District 518 welcomes new educators

Julie Ailts Position: First-grade teacher, Prairie Elementary Education: Worthington High School; bachelor's degree in elementary education, minor in special education, coaching endorsement, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D. Teaching philosoph...


Julie Ailts

Position: First-grade teacher, Prairie Elementary Education: Worthington High School; bachelor's degree in elementary education, minor in special education, coaching endorsement, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Teaching philosophy:

I believe all people are created equal regardless of ability or race. I feel all students deserve the chance to experience success, as well as feel as they are an important part to the learning community.

Favorite part of teaching: Building relationships with others and waking up each day and knowing that today is a new day; a day where I will have the opportunity to face new challenges and experiences. Most of all, I love teaching for the simple fact that I get the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those I encounter. I am excited to be back in my hometown district, giving back to a great community.


Corey Barfknecht

Education: Delano High School; Minnesota State University, Mankato; University of Phoenix, master's degree in curriculum.

Previous experience: Six years teaching reading and language arts at Marc T. Atkinson Middle School in Phoenix; served as team leader, codepartment head, honors teacher and yearbook adviser.

Teaching philosophy: A teacher's job is more than the "three Rs." Through well-planned, engaging lessons, we can teach kids core subjects as well as the skills necessary to be productive members of society.

Favorite part of teaching: When students "get it" AND remember it later.

Rachel Bell

Position: Kindergarten English Language Learners teacher, Prairie Elementary

Education: Fulda High School; Minnesota State University, Mankato, bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education.


Previous experience: The last two years I have been the school readiness teacher, ECFE teacher, Library Story hour reader and home daycare visitor for the Le Sueur-Henderson School District.

Teaching philosophy: To provide a safe, fun and educational setting for children to learn at the best of their ability, to gain those basic building blocks for life and to enjoy school to the fullest. I enjoy making the classroom a fun place that students love to come and learn.

Favorite part of teaching: Interacting with the students and watching the great progress that they make throughout the school year. I can come to school and love what I do. Teaching is so rewarding!

Katie Behnke

Position: Early Childhood Special Education teacher Education: Minneapolis South High School; Concordia University, St. Paul.

Previous Experience: I have taught early childhood classes the past two years and throughout college.

Teaching philosophy: I am excited to be joining the Early Childhood Special Education team. I believe that all children have the ability to learn. It is exciting to see the specific ways that individual children learn in order to help them succeed.

Favorite part of teaching: When a child's eyes light up and things click for them. I really enjoy how proud of themselves they become when they realize that they have learned something new.


Jessica Beilke

Position: English as a Second Language teacher, Worthington Middle School

Education: Northfield High School; bachelor's degree in German education, Stetson University.

Previous experience: Substitute teaching in Sioux Falls, S.D., in spring 2010; ran an afterschool program in Orlando, Fla.

Teaching philosophy: I believe in a happy, positive and welcoming environment that uses positive reinforcement. Students should learn and work together in order to feel part of a community.

Favorite part of teaching: The students. I love hearing their thoughts and opinions.

Margaret Carlson

Position: English Language Learners teacher, Worthington Middle School


Education: Irondale High School; Bethel University

Previous experience: Practicums in Spain and United States; student teaching in Mexico, Fridley and Champlin Park Teaching philosophy: Create students that are critical thinkers in an environment of mutual respect. Favorite part of teaching: learning from the students

Joel Evans

Education: Luverne High School, Minnesota State University, Moorhead Previous experience: I substituted last year in southwest Minnesota in a variety of school districts. I was the assistant wrestling coach for the Luverne wrestling team.

Teaching philosophy: Making sure students at all levels have the chance to succeed and have fun.

Favorite part of teaching: Interacting with students and observing their growth throughout the year.

Heather Flynn

Education: Worthington High School; bachelor's degree in elementary education, Minnesota State University, Mankato; master's degree in education, St. Mary's University.


Previous experience: Seven years as first-grade teacher, Becker; one year as first-grade teacher, Fulda.

Teaching philosophy: To create a positive learning environment where students can share ideas, interact with others and develop skills for a lifetime of learning.

Favorite part of teaching: Watching the students learn and grow throughout the year.

Janet Haren

Position: K-4 physical education teacher, Prairie Elementary

Education: Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Iowa; Briar Cliff University; Southwest Minnesota State University.

