Meet Our Teaching Team

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Drew Goodson, School Administrator

Drew Goodson is coming home to Minnesota after working for ten years in Arizona in a variety of charter school leadership positions. 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. Drew is very excited to be a part of the team at River Grove and to return to Minnesota.

Jessica Hansen, Kindergarten

Jessica Hansen is delighted to continue serving this community at River Grove elementary. For the past three years, she has been 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.

 

Libby Bingham, Kindergarten

Libby Bingham has an Elementary Education degree from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN. Along with being a student at St. Cloud, she was also a student-athlete playing on the Huskies softball team. Libby led her team as captain in her last season. Go Huskies! A native Minnesotan, Libby grew up in a south suburb of the Twin Cities. She is most excited about sharing her passion for the outdoors, while also incorporating technology into the classroom. Outside of the classroom, Libby loves spending time with friends and family. She also enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and traveling. She can’t wait to start her journey at River Grove!

Jackie Henschen, First Grade

Jackie Henschen graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a degree in English Composition and obtained her Education degree from Augsburg College. Jackie has a diverse teaching background, including experience in a home-school co-op, specializing in elementary science instruction; several years of experience teaching at parochial schools in both California and in Maplewood, MN; the Read Naturally program at Marine Elementary; and most recently at the Alternative Learning Center in Stillwater.

Jackie considers working with children a joy and honor! Jackie has an unwavering commitment to her students and is dedicated to creatively approaching her lessons so that students are eager about learning and discovery. She comes to River Grove elementary school having worked with children in several different aspects, from teaching in a traditional classroom setting for a decade to working with at-risk learners. She has been married for 29 years and has two daughters, ages 17 and 13. She loves spending time with her family and in her free time, she’s training her rescue dog to become a therapy dog. Gardening, beekeeping, hiking, and being at the family cabin are among her favorite activities.

Renee Anderson, Second Grade

Renee Anderson is a highly qualified and experienced teacher who clearly is a master of her craft and will be a great mentor to other teachers and leader of kids. Renee’s most recent job was teaching second grade in Waseca, MN. She has taught in the Waseca area for 20 years, including grades 3 and 4, and has other teaching experience prior to that, for a total of 27 years of experience. Renee has been a leader in her school with integrating technology into her curriculum, but she is also excited by the learning opportunities that this forest setting provides. She has an Elementary Education degree from UW River Falls and Masters of Science, Teaching, and Learning from St. Mary’s University.

Renee’s passions include inspiring hope, igniting imagination, and instilling a love of learning in children. She continually learns new and imaginative ways to educate herself and others. She loves spending time with her family, which includes her husband, daughters, sons-in-law, and four adorable granddaughters.  She also enjoys reading, walking, sporting events, and traveling, and is excited to be sharing this next adventure with the students at River Grove.

Mandy Lindemann, Third Grade

We are proud to add Mandy Lindemann to our team as our third grade teacher! An exceptional applicant for the position, Mandy already knows the school and its students, having worked in most of our classes and one-on-one with many students in her role in the special education department. River Grove is lucky to have such a dedicated team player who puts the needs of her students first!

Mandy graduated from Bemidji State University with an Elementary Education degree. She has taught as a kindergarten specialist, a special education paraprofessional, and, this past summer, had the opportunity to teach preschool special education. She has eight years of experience working with school-aged children and has guest taught in multiple school districts.

Mandy enjoys living in the small town of Lindstrom with husband Carl, son Damien, and nephew Gavin. She loves to spend time with family and friends on the lake, hiking, playing games, going for walks, and reading. She is excited to step up her role at River Grove as the third grade teacher, and looks forward to incorporating our beautiful surroundings and technology into the classroom. She wrote, “I cannot wait to see how much all the students have grown over the summer and meeting all the wonderful families.”

Jody Dick, Fourth Grade

Jody Dick 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. She taught fourth, fifth, and sixth grades at Afton-Lakeland Elementary over the past 4 years.

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 17 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, ages 17 and 15, when they are not busy attending their cross country, tennis and Nordic meets, band and choir concerts, and musical theater productions.

 

 

Luke Hallbeck, Fourth Grade

Luke Hallbeck has Elementary Education degree from Hamline University, where he also studied history and creative writing. He most recently was an AmeriCorps Math Tutor in Roseville district, where he also student taught. At Hamline, Luke won an award for fiction writing, and he incorporated his talent for writing into a unit during his student teaching.

Luke is originally from a small town up in cabin country, a little north of Brainerd, MN. He grew up in a restaurant family, so he loves to cook and bake. He also enjoys playing hockey, rollerblading, writing, being disappointed by Minnesota sports, learning yo-yo tricks, and taking care of his pet tortoise, Zamy. He is very excited to be a part of River Grove elementary school and the Marine on St. Croix community!

