New teachers

Mike Sorenson

A special education teacher for grades 7-12 is originally from McGregor, Minnesota. He graduated from McGregor High School and St. Cloud

Mike Sorenson

Mike Sorenson

State University. He previously taught and coached for six years at McGregor High School from 2006-2012. He taught one year at Westwood Elementary in 2013. His family includes his wife Melanie, and five children: Brittany (21), Anthony (20), Mikhayla (14), Hannah (12) and Suzanne (10).

Why did you become a teacher? “I’ve seen the struggles for students when they enter society after struggling in school. I want these young people to learn all they can in order to be positive and successful members of society when their schooling is complete. I also want them to enjoy their academic careers as they are in school.”

 

Kim Knudsen

An ALC English teacher for grades 9-12, she is originally from St. Francis, Minnesota. She graduated from Crown College with a Bachelor’s

Kim Knudsen

Kim Knudsen

degree in secondary English education. She previously taught one year at a residential treatment facility in Sheridan, Wyoming and six years in the Braham School District.

Why did you become a teacher? “I became a teacher because I enjoy being a positive role model and helping students achieve their full potential.

 

Steve Ness 

Steve Ness

Steve Ness

An English teacher for grades 9-10 and is originally from Clearwater, Minnesota. He graduated from Monticello High School and St. Cloud State with majors in Mass Communications and English Education and a minor in coaching. He previously taught eighth grade at Maple Lake and coached football. For the past 10 years he taught at Norman County East for grades 7-12. He was also the head football coach for five years at NCE and worked as an assistant, and he also coached softball for seven years. He has a wife, Holly.

Why did you become a teacher? “I became a teacher because I enjoy working with kids inside the classroom and in extra curricular activities. Also, I enjoy seeing kids mature and become an integral part of their community.”

 

Nicole Hoffman

Nicole Hoffman

Nicole Hoffman

A high school special education teacher LP for grades 10-12, she is originally from Andover, Minnesota. She graduated from Andover High School and Winona State University. She previously taught fourth grade at Community Christian School. She has a husband, Nick Hoffman.

Why did you become a teacher? “I became a teacher because I love helping people. Every day is full of new challenges. It gives me great joy to watch my students succeed, especially at something that is very challenging for them. It is a job where the rewards are worth all of the hard work.”

Meghan 

Hermanson

Meghan Hermanson

Meghan Hermanson

An ECFE Coordinator/SR teacher for preschool, she is originally from Milaca. She earned her teaching license in early childhood and parent education from St. Cloud State University. She previously taught for five years in Big Lake as an ECFE/SR teacher, and two years as a preschool teacher at SCSU’s Lindgren Child Care Center. She has a husband, Nick Hermanson.

Why did you become a teacher? “As a teacher there is potential to have a positive impact on a child or their family and in return they make a difference in someone else’s life. The amount of lives you are touching are endless. It is a powerful way to have a positive impact on your community and future generations.”

 

Maggie Schindler

Maggie Schindler

Maggie Schindler

A language arts teacher for grades 7-12, she is originally from Wells, Minnesota. She is a graduate of St. Cloud State University with a BS in communications arts and literature. I was home schooled through high school and also attended United South Central High School for extra curricular activities. She previously taught as a substitute in the St. Cloud area, Sauk Rapids-Rice and St. Michael-Albertville. She is the oldest of six kids.

Why did you become a teacher? “Growing up as the oldest of six kids, I was always teaching my younger siblings. I discovered that I enjoyed helping them learn how to do something and sharing that accomplishment of them. I became a teacher because I want to share my love for learning and reading.”

 

Susan Bialka

Susan Bialka

Susan Bialka

A ninth grade physics teacher, she graduated with honors from St. Cloud State University with a BAS to teach 5-8 middle school science and 9-12 life sciences. She previously taught for 3 1/2 years at SCSU’s Science Express Bio outreach program, and 7-9 grade science at Spectrum High School. She has an amazing boyfriend Aaron, and two children: Mackenzie and Madison.

Why did you become a teacher? “I enjoy teaching others about science, love the outdoors and is a rewarding profession to be in.”

 

Jill Vivant

Jill Vivant

Jill Vivant

A first grade teacher, she is originally from Milaca. She previously taught as a substitute at Milaca last year. She has a husband Josh and four kids: Nicholas (14), Aubrie (12), Gabrielle (9) and Addison (7).

Why did you become a teacher? “As the oldest child in a family of nine, mother of four and former licensed childcare provider, engaging children in learning is what brings a smile to my face. I enjoy the productive chaos a classroom environment provides and want to provide the skills my students will need to be successful, independent and motivated learners.”

 

Ben Huhta

Ben Huhta

Ben Huhta

A music teacher, Huhta is originally from Sebeka, Minnesota. He previously taught at the RKKO Folk College in Finland, at Menahga High School and Clearbrook-Gonvink.

