Kristina E. Johnsen

CEO at Have Dreams

With over four decades of experience in the field of autism and Special Education, Kris founded Have Dreams in 1996. As a special education teacher, Kris taught in cross-categorical classrooms in a local public school district. There she started the first autism-specific classroom and found her mission as an educator. Kris attended the TEACCH Autism Program and became an Autism Trainer, presenting at the International TEACCH conference. She is trained in administering the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS); Applied Behavior Analysis; Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS); and TEACCH Transition Assessment Profile (TTAP). Kris is also a network partner of The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP), North Suburban Autism Professionals (NSAP) and a member of The Midwest Autism Consortium (MAC), In addition to her duties as the Chief Executive Officer of Have Dreams, Kris was the Director of The Leventhal-Keshet Autism Center and served on the TAP Professional Advisory Council. Kris is grateful for the privilege of being part of the lives of so many intriguing children and adults with ASD, their remarkable families, the incomparable Have Dreams staff who care so deeply for people with autism, and all those who have joined us on this journey.


  • CEO

    Current role

  • Executive Director