Previous experience: computer prep class, Prairie Elementary; student teaching, Prairie Elementary and Worthington Middle School; fitness coordinator, physical education teacher and health teacher, Round Lake-Brewster district.

Teaching philosophy: My teaching philosophy is built around the quote, "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Through my own passion for physical education and its lifelong importance, I intend to reach out to my students with an open mind, positive attitude and high expectations to demonstrate the importance of physical education in a positive learning environment.


Favorite part of teaching: Seeing students succeed and watching their confidence grow.

Adam Johnson

Position: Sixth-grade LD teacher

Education: Rice Lake High School; St. Cloud State University.

Previous experience: Studentteaching at Princeton Middle School, Princeton, and Clearview Elementary, Clear Lake.

Teaching philosophy: To educate students with the skills to succeed both in and out of the school environment. I also believe that parents and the community should play a key role in a student's education.

Favorite part of teaching: How each day is different. No day is ever the same and students always find ways to make me smile and laugh.

Heather Listul

Position: Speech language pathologist, Prairie Elementary, Worthington High School and Area Learning Center

Education: Yellow Medicine East High School; Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D.; University of Nebraska, Lincoln, master's degree in speech language pathology.

Previous experience: I have had a wide variety of clinical experience and completed my student teaching during graduate school with Lincoln Public Schools.

Teaching philosophy: My philosophy of speech language pathology includes supporting all children with communication needs in any way possible to assist them with being successful in their academic careers and for their future. It is important to believe in children and to give them the tools to independently strive for the best.

Favorite part of teaching: I love working with students one-on-one and getting to know their unique personalities. I enjoy seeing the progress that students make and seeing their confidence grow. I am excited to work with a team of professionals in a positive academic environment.

Micaela Massey

Position: 5-7 computer teacher Education: Algoma High School; Winona State University; Lesley University. Previous experience: Business teacher at Plymoth High School and Riverview Middle School, Wisconsin, three years; substitute teacher, Williston High School, Florida, one year; student teaching in Australia.

Teaching philosophy: I believe every student has the Massey opportunity to learn. We as educators have to find what works best for each student and help them reach their potential.

Favorite part of teaching: That everyday is a new experience and you always have an effect on someone's day.

Randi Mimick

Position: third- and fourth-grade E/BD teacher, Prairie Elementary.

Education: Johnson Senior High School, St. Paul; Southwest Minnesota State University, bachelor's degrees in elementary education with a pre-primary emphasis and in early childhood education.

Previous Experience:

Director of an afterschool program in Marshall during college. I student taught in Debra Marquardt's third-grade classroom in fall 2009. During student teaching I was also given the opportunity to work with the ASAP program teaching third-graders. I was also a volunteer coach for the Worthington Trojettes Dance Team. In the spring, I had experience substituting in the Marshall area. My experience ranged from kindergarten to eighth grade.

Teaching philosophy: To encourage students to learn in a positive learning environment. To engage students in learning by being an enthusiastic and creative teacher. My goal is to make a difference in each student in any way I can!

Favorite part of teaching: My absolute favorite part of teaching is seeing the smiles on the students' faces when they walk into your room each morning.

Lori Mulder

Education: Ellsworth Public High School; Mount Marty College; master's degree in business administration, University of Sioux Falls.

Previous experience: 15 years as occupational therapist, Sanford Luverne Hospital.

Teaching philosophy:

I believe if you let the child do the task, they will progress through the present stage and progress quicker to the impending developmental stage. Favorite part of teaching: My favorite part is seeing kids progress through the developmental stages throughout life and the hands-on with the kids.

Jose M. Ortiz-Flores

Education: GED; Minnesota West Community and Technical College, associate's degree; Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, bachelor's degree in math and Spanish education.

Previous experience: One year of teaching Spanish online through Alpha Omega Academy; taught math and Spanish for one year at St. James High School.

Teaching philosophy: I believe that a teacher makes a difference in the classroom, and effective teachers positively impact students, school and the community in general. I also believe all students can learn when they are motivated to do so.

Favorite part of teaching: The challenges it involves every day. I love to see students learning and applying concepts into real-life situations.

Lindsey Radloff

Position: second-grade teacher, Prairie Elementary

Education: Worthington High School; Gustavus Adolphus College

Previous experience: One year as the second- and thirdgrade English teacher at Worthington Area Language Academy.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe in creating a fun, safe and welcoming environment for all students to grow and blossom into individuals who are thoughtful, critical thinkers, and well-rounded. I believe that all students have the ability to learn and grow no matter their background or previous life experiences. Each child is an individual that has the right to be taught in the way they learn best and deserves the opportunity to become a part of the classroom and school community.

