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NR School District welcomes new staff members

Connie Girdeen1 / 32
Sara Byom2 / 32
Cynthia Howard3 / 32
LeEdna Bailey4 / 32
Thomas Reger5 / 32
Samantha Johnston6 / 32
Julie Rodriguez7 / 32
Reggie Larson8 / 32
Melinda Anderson9 / 32
Sarah Slaminski10 / 32
11 / 32
Heidi Link12 / 32
Lauren Fagrelius13 / 32
Kara Therriault14 / 32
Terrence Neumann15 / 32
Tera Behnke16 / 32
Bailey Walz17 / 32
Ryan Leis18 / 32
Wendy Watts19 / 32
Sarah Knecht20 / 32
Venessa Viebrock21 / 32
Aubree Evans22 / 32
Allison Blomquist23 / 32
Julie Hambleton24 / 32
Daniel Melaas-Swanson25 / 32
Kaile Marlatt26 / 32
27 / 32
Courtney Mahr28 / 32
Chad Eggert29 / 32
Erica Dorsey30 / 32
Krista Ash31 / 32
Abigail Blader32 / 32

The New Richmond School District will add 32 new staff members and teachers to its roster for the 2018-19 school year.

To help you identify the new faces out and about in the community, the following are brief profiles and photographs of each of the new New Richmond School District staff members who submitted their information.

New Richmond School District

Chad Eggert

Age: 45

Family: Heather, wife; Greta, Kari and Nora, daughters

Position: Alternative education teacher, head girls basketball coach

Education: B.S. Science — UW-River Falls

Previous work experience: Northwest Journey - 13 years, group facilitator; Amery High School alternative education - one year; Clear Lake Elementary physical education - 1 year.

Hobbies: Golf, cards, fantasy sports

Sarah Knecht

Age: 28

Family: Married, one dog - Georgia

Position: Ninth and 10th grade English

Education: UW-River Falls

Previous work experience: Landscape design in Eau Claire

Hobbies: Spending time at our family cabin and being outside.

Ryan Leis

Age: 30

Position: High school English teacher

Education: UW-Eau Claire — Bachelor's Degree in broadcast journalism with a minor in kinesiology; Viterbo University — Post-Baccalaureate teacher licensure.

Previous work experience: English teacher at Lincoln High School in Alma Center, Wis.; sports and news reporter/anchor at WQOW News 18 in Eau Claire.

Hobbies: Golfing, hiking, climbing mountains, reading, Packers/Brewers/Bucks/Badgers, spending time with friends and family.

Erica Dorsey

Age: 26

Family: Husband, Matt

Position: Second grade teacher at Paperjack Elementary

Education: BS in Psychology at UW-River Falls with a minor in biology; MS - Initial licensure program; Elementary Education with minor in early childhood at UW-RF.

Previous work experience: Substitute teacher

Hobbies: Gardening, snowmobiling, spending time with friends and family.

Tera Behnke

Age: 24

Family: Husband, Nathaniel

Position: Kindergarten at Starr Elementary

Education: UW-Eau Claire - Elementary education/special education

Previous work experience: First grade at Rice Lake Area School District, 1 year.

Hobbies: Spending time outdoors, playing tennis with my husband, lake days.

Sara Byom

Age: 22

Position: Paperjack music teacher and middle school band teacher

Education: Music education at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Previous work experience: I served as a program director at Luther Park in Chetek, Wis.

Hobbies: I enjoy getting outside to hike, kayak and bike as well as hanging out with friends.

Lauren Fagrelius

Age: 28

Family: Alan, husband

Position: First grade teacher

Education: Bachelor of science in elementary education, minor in early childhood.

Previous work experience: Prescott School District for four years, all in first grade.

Hobbies: Being outdoors (hiking, boating, fishing), listening to music, trying new ways to cook, being with my family.

Reggie Larson

Age: 23

Family: Son of Bruce and Kelly Larson. Older brother Rocky Larson. Twin sister McKell Larson.

