Lisa Molland is a school psychologist at the Sparta Area School District. She has an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her favorite memory from education is “observing a physically handicapped child walk independently for the first time.” Ms. Molland recently achieved “empty nest” status after putting five children through the Sparta Area School District.
Jill Guns is a teacher at Meadowview Intermediate School. She has worked in education for 20 years and her favorite memory is “all of the hugs, smiles and reminders that being a teacher is the best.” Ms. Guns is a mother of three children and enjoys anything outside.
Gary Boisvert is the LMC Director at Meadowview Middle School. He has Master of Science and Master of Arts degrees and has finished a professional licensure in technology media. Mr. Boisvert enjoys learning, art, and volunteering and is proud of the Meadowview Middle School students who won first in the state Battle of the Books competition.
Aleatra Olson is a teacher at Lawrence-Lawson Elementary School. She enjoys anything outside including swimming, hiking, and walking. She also likes hunting deer and turkeys. Her favorite memory from education is “all the things kids say — brings a smile to my face.”
Jo Dee Hoiness
Jo Dee Hoiness teaches at Sparta High School. She has a bachelor of science degree in home economics education from UW-Stout and master of education in professional development from UW-La Crosse. Ms. Hoiness has been employed in education for 22 years. Her favorite memory from education is when an FCCLA member said “this is the best thing that has ever happened to me” when she found out she qualified for the organization’s national event.
Robin Reid currently works at Sparta High School and during her career with the Sparta Area School District has worked in every building “without a single favorite.” Ms. Reid’s favorite memory from education is collaborating with Meadowview teachers on a cross-curricular whole school Civil War project that included the community.
Lisa Cash is a band director at Meadowview Middle School. She has a bachelors degree in music education and has been employed in education for 32 years. Her favorite memory from education is when a fifth grade boy introducing her to his moth said “mom, this is the lady who taught me to brush my teeth.” An accomplishment Ms. Cash is proud of is that the amount of band students in middle school bands in Sparta has doubled in 10 years. Ms. Cash is also proud to “be the momma of two handsome Marines.”
Pam Szymanski is a speech pathologist who enjoys playing clarinet and guitar, painting landscapes, and travel. She is a master of science certified in clinical competence in speech/language pathology. This summer, she visited Iceland for two weeks. Ms. Szymanski has hiked in Ireland twice. She has also hiked the Austrian Alps and in Italy. Her favorite memory from education is learning how to play the clarinet.
Kristie Sagehorn is a pre-kindergarten teacher in the Sparta Area School District. She enjoys riding her horses and traveling. Ms. Sagehorn has a master’s degree in elementary education and has been employed in education for 29 years. Her favorite memory from education is all the times her pre-k students have “told me they love me.” Ms. Sagehorn’s grandmothers and both of her parents graduated from Sparta High School — the building she currently is teaching pre-k in. She is also the mother of a 2014 Sparta High School graduate who graduated from Navy Boot Camp this past summer.
Laurie Rappa is a teacher at Meadowview Middle School who enjoys golfing, gardening, scrapbooking, and baking. She received her bachelor’s degree from Judson University and her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Her favorite memory from education is a teaching experience in Puerto Rico. Ms. Rappa has also coordinated a service learning project with students that raised money to provide books to parents of newborn babies. Favorite past experiences include skating on a competitive precision team, flying in a hot air balloon, and traveling with a choir to New York, Florida and Brazil.
Denise Ebert works at Meadowview Middle School and enjoys camping, sewing and motorcycling. She has four grandchildren. Her favorite memory from education is the first time she walked into a classroom and heard her special education student reading to another student. Ms. Ebert helped start the Quilt for Kids program.
Missy Erickson is a teacher at the Sparta Charter Pre-Kindergarten. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and her master’s degree from Viterbo University. She enjoys scrapbooking, family time, gardening and travel. This past summer, she and her family drove to Disneyworld. Ms. Erickson also recently ran her first 5K. Her favorite memory from education is a sincere “thank you for teaching my child.”
Teri Kenyon is the secretary at Maplewood Elementary. She is a Tomah High School graduate and attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Mid State Tech School. Ms. Kenyon loves to travel and has traveled to Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, and 40 states. Her favorite memory from education is participating in high school band and the parades, concerts and marching. She is proud of her family including husband, Gregg, and children Myah, 13, and Seth, 11. Ms. Kenyon enjoys movies, the Packers and Badgers, and watching her children participate in figure skating and hockey.
Jenna Kast is a teacher at Meadowview Middle School who enjoys playing softball and hiking. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where she played softball and holds seven school softball records. Ms. Kast’s favorite memory from education is during a swimming class she had a student that wouldn’t go in the water and by the end, the student could float and swim.
