Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Kathy Carlson (Parent)

Kathy Carlson was elected to serve as the Secretary on the Board of Directors for Lionsgate Foundation in December 2015. She has two boys at Lionsgate Academy - a junior and an eighth grader. Kathy is a dedicated supporter of the foundation and sees an opportunity for further community outreach leveraging the expertise and talents of Lionsgate Academy staff. Kathy is Co-Founder of The Healthy Organization – a Communications and Employee Development Consulting firm.  Prior to starting this business, Kathy worked for 25 years at General Mills, Inc. most recently as the Director of Learning and Development for the Supply Chain. Kathy earned a Bachelors degree in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, an M.S. in Chemistry from the University of MN, and her Ph.D. in Human Resource Development from the University of MN.


Tom Freeberg (Community Member), Chair

Tom Freeberg joined Lionsgate Foundation’s Board of Directors in March 2015. Tom has hosted Lionsgate Foundation event tables in the past and his niece, Sarah, is the drama teacher at Lionsgate Academy. Tom is a former member of the South St. Paul Education Foundation Board, the School of Environmental Studies Education Foundation Board and The Open Door (a Dakota County food shelf).  Tom is a Registered Professional Engineer employed by CenturyLink Communications.  Tom conveys he was moved by Lionsgate students who told personal stories of life before and after finding Lionsgate. Tom is convinced that Lionsgate fills a basic human need in our world that has been too long unaddressed. He is impressed that this education model has been shown to be viable and effective.


John Villerius (Community Member), Treasurer

John Villerius was elected to Lionsgate Foundation’s Board of Directors in August 2012.  The parent of a former student at Lionsgate Academy, John previously served as chair of Lionsgate Academy’s Parent Advisory Council for two years.  Prior to that, he participated for several years as a member and chair of the Minneapolis Public Schools Special Education Advisory Council.  John works as Investment and Debt Management Officer for Hennepin County.  He holds an MPA degree from Indiana University and a BA degree from Grinnell College.


Honorary Board Members

Diane Halpin, Ph.D. (Executive Director, Lionsgate Academy)

Dr. Halpin is the executive director of Lionsgate Academy and an honorary member of Lionsgate Foundation’s Board of Directors. Previously employed as a research associate at the Institute on Community Integration, she conducted research for the National Center on Educational Outcomes, the North Central Regional Resource Center, and the National Inclusion Project. Her work has included teaching at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels. Dr. Halpin is the mother of a daughter on the autism spectrum. She has been active in local autism advocacy organizations and has served on the board of directors for Families for Effective Autism Treatment and the Minnesota Autism Center.  Dr. Halpin holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology/special education from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in education and human development with an emphasis in educational administration from George Washington University. She has developed the Minnesota Visual Autism Symptom Scale, an online assessment/IEP planning tool for teachers of children with autism.


Ron Berger, MBA, CPA (Inactive) (Finance Director, Lionsgate Academy)

Ron Berger joined Lionsgate Academy as Finance Director in 2013.  He has been associated with the school since 2009 (2009 - 2012 as Board Treasurer/Board Chair and 2012 - 2013 as a service provider).  Ron earned a BS in Accounting from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN and a MBA from the University of St. Thomas.  Prior to Lionsgate, Ron held senior finance roles at three Twin Cities-based companies, following stints as a principal in a private investment banking firm and in public accounting.