Board Members

Adam Bemmels
Audra Nissen Boyer
Thomas Flunker
President
Thomas currently serves as the Director of the Diversity Center at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. He returned to South Central MN in 2007 after spending fourteen years in WI, where he first served as an elementary/middle teacher, coach, and principal in Milwaukee, followed by teaching various levels of high school Spanish, in addition to coaching football and track in Appleton, WI. Upon relocating to Mankato, he spent eight years as the Intercultural Center Coordinator, Admissions Counselor, and Adjunct faculty at Bethany Lutheran College and Seminary. As an adopted son of a missionary, Thomas spent the majority of his childhood on the island of Puerto Rico, until returning to the states to attend high school in Nebraska. He obtained a Bachelor of Education degree from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN, and a Masters in Psychology of Culture from Walden University. He is the father of three continuously growing sons, and husband to Sandi…amazing wife, mom, and educator. “Throughout my twenty-five years employed within the field of education, the goal has always included mentoring, advising, and guiding students from all walks of life, in efforts to better navigate the educational options and opportunities that are available.”
Karen Foreman
Karen currently serves on the Mankato City Council, representing Ward 1 and represents the City Council on the GMDC Board of Directors.
Jean Haar
Jean is currently serving as the dean for the College of Education at MN State University, Mankato. She has also been a professor and chairperson in the Department of Educational Leadership. She began her education career as an English teacher and later served as a high school principal. The college is committed to meeting the needs of all students and is focused advancing teacher diversity to match the changing student demographics. The vision of the college is to inspire lifelong learning and professional engagement through racial consciousness, social justice, and inclusion within a global context.
Kelley Haeder
Bukata Hayes
Executive Director
The most important thing about Bukata Hayes is that he is the son of Dia Damani Courtney and Karen Hayes, husband to Lisa and father to Damani, Jalen, Zavier, and Zuri. In addition to this, Bukata has served as the Executive Director of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council since September, 2006. Prior to this role, he served as the Coordinator of the Multi Ethnic Center at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, the first-ever position of its kind at the college. Bukata received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. He has membership and/or is on the board of numerous organizations such as the Mankato Chapter of the NAACP (President), Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Board (President), Latin American Multicultural Association for Networking and Opportunity –LA MANO (Board), and Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation Board.
Kingsley Iheasirim
Dr. Iheasirim is employed at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, specializing in the area of internal medicine.
Mitzi Kennedy
Mitzi is currently serving as the Chief Diversity Officer and Director of TRIO Student Support Services at South Central College in North Mankato and Faribault. She has been involved with violence prevention, disparities and social justice programming in communities for many years. Mitzi completed her bachelor’s degree in urban administration at the University of Cincinnati and her master’s degree and doctorate at the University Of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. She worked on the TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) evaluation with the State of Colorado in collaboration with the University of Denver and also taught there in the MSW program. Her research has included how we collaboratively implement evidence based programs with fidelity to the model in multiple community settings. She has also worked with community and school districts as a university evaluation partner to help bring quality interventions to those most in need.
Jeni Kolstad
Cindy McCabe
Past President
Cindy is a member of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council as an appointed representative for Nicollet County Human Services. She is a social services supervisor. The services she administers include: children’s mental health, daycare and child foster care licensing, PSOP ( Parent Support Outreach Program), general child welfare and SSIS ( Social Services Information System). Cindy is also the Coordinator for the Nicollet County Family Services Collaborative. She participates in a wide variety of local, regional and state meetings that are part of her job duties and responsibilities.
Heather Mueller
Heather Mueller was born and raised in Yuma, AZ. After receiving her teaching degree she traveled with the "Up With People" organization for one year where she performed as a dancer and singer. She began teaching for the Mankato Area Public Schools in 1997 until she accepted the Staff Development Coordinator position in 2008. After being in that position for five years she accepted the Director of Teaching and Learning position and is now beginning her fifth year in that capacity.
Guadalupe Quintero
Vance Stuehrenberg
A retired police officer for the city of Mankato, Vance was also a motorcycle instructor for the State of MN for 9 years and currently serves as a Blue Earth County Commissioner. He is a past facilitator for the GMDC, board member for MN Sex Crime Investigator Association, MN Juvenile Officer Association, and Mankato Area Healthy Youth. Vance is a current member of Mankato Airport Commission, Mankato/Blue Earth County Intergovernmental Commission, City of Mankato Charter Commission, Intergovernmental Ice Arena, MATAPS Policy Commission, MN Transportation Alliance, Mankato Anti-Violence Group, National Association of Counties Transportation Steering Committee, National Guard Community Committee, and Association of MN Counties Health & Human Services Committee. His hobbies include motorcycle riding, reading, and singing.
Kuma Takamura
Education Director
It was supposed to be a melting pot, but when Kuma came to the U.S. from Japan in the '80s, what he found was "Chunky Stew." Kuma, as a biologist, an electrical engineer, and an educator, worked in many areas including private sector and higher education system. Everywhere he went he strongly felt diversity was a strength but "we were not tapping into it." Humans are inquisitive and curious beings. Difference triggers fear, but he hopes, with our effort, the curiosity/inquisitiveness will eventally take over and people will start learning each others' differences and start recognizing the power of diversity! Kuma joined the Greater Mankato Diversity staff in the summer of 2011.
Wayne Terry