Alexa Quam is a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teacher at Lakeview Montessori who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Ms. Quam recently became Montessori trained. Her favorite memory from education is preparing and interacting in an outside classroom. Ms. Quam enjoys camping and crafts, and has played volleyball for 14 years.
Kathy Zay is a teacher at Maplewood Elementary who enjoys reading, travel, and grandchildren. She has her master’s degree + 36 additional credits and has worked in education for 22 years. Ms. Zay enjoys a book club with co-workers and focuses her work on the children in her classroom.
Nila Larson is a second grade teacher at Southside Elementary. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Mrs. Larson loves teaching second grade. She says “I have enjoyed working with little minds and wonderful parents and staff.” Her favorite memory from education is being kindly recognized by appreciative parents in helping their child.
Sara Jarvis is a teacher at Lawrence-Lawson Elementary. She received her bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her favorite memory from education is when the school principal subbed for her third grade teacher and played the guitar for her class. Ms. Jarvis is currently working toward earning her 316 Reading License and enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with her family.
Cheri Zahasky is the Sparta High School LMC Director and Sparta Area School District LMC Coordinator. She received her bachelor of science from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and her master of science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Ms. Zahasky’s favorite memories from education are the times she got students reading and interested in reading from her book suggestions.
Melanie Hunter is a teacher at Meadowview Middle School. She received her undergraduate degree at Viterbo University and her master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Ms. Hunter volunteers as a board member and record keeper for Woodlawn Cemetery.
Shelly Kunes is a teacher at Maplewood Elementary who treasures the friendships of those she has worked with and learned from. Ms. Kunes enjoys talking to those who have graduated and say “thanks” for inspiring me to always do better. She says some have become teachers so influence matters. Ms. Kunes enjoys camping, hiking and traveling.
Lesley Jacobs is a school counselor at Meadowview Intermediate School. She enjoys fishing, boating and reading. She attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Ms. Jacobs has worked in education for 20 years and all 20 years have been as a school counselor in the Sparta Area School District. When she first started in the District, she had four schools, Cataract, Lawrence-Lawson, Southside and Leon.
Kim Callahan is a teacher at Cataract Elementary. She enjoys reading and watching football. Ms. Callahan completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and masters degree at Viterbo University. She is working on her 316 licensure through Viterbo and plans to finish this school year. This past summer, Cataract school opened its LMC and 34 students attended. “That’s more than a third of our small school,” she said. Her favorite memory from education is the funny things students say. She says there are too many to count.
Andrea Helgerson is a pre-kindergarten teacher at the Sparta Charter Pre-Kindergarten. Her hobbies include her children, playing games and crafts. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Her favorite memory from education is getting her daily dose of at least 100 hugs from the kids.
Trevor Tripp is a music teacher at Southside Elementary School. He enjoys horses, exercise, and music. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and additional certification from Viterbo University. Mr. Tripp finds it fun and rewarding to share his love of music with students. His favorite memory from education is teaching in the district he graduated from. Among his accomplishments are making banjos with the third grade students, forming his own music group, helping train our servicemen, and taking his horse up Wildcat mountain.
Denise Geiwitz is an art teacher at Meadowview Intermediate and Maplewood Elementary schools. She enjoys reading, knitting and creating. She received her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Ms. Geiwitz loves all the drawings students make for her. She also loves hearing that a student does not want to miss school because it is an art day. Ms. Geiwitz is a new member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional educator society for women. She and her family tried kayaking for the first time this summer.
Colleen Strittmater is a teacher at Lawrence-Lawson Elementary School who enjoys reading, walking and spending time with her family. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Troy State University in Troy, Ala., and her Master’s Degree from Viterbo University. Ms. Strittmater’s favorite memory from education is of her fourth grade teacher who was like a “grandma” to her. She loved being in her class. This summer, Ms. Strittmater took four credits, was a full-time mom and lived through a complete remodel on their home. On their family vacation, her 4 1/2-year-old son caught his first fish.
Ms. Kim Thole
Ms. Kim Thole is a teacher at Maplewood Elementary school who enjoys reading and travel. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College and her Master’s degree from Viterbo University. Ms. Thole has been employed in education for 20 years. Her favorite memories from education are marching in the Fiesta Bowl Parade; her Senior Class Trip to Washington, D.C.; and teaching on a Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona. During spring break, Ms. Thole is heading to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon to see the Grand Canyon for the first time. She is working on traveling to all 50 states and is almost there.
Mr. John Blaha
Mr. John Blaha is a teacher at Sparta High School who enjoys coaching and outdoor activities. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as well as a Certificate in Education Leadership from Viterbo University. Mr. Blaha has been employed in education for 20 years. His favorite memory annually from education is graduation night. Mr. Blaha has been married for 22 years and is blessed with five daughters.