Meet Our Team

Our team is composed of eye health professionals who are dedicated to our patients. We will do everything we can to ensure you have a pleasant visit every time. We will answer any questions you have and also make sure your concerns are taken care of. Our entire team is dedicated to education. We are constantly learning so that we can provide the highest quality care for your eyes. We want you to feel as confident in our staff as we are. We hope to foster this with every phone call and every conversation that you have with our staff. We are dedicated to always treating you with respect while helping you in any way you need.

​​​​​​​Meet Our Doctors




Dr. Christie Russell-Villnow is a central MN native. She received her undergraduate degree in biomedical science and chemistry from St. Cloud State University. Dr. Russell received her doctorate, with honors, from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, IL. Further training was completed with the Veterans Medical Program, Indian Health Services, and with the Illinois Eye Institute (advanced pediatric care). Additional training was completed for vision rehabilitation and post-concussion / stroke rehabilitative therapy. She is an active member of the College of Visual Development and the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. She has served as a Clinical Examiner for the National Board of Optometry – an honor and privilege in her field. She lives just outside of St. Joseph with her family. Dr. Russell has practiced in central MN since 2004 and enjoys the sense of community in St. Joseph.

Meet Our Staff



Vision Rehab Therapist

Karen is one of our certified Vision Rehab Therapist and is our Visual Psychometrist. Karen grew up in the Holdingford area and has been married for 36 years and has 2 grown children. She now has her first adorable grandson that she enjoys spending time with. Karen has a new puppy, named Walter, who is currently taking classes to become a therapy dog at our office. Karen’s hobbies include baking, painting and restoring old items.




Laura is an Optician here at Russell EyeCare and Associates. She worked here several years before taking a five year absence to raise her daughter. Laura is back with us and enjoys seeing patients, both new and previous. Laura grew up in Dassel, MN. She attended St.Cloud State University and completed an Associates of Arts degree. After graduation, Laura married her husband and moved to Washington state. They later moved back to Minnesota to be with friends and family. Some of Laura’s hobbies include make-up, gaming, and spending time with family and friends.​​​​​​​



Clinic Manager

Madison is our Clinic Manager, a Certified ParaOptometric, and certified Vision Rehab Therapist. Madison grew up in the small town of Appleton, MN, then moved to the St. Cloud area after graduating high-school to attend St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Her hobbies include photography, being out in nature, and spending time with her Husky, Bella.



Ophthalmic Tech

Nicole is an Ophthalmic Tech. here at Russell EyeCare and Associates. Nicole grew up in Long Prairie, MN. She has been married to her husband, Chad, for over a year now. Nicole lives at home with her two kids, Chloe and Laila, two step-kids, Hailey and Tyler, and her fur babies: Lucy the Boston Terrier, Brutus the Boxer, and Clyde the Gecko. Some of her hobbies include tattoos, concerts, shooting firearms with her dad and brother, and (of course) watching hockey.



​​​​​​​Office Manager

Tarrin is our Office Manager at Russell EyeCare and Associates. She grew up in Appleton, MN and now lives in Little Falls, MN with her significant other, Cory, and her two dogs, Moose (german shorthaired pointer) and Gus (yellow lab). Tarrin has always had a love of working with people. Before changing paths to optical, she worked as a certified nursing assistant for six years. Her hobbies include spending time with her friends and family, reading, and anything outdoors.




CJ is a receptionist here at Russell EyeCare and Associates. She grew up in the Holdingford area. CJ is married and has two grown children, a puppy named Gus, and a cat named Gerdie. When she’s not at Russell EyeCare, you will find her doing what she loves, making people look beautiful for their wedding!



Therapy Dog

We have a new therapy dog in our office. He is a 2 year old Shih Tzu mix named Benji. He's excited to meet you at your next appointment! Yes, he does only have one eye - which makes him perfect for an eye clinic. (We had Buddy, our previous office therapy dog, retired this past year. Buddy was in office for about 10 years. He passed away at 18 years old this past year! He will be missed.)



Therapy Dog

Walter is one of the therapy dogs in our office. He is a two year old Havachon that loves treats! Walter completed his Therapy Dog Training in January 2023. He is excited to meet you at your next appointment!

If you have any questions about our staff, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (320) 433-4326.

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