Favorite part of teaching:My favorite part of teaching is when a child is inspired and excited to learn because they finally understand a new idea or concept for the first time and they cannot wait to learn more.


Lori Stapleton

Position: Fifth-grade DCD teacher

Education: Ponca High School, Wayne State College, Morningside College. Has master's degree

Previous experience: Sioux City, Iowa, 13 years; MOC-FV, Orange City, Iowa.

Teaching philosophy: All children are capable of learning, but it takes a strong, patient and dedicated teacher to help them reach those goals.

Favorite part of teaching: Seeing a child meet a goal -- no matter how big or small -- and knowing I had a part in helping them achieve that goal.

Katie Stafford

Position: K-4 general music and orchestra Education: Lewis Palmer High School; Northwestern College, St. Paul, bachelor's degree in K-12 music education,

Previous experience: Substitute teacher in Edina, Eden Prairie and Stillwater; has given piano, violin and clarinet lessons.

Teaching philoso- Stafford phy: I believe that any student can learn and experience success in the classroom. The main goal of the teacher is to use a variety of methods to help each student reach his or her fullest potential.

Favorite part of teaching: Seeing excitement in students' eyes as they grasp a new concept and experience success. Also, watching my passion for music transfer to my students.

Kelli Straley

Position: English Language Learners teacher, Worthington High School.

Education: Lakeville High School; Winona State University, bachelor's degree in English as a Second Language education and Spanish education.

Previous experience: Long-term substitute teacher of 6-8 Spanish at a private school.

Teaching philosophy: I believe all students can learn and can contribute to classroom learning. I strive to create a classroom with a variety of activities and learning experiences that will cultivate relevant and productive language skills for ESL students.

Favorite part of teaching: I love the students' energy and personalities. I also love how they continue to surprise me with their questions and knowledge.

MaryAnne Bedtke

Position: Math teacher, Worthington High School.

Education: Plainview High School; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, undergraduate degree and professional studies in math education.

Previous experience: Triton Public Schools, Dodge Center; Southwest High School, Minneapolis; Academy for Sciences and Agriculture, Vadnais Heights; Princeton High School.

Teaching philosophy: Teaching is about the students: discovering interests, experiencing new challenges and reaching for potential. I help students by providing informational, interesting and meaningful lessons. I am one part in preparing our youth for life as a successful adult and citizen.

Favorite part of teaching: The "ahha!" moment students and adults experience when something clicks. I enjoy the discovery part of learning.

Tessa Dierks

Position: Art teacher, Worthington High School.

Education: Murray County Central; Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Previous experience: Teaching K-8 visual art at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Public Schools.

Teaching philosophy: My classroom is a safe and positive space where creativity and learning and freely take place. My passion for art fuels students to be problem-solvers and take pride in what they accomplish.

Favorite part of teaching: My favorite part of teaching and education is that it is always changing. I enjoy seeing the different talents of my students and the process they go through to create a final piece of artwork.

Carrie Adams

Position: Counselor, Worthington Middle School.

Education: Worthington High School; Minnesota State University, Mankato; South Dakota State University, Brookings, master's degree.

  • Scholarships tary School.

Teaching philosophy: In collaboration with home, school and community, I will support all students through a comprehensive and developmental approach by addressing academic, career and personal/social skills necessary to achieve quality learning and lifelong success.
Favorite part of teaching: Being around the students and helping them to develop into respectful and successful young people.

Carissa Franken

Position: Fifth- and sixth-grade Emotional Behavior Disorders teacher, Worthington Middle School.

Education: Luverne High School; Minnesota State University Moorhead; master's degree in education, Southwest Minnesota State University.

Previous experience: Taught at Southwestern Youth Services for five years.

Teaching philosophy: I am a teacher/educator because I want to change the world. While I realize what I hope to accomplish is limited, I know education is where I can have the greatest impact. I want my students to understand that the professional world they will inhabit, the school, is not immutable.

Favorite part of teaching: The fact that every day is a new beginning, with new experiences, new queries. I love to explore the minds of students, read their inquisitive faces when a particular topic seems tough. It is always extremely challenging to motivate them to participate in the classroom, think critically, question and respect each other's point of view.

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