Click here for Complete Teaching Team and Staff Emails
CONTENTS BY DEPARTMENT/POSITION
|Teacher, Kindergarten||Jessica Hansen|
|Teacher, Kindergarten||Madison Boesel|
|Teacher, Grade 1||Elly Johnson|
|Teacher, Grade 1||Jaime Souza|
|Teacher, Special Education, Grades K and 1||Shelly Orr|
|Teacher, Grade 2||Emily Talbott|
|Teacher, Grade 2||Emma Carlson|
|Special Education Evaluation Coordinator||Carley Maley|
|Teacher, Grade 3||Annie Beck|
|Teacher, Grade 3||Emily McDonald|
|Teacher, Special Education, Grade 3||Mary Swanson|
|Teacher, Grade 4||Jo Heide|
|Teacher, Grade 4||Jody Dick|
|Teacher, Grade 6||Chris Glover|
|Teacher, Grade 5||Adam Johnson|
|Teacher, Grade 5||Alice Williams|
|Teacher, Special Education, Grade 5||Colleen Tetreault|
|Teacher, Special Education, Grade 6||Tanya Ferguson|
|Teacher, Special Education||Shelly Vrambout|
|Teacher, Physical Education||Katie Bruns|
|Teacher, Art Specialist||Robin Iredale|
|Teacher, Band and Orchestra||Andrew Dussl|
|Administration, Executive Director of Student Services||Shirley Volk|
|Administration, Executiv School Director||Drew Goodson|
|Administration, Operations and Communications Coordinator||Ele Anderson|
|Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant||Julia McCarthy|
|Licensed School Nurse||Megan Lapos|
|Behavioral Support Specialist||Derek Petersen|
Teachers and ADMINISTRATORS In alphabetical order
Ele Anderson, Operations and Communications Coordinator
A member of River Grove’s founding team from the school’s beginnings in 2015, Ele has a varied background in communications, marketing, and small business management. Ele grew up in Ames, IA. After graduating with honors from Central College in Pella, IA, Ele taught English in Japan; was the managing editor for a regional book publisher in Stillwater, MN; then served as the marketing director for a medical device company also in Stillwater. While raising her two now-teenage boys, Ele did freelance graphic design, website development, and writing and editing. She also was a dedicated volunteer for the local elementary school in Marine on St. Croix and for the Minnesota partner organization for FANA, an orphanage in Bogota, Colombia. Since joining the administrative team at River Grove, Ele has focused on meeting the needs of families, staff, and students with effective communication, organization, and student safety being among her highest priorities. In her down time, Ele enjoys music, writing, reading, art, photography, and cooking; hanging with her kids; and trying to keep the house sane despite too many pets.
Annie Beck, Third Grade
Annie Beck went to the University of North Dakota for her Elementary Education degree and Minnesota State University, Mankato, for her Masters in Experiential Education. Throughout her many years teaching in North Dakota, Minnesota, California, and Morocco, she has grown more and more passionate about project- and place-based education and is thrilled to be joining a school that shares her belief in this style of education. There is nothing better than seeing the light in a child’s eyes as he or she makes a discovery and learns something! In addition to teaching, Annie’s passions include skiing, hiking, camping, kayaking, board games, reading, and anything that involves learning and exploring new things!. She also enjoys spending time volunteering for organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Relay for Life, and coaching after-school clubs like volleyball and Lego robotics. She can’t wait to get to know her new students and the River Grove community!
Madison Boesel, Kindergarten
Madison Boesel graduated from Bethel University in St. Paul with a degree in K-6 Education as well as a degree in Early Childhood and Preprimary. Her previous teaching experience includes a position in St. Paul Public Schools as a second grade teacher and has also previously taught second grade for two years here at River Grove. Madison loves to travel and experience new cultures! In 2018, she spent a month in England and Italy, where she volunteered in outdoor-based schools. Madison enjoys having fun and laughing with her students. She is committed to having a student-centered classroom and is excited to share her love of the outdoors with her students to create a hands-on learning experience. Outside of school, Madison enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, camping, hiking, and exploring new coffee shops!
Katie Bruns, Physical Education
Katie Bruns is an outdoor recreation enthusiast. She has a Masters in Physical Education with an emphasis in Adventure Education and Outdoor Pursuits. She has been teaching physical education and health in the St. Croix Valley for the past five years. She has a passion for creating fun and innovative outdoor activities for the students to learn and love living a healthy lifestyle. She is originally from St. Croix Falls, WI, and has a passion for yoga, mountain biking, running, hiking, cross country skiing, and enjoying our beautiful river valley.
