Board of Directors

 The governing body of Northeast Residence, Inc. is a volunteer board of directors working on behalf of all people supported and staff. 


Joan Purrington, Board Chair

Joan Purrington has served on the board of directors since the early 1980s.  Joan works as a physical therapist in private practice. She serves on a number of community boards. Joan and her husband Norm, a retired small animal veterinarian, have three children and three grandchildren.  She enjoys being with family and friends participating in outdoor activities, traveling, learning, reading and craft activities.  


Blaine Stephens, Vice Chair

Blaine Stephens is married to Julia (married 26 years), Claire (daughter, married for 2.5 years) and Dan (son, graduated from U of M Twin Cities). Blaine is owner of the Schooley Mitchell practice in New Brighton--cost reduction specialist for businesses and nonprofit organizations.  Blaine’s hobbies include walking, reading, traveling and dining.
Blaine serves on the board for Children’s Performing Arts, and for the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce.  Blaine has recently become a certified SCORE mentor to help small business owners and nonprofit leaders succeed. 

Blaine’s reasons for joining the NER Board: community service, contributing skills and experience, supporting a worthy organization, and life-long learning.


Michelle Olson, Secretary 

Michelle Olson is a long-time member of the Northeast Residence board. Michelle and her husband Steve have three daughters. Tiffany, their oldest daughter has been supported by NER’s respite and extended day programs. Tiffany now lives in one of NER’s group homes.


Michelle is a retired RN. Her daughter Chrissie is also a RN and her youngest daughter Nikki is a cosmetologist.  Michelle’s hobbies include yoga, walking, going to movies and spending time with her five beautiful grandchildren.


Amanda Trnka, Treasurer

Amanda Trnka is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked with individuals with disabilities and mental health disorders in many different capacities over the past 18 years. She worked at Northeast Residence as a direct care staff and supervisor for five years, and has maintained her connection with Northeast Residence through fundraisers, financial support, and her brother, who lives in one of our Long-Term Care Residences. Amanda enjoys participating in Northeast Residence's activities and events, volunteering for fundraisers, and serving on the Northeast Residence Board of Directors. 


Outside of Northeast Residence, she enjoys photography, planning events, traveling, games, and spending time with her family. Amanda has a toddler, Madilyn, and another baby on the way, keeping her and her husband, Aaron, quite busy. She looks forward to meeting more of the staff and the people we support in the coming months and years.


Barb Damerow, Director

Barb Damerow has been a member of the Northeast Residence board since 2010.  Her sister was served by the Respite Care program  and lived in one of Northeast Residence homes for many years.


Barb's background is in Early Childhood Special Education as a teacher.  She is an active volunteer in several organizations and enjoys event planning. Barb is married with five children and two dachshunds.


Bruce Anderson, Director

Bruce Anderson is a retired executive, having served a number of roles in non-profit higher education. He has experience with writing, publishing, marketing, and development. A resident of Minnesota since 2005, he was the vice-president for development at Bethel University. 


Susan Thayer, Director

Sue Thayer has been a physical therapist for nearly 37 years. Early in her career she worked in upstate New York and briefly in Texas and New Hampshire. She moved to the Twin Cities area in 1994 and has resided here since that time. Much of Sue’s career has been spent working with children with disabilities in clinic and homebased settings or as a school-based therapist. Her time at Courage St Croix in Stillwater included children and adults in an outpatient rehab setting. 


Sue is now easing into retirement as a PT but continues to have a passion for helping people with disabilities reach their highest potential and live a full life, which is what drew her to NER. She is excited to participate as a Board member and meet new people along the way to further the mission of NER.

Sue lives in Hugo with her husband Scot and rescue Lab Luna. She has 2 married daughters and enjoys spending time with her family. During her free time Sue likes to take walks, read, or travel.


Sandra Weaver, Director

Sandra Weaver joined the NER Board in October of 2019 after having the opportunity to experience an externship through the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce with the organization in the summer of 2019.  Through the externship she was able to see all aspects of the organization and learn about the wonderful opportunities for adults to live and thrive in the programs available through NER.


Currently Sandra is a full-time School Counselor in Stillwater, having served in that role for the past thirty years.  Sandra has had leadership opportunities in a variety of positions on the boards of the Minnesota School Counselors Association and the East Suburban School Counselors Association over the past several years.  She is married to Andrew Weaver (a high school teacher), lives in the Stillwater area and has two adult daughters.  Working with high school students with disabilities over the years, it is exciting to be on the board of an organization which supports adults with disabilities to lead happy, productive lives through NER.


André Dubé, Director

André Dubé has over 30 years of information technology experience, from programming to project management, currently consulting as a business analyst with a large international corporation, leveraging technology to enhance people’s lives. His interest lies in the application of this acquired knowledge to better serve NER in whatever form it might take, to include all constituents, from the special people served, through the dedicated staff and management.


His daughter, Sara, has been privy to NER’s wonderful respite care for many years, and now as a permanent resident in one of NER’s homes for the last few years.  His favorite activities are playing hockey, dining out, dancing, traveling, reading, and focused on enjoying life with family and friends.


Robert (Bob) Lockwood, Director

Bob has two daughters, Stacy age 61 and Dru age 60. Both have multiple severe disabilities. They live together, along with two others in a house leased by Bob to NER and operated as NER 33 Avenue.


Bob is widowed and lives with his sister Sally in New Brighton.  At a young 87 Bob remains active with his daughters. For 60 years he has been a volunteer in many agencies serving people with developmental disabilities and other needs. He had a long career in computer engineering and executive management. He looks forward to helping NER with problems faced in today’s cultural and economic climate.


Kevin Walli, Director