Executive Leaders

  • Nate Schema

    Nate Schema

    President & CEO

    Nathan Schema serves as president and CEO of The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, leading the nation’s largest non-profit provider of senior care and services. He oversees the development and execution of organizational priorities, and in partnership with Sanford Health leadership, works to advance the integrated health care system.

    Schema’s longstanding career with the Society began in 2006 as an administrator-in-training in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. He was a nursing home administrator at multiple Society locations, and also held positions as associate director of operations, regional executive director of operations and vice president of operations.

    His extensive experience positions Schema to be an authoritative advocate for seniors and the health care heroes who care for them. He believes all seniors deserve access to high-quality care, no matter where they live. With 70 percent of the Society’s residents living in rural communities, Schema is committed to reducing rural access disparities. He champions opportunities to transform how and where senior care is delivered through the Society’s integration with Sanford Health.

    In January 2022, Schema was elected to the board of governors for the American Health Care Association, the nation’s largest association of long-term and post-acute care providers. He also serves on the post-acute strategy steering committee for the American Hospital Association.

    Schema is passionate about supporting and developing the next generation of health care leaders and caregivers, who will be instrumental in shaping the future of senior care.

    A native of Faribault, Minnesota, Schema holds a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Concordia College (Minnesota) and a Master of Business Administration from Bellevue University.

    Schema lives in Sioux Falls with his wife, Alex, and their two sons.

    View Nate's LinkedIn Profile

  • Joel Fluit, Vice President of Finance for Good Samaritan Society

    Joel Fluit

    Chief Financial Officer, Good Samaritan Society

    Joel Fluit is the Chief Financial Officer for the Good Samaritan Society. He manages budgeting and finance aspects of the Society and works through all inquiries of mergers, acquisitions and development. He also helps coordinate all capital expenditure projects and ensures these projects align with the financial needs of the organization.

    Fluit earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He first started at the Society in 2010 as a reimbursement consultant. Throughout his eight years with the organization, Fluit performed various financial responsibilities as needed. He briefly left the Society to pursue other financial leadership opportunities with prominent long-term care and home health companies on the West Coast. Fluit returned to the Society in 2020 as an executive director and was later appointed as Chief Financial Officer.

    He believes in building relationships in his role and is passionate about improving employee and resident satisfaction. Fluit works to advance the Society as a premier rural health care provider by focusing on financial excellence and quality of care.

    In his free time, Fluit pursues his mechanical interests. He restores automobiles, including classic cars and hot rods.

  • Aimee Middleton

    Aimee Middleton

    Chief Operating Officer, Good Samaritan Society

    As The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society’s Chief Operating Officer, Aimee Middleton oversees operations for all service lines and locations. Inspired by her father-in-law to pursue a career in aging, Middleton’s passion is to enhance the lives of seniors through mission-focused care and innovative solutions.

    From 2019 to 2021, Middleton was the executive director of operations, leading the Society’s post-acute and senior living operations across multiple states. Previously she served as the administrator for the Society’s skilled nursing facility in Omaha, Nebraska, and with various other providers in Nebraska.

    Middleton holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Clarkston College in Omaha, Nebraska. Middleton and her husband, Todd, have two children.

  • DeeAndra Sandgren

    DeeAndra Sandgren

    Chief Nursing Officer, Good Samaritan Society

    DeeAndra Sandgren serves the Good Samaritan Society as the Chief Nursing Officer. Overseeing nursing, social services, activities and dietary initiatives across all service lines, she collaborates with interdisciplinary teams to find solutions for efficient care delivery. She focuses her team to empower nurses and caregivers to provide the best possible experience for all those who choose the Society.

    She joined the Society in 2012 as a night shift charge nurse. From day one, she has been enamored with the Society's rich history and dedicated staff. She's served as a charge nurse, staff development director, director of nursing and regional clinical services director. Before becoming a nurse, she specialized in sales, hospitality, and customer service. The diversity of those experiences has been instrumental in helping her develop trusting relationships with residents and their families.

    DeeAndra earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from South Dakota State University and a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and management from Black Hills State University.

    She loves growing new leaders and feels there is something innately special about connecting with emerging talent, pouring into them and seeing them flourish. She firmly believes senior care is a team effort and everyone from the frontline to the board room has an opportunity to make the day a bit brighter for residents and clients.

    Born and raised in Lemmon, South Dakota, DeeAndra now lives in Sioux Falls with her wonderfully supportive family, which includes her husband Wayne and two daughters.

  • Michael Rogers, Executive Director of Legal for Good Samaritan Society

    Michael Rogers

    Vice President, General Counsel, Senior Services

    Michael Rogers’ career in long-term care and post-acute care law began at EmpRes Healthcare where he served as the company’s associate general counsel for nine years. Prior to joining EmpRes, Michael worked at the University of Oregon for four years in the role of transactions counsel in the university’s business office. He currently serves The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society as Vice President, General Counsel, Senior Services.  

