Our Leadership Team

 WHO WE ARE     |    CONTACT US 

John TwardosPresident and CEO

As President and CEO of LSI, John Twardos oversees one of Iowa’s largest human services agencies with 1,100 employees and an operating budget of  $35 million.

“LSI is a special place with a tremendous legacy of service,” John says. “I’m honored and humbled to work alongside dedicated people who make a difference in this community every day. It’s a blessing to combine my faith with my work.

When he was in high school, John got a part-time job at the hospital at which his mother worked as a nurse. That experience kindled within him a desire to improve lives through quality and compassionate service delivery.

John’s undergraduate degree from Loyola University in Chicago and his master’s degree in health administration from St. Louis University prepared him for a career in health services, including leadership roles at community mental health centers and psychiatric hospitals in the Midwest. Before joining LSI as President and CEO in 2016, John served as the Senior Vice President of Operations at Bethesda Lutheran Communities in Watertown, WI.

John is passionate about LSI’s mission of service. He believes it is the bedrock upon which the agency’s success is built, particularly in a rapidly changing human services environment.

“From preventing child abuse to supporting our friends with disabilities to uplifting the needs of refugees, this organization’s heart beats for the most vulnerable members of our community,” John says. “When people work together for good, amazing things happen.”

As a new resident of Central Iowa, John is enjoying traveling the state visiting LSI’s office sites, partner churches, and sister agencies. John is serving on the Board of Directors at the Coalition for Family & Children’s Services in Iowa. John and his wife Molly have two adult sons—one in college, and one working as an aerospace engineer in Salt Lake City. When they are together, the family loves to cook, snow ski, and attend hockey games.

John can be reached at:

John.Twardos@LSIowa.org
Lutheran Services in Iowa
3125 Cottage Grove Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Bethany KohoutekVice President of Marketing and Communications

Bethany Kohoutek is LSI’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, (otherwise known as “the best job in the world,” according to Bethany).

“I fall in love on a daily basis with our mission of compassionate service, our team, and the people we serve,” Bethany says. “It’s an honor to be a part of this amazing organization and develop innovative and meaningful ways to bring more allies into our movement for hope and healing.”

Bethany’s passion lies in creating broader awareness of the wide range of services LSI offers and the ways in which staff empower and strengthen Iowa communities.

Bethany graduated from Iowa State University with majors in Religious Studies and in Journalism and Mass Communications. She began her career writing and editing for nonprofit alternative publications in Colorado, where she covered issues close to her heart such as women’s political and healthcare equality, environmental justice and conservation, affordable housing, immigrant rights, and equitable access to education.

In Iowa, Bethany worked as a copywriter in the creative marketing department at ITAGroup in West Des Moines and as a magazine editor and content creator at Meredith Corporation for a variety of national women’s magazines and brands. She joined LSI in 2015 as Director of Marketing and  Communications prior to her promotion to Vice President in 2016.

She is active in and supports local social justice work, and has volunteered with the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and the Meredith Diversity Team. She is a member of the Iowa Task Force for Young Women and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Des Moines. She is passionate about creating communities that cultivate creativity, growing independent businesses, and snuggling her two young children every time they will let her. She enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and attending live music events with her husband, Boonie.

Bethany can be reached at:

Bethany.Kohoutek@LSIowa.org
Lutheran Services in Iowa
3116 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Bill KallestadVice President of Programs and Services

Bill Kallestad is LSI’s Vice President of Programs and Services, and he has held the position since May of 2016.

Bill oversees LSI’s services including Behavioral Health Integration Services, Services for People with Disabilities, Pediatric Integrated Health, Mental Health Services, Family Safety, Risk and Permanency, Refugee Services, Residential Services, Foster Care and Adoption, and Early Childhood services.

“The most rewarding part to me is making a big difference in someone’s life,” Bill says. “Moving to LSI and being a part of this mission has been important to me. I know I’m part of something bigger—something that is truly making an impact on the lives of Iowans and the health of our communities.”

Bill has more than 21 years of experience working in human services. He has had a presence at LSI since 2012, when he was hired to direct LSI’s Services for People with Disabilities, which today serve more than 900 families with 400 staff across the state. Prior to LSI, Bill worked as a service manager, consultant, and trainer at ChildServe for 15 years, and as an adjunct professor at Grand View University for four years. He holds a degree in Human Services from Grand View College in Des Moines.

