Meet the People of REINS

The Board of REINS

As a charitable non-profit organization, REINS is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors and managed by a staff of paid employees and many active volunteers. Our dedicated team believes whole heartedly in our Mission and is on a steady course to fulfill our vision of growing the program and reaching more people in Calumet, Manitowoc and Sheboygan Counties.

Board of Directors

Tom Blankenheim | President

I have been involved with REINS for the past ten years.  I have been a board member, an instructor, a donor and a volunteer.  Prior to REINS I worked for Green Bay Area Public Schools as a special education teacher and special education/alternative programs administrator.  I have always supported experiential education as a way to help kids grow and learn.  I enjoy providing opportunities for people with both physical disabilities and mental health needs.  I believe partnering with horses provides many opportunities for growth.

Kurt Nilsen | Finance

Kurt is a Finance Officer with REINS and originally joined the Board of Directors in 2017.  He is a retired CPA, with over 25 years of experience in the corporate finance sector.  Kurt and his wife have four children and live in Oostburg.

Peggy Brennan | Philanthropy Director

Peggy has loved horses for as long as she can remember, spending many Summers leading trail rides at a family friends riding camp. She had her own horse for 34 years, boarding him at the barn which eventually would become home to Reins. She believes in the mission of Reins and is committed to bringing awareness and including our communities in this great program.

Deana Hamel | Strategic Planning

Deana has decades of experience as a rider, instructor and farm owner. Her focus is the positive bond between horse and rider and the restorative nature of that bond. As a current fiber artist and author and a former corporate executive and pastor, she brings an unique insight to the program.  She believes in the important role of equine therapy in healing the body, mind and spirit.

Lisa Brotz | Member at Large

Lisa is a third-generation horsewoman who grew up at El Reata Arabian Farm, now the REINS barn, under the watchful eye of owner and trainer, Joe Zoran, who was a close friend of the family. After Joe’s passing, nostalgia pulled Lisa back to the stable where her friend and fellow Board member, Peggy Brennan, gave her a tour of the renovated facility. Pictures of Joe lined the viewing room walls and magic was taking place in the arena. Lisa was hooked, and she signed on for the REINS Events Committee. In 2021, she became a member of the Board of Directors. Lisa looks forward to watching Joe’s legacy continue to grow into a year-round facility where others can experience the peace and joy that come from time well spent with horses.

Lisa Darr | Member at Large


From the minute I opened the door to REINS I was hooked. The smell of horses and the laughter of children was enough for me to say I will volunteer every chance I get!  My Grandfather was a horse trainer so I grew up around horses and have rode for many years. But THIS….is pure MAGIC. I am humbled to work with these children, horses, volunteers, instructors and donors.  I am honored to serve on the REINS board of directors-such dedication and commitment!!
Aside from REINS, I have been married to my soul mate for 38 years. We have 4 beautiful children who make me want to be a better person and 3 amazing grandchildren plus 3 dogs! I am a Realtor with 26 years of experience and owner of American Dream Realty LLC. In my “spare” time, I love to garden, hike, kayak, travel and spend time with family.

Jim Thimmig | Member at Large

Open | Vice President
Open | Operations/Maintenance
Toggle Content
Open | Horses
Open | Marketing & Communications
Open | Administrative
Open | Technical Support

Advisory Board

Dr. Louise Blankenheim | Program Education Advisor

Louise has been involved in education for thirty years and is currently the District Administrator for the Kiel Area School District. She has been riding horses since she was a young girl. Her passion for horses and her background in education has led her to REINS. She believes that equine based therapy has a lot to offer all people and especially those with disabilities.

Jason Connors | Technical Advisor
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.


Morgan Christensen | Director and Instructor

Morgan serves as the Director and Senior Instructor at REINS. After many years of working with both horses and people with disabilities, as well as experiencing the therapeutic power of horses herself, Morgan always knew she wanted to be involved in equine assisted services. Morgan graduated from St. Norbert College in 2022 with a major in sociology and a minor in psychology, which she uses to foster a caring, inclusive, and safe environment for everyone at REINS. Check the barn aisle for Morgan’s longtime equine partner, Remi, next time you’re at REINS.

Tom Blankenheim | Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning

Tina King | Administrative Assistant

Jordin Nupats | Volunteer Coordinator & Marketing

Jordin has been volunteering for various groups and her churches for years. With a personal background with horses, she is joining our staff this year.