Principal Bios

Hugo locationJonathan Kigner, President

Jonathan is the founder of New Directions. After three years in the military, he began his career in human services in 1977 for a non-profit organization as a habilitation counselor providing vocational support to adults with intellectual and physical challenges. He was promoted to the directorship of all vocational support services in 1979. He started New Directions in 1981 with the goal of developing services in line with his own beliefs. Accordingly, these are reflected in the organization's mission: to assist and support individuals in forming and achieving a life of their own choosing.

Jonathan received his BA in Political Science from Rockford College and a MS in Education from the University of Southern California. He has been honored as Professional of the Year by Arc Anoka, Ramsey and Suburban and he is a recipient of Arc Minnesota's Irving Martin Professional of the Year Award. 

Ross Kigner, CEO

Ross started with New Directions in 2007 as a DSP working weekends, overnights, and with Access Housing. Following graduation from the University of Minnesota Morris in 2012 he transitioned into a full time DSP role while working side by side with Jonathan and learning the ins and outs of our person centered organization. His favorite part of the social services field over the last ten plus years is fostering unique relationships with amazing people. Ross’s leadership experience includes four years of varsity football at U of MN Morris which then transitioned into coaching multiple sports at Roseville Area High School since 2012. In October of 2017, Jonathan Kigner retired naming Ross Kigner as the new CEO. Ross enjoys his new role but still finds time to pick up shifts and stay connected to the front line of support.

Julie Hoyez, Clinical Program Director 

Julie Hoyez has over 25 years in leadership positions in the field of social services working with people with intellectual & developmental disabilities and mental illness.  Julie has a special interest in working with clients with co-occurring disorders.  Julie is responsible for the In Home Support, ILS and Access Housing programs.  Julie has a Master’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work both from Augsburg College.  Julie holds a LICSW License and meets qualifications as a Mental Health Professional. Julie also has experience as an Emergency Department Crisis Social Worker and a Psychotherapist.  Before joining New Directions in 1999, Julie’s work experiences including Day Training and Rehabilitation (DT&H) as the Service Team Leader,  Intermediate Care Facility for persons with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD) Behavioral Residence as the Assistant Program Director and Day Achievement Center (DAC) as the Behavioral Room Teacher and Consultant. 

Karen Holt, Social Worker

Karen Holt has worked in the social service field since 1984 after having received a Bachelor of Social Work degree from The College of St. Catherine. Karen gained valuable work experience managing case services for persons with mental health problems and intellectual and developmental challenges in residential settings. In August of 1986, Karen came to work for New Directions, Inc., in the role of house supervisor. After two years, Karen was placed in charge of oversight of all program services at New Directions, Inc. She has played a large role in the development of fourteen of New Directions residential sites. Karen continues to play a daily role in challenging all of New Directions' staff to find creative ways to provide person-based services in these economically challenged times.