Bill enjoys biking and camping with his wife, Jenny, and four kids, learning new knock-knock jokes, and running in marathons and triathlons.

Bill can be reached at:

Bill.Kallestad@LSIowa.org
Lutheran Services in Iowa
3116 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Dan DeanVice President of Capacity and Strategy Development

As vice president of capacity and strategy development, Dan Dean directs LSI’s personnel, quality improvement and compliance programs across the state. He is also responsible for strategic planning, development, measurement and the oversight of operations at all sites.

Dan joined LSI in 1997, first as resident manager for LSI’s Beloit Residential Treatment Center in Ames. He later served as statewide director in areas of quality and capacity development.

In 2017, Dan steered LSI through its most recent national accreditation process with the Council on Accreditation (COA), an intensive assessment that occurs every three years. LSI achieved a near perfect score, acing a rigorous review of more than 1,400 national best practice standards.

“We take a very strategic approach to quality at LSI, and it sets us apart,” Dan says. “It gives our funders confidence that their resources are well spent and that we deliver real and lasting results. Quality is an important part of fulfilling our promises – both to the people we support and the other agencies with whom we partner.”

An active member of Lutheran Services in America’s (LSA) Council of Human Resource Management, Dan currently serves on the Council’s board of directors. Since 2006, Dan has served as a COA national peer reviewer, traveling the country to review other human services agencies.

Dan earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in recreation education from the University of Iowa and his Master’s degree in Public Administration from Drake University in Des Moines.

A resident of West Des Moines, Dan and his wife Vicki have two children, Jordan and Ashley. They are active members of Lutheran Church of Hope. Dan stays busy with his family at church, school and the YMCA youth swim program.

Dan can be reached at:

Dan.Dean@LSIowa.org
Lutheran Services in Iowa
3125 Cottage Grove Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Jason LeeVice President of Philanthropy and Church Relations

Jason Lee is LSI’s vice president of philanthropy and church relations, overseeing efforts to raise nearly $3 million every year for LSI’s mission of responding to the love of Jesus Christ through compassionate service. Jason has served in this role since April of 2015.

LSI’s philanthropy and church relations team partners with the three Iowa synods of the ELCA and thousands of individuals, churches, foundations and corporations across Iowa who care deeply about Iowa children, families and adults.

“It is a great joy and blessing to share LSI’s mission with donors who have the heart for helping others and the capacity to make a difference through their financial support and ministry partnership,” Jason says. “We have the honor of building upon a legacy of faith-driven generosity and compassionate services across Iowa for more than 150 years.”

Jason joined LSI in 2013 as an advancement officer, later transitioning to the role of director of planned giving and major gifts. Prior to LSI, he served as executive director of the ALS Association’s Iowa Chapter for seven years.

He is an alumnus of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, where he is active on the Alumni Committee. He serves as a member of the Mid-Iowa Planned Giving Council Board of Directors, the Rotary Club of Ames and the Story County Alliance for Philanthropy.

Jason earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health and human performance from Iowa State University. Prior to college and his career in non-profit leadership and fundraising, he played professional baseball at four levels of the minor league system for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Residents of Ames, Jason and his wife, Jen, have six children. They are adoptive and foster parents and active in supporting adoptive families in their church and community. Outside of his work with LSI, Jason enjoys spending time with Jen and the kids, reading, and living a healthy, active lifestyle.

Jason can be reached at:

Jason.Lee@LSIowa.org
Lutheran Services in Iowa
1323 Northwestern Avenue
Ames, IA 50010
515.817.0980

Liz KurttVICE PRESIDENT OF Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Liz has served the organization for 23 years, providing her accounting expertise as Service Line Support and Budgeting Manager from 2003 to 2017. In 1994, Liz began her journey as the Chief Financial Officer of Bremwood Lutheran Children’s Home in Waverly before it merged with Lutheran Social Services and became Lutheran Services in Iowa in 2003. The Bremwood campus continues to serve children and youth with severe behavioral and emotional disorders from across Iowa.

“I am honored to work for this organization that provides so much hope and healing to so many Iowa families,” Liz says. “I continue to serve at LSI to match my brain built for numbers to a great venture that feeds my heart for human service.”

Liz earned her CPA licensure in 1991 and holds a degree in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa. She and her husband reside in Waverly and enjoy following the activities of their three children.

Liz can be reached at:

Liz.Kurtt@LSIowa.org
Lutheran Services in Iowa
106 16th Street SW
Waverly, IA 50677