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Meet the Faculty

Cari Johnson Pelava, B.A., C.I. ABT, Dipl. ABT, NCCAOM, President

Cari has spent the last 25 years pursuing the art of body-mind-spirit integration. From an early age, she studied dance and performed professionally until a back injury redirected her path. In 1983, she earned a degree in exercise and dance physiology and began her exploration of alternative healing methods. She received advanced certification in Shiatsu Anma from the Shiatsu Massage School of California and has been in private practice since 1984. During 1990, Cari lived and studied in Japan where she received in-depth training in Shiatsu, Anma, and Jikyo Jutsu. Toru Namikoshi, past president of Japan’s Shiatsu College in Tokyo, encouraged Cari to teach Shiatsu after returning to the States.

Cari founded the Minnesota Center for Shiatsu Study in 1992 and served as director until February 2001, when MCSS joined with NLSMT to become CenterPoint. She became Co-Director of CenterPoint with Jackson Petersburg. Cari is a Certified Instructor of Japanese Shiatsu and Shiatsu Anma with the American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA) and a Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy with the National Certifying Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She was instrumental in forming the official state chapter of the AOBTA in Minnesota.

Jackson Petersburg, B.S.E., AMTA, Vice President

Jackson is a co-founder of NLSMT and CenterPoint, and serves as Co-Director of CenterPoint. He has a B.S. in Education from the State University of New York, College at Cortland, with a special emphasis in outdoor education and therapeutic recreation. He graduated from the Boulder School of Massage Therapy in 1979. He also has additional training in NeuroMuscular Therapy and the Anatomiken system of anatomy. He served on the National Board of the AMTA as Central District representative and was the former chair of the AMTA Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Committee. Jackson has served two terms as president of the Minnesota Chapter of the AMTA. Since 1979, he has been in private practice as a massage therapist, specializing in anatomically precise, structural techniques used to treat soft tissue injuries.

Gabrielle Chambliss, B.S., Faculty and Program Director

Gabrielle earned her B.S. in Health and Physical Education from Montana State University – Northern. She is a Massage Therapist that values energetic intelligence. Gabrielle has been an instructor for over 10 years working with populations ranging from preschool to the elderly. Additionally, she has years of experience working in the holistic health field with a rich background in dance and movement therapies. Gabrielle as the Faculty and Program Director manages CenterPoint’s faculty, curriculum, graduate services and student clinic.

Courtney Kupfer, B.A., BCTMB, Student Affairs and Programming Director

Courtney earned a B.A. in Theatre/Dance from Luther College in 2006. Through her study of movement, Courtney became fascinated with the human body, which led her to pursue training at CenterPoint. Courtney graduated from CenterPoint’s East West Therapeutic Bodywork program in 2010, worked professionally for several years, and is Board Certified. Courtney joined CenterPoint’s administrative staff in 2013. She manages CenterPoint’s student services, media, continuing education and program schedules.

Liz Abbene, B.A., CD (DONA), LCCE, BDT (DONA), IBCLC

Liz is the founder of Enlightened Mama & Enlightened Wellness, a safe, judgement-free space for families to get quality education, wellness, and support throughout the journey of parenting, from preconception on. Liz is a certified birth doula and doula trainer with DONA (Doulas of North America), a Lamaze®-Certified Childbirth Educator, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, trained through University of California, San Diego.  She is also a member of the Childbirth Collective and serve families in the entire St. Paul/Minneapolis metro and surrounding area.

Cale Albert, ABMP

Cale is a graduate of CenterPoint’s East West Therapeutic Bodywork program. His instructional background began with martial arts and Reiki. At CenterPoint he has worked one-on-one as a tutor, assisted in the Therapeutic Massage Department and is currently an instructor for CenterPoint’s Shiatsu Summary Session.

Amber Kay Bastian, B.A., AOBTA, CD (DONA)

Amber is a graduate of CenterPoint’s Shiatsu Therapy Program with advanced certification in prenatal massage. She is a DONA Certified Birth Doula, Lamaze International Certified Childbirth Educator and Certified Breastfeeding Counselor. Amber currently practices bodywork at Blooma and has her own Doula and bodywork practice, Birth Nerd.