Position: High school physical education and strength & conditioning coordinator. Head football coach.

Education: Health and physical education major at UW-River Falls.

Previous work experience: Substitute teacher in the district.

Hobbies: Anything sports-related.

Daniel Melaas-Swanson

Age: 22

Position: K-5 general music teacher, Hillside Elementary

Education: Bachelor of Arts - music major, education minor, from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Previous work experience: This will be my first job teaching and I am very excited to get started at New Richmond.

Hobbies: I enjoy getting outside to run, bike and golf, as well as rooting for my favorite Chicago teams and spending time with my friends.

Connie Girdeen

Age: 43

Family: Husband, Todd; son, Avery (17); daughter, McKenna (15); son, Rylan (12); daughter, Carly (10).

Position: First grade teacher at Starr Elementary

Education: UW-River Falls 2016 with an early childhood teaching degree, Reading 316 certificate, currently UW-Stout graduate program.

Previous work experience: Kindergarten teacher at St. Francis in Ellsworth (2016-2018); paraprofessional at Prairie View Elementary in Ellsworth.

Hobbies: Traveling, reading, playing board games, spending time with family and refinishing furniture.

Samantha Johnston

Age: 24

Family: Stacey Johnston (mother), Kevin Johnston (father), Shelby Johnston (sister).

Position: First grade teacher

Education: River Falls High School, UW-Whitewater (early childhood education)

Previous work experience: Nanny

Hobbies: Spending time outdoors and with family and friends, as well as sports.

Terrence Neumann

Age: 37

Family: Andrea, Gus, Lucy, George

Position: High school science teacher

Education: BS chemistry and math at UW-River Falls; MS chemistry at UM-Duluth; Ph.D. chemistry at Marquette University.

Previous work experience: assistant professor of chemistry at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas.

Hobbies: Farming, weightlifting, reading and barbecue.

Julie Rodriguez

Family: Andres, Carly (13), Aleah (9)

Position: High school math teacher

Education: BA in mathematics from Luther College

Previous work experience: High school math teacher in Minneapolis for six years, high school math teacher in North St. Paul for one year.

Hobbies: Our family loves the outdoors. We love to camp, hike, bike and explore. I have played piano since I was a young child. Traveling is my passion.

Courtney Mahr

Age: 25

Family: Mom, Maribeth; dad, Randy; Dan and Nick, brothers; Maranda, sister

Position: Fifth grade teacher at Starr Elementary

Education: UW-River Falls - Elementary Education, Minor: Math; Stanley-Boyd High School

Previous work experience: Greenwood Elementary School - Greenwood, Wis., third grade teacher - 2 years

Hobbies: Kayaking, yoga, ZUMBA, volleyball, boating, playing board games with my family

Sarah Slaminski

Age: 24

Family: fiance, Travis, Penny (dog)

Position: Third grade teacher at Paperjack Elementary

Education: BS in elementary education with a math minor from UW-Stevens Point; studied abroad in Namibia, Africa for a month at a school for the visually impaired.

Previous work experience: Worked the past two years teaching fifth grade in Eau Claire at Manz Elementary.

Hobbies: Reading, running/yoga, photography, snowmobiling, snowboarding, ice fishing/summer fishing, adventuring with my fiance and our dog and traveling.

Abigail Blader

Age: 22

Position: Second grade teacher at Starr Elementary

Education: BA in K-6 elementary education from Bethel University in St. Paul.

Previous work experience: Student teaching at Falcon Heights Elementary in Roseville, Minn., fifth grade.

Hobbies: I enjoy time at the cabin, working as a summer camp counselor, cooking and running.

Wendy Watts

Family: five kids, one grandson

Position: Special education teacher

Education: BS - UW-Whitewater in psychology; MS - UW-Madison in special education.

Previous work experience: 18 years teaching

Hobbies: Travel, genealogy, documenting cemeteries.

