Our Staff - The Gardens Assisted Living at Cherokee

Our Staff

Jana Utesch, has served as the manager of The Gardens in Cherokee since opening in 2008.  Her goal has always been to create an environment where everyone will thrive.  She takes great pride in having the opportunity to manage The Gardens and be a part of a great community.  Jana works tirelessly to ensure The Gardens is managed well and the staff and tenants remain happy. In May of 2016, Jana was nominated for the National Assisted Living Director of the Year. She has earned her nomination! In her free time, she enjoys spending time on the farm with her husband and 2 children.

Amy Lewis RN, BSN Amy is the Director of Nursing at The Gardens. Before The Gardens, Amy has experience in ER, house supervisor, long term care and nursing education. Amy is efficient, driven and accommodating to the tenants. She does a great job of advocating the best care for the tenants and staff. In her free time Amy enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with her two active children.


Leanne Mohr, RN joined the Gardens team in 2014. She serves at the Assistant Director of Nursing. Leanne has over 40 years of nursing experience under her belt and is a big asset to our staff and tenants. Leanne is kind and compassionate and holds many responsibilities at The Gardens. In her free time she enjoys camping and biking with her husband and family. She enjoys the outdoors and living a healthy lifestyle.

Beth Schwanz started at The Gardens in 2018 as the Marketing and Community Relations Director. You may see Beth out in the community promoting the Gardens. Her favorite part of working at the Gardens has been getting to know the tenants and their families. Beth grew up in Holstein and was previously the assistant manager at The Buckle in Storm Lake. She  lives in Aurelia with her boyfriend, their son, and two pets. In her free time Beth enjoys traveling and spending time with family.

Lindi Stykel, joined The Gardens in 2011 as the Food Service Coordinator.  She is responsible for the ordering of all food items.  She is also in charge of maintaining the food budget, scheduling staff, preparing menus and other various kitchen duties.  Lindi comes to The Gardens from the hospital where she worked in the dietary department for 11 years.  Lindi is a great addition to The Gardens and is always willing to go the extra mile.  She also enjoys helping the residents with crafts.  When she is not at work, she is spending with her husband, 2 daughters and pets.

Laura Lafleur is our activity director. Laura grew up in Cherokee and is excited to be on the Gardens team. Laura and her husband, Bryan, have four sons ages 28, 27, 23 and 19. Before working at the Gardens Laura had 5 years experience doing activity in a skilled facility. She also had a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Wartburg. In her free time she enjoys playing the flute and visiting with friends and family. 


Ken Johnson, has been with The Gardens as the maintenance coordinator since opening in 2008.  Ken is responsible for the general maintenance of the building along with the grounds.  He wears many hats and performs an array of duties.  It is also very important that he stay current with building regulations and codes.  He also enjoys helping the residents with all the little tasks. Before coming to The Gardens, he worked at a Grain Mill as the Maintenance Coordinator and worked for 24 years at Tyson Foods . He also served 6 years in the United States Marine Corps before being honorably discharged in 1984. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his kids and grand daughter and riding his motorcycle.






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