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Meet our Teachers

All Connections Preschool and ECFE teachers are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Early childhood teacher Miss Becca

Becca Savageau
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Southview Elementary | School: 952-431-8370 | Voicemail: 651-683-6969 x84231
rebecca.savageau@district196.org

Education: Unified Early Childhood Education degree from University of Minnesota – Duluth; M.Ed., Augustana University.

I love to practice and learn about “renegade rules for raising confident children” and implement Conscious Discipline in my classroom. My favorite children's book author is Mo Willems. I am a coffee lover, adventure seeker, wiener dog obsessed, foodie! In my down time I enjoy reading, exploring new places in Minnesota, being with family and friends, and just relaxing.

Parent educator Miss Becca

Becca Hancock
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—ECFE
Dakota Valley Learning Center | School: 952-388-1953 | Voicemail: 651-683-6969 x88125
rebecca.hancock@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood, St. Norbert College; M.A. in Early Childhood Education, Concordia University.

I love working with ECFE children and families and have special interests in relationship-based teaching and early childhood equity and inclusion. Outside of teaching, I am most often spending time with my two young daughters. I enjoy spending time with family, traveling, reading, yoga, knitting and being in nature. 

Preschool teacher Miss Beth

Beth Hersman
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Greenleaf Elementary | 952-431-8270 | beth.hersman@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood Education, College of St. Benedict; M.A. in Education, Hamline University; Certified Cognitive Coach®.

I love working with our 4's preschool classes! Children's literacy and Conscious Discipline are two of my passions when it comes to teaching. This program has been a part of my life for 30 years, and I remember so many children and their families. Health and Fitness are very important to me. When I am not teaching, I am working out, reading and traveling. Being with my family and sharing special moments together brings much joy to my life. I also love spending time with our family dog, Percy. He is a rescue, and I know I will always need to have a dog as a part of the family.

Early childhood teacher Miss Caren

Caren Breitenfeldt
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—ECFE
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1906 | caren.breitenfeldt@district196.org

Education: B.S. in Family Life and Child Development, Minnesota State University – Mankato; M.S. in Educational Leadership.

I love working with children of all ages! The majority of my teaching time is spent working with children ages 10-36 months old. I also have a strong interest in special education and how to best serve children of all ages, stages and abilities. I love connecting with families to support them on their parenting journey. I have four children, two boys and two girls, that keep me busy. The experiences I've had raising my children make it easy to relate to other parents. My mom is definitely my hero! She raised two children all on her own. She taught me to be responsible, resourceful and  independent. I love to travel to warm sunny beaches, photography, spending time with friends and Coke Zero.

Early childhood teacher Miss Catie

Catie Anderson
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool and Family School
Cedar Valley Learning Center | 952-431-8327  |  catherine.anderson@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Elementary Education with specialty in pre-primary, Minnesota State University – Mankato.

I taught Head Start for 10 years prior to joining District 196. I love the preschool ages. Their minds are little sponges and I love seeing how they grow over the course of a year. In my spare time I spend time with my family. We enjoy camping and kayaking in the summer and sledding and ice skating in the winter.

Early childhood parent educator Miss Heather

Heather Warweg
Licensed Parent Educator—Connections Preschool, ECFE and Family School
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1957 | heather.warweg@district196.org

Education: B.S. in Child Psychology and Early Childhood Education, M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education, Parent Education Licensure, University of Minnesota.

I have been working in District 196 for 19 years as an early childhood special education teacher. I worked with young children with special needs and in a variety of capacities, but I found home visiting to be the most rewarding because it involved strong relationships with both parents and children. I went back to school to get my parent education licensure and have enjoyed the switch to working in early childhood family education. My husband and I have two girls and we enjoy reading together, playing games, family meals and being outdoors.

Early childhood teacher Miss Jaci

Jaci Tuin
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Pinewood Elementary | 651-683-6980 | jaci.tuin@district196.org

Education: B.S. in Special Education and Early Childhood Education, St. Cloud State University; M.Ed. In Elementary Education, University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

I have been working in District 196 since 1993. I believe that relationships matter and that by connecting with one another, we are able to learn and grow together. Four- and five-year old children bring so much excitement to the school day with their playfulness and curiosity. It is rewarding to see the accomplishments the children make in a school year. My husband and I have two adults sons. I enjoy any time my whole family is together, being up North at the lake or hunting shack, baking, and volunteering in my community of Hastings.