    Michael holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School and a master’s degree in business administration from Union Graduate College of Union University.

  • Ali Hofer

    Ali Hofer

    Vice President, Foundation, Good Samaritan Society

    Ali Hofer is a rooted South Dakotan. Alongside 6 other siblings, Ali was raised in Sioux Falls by her entrepreneurial father and homemaker mother. From a young age, she was influenced by family values and a disciplined work ethic. Since leaving Sioux Falls in 1991 to pursue her college education at UND, USC, and USD, Ali earned degrees in Speech Language Pathology, Audiology and Psychology.

    She then managed the sales and training teams in Sioux Falls, Vermillion, and North Sioux City, South Dakota for Gateway, a former Fortune 500 computer company. After an eleven-year tenure in “corporate America”, Ali transitioned to “the non-profit world” where she served as CEO of Camp High Hopes a non-profit organization offering year-round therapeutic recreation programs and respites in Sioux City. In her role as CEO, she provided executive management, working with a volunteer board of directors to define the strategy and vision of the grass-roots organization, and was responsible for the management of donor development and campaigns.

    After 8 years of overseeing the development strategy and activities to assure funding of the ongoing operational, endowment, and capital needs of the Camp, Ali returned to her roots in Sioux Falls in 2016 to serve as the Director of Major Gifts/Development for Augustana University where she managed a portfolio of major and planned gift constituents across the Midwest for the benefit of the private liberal-arts University.

    In 2020 Ali re-entered non-profit leadership to serve as the Vice President of the Good Samaritan Foundation where her vision drives development strategies that produce philanthropic support for the Good Samaritan Society. As Vice President of Foundation, Ali works with the Board of Directors to fulfill the organizational mission, provides leadership and ensures for the fiscal goals and accountability of the Foundation.

  • Kristy Griffin is System Executive Director of Consumer Marketing and Sales for the Good Samaritan Society.

    Kristy Griffin

    Vice President, Consumer Marketing and Sales

    Kristy Griffin serves Sanford Health and the Good Samaritan Society as the Vice President, overseeing the consumer marketing department. Often referred to as the “face of marketing,” Kristy and her team work with stakeholders to develop sales and marketing strategies, campaigns and programs to support business objectives.

    She joined the organization in March 2020. Prior to Sanford Health and the Good Samaritan Society, Kristy spent over 25 years in marketing and business development leadership roles. She has experience developing and executing business strategies to improve customer experience, drive demand and build affinity to brands.

    Kristy spent much of her career with the Schwan’s Company where she led a variety of areas, including employee engagement, process improvement, omni-channel marketing, ecommerce and customer engagement and experience.

    She has a Master of Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Kansas.

    Outside of work, Kristy enjoys traveling, playing golf, watching sports and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Curtis, live in Sioux Falls. They have two adult daughters, Sydney and Mallory, and two Great Danes, Stella and Max. Kristy also serves on the board of directors for First Tee of South Dakota.

  • Wanda Harris

    Wanda Harris

    Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Good Samaritan Society

    As Chief Human Resources Officer, Wanda is responsible for providing strategic leadership to enhance the delivery of a full suite of innovative HR solutions to the Society’s nearly 16,000 employees. Wanda assists in aligning teams across the centralized HR model to focus on advancing a key priority for the Society – helping current and future employees discover and grow their calling in senior care and services.

    Wanda joined Sanford Health in 2020 and served as the director of talent and organizational effectiveness. She has more than 20 years of HR strategic partner experience in financial services, including at First National Bank of Omaha and First National Bank of Nebraska.

    A native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Wanda is active in the community, including a current role as board member for Family Services, Inc. She and her husband, Jason, have two adult sons.

  • Tom Syverson

    Tom Syverson

    Director, Government and External Affairs

    Tom assumed his current position as director, government and external affairs on Aug. 1, 2019. Previously, he served as executive vice president/chief operating officer, since February 2014 and vice president, operations systems – northern territory from July 2010 to February 2014.

    Tom graduated from Augustana College in 1987 and began his career with the Society as an administrator in training. After completing his internship at Good Samaritan Society – Sioux Falls Center, he served as administrator of the Good Samaritan Society location in Syracuse, Nebraska from 1988 to 1996. He then transferred to Windom, Minnesota and served as administrator from 1996 to 2001. During that time, he earned a master’s degree in applied gerontology from the University of North Texas. In 2001, Tom joined National Campus staff and began serving as an associate regional director, and from 2002 until 2010, he served as the regional director for southern Minnesota. Mr. Syverson has served on a number of committees and task forces during his career, and served as the chairman of the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards. Tom participated in the Global Leadership Development Program in May 2006 visiting the ZORG Group in the Netherlands for two weeks.