Cynthia Howard

Family: Two daughters, three grandchildren: Mason (6), Ava (4) and Addy (1).

Position: Teaching at Hillside Elementary

Education: University of Illinois - Bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation; Bethel University, St. Paul - special education teaching degree.

Previous work experience: I have been providing services to individuals with special needs for over 30 years. I have experience working in both the high school and middle school settings, and am excited about the opportunity to teach in an elementary school!

Hobbies: I love nature, spending time outdoors, reading, watching good movies and spending time with

friends and family!

Bailey Walz

Age: 24

Family: five brothers, one niece, one nephew on the way and two dogs.

Position: Cross categorical teacher at Hillside Elementary for first and third grades.

Education: Graduated from Amery High School, majored in elementary education — with a minor in math — at UW-Eau Claire.

Previous work experience: Third grade ESL teacher in Houston, Texas, one year.

Hobbies: Reading, traveling, spending time with friends and family.

Venessa Viebrock

Age: 34

Family: My husband, Tim; children, Dominic (9), Savana (6) and Sawyer (5)

Position: Kindergarten teacher at Starr Elementary

Education: UW-Stout - Bachelor of Science in human development and family studies; UW-River Falls - MSE elementary education.

Previous work experience: one year pre-K at Osceola; four years early childhood

Hobbies: Spending time outside/outdoors, sports and recreation and reading.

Aubree Evans

Age: 25

Family: fiance, Dylan, dog, Norm

Position: Fifth grade teacher at Starr Elementary

Education: Bachelor of Science from UW-River Falls in elementary education and a minor in early childhood.

Previous work experience: Taught fourth grade for two years in Spooner, Wis., at Spooner Elementary.

Hobbies: Spending time outdoors, reading and sports.

Krista Ash

Age: 36

Family: Husband, Jason, Samantha (8) and Parker (5)

Position: Special education teacher at Paperjack Elementary

Education: Winona State University - Bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation, currently taking courses through St. Mary's for sped. license.

Previous work experience: Gillette Children's Hospital (12 years), paraprofessional at Paperjack Elementary (three years).

Hobbies: Gardening, hunting, outdoor activities, family time.

LeEdna Bailey

Age: 39

Family: Andrew Bailey, husband; Roper, son; Adisyn, daughter.

Position: special education teacher

Education: BS in history and sociology from Eastern New Mexico University, M. Ed. in education (special ed.) from the University of Texas.

Previous work experience: Educational diagnostician in Texas for nine years; special ed. coordinator in Texas for two years; special ed. teacher in Texas for five years.

Hobbies: Going to the movies, exploring different restaurants and spending time with my family.

Thomas Reger

Age: 28

Family: I am the youngest of four from my family and a proud uncle of four nephews and one niece.

Position: Special education teacher at Starr Elementary.

Education: UW-Eau Claire

Previous work experience: Stanley-Boyd School District, Bloomington School District, Hopkins School District.

Hobbies: I enjoy running, biking and playing basketball.

Heidi M. Link

Age: 34

Family: Husband, Ryan; son, Owen

Position: assistant principal of academics at New Richmond High School

Education: BS-Education & Broad-Field Social Studies, University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse; MA-Ed, Hamline University; K-12 Principal License, Minnesota State University - Moorhead.

Previous work experience: 2006-2018 - Forest Lake Area School District — social studies teacher (2006-2015), district department chair (2012-2015), instructional peer coach (2015-2016), Dean of Students (2016-2018).

Hobbies: Spending time with friends and family, hiking, traveling, cooking, photography, event planning and watching the Green Bay Packers

Allison Blomquist

Age: 40

Family: Married with three kids, Tatum (6), John (3), Emery (11 months)

Position: High school math teacher (algebra and geometry)

Education: UW-Madison, mathematics, physics emphasis; UW-River Falls, initial teaching licensure

Previous work experience: Professional golfer and golf instructor

Hobbies: Golf, skiing, playing/hiking outdoors with my kids

Lauren Rominski

Age: 26

Family: Parents: Matt & Monica Rominski/ Teri Skramstad. Siblings: Jacob, Brian, Jack, Clare, Ben, and David.