 

 

Janel Koenig, Fifth Grade

Janel Koenig graduated from the College of St. Benedict with a degree in Communications and obtained her Elementary Education degree from Hamline University. She has nine years of experience working with early childhood and school-age children while managing her own child care business. In this position, she was also co-coordinator for Washington County Licensed Family Child Care Association and helped provide training to licensed child care providers in the Forest Lake and Hugo area. In addition, Janel has been a reserve teacher for the Forest Lake and White Bear Lake Area Schools.

Janel grew up in Minnesota and has lived in Forest Lake for the past 11 years with her husband and two children. She enjoys exploring Minnesota with her family, skiing, and reading. Janel is excited to be joining the River Grove community. She looks forward to sharing her passion for lifelong learning by creating a curriculum that encourages children to participate in their learning through inquiry, questioning, making decisions, and doing!

Adam Johnson, Sixth Grade

Adam Johnson is thrilled to be teaching sixth grade at River Grove! Adam most recent position was teaching fifth grade in Maplewood, MN, and previously taught first grade in Roseville. He received an Elementary Education degree from Augsburg College in 2013.  This will be his fifth year in the profession.

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 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.  This summer he will be on a national parks road trip out west. He hopes to bring some of the pictures, stories, and artifacts from this trip to River Grove elementary school, and is looking forward to a year of discovery and learning!

Molly Kaliher, Special Education 

Molly KaliherMolly brings extensive experience to River Grove! She has been teaching special education for the last 25 years, 23 of those years have been in Stillwater. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Masters in Education from St. Mary’s University. She has been trained in Berard Auditory Integration Training (A.I.T.), Therapeutic Listening, Advanced Listening with the Whole Body, Orton-Gillingham, “How does your Engine Run,” and Brain Gym. Molly is involved with Camp Avanti as an Administration Team Advisor and also provides Behavioral Support. Her hobbies include canoe trips, camping, and cooking.

Molly is always accompanied by her service dog Hope, a chocolate lab. Hope is trained to alert Molly when her blood sugar is out of range due to Type 1 diabetes.

 

 

Heidi Dettmann, Special Education

Heidi Dettmann has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and a teaching certification in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has lived in the Stillwater area for seven years, and most recently worked as a paraprofessional at Withrow Elementary. Heidi is excited to return to teaching after time at home with her young daughters and is especially pleased to serve the Marine area community as a special education teacher at River Grove. She has a deep love of learning that she enjoys sharing with her students. In her free time, Heidi loves spending time with her family, friends and animals. She enjoys the outdoors and loves riding her horse Lissie. Heidi has interests in equine assisted therapy and holistic health and wellness.

RobinJo Walcheski, Special Education 

RobinJo Walcheski is excited to be teaching at River Grove this coming year as a resource room special education teacher! She brings seven years of special education teaching experience from a variety of charter and public schools in Minnesota, from elementary to high school level, traditional to project-based learning. RobinJo holds a Masters in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, as well as four teaching licenses in K-6 Elementary Education, 5-8 Mathematics, K-12 Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities and K-12 Learning Disabilities. RobinJo has had a variety of experiences over the years, including helping lead a group of high school girls through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, BWCA, exploring Washington D.C. and dog sledding in Northern Minnesota.

RobinJo enjoys spending time in and around the Stillwater area where she grew up and now owns a home where she lives with her husband, Joshua, and three dogs, P, Q, and Lady. In her spare time RobinJo enjoys exploring dog parks, playing games and watching cooking shows. This coming year at River Grove she is excited to explore the outdoors with her students, make connections and build relationships with the students and families of the area, as well as learning and exploring more of what the Marine on Saint Croix River Valley has to offer.

Erika Hammerschmidt, Band and Orchestra

Erika Hammerschmidt has over 25 years of experience teaching and performing instrumental music. She taught Elementary Band at Holy Rosary and Middle School Band at The Marshall School in Duluth. The College of St. Scholastica started their Concert Band under her direction. She ran the Orono High School Band program overseeing the Pep Band, Marching Band, Fall Musical, and Band Trip to Florida in 2000-01. Currently, she teaches the Middle School Orchestra and the Chamber Ensemble at the St. Croix Catholic School in addition to the Bands and Orchestras at River Grove. Erika plays French Horn professionally with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra and freelances in the Twin Cities area.

Robin Iredale Heieren, Art

Karla Krick, Physical Education

 

Photos courtesy of Jenn Cress

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