Emma Carlson, Second Grade
Emma Carlson attained a degree in K-6 Elementary Education from Bethel University in St. Paul. She also graduated with minors in Spanish, Teaching English as a Second Language, and STEM. She most recently spent her time at a summer camp as one of the summer program directors. Emma is passionate about student growth and equipping students with the skills needed to be an effective problem solver. Outside of the classroom, Emma enjoys playing games, spending time outside, cooking, puzzling, drinking coffee, traveling, and coaching volleyball. She is excited to cultivate relationships with the River Grove community!
Jody Dick, Fourth Grade
Jody Dick has a Masters in Elementary Education degree from St. Catherine University. Prior to getting her degree in education, Jody studied cultural anthropology at Swarthmore College and then at Princeton University. Prior to joining River Grove, Jody taught fourth, fifth, and sixth grades at Afton-Lakeland Elementary in the Stillwater school district. Jody is excited to share her passion for environmental education, cultural studies and literacy with the River Grove elementary students. Jody has lived in the Stillwater area for the past 20 years, and before that lived in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and all over the Midwest. She and her husband love traveling, skiing, and hiking with their two children, when they are not busy attending their cross country, tennis and Nordic meets, band and choir concerts, and musical theater productions.
Andrew Dussl, Band and Orchestra
Andrew Dussl received a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Minnesota and holds a Master of Music Education from Northern State University. In the past, he has had the pleasure to work as an instrumental music teacher for the Long Prairie Grey-Eagle Secondary Schools, Rosemount High School, and Dassel-Cokato Middle School. He enjoys the marching arts and has been an active member within the Minnesota marching community over the past sixteen years where he has taught and designed shows for many indoor and outdoor ensembles in and around the metro area. Many of his ensembles have experienced successes at state and national competitions as medalists and finalists in various classifications. Andrew has been involved in many music ensembles including jazz groups, community bands and orchestras, drum corps, and was a member of the official Minnesota Vikings Drumline for three years. At home, Andrew loves spending time with his wife, daughter, dog, cat, and chickens. In his spare time, he likes to skateboard, read, record music, and spend time putzing around the yard. Andrew is incredibly excited to begin teaching at River Grove this upcoming school year and can’t wait to meet the students!
Tanya Ferguson, Special Education, Grade 6
Tanya Ferguson has worked in special education at both the elementary and middle school levels. She has also worked at the elementary level in regular education. Tanya has always had a great interest in education, especially reading. She has had the opportunity to be part of a tutoring program where she was trained in and taught a multisensory language program based on the Orton Gillingham Method. Tanya loves spending time with her family at home and at their cabin in northern WI. She has three grown children, two daughters and a son, and many pets. Tanya enjoys gardening with her husband, baking, being crafty with her children and working on projects around the house. She has a great interest in live theatre and dance, enjoying these hobbies as both a participant and as an audience member.
Chris Glover, Teacher, Grade 6
Drew Goodson, School Director
Drew Goodson returned home to Minnesota after working for ten years in Arizona in a variety of charter school leadership positions. Prior to River Grove, his most recent job was School Leader at Mission Heights Preparatory High School. While there, he increased enrollment 20 percent, developed partnerships with community colleges, did community outreach, and implemented unique programs for students such as Youth Entrepreneurs. Drew has held charter school positions that included responsibilities for budgeting, technology, federal and state compliance, marketing, curriculum development, testing, and student discipline and behavior intervention. He has been a guidance counselor, teacher, coach, and athletic director, and has also been a volunteer with Big Brothers and Sisters. Drew is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in strategic communication and history. In his spare time he enjoys playing and watching sports as well as spending time with his wife, Kelli, and two girls, Noelle and Everly.
Jessica Hansen, Kindergarten
Jessica Hansen is delighted to continue serving this community at River Grove elementary. Prior to being at River Grove, Jessica was Director and Lead Teacher at Red Bridge Preschool in Marine on St. Croix. She has a psychology degree from Bethel University, studied Latin American topics in Central America, and holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Minnesota. She has taught English language learners and is experienced in curriculum development. Jessica is always learning something new and sparks curiosity in her students. She brings joy and humor to her classroom and loves creating collaborative relationships with families. Originally from Iowa, for the past decade Jessica has lived just north of Marine with her husband, Chris, and two children, along with a variety of bunnies, cats, and chickens. She has been an active volunteer in the community, and she enjoys gardening, singing, cooking, running with friends and exploring the country on family road trips.
Jo Heide, Fourth Grade
Jo Heide graduated from Bethel University with degrees in K-6 Education and Teaching English as a Second Language. She most recently received her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Natural Sciences and Environmental Education from Hamline University, and can’t wait to put her new learning into practice this year! Jo previously taught 5th grade at Osseo Area Schools, and is thrilled to be back at River Grove for her second year. She is passionate about empowering students to take ownership of their learning, as well as developing a love for reading and exploration! Jo loves spending time outdoors, especially on the North Shore of MN. She enjoys hiking and camping with her husband, practicing yoga, baking sourdough, and rewatching her favorite TV shows.