Early childhood teacher Miss Jenise

Jenise Redding
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Echo Park Elementary | Voicemail: 651-683-6969 x88307 | jenise.redding@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood Education, University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

I love working with young children and their families. I have been teaching preschool for four years but have worked with young children for nine years. In my classroom, I love implementing new Conscious Discipline strategies and building relationships with my students. I believe that children learn best through hands-on exploration and play. When I’m not teaching, I enjoy spending time with friends and family and baking.

ECFS Program Manager Jenna

Jenna Ruble
Program Manager, Early Childhood Family Services
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1955 |  jenna.ruble@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Elementary Education and Early Childhood, University of Minnesota – Mankato; M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, Hamline University; PreK-12th grade Administrative Licensure program, University of Minnesota – Minneapolis.

I began my career in District 196 Early Childhood Family Education over 30 years ago, and after exploring teaching and learning through different perspectives for 15 years, I feel like I’m back home again. It’s a privilege to guide and learn alongside this amazing 196 early childhood family with their passion and desire to enhance the journey of early learning and parenting for the children and families in our community. This journey is something I love being a part of every day! My values around relationships, joy and learning extend to using every chance I have enjoying time with my family and friends. My four children, now including a wonderful daughter-in-law, are all adults and live close to us in River Falls, WI. We love to travel, camp, kayak, play games and cheer on the Vikings!

Early childhood teacher Miss Jenny

Jenny Kleppe
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Oak Ridge Elementary | School: 651-683-6970 |  jenny.kleppe@district196.org

Education: B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies/Preschool Teaching, University of Wisconsin, Madison; M.Ed., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

I have been teaching preschool since 2009. I started out teaching at Headstart in Wisconsin, where I went to undergrad (Go Badgers!). I returned home to the Cities to get my dual teaching licenses and masters in early childhood education and early childhood special education from the U of M. I am passionate about outdoor education and introducing young children to a life-long love of nature. I strive to connect my students to the natural world and engage them in learning through their senses, in all weather and in all seasons. My husband and I have two young children who keep us on our toes, and together we spend time in all kinds of outdoor adventures. We love exploring Minnesota State Parks and hope to someday visit all 66. We enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, playing games and cooking together.

Early childhood teacher Miss Jocelyn

Jocelyn McDonnell
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Family School and Connections Preschool
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1974 | jocelyn.mcdonnell@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Social Work, Luther College; M.A. in Early Childhood Education, Grand Canyon University.

My whole life I’ve always found ways to work with young children and their families. I love their energy and love for learning. They learn so much by experiencing new things through play. I have taught in early childhood for over 10 years in different settings and love what I teach in District 196. I also teach dance lessons to preschoolers and toddlers at a local dance studio. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time outside with my family in all of the Minnesota seasons. In the winter my family loves to downhill ski and in the summer we enjoy meals together and being outside.

Parent educator Joy Walker

Joy Walker
Licensed Parenting Educator—Connections Preschool, ECFE and Family School
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1927 | joy.walker@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Literature, American University; M.Ed. in Parent Education, University of Minnesota.

I love families! Whenever I get to interact with children and their grownups, I feel happy and inspired. My journey with parent education began with taking my own baby to an ECFE class in Minneapolis. Even now as my children are launching into their young adult lives, those ripples of support and learning continue to spread and touch our lives for good. I have been a parent educator since 2015, and I continue to learn from parents and children every year. My husband and I live in Minneapolis, where our son and daughter come and go from our house in various patterns and for mixed lengths of time. We enjoy cooking together, walking by the lakes and creek in our neighborhood, and playing games.

Early childhood teacher Miss Kari

Kari Suzuki
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Echo Park Elementary School | 952-431-8390 | kari.suzuki@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood Education, University of Minnesota – Duluth; M.A. in Educational Leadership, Concordia University.

I started teaching in the field of early childhood in 2005 and many of those years have been in District 196. As an early childhood educator, I believe that learning is meant to be a fun, engaging experience. It is my job to make both the student and the parent have a wonderful first experience in District 196. My passion lies with incorporating music and movement into our day as much as possible. I enjoy creating many different learning centers for my students to actively learn and discover. Relationship building is incredibly important when working with 4-5 year olds and their families. As a parent myself, I am aware of how beneficial consistent communication between parents and teachers can be. My husband (who also teaches) and I have two young daughters who keep us very busy! Whenever possible, I enjoy attending ECFE classes with my own children to continue my love of learning and parenting. We love to be outdoors and spend most of our time at our family cabin in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. We enjoy boating, fishing, swimming and 4- wheeling in our free time. In the summers, you can find us at fairs and festivals selling Hawaiian Style Shave Ice. Aloha.

Early childhood teacher Miss Kate

Kate Kluegel
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool and ECFE
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1975 | kate.kluegel@district196.org

Education: B.S. in Elementary Education with a concentration in early childhood, minor in music, Minnesota State University – Moorhead.