Susie Carlson, B.F.A. Dipl. AOBTA

Susie has a B.F.A in dance from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Susie is a graduate of CenterPoint’s East West Therapeutic Bodywork program and has her own practice, Sea of Qi, in Minneapolis. Susie is currently a supervisor in CenterPoint’s student clinic.

Cathy Carter, B.S., M.S.W.

Cathy earned her B.S. in social work from Mankato State and her Masters in Clinical Social Work from the Saint Catherine’s University. Cathy is a graduate of CenterPoint’s East West Therapeutic Bodywork program and currently practices at Healing Water’s Wellness. Cathy is an instructor in CenterPoint’s Shiatsu department and also teaches Special Populations.

Michael Casper, B.A., C.I. AOBTA, Dipl. ABT

Michael earned his B.A. in English literature from Swarthmore College in 1988 and then moved to Minneapolis to work as a professional dancer and choreographer. He completed his training in Shiatsu from Minnesota Center for Shiatsu Study in 1997 and completed the Massage Therapy Progam at CenterPoint. He is an AOBTA Certified Instructor and a Diplomate in Asian Bodywork Therapy, NCCAOM. Michael currently practices at Qi Nordeast Acupuncture Clinic in northeast Minneapolis. He is an AOBTA Certified Instructor and a Diplomate in Asian Bodywork Therapy, NCCAOM. Michael teaches Special Populations, Clinic Summary Session and is a supervisor in CenterPoint’s student clinic.

Krisha Crabtree, B.A., NCTMB

Krisha earned her B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1993 (Honors Psychology major, Dance and English minors). She graduated from Northern Lights School of Massage Therapy (now known as CenterPoint). She has been working in massage since 1998, and is certified as a NeuroMuscular Therapist by the International Academy of NeuroMuscular Therapies. Krisha is currently an instructor in the Therapeutic Massage department and supervises student clinic at CenterPoint. Krisha is also a member of CenterPoint’s Advisory Board. She is known for her sound effects, pop culture references and occasionally dancing in class.

Michael Fitzgerald, B.A., Cert. ABT, BCTMB

Michael received his bachelor’s degree in Communications from Metropolitan State University. He graduated from MCSS in 1998 for Shiatsu and Touch of Life Massage School in 1999 for Swedish Massage, and became an RMT (Registered Massage Therapist) and MTI (Massage Therapist Instructor) in Texas. He managed three locations for a spa and practiced both styles of bodywork. He was an Area Sales Manager for the General Electric Company. He enjoys continuing his education in bodywork and has been part of CenterPoint’s administrative staff since 2002 and serves as CenterPoint’s Financial Aid Administrator. Michael supervises in CenterPoint’s student clinic.

Nicole Kilgo, D.C.

Nicole received her Bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism from St. Cloud State University in 2007 and then her Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic West in 2010. She has continued training in sports injuries, pre/post natal care, soft tissue injuries, rehabilitative exercise, kinesiology taping, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, CPR and First Aid. Dr. Nicole operates her own chiropractic office, Whole Life Chiropractic, in Minneapolis. She lives a passionate life revolving around being healthy. Nicole is an instructor in the Western Science Department and is excited to share her passion of chiropractic, health and wellness to help everyone truly live their whole life.

Bonita Landin, C.I., AOBTA, Dipl. ABT

Bonita graduated from the Minnesota Center for Shiatsu Study (now known as CenterPoint) in 1998. Bonita is a Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and a Registered Instructor of Japanese Shiatsu and Shiatsu Anma with the American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA). She maintains a busy private practice at her Shiatsu clinic Stone Pointe Shiatsu in Minneapolis. Bonita has been teaching at CenterPoint in the Shiatsu Department including continuing education courses since 2008.

