After nine years as lead teacher at Coulee Montessori Adolescent in La Crosse, Gina Meinertz is pleased to join the Caledonia district. She is the new elementary principal and curriculum director at the schools.
The University of La Crosse and Viterbo graduate is most looking forward to the “innovation in education.”
She adds, “Caledonia has been so welcoming in my first weeks. I am excited to be a leader at a school with a vision and mission to empower students to thrive in a changing world.”
After 17 years of teaching kindergarten and first grade in Rochester, Caledonia native Kelly Hansen is happy to be returning to the area.
“I’m excited to be back in my hometown,” Hansen said. “My mother, Laurel Rusert, taught kindergarten here in Caledonia for 37 years, so I’m following in her footsteps.”
A graduate of Winona State, the long-time educator is happy to provide her children with the experience of growing up in a small town.
“I love that my kids will be around my family and have the opportunity to grow up in a small town,” she said.
Caledonia high school graduate Jodi Petersen is happy to be back.
“I graduated from CHS so I am excited to be a Warrior again,” the new high school spanish teacher said.
En espanol (In spanish) “Me gradué de CHS, así que estoy emocionado de ser un Guerrero de nuevo,” dije Petersen.
Petersen has taught at several area schools.
“I have 13 years teaching experience from three schools, Fillmore Central, Winona Cotter and La Crescent,” the Luther college graduate said.
She is most looking forward to “meeting my new students and the staff.”
“It’s great to be back,” new social studies teacher Jason Cognac said. The Caledonia resident has taught in Spring Grove, Onalaska and Caledonia from 2008 to 2010.
The Baraboo, Wisconsin native, who completed his undergraduate work at Viterbo and received his masters at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, is looking forward to “working within and for my community.”
Krista Tri is the new speech therapist at Caledonia schools.
“I have worked as a school speech-language pathologist for the last five years in a school district in the state of Wyoming, the Watkins, Minnesota native said.
Tri went to Minnesota State University Moorhead for undergraduate and graduate school.
“I am looking forward to meeting my students and helping them learn and grow,” she said. “I am also excited to work with my new school family and learn a lot from them.”
Lisa Thill will be teaching elementary art at Caledonia elementary.
The Winona native, who taught three years in Sugar Grove, Illinois, is “looking forward to being back in the area that I love so much.”
Thill got her BA from Loyola University in Chicago and her masters at Aurora University.
“I am looking foward to starting an art program again after 12 years,” said Thill.
Ryan Schmidt, 27, is the new middle and high school counselor.
He has experience as a La Crescent elementary EBD special education paraprofessional for three years.
From Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, Schmidt currently resides in La Crescent.
Schmidt has a BA in psychology from Trinity University, and an MS in counselor education from Winona State University.
“I am most looking forward to-getting to know all the students and staff and making connections and building relationships,” Schmidt noted. “I’m very excited to be serving as ISD 299’s Middle and High School counselor. It is very honoring and humbling to be in such a position.”
Stacie Meyer will be teaching Title 1 at St. John’s and St. Mary’s
“I taught Kindergarten in Eau Claire for one year and Kindergarten in New Albin for eight years,” said Meyer.
The La Crescent native attended college at Viterbo and is looking forward to re-entering the classroom.
“I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past six years,” said Meyer. “I am excited to get back into the classroom working with students and meeting families and staff at St. Mary’s and St. John’s.”
Meyer is married to Darin and has three boys Austin (10) Landon (7) and Miles (3). “We live in Caledonia,” she said.
Thea Trebelhorn is a first year teacher. At Caledonis this upcoming school year, she will be teaching Special Education, EBD
“I previously worked as a paraprofessional in special education for five years,” Trebelhorn said.
From Madison, Wisconsin, Trebelhorn attended UW-La Crosse “where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Child and Youth Care. I recently graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota where I received my Master’s in special education.”
“I am most looking forward to meeting and getting to know the kids, teachers and parents,” Trebelhorn said. “I am very happy to be a part of the Caledonia School District!”