Three reasons why I have the best job in the world: I get to experience things for the first time with a group of eager people who are full of curiosity, wonder and joy. There is guaranteed drama and humor every day. And I learn something new from children, their families and my colleagues every day. When I’m not teaching, I enjoy watching HGTV, belonging to a book club and a card-playing group, and playing my clarinet at church. My husband, Scott, and I love to check out places featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” or similar kinds of places. We love any gathering that includes our four adult children, son-in-law and granddaughter. Being grandparents and playing with our adorable toddler granddaughter is a most treasured hobby!

Early childhood teacher Miss Kathy

Kathy Adams
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
East Lake Elementary School @ Shannon Park | 651-423-7670 | kathy.adams@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood, College of St. Benedict; M.A. in Education, St. Mary's University.

I love working with families! Every day is an adventure and is full of the joy of watching children grow and learn. I am a grandma to four amazing girls - Natalie, Amelia, Molly and Emmy and one wonderful grandson, Luke. Spending time with grandchildren is my favorite hobby. My husband and I live in Apple Valley with our two Shih-Tzus, Bella and Mia. When I am not playing with or reading to my grandchildren, I enjoy spending time with my children, Chris and Katie, and their spouses, Dawn and Nick, and spending time with my husband, Kevin. I am in a book club and a golf league. I love to go for walks, play board games, travel, go to movies and read books. I have many wonderful friends and neighbors and I love getting together with them. 

Early childhood teacher Miss Katie

Katie Hait
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool and ECFE
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1968 | katie.hait@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood Education, University of Northwestern. Currently studying: M.A. in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Accreditation toward Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), University of Minnesota.

We all need to find spaces for love and peace. It is such a joy for me to bring that to young children and families so that we can spread happiness in our world. I’ve been teaching since 2015, and besides helping children learn, I have also loved learning about the importance of play, child and family mental health, Conscious Discipline, and social-emotional development. At home, you will find me laughing with my hilarious husband, Ben, and walking in the fresh air with our dog, Frankie. I also love all cheesy and dramatic reality TV. We have amazing friends in the area and beloved family to visit in Wisconsin.

Early childhood teacher Miss Kay

Kay Sikich
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Oak Ridge Elementary School | School: 651-683-6970 | kay.sikich@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood Education, St. Cloud State University; M.A. in Teaching and Learning, St. Mary’s University. Currently working on Certificate in Early Childhood Leadership through the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

I have taught in Early Childhood Family Education and preschool for 26 years. I enjoy teaching preschoolers through play, in an environment where each child can learn at their highest level, through caring, communicating, collaborating and choosing their own learning. My classroom reflects the wonderings, ideas and passions of my students. I believe in being a play advocate for young children because play isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. I love spending time with my two sons and I also enjoy reading, gardening, scrapbooking, biking, researching (especially about play), and taking classes to further my learning.

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Kelly Kluegel
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Parkview Elementary | 952-431-8350 | kelly.kluegel@district196.org

 

Early childhood teacher Miss Kelly

Kelly Olson
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Westview Elementary School | 952-431-8380 | Voicemail: 651-683-6969 x82444 | kelly.olson@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood Education, St. Cloud State University; M.A. in Education, St. Mary’s University.

I love teaching in our four year old Connections Preschool program. The children and their families I am blessed to work with have enriched my life in many ways. I believe parents are their child's first and most important teacher. I believe in having a strong and open communication process with the families. Watching children learn through exploration, play and modeling is a gift. I live in Rosemount with my husband, my two adult children and our dog Tanner.  We love Rosemount. It has a small town feel with a huge heart!  My personal interests include running, biking, core workouts, walking my dog, reading and hanging out with my family and friends.   

Early childhood teacher Kelsey

Kelsey Most
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool; Program TOSA
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1973 | kelsey.most@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood, University of Wisconsin-Stout.

After studying abroad in Australia and graduating with my Early Childhood degree in 2007, I decided to continued my adventure. I moved out to Denver, CO to teach preschool in the Denver Public Schools. I fell in love with the preschool age and enjoyed working with the children and the families throughout my six years in Denver. I ended up moving back to Wisconsin to be closer to my family and friends and continued working with the preschool age. I enjoy making connections with children and families and learning about what makes them unique. My husband and I have two children and one more that will be joining us around the start of 2022. We love to spend time outdoors, especially in the summer! 