Robin Iredale, Art
Adam Johnson, Fifth Grade
Adam Johnson is thrilled to be starting his sixth year of teaching at River Grove! Prior to joining River Grove, Adam taught fifth grade in Maplewood, MN, and first grade in Roseville. He received an Elementary Education degree from Augsburg College in 2013. Adam is originally from up the river in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, and has been very familiar with the area his whole life. Adam is most excited about bringing the class into nature (he once took his school’s entire fifth grade on a multi-day camping trip!) and the greater St. Croix River Valley community; getting to know the students that will make up our classroom community; and the freedom of teacher-powered learning. He looks forward to getting to know his students and welcomes any communication regarding the educational journey together. He added, “Bringing the world to your son or daughter is a fantastic responsibility and joy.” Outside of teaching, Adam enjoys playing guitar, trivia, biking, running, and camping.
Elly Johnson, First Grade
Elly is a graduate of Bethel University with degrees in Elementary Education and Spanish Education. Her passion for being a life-long learner and love of children inspired her pursuit to become an educator. Elly taught in the White Bear Lake School district before joining the team at River Grove. Her love of the outdoors, experiential learning, taking risks and play led her to River Grove. She enjoys spending time with her family traveling, reading, downhill skiing, biking, and boating. She is a lover of all water sports! When not skiing herself, she can be found teaching kids and adults alike how to waterski, wakeboard, wake surf and even (to the occasional brave soul) how to barefoot waterski!
Megan Lapos, Licensed School Nurse
Carley Maley, Special Education Evaluation Coordinator
Carley is excited to be joining River Grove this year! She has been teaching for eight years, six of those as a special education teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Masters in Special Education from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. She enjoys building relationships with students and creatively thinking of ways to spark excitement, self-motivation, and confidence in students. Carley lives in Hudson, WI, with her husband Jonathan and two children, Walker and Juniper. In her spare time she enjoys camping, hiking, snowboarding, reading, and spending time with her family.
Julia attended St. Catherine University where she graduated with her Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy. She is excited to begin her first year as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant at River Grove! Julia has always had a passion for caring for and teaching children, as she has previously worked for day cares and nanny positions for the past five years. Julia is eager to help her students improve functional skills needed in the classroom, as well as promote inclusivity for those students in order to reach their full potential. Outside of school, Julia enjoys traveling with her boyfriend, antique shopping, exploring new parks and trails, singing, and snuggling her two cats.
Emily McDonald, Third Grade
Emily McDonald has a Bachelor’s degree in Broad Area Art from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. In the fall of 2015 she started serving as a math enrichment tutor at Lily Lake Elementary in Stillwater, through Minnesota Math Corps. During this experience she realized her passion for teaching and went back to school at Concordia University, St. Paul, where she earned her Masters in the Arts of Teaching. Once she obtained her teaching license she began subbing for Stillwater Area Schools as well as tutoring at Huntington Learning Center. Emily is looking forward to combining her passions of teaching, art, and the outdoors to inspire and engage her students in lifelong learning. She is very excited to finally have her own classroom and to be a part of the team at River Grove! Emily currently lives in Stillwater with her husband Jason, and their children Adrian and Jörge. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, crafting, drawing, and spending time outdoors with her family.
Shelly Orr, Special Education, Grades K and 1
Shelly graduated from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls with a Bachelor of Science in Broad Area Art Education (K-12) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. Shelly taught early childhood at a Reggio inspired montessori in St. Paul for four years before coming to River Grove. She started her journey at River Grove in 2018 as a paraprofessional in Special Education and began teaching Special Education in 2021. Shelly is dedicated to building collaborative relationships with staff, families, and students to ensure the best possible educational experience for all students. Shelly, her husband Derrick, and their son David enjoy spending time together on their hobby farm in Shafer, MN. In her free time Shelly enjoys running her small art business, Orr Acres Farm LLC.
Derek Petersen, Recess Lead and Behavioral Support Specialist
Derek Petersen is delighted to be working with the students and staff of River Grove. Having graduated with a Bachelors in Studio Art and later a Masters in Architecture, he came to the school through a bit of a backwards route. His concern for the life of children has always been strong, having written his thesis on designing our neighborhoods to nurture child-directed play, “Back on the Streets: Architecture for Adolescent Leisure in the City.” After practicing as an architect for a decade and teaching drawing in the university, he has come to River Grove initially as a General Education Paraprofessional and now as a Behavioral Specialist. It has been a joy to serve the children of Marine on St. Croix and its vicinity along with the ever supportive staff of this fine, fine school. Outside of school, Derek enjoys wearing overalls, reading (mostly nonfiction, but he can be persuaded otherwise), drawing houses, going on bike rides or walks with his family, storytelling, and laughing as loudly as the setting permits.
