The greatest asset Focus House can offer youth is our dedicated and superior staff. Our staffing commitment begins with the interview process where criminal record checks and urine screens are conducted on all prospective hirings.
Staff are selected not only for their education qualifications (over half of our almost 50 staff members have earned bachelors or masters degrees), but also on their related life experiences. Further, our comprehensive personnel and policy manual dictates our high expectations and needs for personal conduct, absolute confidentiality and on-going training and education requirements.
All staff members are trained in CPR, and those who transport residents to and from school must take and pass an annual driver safety program. Probation officers assigned to Focus House also complete one week of specialized training through the University of Illinois at Springfield.
In short, you can trust Focus House staff members to have the education, experience and passion to make a real and significant difference in the lives of the children placed here, and, that the children will be treated with family-like care and dignity.
Meet Our Staff
Linda Keilman, LCSW
Associate Director of Focus House
Mrs. Keilman is a lifelong resident of Ogle County and graduate of Rochelle Township High School. In 1993, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Illinois State University and in 2013 earned a Masters of Social Work degree from Aurora University. Linda started her career at Focus House as an Adolescent Treatment Specialist in 1994. In 1995, she became an Aftercare Counselor/Juvenile Probation Officer at Focus House until 2004, when she transferred to the Ogle County Probation Department in Oregon. She was a Juvenile Probation Officer in the community for eight years, working out of the Rochelle Satellite office for 6 of those years. In 2013, Linda was promoted to the position of Associate Director of Focus House.
Brenda Mason, LCPC
Mrs. Mason grew up in Ladd, IL and graduated from Spring Valley Hall High School in 2001. From there she attended Western Illinois University and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration in 2005. Following that, she began her career as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor at Bridgeway in Monmouth, IL and stayed there from 2006-2008. In 2008 she moved to Dixon and began working at Sinnissippi Centers in Oregon. In 2009 while working as a counselor at Sinnissippi Centers she began attending Northern Illinois University and obtained her Master’s Degree in Counseling in 2012. She continued working at Sinnissippi as a Behavioral Health Services Clinician until November 2015. At that time she began her employment here at Focus House as the Clinical Supervisor.
Michele Aldridge, RN
A graduate of Kishwaukee College’s Nursing Department in 2008, Michele first worked at Focus House for the summer of 2012. Michele joined Focus House full time in 2013. Michele has lived in Ogle County for the past 25 years, moving to Illinois from Alaska.
Residential Counselor/ Juvenile Probation Officer
Ms. Moser attended the University of Illinois-Springfield (formerly Sangamon University) where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education/History, and completed graduate studies in Public History. Rebecca spent nine years working with DCFS clients at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois before joining the Focus House staff in 2001.
Matt graduated from Western Illinois University in 1995 with an RPTA Degree and a minor in Coaching. Matt started at Focus House in November of 2000. He was promoted to Juvenile Probation Officer in 2004.
Residential Counselor/Juvenile Probation Officer
Spencer started his career at Focus House in January 2013 as an Adolescent Treatment Specialist. Spencer then accepted a position at Henry County Probation, as a Juvenile Probation Officer. He returned to Focus House as a Residential Counselor in December 2013. Spencer earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in May 2013 from Aurora University, where he was a member of the football team and coaching staff.
Residential Counselor/Juvenile Probation Officer
Katie graduated from University of Illinois at Chicago with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Katie started her career at an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center for adolescents. She worked as a truancy officer for Rockford Public Schools before moving to working with youth in foster care. Katie also facilitated a Life Skills program for teenagers in foster care before joining the Focus House team in December 2014.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Mary Anchondo began working at Focus House directly out of high school and has been here for over 35 years. For many years she served as one of the primary Adolescent Treatment Specialists working with both male and female residents. Prior to her current position, Mary was the house manager for the girls’ residence as well as assisted in training and scheduling of new staff members. In Mary’s current position as Community Outreach Coordinator, she oversees our public service work program, volunteer program and foster care program. Mary also acts as our Events Planner and Auction Coordinator.