School starts with 14 new TCU K-8 teachers

The elementary teachers are (top photo, from left) Ben Haugen, Heidi Hindt, Cathleen Hummel, Sarah Smisek, Sheila Becker,  Tessa Downs, and Jason Jerabek. The new 5-8 teachers are (front, from left) Jeff Krubsack, Rene Demel, Tessa Downs, Robin Larson, Deanna Fosness; (back) Joy Broscoff, Joel Evenson, Ben Hougen, James Nelson, Jason Jerabek and Sarah Smisek.

Tri-City United students returned to classes this week, and are settling into their new classrooms, routines and teachers. Over the summer, the school board hired a total of 14 new elementary and middle school instructors for the three TCU campuses. They are:

Sheila Becker: Sheila is teaching art at Lonsdale part time. A graduate of MSU Mankato, she has college degrees in both art education and fine arts, with 10 years of experience teaching at Anoka-Hennepin Schools, one year at Park Rapids, and 19 years at Jordan. She lives in Le Center with her husband and their three cats. She said she went into teaching because, “I love kids and I love art!”

Joy Broscoff: Joy Broscoff is a new English Language Arts teacher at both Le Center and Montgomery middle schools. She is also involved in reading intervention at Montgomery. She graduated from MSU Mankato and has experience teaching sixth and seventh grades at Brooklyn Center. She said she went into teaching because of her mother. “My mother was a teacher and I always admired her growing up,” she said. Joy’s goal is to teach “real world” writing skills and to stir up a passion for English in her students like her English teacher did for her.

Rene Demel: Rene is teaching sixth grade at Montgomery. She is a graduate of MSU Mankato and has experience teaching sixth and eighth grades at Northfield Schools. 

Tessa Downs: Tessa is a K-8 art teacher at Montgomery. She is also a MSU Mankato graduate with a BA degree in art education. She has experience teaching in Belle Plaine as a longterm sub, but this is her first year as a teacher. She lives in Mankato with her husband Jake and son Henry, 2-1/2. Tessa said she loves everything about teaching and her goals for this year are to establish a positive rapport with the students and faculty, and to make a name for the excellent art program at TCU.

Joel Evenson: Joel will be wearing many hats this year. Half of his time will be spent teaching middle and high school social studies, while the remainder of his time will be as an administrative assistant/health aide in the high school office. He has a teaching degree from Lewis-Clark State College, Idaho, and experience teaching and coaching at Medford Public Schools. 

Deanna Fosness: Deanna is a part-time math teacher at Montgomery Middle School. She is a graduate of St. Cloud University and has five years teaching experience at area schools. Originally from Brownton, she now lives in Lonsdale with her husband Mike, their son Baron, and the family dog  named Tenor. She said she enjoys helping others learn and wants to get to know the students and families at TCU. Her goal is to improve her students’ MCA math scores.

Ben Haugen: Ben is teaching K-8 physical education in Le Center part time. He also teaches adaptive physical education at TCU High School. Ben is a graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University and has experience coaching football and basketball at Marshall High School. 

Heidi Hindt: Heidi is a special education teacher in Lonsdale. She holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from MSU Mankato. She taught special education and Title 1 at Prior Lake-Savage Schools for four years and is excited to start her position at TCU. She lives in Prior Lake with her husband Dave, children Hanna and Jacob, and dog Lucky. Her goal is to make school a positive experience for her students and to watch them grow as learners. “I love kids and I love to see a child gain confidence and excitement after they learn something new,” she said.

Cathleen Hummel: Cathleen is teaching first grade in Montgomery. She is a graduate of MSU Moorehead and has experience as a longterm sub at New Prague Area Schools. A native of Austin, she has lived in New Prague for 11 years with her husband Steve and children Katie, 16, Noah, 15, Ann-Marie, 12, and Libby, 11. She commented that she went into teaching to make a difference in the lives of children, to help them reach their full potential and to become life-long learners. Her goal is to help each of her first graders become avid readers and help them become the best person they can be.

Jason Jerabek: Jason is the new seventh grade physical education and health teacher at Montgomery, and K-4 physical education and Developmental Adaptive Physical Education (DAPE) instructor at Lonsdale Elementary. He has a degree from MSU Mankato and eight years of teaching experience at Lakeville Schools. Originally from Silver Lake, he now resides in Farmington with his wife Sarah and sons Jack, 7, and Joey, 4. “I went into teaching to be a role model and have a positive impact on young people,” he commented.

Jeffery Krubsack: Jeffery is a band instructor at Le Center Middle School and TCU High School. He graduated from St. Olaf in 2010 with his K-12 bachelor of arts degree in music. He has three years experience teaching band at Isle Public Schools. 

Robin Larson: Robin is a fifth grade teacher at Montgomery. She is a graduate of Luther College, worked as a paraprofessional for five years at St. Peter Schools and homeschooled her children, daughter Beret and son Peder, for four years when they were younger. She said she is passionate about learning and inspiring kids to be all they can be. 

James Nelson: James is a sixth grade teacher at Montgomery. He graduated from MSU Mankato and has 11 years experience teaching at Janesville, Prior Lake, Brazil and Columbia. He and his wife Sarah have a daughter Rachel. He said he became a teacher because it is challenging and incredibly rewarding work. 

Sarah Smisek: Sarah is the K-8 English Language Learners (ELL) teacher at Le Center. She is a University of St. Thomas graduate and has an ELL license from Hamline University. She taught fourth grade at Faribault Schools and fifth grade at Prior Lake-Savage Schools.