Why did you become a teacher? “I enjoy the process of bringing music into the lives of young people. The public school systems are a great venue for passing the musical traditions of our various cultures.”

 

Karrie Anderson

Karrie Anderson

Karrie Anderson

A part-time elementary art teacher, she is originally from Milaca. She graduated from St. Cloud State University. She previously taught at Nay Ah Shing School in Onamia, Minnesota, the Kyiv International School, Kyiv, Ukraine and Yellow Medicine East in Granite Falls, Minnesota. She has two sons: Alan and Steven Juell.

Why did you become a teacher? “I enjoy working with kids. I love their excitement about making art and the pride ethey have in the accomplishment.”

 

Lauren Johnson

Lauren Johnson

Lauren Johnson

An ASD resource teacher/special education for grades K-6, she is originally from Princeton. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in special education from St. Cloud State University. She previously taught as a special education paraprofessional for nine years and a Title I math and reading tutor for one year. She is engaged to David and has a daughter, Natalie.

Why did you become a teacher? “I began working as a paraprofessional right after high school and fell in love with the profession.”

 

Jackie Barland

Jackie Barland

Jackie Barland

A kindergarten teacher is originally from Alexandria, Minnesota. She began teaching second grade at Nyquist Elementary in Isle, then moved to a kindergarten position the following year and have remained their until I took a kindergarten position in Milaca. This will be my fourth year teaching kindergarten and my fifth year of being a classroom teacher.

Why did you become a teacher? “As a child I was very timid and anxious, but my second grade teacher brought me out of my shell with nurturing and value. Since then I have always loved learning and wanted to give children a positive connection to education. I want every child to feel valued, accepted and excited about who they are and the gifts they’ve been given.”

 

Rachel Forker

Rachel Forker

Rachel Forker

A kindergarten teacher, she is originally from Milaca. She ha a BS in elementary education and teaching English as a second language from Bethel University. She previously student taught, but this is her first teaching job.

Why did you become a teacher? “I became a teacher because the teachers in my life greatly impacted the person I became. Being a teacher provides an opportunity to pour into the future generations and nurture students to become the best they can be.”

 

Jenny Wihlm

Jenny Wihlm

Jenny Wihlm

A second grade teacher, she is originally from Princeton. She has a B.S. in elementary education with a pre-primary specialty from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. She previously taught third grade for 12 years at Onamia Elementary. She has a husband, Troy and two children: Addison (5) and Brayden (2).

Why did you become a teacher? “I’ve wanted to be a teacher since the first grade, and I have never thought of anything else! I love being with kids and seeing their excitement as they learn something new!”

 

Jeff Kiel

Jeff Kiel

Jeff Kiel

A high school teacher in industrial technology, he is originally from Milaca. He has a carpentry degree from St. Cloud Technical College.

Why did you become a teacher? “There are many reasons as to why I’m becoming a teacher. The main reason is I enjoy interacting with kids, and I feel I have a lot to offer in the area I’m teaching.”

 

Adam Isakson

Adam Isakson

Adam Isakson

A physical education and health teacher for grades 8-10, he is originally from Fargo, N.D. He attended the University of Minnesota where he received a BA in kinesiology (2013) and a masters of education applied to kinesiology and earned teaching degrees in PE, health and DAPE. He competed for the Gopher track and field team as a Pole Vaulter (2009-13). This is is first teaching position, but student taught in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Centennial and Bloomington.

Why did you become a teacher? “I had some great teachers who always expected the best from me, and taught me to do the same for myself. Since then I have always wanted to do the same for others.”

 

Brent Jergens

Brent Jergens

Brent Jergens

A high school science teacher, he is originally from Litchfield, Minnesota. He graduated with a bachelor’s of arts in Chemistry from Bemidji State University in 2004. Then earned a master of arts in counseling ministry at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois in 2007. He previously taught at Faith Christian School in Foreston from 2007-14 and at Milaca Area Learning Center from 2012-14. He has a wife, Alison and three children: Gabriel (8), Joshua (6) and Madalyn (3).

Why did you become a teacher? “I love seeing people learn and grow and being a part of that process.”

 

Rachel Gilbert

Rachel Gilbert

Rachel Gilbert

A physical education and health teacher for grades 8-12, she is originally from Becker. She graduated from Becker High School and Bethel University. She previously taught physical education this past year in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. She has a mom (Ann), Dad (Gary) and brother (Sam).

Why did you become a teacher? “I love kids and I have a passion for them to grow up and live healthy, happy and productive lifestyles!”

 

Aaron samuel

Aaron Samuel

Aaron Samuel

A special education teacher for grades K-6, he is originally from Ellsworth, Wisconsin. He graduated from Ellsworth Senior High School and Winona State University. He previously taught as a long term sub at Hillcrest Elementary School in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. He has a mom, dad and brother.

Why did you become a teacher? “I became a teacher to help students academically and socially, as well as being a positive male role model in my student’s lives.”

 

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