Jaime Souza, First Grade
Jaime Souza loves teaching first grade at River Grove! First graders match her enthusiasm for adventure, birds, nature and science. Prior to teaching at River Grove, Jaime graduated from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls with a Master of Science in Elementary Education and earned a Graduate Certificate in Natural Science and Environmental Education from Hamline University in St. Paul. She is also a proud National Outdoor Leadership (NOLS) alumni. Jaime spent nearly 20 years working and teaching in the outdoors for inspiring organizations, such as the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, Osprey Wilds, and the Wild Rivers Conservancy. She is passionate about student-centered, place-based learning, and finds incredible joy in connecting children with nature. Jaime is married to Jon and enjoys adventuring with him and their two kids, David and Ramona. Favorite activities include backpacking, baking sourdough, birding, camping, canoeing, gardening, and mountain and road biking.
Mary Swanson, Special Education, Grade 3
Mary Swanson is so excited to be starting at River Grove this fall! Mary attended the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, where she studied Elementary Education! Following a year of teaching second grade in Siren, WI, Mary returned to school at Viterbo University to pursue a career in Special Education. While attending VIterbo, Mary accepted a position teaching Special Education in River Falls, WI, where she later taught three years of fifth grade! Due to growing up in Stillwater, Mary is so happy to finally be back home. In her free time, Mary enjoys attending musicals, walking her dog, hiking, singing, and fitting in as much travel as possible. She absolutely loves the environment that River Grove has created and looks forward to building relationships with her students in a place that allows them to grow and explore!
Emily Talbott, Second Grade
Emily Talbott achieved her Elementary Education degree from North Central University in Minneapolis. She has her middle-years endorsement in social studies and loves to see real-world connections to learning and what’s happening around her. She brings years of experience in overseas teaching in the Middle East, which also gave her opportunities to travel to explore new places. Emily is passionate about engaging students through exploration and inspiring discovery in project based learning. Emily grew up in the Twin Cities and is excited to be home, enjoying her hobbies of canoeing, hiking, and skiing. Emily enjoys spending her time with her husband, friends and family, reading, drinking coffee, and cooking. Emily feels privileged to be a teacher at River Grove and loves adventuring with the students, parents, and staff.
Colleen Tetreault, Special Education, Grade 5
Colleen Tetreault comes to River Grove from Forest Lake Area School District, where she served at a few different schools within the district as a Behavioral Intervention Specialist and Special Education teacher. Prior to that, Colleen was a Special Education para/sub at Chisago Lakes School district. Originally from Osceola, WI, she attended St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota. She has a variety of experiences at the elementary level such as academic interventions, research-based behavior intervention strategies, Daily Five literacy framework, Response to Intervention early identification of struggling students, Second Step social-emotional learning, and calming/breathing techniques. Colleen enjoys working with students, parents, and staff and is looking forward to meeting her River Grove students!
Shirley Volk, Executive Director of Student Services
Shirley Volk is excited to be joining the River Grove community full time. She came to River Grove last year, consulting as the Director of Special Education, so she is looking forward to spending more time at River Grove. Shirley has almost 20 years of experience in education and in the last few years has specialized in unique charter schools. Most recently, she comes from Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) as the Director of Student Services, but has worked in charter schools with philosophies that include classical education, immersion, international baccalaureate, online education, and now project-based outdoor education. She has multiple degrees from St. Cloud State University and Hamline University, such as her Principal, Director of Special Education, and Superintendent licenses. Shirley grew up on a dairy farm in North Dakota, and still enjoys being outdoors. She and her daughter enjoy hiking, traveling, quilting, and playing cards.
Shelly Vrambout, Special Education
Shelly Vrambout graduated with an Academic Behavioral Strategist degree from Augsburg University. Prior to joining the River Grove team, Shelly spent the last six years working in the special education department at Stillwater Area High School. Shelly believes that experiential hands-on learning not only promotes academic growth but essential life skills. She takes pride in developing genuine relationships with parents and students in order to provide intentional interest-based lessons in order to keep students engaged and excited about learning. Shelly enjoys spending time with her three children and dog Penelope. Shelly is excited to be a part of River Grove and looks forward to tapping into the amazing place based learning opportunities the school has to offer.
Alice Williams, Fifth Grade
Alice graduated from University of Wisconsin – River Falls with a degree in Elementary Education and received her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy from University of Colorado – Boulder. She has experience teaching in both Minnesota and Colorado with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades as well as working as a Special Education paraprofessional and Title I teacher. Alice has a passion for the outdoors and is very excited about the benefits that nature-based learning can bring to the classroom! She strives to create a welcoming, inclusive classroom community and is dedicated to building relationships, helping students embrace challenges and achieve their goals. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys gardening, reading, traveling, hiking, climbing, flyfishing, and hanging out with her husband and two dogs.