    Tom grew up in rural southwest Minnesota and throughout his 30+ year career with the Society has always had at least one of his family members being served. This has given him a very personal experience and commitment to our mission. Tom enjoys spending time with his family, music, theater and sports.

  • Eve Lentsch

    Eve Lentsch

    Director, Technology Business Partner

    Eve Lentsch serves the Good Samaritan Society as the director, technology business partner. Focusing on advancing the Society’s key priorities and enhancing the customer and employee experience through technology and innovation, she’s passionate about building a positive culture that delivers high-quality solutions and services.

    She joined Sanford Health in 2018 as a manager of the IT service desk and then became manager of TechPoint personal systems before moving into her current role with the Society in January 2024. Her experience includes serving as a director of account management for DocuTap, manager of customer service for Capitol One and manager of customer service for Citi.

    Born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Eve now lives on an acreage outside of Sioux Falls with her husband, David. Their tight-knit family includes two grown sons and four grandchildren.

  • Heather Herlyn is the director of quality and safety at the Good Samaritan Society

    Heather Herlyn

    Director, Quality and Safety

    Heather Herlyn is the director of quality and safety at the Good Samaritan Society. She oversees all aspects of the quality program, including quality measurement, performance improvement, accreditation and infection prevention. She and her team work closely with regional leadership and directly with locations to help prioritize and improve quality metrics and survey outcomes.

    Herlyn earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from South Dakota State University and a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of South Dakota. She began her nursing career at Sioux Valley Hospital, now Sanford Health, in the ICU in 2000. Since that time, she has held various positions in clinical and operational leadership roles in the public and private sector. She returned to Sanford Health in 2018 as an IT strategic business partner. She began her current role for the Society in 2020.

    Her goal is to enhance value and minimize resident and client harm. She is passionate about lifelong learning and self-development. Herlyn has earned the certified professional in health care quality designation and holds a green belt in lean six sigma. As a competitive person, she feels that being in quality is the right fit for her as she focuses on results and outcomes.

    Herlyn and her husband have five children and one grandchild that keep them busy. She loves traveling, hiking and reading, as well as the challenge of owning four businesses outside of her full-time job, where she can apply the strong business practices and leadership principles that she’s learned in health care.

  • Patrick Cote

    Patrick Cote

    Director, Pharmacy Services

    Patrick Cote serves the Good Samaritan Society as the director of pharmacy services, focusing on managing the Society’s many pharmacy relationships across all post-acute service lines with partners who provide the medications, clinical consultant services and pharmacy benefit managers.

    He does clinical work across many Society teams on issues related to medications and vaccinations and leads the Society's team of contracted medical directors at each location, ensuring each is informed and engaged with the overall strategic direction. He additionally identifies grant and research opportunities for the Society and works with Sanford grants and Sanford research on approval, implementation, and oversight. He is passionate about representing the Society with associations and working groups focused on improving the long-term care survey process, advancing nursing home quality, and improving medication management.

    Patrick joined the Society in 2017 as the director of pharmacy services and has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a PharmD from Creighton University. His experience includes serving as the executive director of the New England Nordic Ski Association and then as the pharmacist at Maine Veterans Home.

    His family includes his wife, Tracey, and three sons. Outside of work, he enjoys skiing, running, mountain biking, spending time at the lake, and almost any outdoor activity.

  • Kara Nelson

    Kara Nelson

    Head of Organizational Affairs

    Kara Nelson serves as the head of organizational affairs for the Good Samaritan Society, responsible for overseeing communications strategies and the planning and coordination of key priorities that advance the organization’s mission.

    Nelson joined the Good Samaritan Society in 2015 and her experience includes leading internal, executive and governance communication, thought leadership and strategic planning. She’s developed and executed communications and operational strategies to support major initiatives including business growth and transitions, the COVID-19 pandemic and positioning the Society as the authoritative voice on the delivery of high quality senior care and services in rural areas.

    Kara earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. She lives in Sioux Falls with her husband, Kyle.

  • Pastor Christy Hallenbeck Ask

    Pastor Christy Hallenbeck Ask

    Director, Mission Integration and Sr. Pastor

    Christine Hallenbeck Ask serves the Good Samaritan Society as director of mission integration and senior pastor. She oversees the Society’s faith-based mission expressions in connection with resident care, employee culture, financial stewardship, and general strategic planning.

    Christy received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and music from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and her Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    Prior to joining the Society, Christy served as associate pastor at Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls where she led the congregation to start a lay pastoral care program, sponsor an Eritrean refugee family, and partner with an elementary school. In addition to her parish ministry experience, she has worked in refugee resettlement, nonprofit marketing, and as a barista.

    Christy shares her home and life with her husband Jon and their two daughters. Her proudest achievements are giving birth (twice) and walking 500 miles across Spain (once).

    The memory of Christy’s own grandparents—Hazel, Loren, Rosemarie, and George—inspires her servant leadership to the Good Samaritan Society.

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