Position: Physical Science/ Chemistry Teacher

Education: Graduated from UW-Eau Claire with my MCEA and minor in General Sciences. Graduated in 2015.

Previous work experience: Substitute taught in the New Richmond School District for a year, then took the Long-Term Physical Science Teacher Position last year.

Hobbies: Traveling with my family. Going up to the cabin. Reading classic novels by Jane Austen and drinking tea. I love watching the Vikings (SKOL!), Twins, Wild, and Timberwolves play.

Jacqueline Schultz

Age: 24

Family: father- Mike, mother- Kris, brother-Mason, sister-Hailie

Position: 8th grade language arts teacher

Education: Bachelor's in English education from Carthage College

Previous work experience: I taught English at Indian Trail High School and Academy in Kenosha, Wis. for two and a half years.

Hobbies: During the summer I enjoy camping, hiking, and spending time at the cabin. When the school year gets started I like to keep myself busy by reading, baking, and spending time with friends

Kaile Marlatt

Age: 22

Family: I currently live in River Falls with my husband and our dog.

Position: Kindergarten teacher at Hillside Elementary

Education: I received my degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in elementary education with a minor in communication disorders.

Previous work experience: During college I worked at a childcare center with multiple age groups. Last Spring I student taught in a 1st-4th grade class in Baldwin. When I finished my schooling in January I began subbing in nearby districts.

Hobbies: During the winter I enjoy snowboarding and snowmobiling. I also enjoy traveling and reading.

Julie Hambleton

Family: Husband - Paul; three children (Dustin, Allison, Logan), three step-children (Will, Bess, Jim) and five grandchildren (John, Eileen, Rue, Gilbert, Renaud).

Position: Title I at Starr Elementary

Education: Bachelor of science elementary education - UW-River Falls; Masters of arts - Silver Lake College; Reading teacher - UW-Stevens Point; English as a second language - University of Phoenix.

Previous work experience: ESL teacher - Lewiston, Maine (four years); special education ed tech III - Hallowell, Maine; Title I teacher - Marshfield, Wis. (28 years); part-time adjunct instructor Mid-State Technical College - Marshfield; 1st grade teacher - Princeton, Wis. (two years).

Hobbies: Spending time with family, reading, running, playing board games, listening to music, outdoors activities and watching HGTV.

Mindy Anderson

Age: 48

Family: My husband's name is Mark and we have three daughters: Lydia (19), Stella (16) and Julia (13).

Position: Art Teacher at Paperjack Elementary and the High School.

Education: I have a Bachelors or Art degree from UW-Stout and earned my teaching certification through St. Mary's University.

Previous work experience: I was a graphic designer for over 20 years, I taught art to grades K-4 and was also the communications specialist for the Ellsworth Community School District for the past six years.

Hobbies: Spending time with my family, hiking and riding bike.

Kara Therriault

Age: 40

Family: Husband Dan, kids Tyler (10th), Kiara (eighth), and Lily (third)

Position: First grade teacher at Starr Elementary

Education: UW-Stout

Experience: I have stayed home with my children for many years. Right out of college I taught Title I in South St. Paul. I then fulfilled a few long-term positions in kindergarten in the Stillwater District. Once my oldest started kindergarten I wanted to be home so I could be involved. I helped with guided reading for a few years. Once my baby started I subbed almost daily fulfilling a five-week family leave in kindergarten at my children's school in River Falls. Last school year I took a position in the EBD room, I loved it but am ready to have my own class again. I'm so excited to meet my students and parents.

Hobbies: I love spending time with my family! Everyone except me plays hockey. We spend A LOT of time at rinks. In the summer we love spending time on the lake.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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