TRA has an executive director who is appointed by the Board of Trustees and executives who are responsible for various aspects of agency operations.
J. Michael Stoffel
Jay Stoffel joined TRA in January 2014. Prior to this, Jay was executive director of the Duluth Teachers Retirement Fund Association for 22 years. He was manager of finance at the Public Employees Retirement Association from 1988 to 1992 and worked as an auditor in the Office of the Legislative Auditor from 1979 to 1988. He was on the board of the National Council on Teacher Retirement for nine years and served as president in 2015-2016.
Jay earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
Internal Audit Director
Leslie Nagel was hired in 2009 as the TRA Internal Auditor. Leslie is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS), as awarded by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Previous to her employment at TRA, she was an Audit Manager for LarsonAllen, a regional public accounting (PA) firm.
RACHEL THURLOW BARTH
Legal and Legislative Director
Rachel Thurlow Barth is the former deputy director of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement, where she drafted pension bills and conducted legal and policy research and analysis. She has also worked as a law clerk for House Research at the Minnesota House of Representatives, an extern for a Hennepin County judge, and as a law clerk for a private law firm. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Minnesota, a law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and a master’s degree in public policy and leadership from the University of St. Thomas.
Susan Barbieri is a former newspaper and magazine editor and writer who began working for TRA in July 2011. She oversees communications and outreach to the nearly 150,000 active and retired public school teachers and administrators in Minnesota who are members of the TRA plan. Susan has bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English from Wayne State University in Detroit.
Chief Financial Officer
John Wicklund began working at TRA in October 1992 and brings solid accounting and financial skills from his previous work experience at the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor. He has been responsible for budgeting, accounting and financial reporting for the Association. Wicklund graduated from the University of Minnesota–Minneapolis with a degree in Accounting. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and has been licensed in Minnesota since 1988. He is also a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) as designated by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). His philosophy of management for the Association is to maintain a strong actuarial funding position. “For TRA to thrive, members must have a belief that the money to pay their earned benefits will be there at retirement,” he asserts. “The goal of TRA management must be to ensure sufficient contributions and investment earnings grow the assets to pay current and future benefits to hard-working educators.”
Chief Benefits and Operations Officer
Tim was first hired in December 1998 as a Retirement Services Specialist. Tim served as TRA’s Planning Director from April 2011 to August 2012 with responsibility for maintaining and updating TRA’s strategic plan and for acting as the project manager for the TRA.NET project. Since August 2012 Tim has served as TRA’s Chief Benefits and Operations Officer overseeing TRA’s Operations Division. Prior to becoming TRA’s Planning Director, Tim served for four years as a Retirement Services Director for the Public Employees Retirement Association. Tim has a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.
Chief Information and Security Officier
David Anderson joined TRA in July 2013. As CISO, he leads TRA’s strategic information security program and coordinates the evaluation, deployment and management of current and future security technologies. To accomplish this he works closely with people from all divisions and levels of TRA to cultivate a culture of information security. He holds a Master’s degree in Information Security and Assurance and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Forensics in addition to numerous industry certifications..