabled elderly adults.

Jasmine Ward, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 x125