Theresa May, APP, BCTMB

Theresa has been practicing and teaching massage and bodywork techniques since 2001. She attended the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona where she became a teacher and administrator. Her areas of expertise include aromatherapy, reflexology, spa techniques, lymphatic drainage massage, prenatal massage, craniosacral, and therapeutic modalities. Using all of these techniques, she has created protocols for working with Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cancer, and for those at the end of life. She teaches Spa & Resort Techniques, Relexology, Lymph Drainage Massage, Craniosacral Techniques, and Hospital Massage at CenterPoint. Theresa is a member of CenterPoint’s Advisory Board, and is also a supervisor in CenterPoint’s student clinic.

Dona McGlennen, RN, CNP, L. Ac., Dipl. Ac.

Dona is an Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner who is passionate about bodywork. She has extensive training in the healing arts including massage therapy, shiatsu therapy, Craniosacral therapy, and is a Reiki master. After discovering that Traditional Chinese Medicine was a great fit for her, she completed a Masters level program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. She is currently the owner and director of a clinic for acupuncture, bodywork and related healing modalities in Roseville. Dona supervises in CenterPoint’s student clinic and teaches continuing education workshops.

Lindsay Nesmoe, D.C.

Lindsay is a graduate of Northwestern Health Sciences University with a Doctorate in Chiropractic and a B.S. in Human Biology. Lindsay has training in acupuncture, Graston technique and Kinesiotaping. Lindsay has experience as a chiropractor and is currently an instructor at both CenterPoint and Rasmussen College. Lindsay teaches in the Western Sciences department.

Bonnie Ness, D.C.

Bonnie is a graduate of Northwestern Health Sciences University with a Doctorate in Chiropractic and a B.S. in Human Biology. Bonnie has been a Chiropractor for over 20 years and has been an instructor at the Cayce/Relliy Massage School in Virginia. Bonnie is currently completing her credentialing in Animal Chiropractic. Bonnie is an instructor in the Western Sciences Department.

Rose Ostenson, BCTMB

Rose is a graduate of CenterPoint’s Therapeutic Massage Program. She practices massage at Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center. She volunteered to be a massage therapist for athletes at the Twin Cities Marathon and the MS150 Bike Ride. She has experience with hospital based massage therapy and owning and operating her own massage practice. Rose is a member of AMTA, an instructor in the Therapeutic Massage department and a supervisor in CenterPoint’s Student Clinic. She loves spreading her passion for massage and bodywork through teaching.

Attila Pegan, BCTMB

Attila graduated from Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary with a B.S. in Sports Management. His massage studies began in 1999 when he participated in a seminar on manual therapy in his native country of Hungary. He completed a 770 hour massage training program and worked at the Hungarian Institute of Rheumatology and Physiotherapy. In 2002 Attila traveled to Thailand and completed all 6 levels of the International Thai Massage School in Chiang Mai. He returned to Thailand for further study in 2007. In 2010 he completed the KMI-Structural Integration training. He is a member of IASI (International Association of Structural Integrators). Attila is approved as a Continuing Education Provider by NCBTMB and maintains a busy clinical and teaching practice in Savage, Minnesota. He currently teaches Thai Massage at CenterPoint.

Ed Pelava, B.S., M.B.A., AMTA

Ed graduated with a B.S. degree from the University of Minnesota and later received his M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas with a stint as a foreign exchange student in Tokyo, Japan, at Sophia University. He worked as an EMT for the University of Minnesota for four years and has taught First Aid & CPR for the Red Cross or American Heart Association since 1995. He became involved with CenterPoint years ago as a member of the first class of the Minnesota Center for Shiatsu Study. He teaches Successful Career Development, Chair Massage, Sports Massage, First Aid and CPR at CenterPoint.

Alison Peppler, BCTMB

Alison is a graduate of Macalester College and is a CenterPoint graduate in East West Therapeutic Bodywork. She is currently a massage and shiatsu therapist at a fitness center in St. Paul. Alison is a firm believer in personal growth through education and aims to expand healing by teaching. She is an instructor in the Therapeutic Massage department at CenterPoint.

Andrej Peterka, L.Ac.

