Elisabeth (Lis) Klemme, Brain Balance Program Director at Shelterwood, loves being part of a new chapter in our families’ stories. Get to know Lis.
What Lis loves most about Shelterwood: “Shelterwood fosters a continual growth process. I love that I’m constantly learning and constantly growing,” Lis says. “Shelterwood continually challenges its staff to be better and to grow in a kind, loving way.”
Brain Balance, defined: Often, students arrive at Shelterwood with a gap between their biological age and their brain’s age of maturity. For example, a student may be 16 years old, but with a brain function at age 11. Because of the gap, the student can struggle to handle situations as someone his or her biological age should. “Brain Balance helps make the brain teachable, so students can better learn,” Lis explains. Shelterwood is the only therapeutic boarding school with Brain Balance right on campus.
When she was a teen: “Sometimes I look around and think, perhaps I should have been at Shelterwood as a teen!” Lis says. “My mom was a politician and I learned from an early age how to just put on a pretty face. On the one hand, I was on the soccer team and Honors society and youth group, but then I had another side that was far less positive. I went to church every Sunday, but I spent Saturday night partying or doing things that were not God-honoring,” Lis reflects. She dedicated herself to Christ at age 17, as a senior in high school. “I always had a relationship with God, but when I gave my life up to God, that changed everything.”
What brought her to Shelterwood: Lis earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri, and after graduating, spent time writing grants and working with children through after-school programs, and then got plugged into the Brain Balance community. “One of my Brain Balance mentors was connected with Amanda Gunter, and when the coordinator role opened, it was a great opportunity for me,” Lis recalls. “I got to train with the previous Director, who was retiring, so it was such a smooth transition into both Brain Balance and Shelterwood.”
Favorite part about being the Brain Balance Program Coordinator: “One of the things I love about Brain Balance is that every day looks different,” Lis says. She works directly with students, counselors, parents and coaches. “My role is making sure everyone is engaged on all fronts, and I love being kept on my toes!”
Most unique aspect of Shelterwood Brain Balance: “Brain Balance is really innovative in that it acknowledges that not all behaviors are the child’s fault,” Lis explains. “Brain Balance starts first with the immaturities in the brain and gets to the root of the problem. Integrating Brain Balance from the beginning to the end also helps therapists along the way to know where the students are, so they are able to serve them more effectively.”
Family: Lis met her husband, Jason, while they were students in college. They have a two-year-old daughter named Corrine. When the weather is nice, Lis and her family head to the park or go for a bike ride. They also enjoy spending time with friends from their church.
Best part of her Shelterwood job: “I love enrolling new families!” Lis says. “It is such a new beginning for every family, so I get really excited when I am able to be part of that treatment plan and part of the next chapter in their story.”