Board President and Co-Founder
Nena is a loving mother of four children. As early as she can remember Nena wanted to be a teacher. This emerging passion compounded with a high interest in the human psyche led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, which she followed up with a master’s degree in School and Community Counseling.
Through her studies, Nena found a particular interest in working with children who were struggling with mental health or crisis and children with special needs. She has volunteered with Rainbow Kids as an early childhood grief group counselor, lead small group activities with children temporarily housed at Safe Harbor domestic violence shelter, and served as a mentor with Big Brother/Big Sisters of Sheboygan for 10 years.
Nena’s studies and volunteer experiences lead her to a realization that often the special needs child population, as well as children struggling with mental health, get “left behind” in different venues of their lives. They often find an absence of quality services, including childcare, often resulting from lack of funding. This belief was further solidified as she encountered different obstacles while raising her oldest child, who has special needs. Because of this, her passion emerged to advocate for children in need and help their voices be heard, and to find ways to support the family as a whole in times of need by empowering them with proper tools. As she and her co-founder, Angel, agree: “Everyone needs a village “. This is where the dream of A Million Dreamz started … with endless possibilities for children of all abilities and their families.
Board Vice President
Lynn Potyen is the owner of The GameBoard which began here in Sheboygan in 2006. Over the last 14+ years, she has created a retail establishment that is well respected both in Wisconsin and worldwide. She has used her knowledge and passion for brain health to drive a change in the way people play and learn, not just in our youth but throughout life and into the retirement years. She has the distinct honor of being chosen to have her business and personal journey recorded by Story Corps for the Toy Association in 2020. This 45-minute recording is archived in the Library of Congress in Washington DC, this tribute was only awarded to 14 individuals. In 2017, Lynn was selected as a top 5 finalist for the Athena Award in Sheboygan County, the Athena Award is given to individuals who exemplify leadership among women. Lynn believes in motivating individuals to be the best they can be no matter what their abilities are. To that end, Lynn currently serves on the Dementia Care Task Force and the RCS Advisory board. She is married to Mark and they have 3 grown children. Their eldest Erik is the catalyst for Lynn's passion. For 20 years she has encouraged and helped empower him to succeed while overcoming a severe speech delay and a neurological writing disorder.
Leah is a devoted mother of three and grandmother. Her experience throughout her life has led her to a career in childcare. A former Head Start Assistant, Leah is working toward her Administration Credential through Northeast Wisconsin Technical College while working part-time and spending lots of time with her family.
Joseph J. Voelkner was born and raised in Grafton, Wisconsin. Joe currently resides in Sheboygan with his wife, Melissa. Joe is a partner of Olsen, Kloet, Gunderson & Conway and presides on several non-profit boards throughout Sheboygan County. Joe is an avid sports fan and tennis player, he enjoys playing tennis, golf, hockey, basketball, and softball and enjoys traveling at every opportunity.
After 10 years of providing childcare in her home, Angel is proud to step up to the role of Executive Director and help create a kind and warm environment for families in need of care and support. Angel is nearing the completion of her Registry Administration Credential at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, adding to her continuing education. She was recognized three years running at a National Parent Support Convention as a Parent Leader (2003-2006) and continues to be an advocate for children and healthy families. Angel has volunteered with the Youth and Family Project in West Bend and provided parental support and education for over 20 years. Angel is a proud mother of two grown sons and lives with her husband Matt in Sheboygan. Through her experiences as a mother of a child with special needs and a struggling single parent prior to meeting her husband, she learned firsthand how challenging parenting can be. Angel is fiercely dedicated to bringing this vision of a childhood education and care center to the county she had grown to love in the hope that every family has the support that they need to raise happy and healthy children.
Jennifer Irish is the Early Childhood Education Instructor and Program Chair at Lakeshore Technical College. Over the last 20+ years, she has worked with young children in a variety of settings including licensed child care centers, public schools, and private schools. She now prepares and guides adult students to be leaders in the early childhood classroom focusing on positive guidance, anti-bias perspectives, and developmentally appropriate practices. Jennifer earned her first bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology from UW-Madison, gaining knowledge and experience working with individuals with differing abilities. She then earned her second bachelor’s degree, PK-6 teaching license, and master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University. Jennifer’s passion is sharing her love of children and their holistic development with others to build a brighter future for all. Jennifer lives in Sheboygan with her husband and two children.
Ad Hoc Member
Fourth-generation to lead the Jos. Schmitt Construction Company, Steven is a Sheboyganite dedicated to his community. His philanthropic nature has led him to work diligently to help bring the ideas of others to fruition to benefit the entire community. Sheboygan County Humane Society, The Shaw Family Playground, and the Purple Octopus at Above and Beyond Children's Museum are examples of the wonderful things Steven helps to create. A dedicated husband, father, and grandfather, Steven is paving the way to a brighter future for the citizens of Sheboygan County.
Kristen relocated to Sheboygan in 2001 from Omaha, NE. She has worked in the banking industry for the past 20+ years in a variety of roles. She finds fulfillment and purpose when she is able to help others with their financial goals. When she isn't working she enjoys volunteering throughout the community, reading, thrift store shopping, practicing Yoga, and spending time with her three daughters.
CFO of Polyfab LLC, Carol has been a dynamic and integral part of developing a one-man shop into a manufacturing facility known worldwide. Her experience and expertise with financial matters, human resources, business planning and management are welcomed with enthusiasm. Carol is happy to be on board.