Andrej is a licensed acupuncturist with training in massage therapy and Chinese medicine. He has worked as an acupuncturist at United Hospital and Newbridge Wellness Centers, and has a private acupuncture practice in Saint Paul. Andrej is currently teaching in the Eastern Sciences department.

Patricia Schuckert, B.A., M.P.S., BCTMB

Pat earned B.A. degrees in biology and dance and has her master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University, Chicago. She is certified as a Trager® practitioner and as an Introductory Trager® Workshop Leader. Most recently she became Board Certified through NCBTMB. Pat has training in a variety of approaches to therapeutic bodywork/massage, aromatherapy and energy work. Pat has been in private practice in Trager® and integrative bodywork since 1985. She presently teaches Massage Basics, Introduction to the Trager® Approach, AHA First Aid and CPR at CenterPoint.

Paul Sevett, M.A., B.C.D.M.T., L.I.S.W.

Paul has maintained a private practice since 1990 as a psychotherapist using dance and movement therapy and as a bodyworker and energy healer. The approaches he works with utilize the natural wisdom of the body and its energy to promote the integration of body, mind and heart. Paul has substantial experience with the issues surrounding ethics and boundaries for bodywork therapists. Beginning October 2015, Paul begins a two year term as the Standards & Ethics committee chair for the American Dance Therapy Association. He teaches in the Personal and Professional Development Department at CenterPoint.

Andrea Sullivan, BCTMB, C.I. AOBTA, Dipl. ABT

Andrea graduated from CenterPoint’s Shiatsu Therapy Program in 2005. She is certified in Chi Nei Tsang, having studied with the Universal Healing Tao School in Thailand with Grand Master Mantak Chia. She practices Tai Chi and Qi Gong on a regular basis, and maintains a private bodywork practice. She teaches in CenterPoint’s Shiatsu Department, leads Qi-Yoga each term, and Supervises in CenterPoint’s Clinic.

Chelsea Weimer

Chelsea is a graduate of CenterPoint and was previously the National Therapist Trainer and Field Operations Specialist at Bavia Health. She has experience with hospital based massage, working in 16 Twin Cities Hospitals. She is a certified birth doula, and has done volunteer work with the Gopher Football Team and Twin Cities Marathon. Chelsea is currently instructing in Swedish Massage, Special populations and is a supervisor in Student Clinic.


In order to clarify the credentials of our faculty and staff the following list is provided:

  • B.A. Bachelor of Arts
  • B.A.S. Bachelor of Applied Science
  • B.F.A. Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • B.S. Bachelor of Science
  • B.S.E. Bachelor of Science in Education
  • M.A. Master of Arts
  • M.B.A. Master of Business Administration
  • M.Ed. Master in Education
  • M.F.A. Master of Fine Arts
  • M.P.S. Master of Pastoral Studies
  • M.S. Master of Science
  • M.S. Nursing Master of Science Nursing
  • M.S.E. Master of Science in Education
  • M.S.T.C.M. Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • A.D.T.R. Academy of Dance Therapist (Registered)
  • APP Applied Polarity Therapist
  • BCTMB Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, NCBTMB
  • D.C. Doctor of Chiropractic
  • C.I. Certified Instructor
  • Cert. ABT Certified Membership Asian Bodywork Therapist, AOBTA
  • Dipl. ABT Diplomate Asian Bodywork Therapy, NCCAOM
  • Dipl. Ac. Diplomate Acupuncture, NCCAOM
  • Lic.Ac. Licensed Acupuncturist
  • LMT Licensed Massage Therapist
  • L.I.S.W. Licensed Social Worker
  • NCTMB Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, NCBTMB
  • NCTM Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage, NCBTMB
  • CNP Certified Nurse Practitioner
  • RN Registered Nurse
  • RYT Registered Yoga Teacher


  • AMTA American Massage Therapy Association member
  • AOBTA American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia member
  • MCSS Minnesota Center for Shiatsu Study
  • NCBTMB National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • NCCAOM National Certification Commission of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine
  • NLSMT Northern Lights School of Massage Therapy
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