Carol Watson

Chief Executive Officer

Carol leads our organization, with a focus on our guiding principles—what is in the best interest of our clients, our employees, and our business.  She is passionate about helping people develop and be their best, both as individuals and as a team.

Carol spent over 20 years in the corporate world, including time as president of a publishing business that served customers in the mental health and special education sectors. She found her home in the disability services field six years ago, as president of a disability services provider in the Twin Cities.  Carol came to NHS Northstar in 2020.  She greatly values the relationships that NHS Northstar has within the community.

Carol has a BA in Business and Psychology from William Jewell College.  She also completed the Minnesota Executive Program at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Susan Kildahl

Chief Financial Officer

Susan oversees financial and operational functions. Her focus is on optimizing performance so the organization can best meet the needs of our clients and employee owners.  She is known for her analytical thinking and creative problem solving.  She is a  hands-on leader who gets the most satisfaction from helping others grow in their roles.

Susan has been with NHS for four years as CFO and as a financial service provider for 20 years before that.  Prior to NHS, she had her own business, providing accounting and financial services to mid-range companies.

Susan has a BA in Accounting from University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Sharon Polcher

Director of Residential Services

Sharon oversees and collaborates with our residential team.  Her focus is on developing a team whose goal each and every day is to focus on the safety, health, and happiness of our residents.  She is known for unwavering focus on quality and her commitment to the individuals we serve. This includes new referrals, where she focuses on finding the site that will be the best possible fit for the individual so they will be successful and happy in their new home.

Sharon has almost 40 years of experience providing services to people with disabilities, including 21 years with NHS.  Her experience includes starting new programs and helping individuals with significant challenges thrive.

She has a BA in Criminal Justice from St. Cloud University.

Cindy Lervik

Director of Community Support Services

Cindy oversees our Outreach program.  Her team focuses on teaching our clients new skills so they can successfully live as independently as possible.  She is passionate about empowering individuals to better their lives.

Cindy has been with NHS for 20 years.  Prior to being promoted to Director, she spent time as a Supervisor and a Program Manager.  She especially likes building relationships with others, including our staff, clients external team members and families.  The best reward is when she gets to see others grow.

Cindy has a BS in Criminal Justice from Bemidji State University.

Deanna Swenson

Manager of ARMHS Services

Deanna oversees our ARMHS program.  She is passionate about helping individuals find their own sense of purpose, as they strive to meet goals.  She strives to lead through patience, empathy, and attention to detail.

Prior to assuming leadership of our ARMHS team, Deanna spent 4 years as a Mental Health Practitioner.  Her past experience includes providing family-based services for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Deanna has a BA in Psychology and American Indian studies from the University of Minnesota—Duluth.  She is currently enrolled in the MSW program at the University of North Dakota.

Eric Larson

Human Resources Manager

Eric oversees all aspects of human resources. He is passionate about bringing on and supporting great employees who are committed to providing exceptional care to the individuals we serve.  He enjoys being able to connect with employees at all levels and providing employment opportunities to our local communities.

Eric worked for NHS Northstar in seasonal positions throughout high school and college.  After college, he worked in human resources in the health care  and education industries for 10 years before returning to NHS Northstar.

Eric has a BA in  Sociology and Criminology from the University of Minnesota—Duluth.

Ashley Casey

Associate Director of Residential Services

In collaboration with our Director of Residential Services, Ashley provides leadership and support for our residential program team.  A major focus is training and onboarding of supervisors and program coordinators.  She is always willing to take on new projects and can be counted on to pay attention to the details that ensure success.  What is most important to Ashley is providing the best quality of care for our clients.

Prior to coming to NHS Northstar, Ashley had experience in direct care and as a supervisor. At NHS Northstar, she spent time as a program coordinator before being promoted to her current position.

Ashley has a BA in Psychology, with a minor in Special Education, from St Cloud University.