Early childhood parent educator and assistant administrator Miss Kristi

Kristi Hanson
Licensed Parenting Educator and Assistant Administrator
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1972 | kristi.hanson@district196.org

Education: M.Ed. in Family Education, University of Minnesota; Certified Positive Discipline® Parent Educator; Certified Cognitive Coach®.

I am particularly interested in Infants and Toddlers. Their developing personalities draw me in.  It's a joy to be involved with our Family School program integrating English Learning, Preschool and Parenting Education. I'm amazed daily by the commitment and caring our staff and parents have for the children of our communities in District 196. I love to be outside walking, hiking, gardening, sitting on the deck with a good book or cooking with my husband and three adult children. I'm a complete Keith Urban fanatic and met him in 2015. I once saw three concerts in the span of one month.

Early childhood parent educator Miss Laura

Laura Haag
Licensed Parenting Educator—Connections Preschool and ECFE
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1997 | laura.haag@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Business Administration, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; M.Ed. in Parent and Family Education, University of Minnesota.

My own children are what inspired me to go into this profession. I took ECFE classes with both of my children and found my Zen in the classes relating to other families in the same stage in life. I believe that parents are their children’s first and most influential educators. Parenting is one of the hardest, yet rewarding, jobs one can have. My goal is to meet parents and children where they are and to provide a welcoming environment where support, acceptance, community and learning can happen. It is truly an honor to serve all the amazing families in District 196! My husband and I live in Woodbury and have two children, a daughter (11) and a son (8). In my free time, I enjoy going for walks, traveling, baking, gardening, watching my kids’ soccer and baseball games, playing board games and doing sudoku puzzles, and spending time with family and friends.  

Early childhood parent educator Lisa Erbes

Lisa Erbes
Licensed Parenting Educator—ECFE and Connections Preschool
Dakota Valley Learning Center | Phone: 952-388-1953

Education: B.A. in Psychology, University of New Mexico; M.Ed. in Parent and Family Education, University of Minnesota; Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator; ALPP Certified Lactation Counselor; DONA Certified Birth Doula.

I have been educating families in hospital, clinic, agency, home-based and community education classes on childbirth, infant/toddler parenting and breastfeeding since 2005. I love to read, crochet, knit, spend time with family and travel. My areas of teaching interest include infant attachment, newborn parenting, breastfeeding, adopted infant parenting and infant/toddler sleep. It is my goal that every parent I teach feels respected, nurtured, joyful and confident.

Early childhood teacher Miss Megan

Megan Quiggle
Licensed Early Childhood Educator and Parent Educator—Connections Preschool and ECFE
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1976 | megan.quiggle@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Family and Child Development, Bethel University; M.A. in Social Work, University of St. Thomas.

I have been teaching early childhood for 28 years and I can’t imagine doing anything else! I love the energy and wonder that children bring to the classroom, and I hope to meet that energy and wonder with a variety of experiences for them to play and learn through. My goal as the “lead off hitter” on each child’s educational team is to help them LOVE school. When children see themselves as successful and in a place that values them, they will push through the hard things until they can do them. My husband and I have six children between us and have one of the sweetest granddaughters around. When I’m not at work, you can find me busy cheering on the Quiggle sports dynasty in football, soccer, basketball and whatever other sports for which they can talk me into signing them up; baking; and trying to kick the clutter at home.

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Michelle Prosen
Licensed Parenting Educator—Connections Preschool and ECFE
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1908 | michelle.prosen@district196.org

Early childhood teacher Miss Rachel

Rachel Udelhoven
Licensed Early Childhood Teacher—Connections Preschool Fours
Northview Elementary | 651-683-6820 | rachel.udelhoven@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood Education, University of Wisconsin - Stout; M.A. in Teaching and Learning, St. Mary's University.

I started my teaching career in early childhood education in 2004 and wouldn’t have it any other way! The opportunity to spark a love of learning at an early age is one of the many things I love about working with early learners. I am passionate about the importance of play and its connection to early learning. In my spare time, I love to go up to my family's cabin. I love to swim, boat and read a good book on the dock. The children I work with inspire me daily to be the best teacher I can be. There is nothing better than seeing the excitement that young learners have towards learning!

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Raquel Redman
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1970 | raquel.redman@district196.org

Licensed parent educator Sarah Hardy

Sarah Hardy
Licensed Parenting Educator—Connections Preschool and ECFE
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1907 | sarah.hardy@district196.org

I grew up in Wisconsin and have lived in Northern California; Ann Arbor, MI; Saint Paul, MN; Portland, OR; and now Edina, MN. I completed graduate school in 2016, and this is my sixth year as a parent educator. I have also worked in cardiovascular clinical research (7 years), as a full-time parent (19+ years) and as a Music Together teacher (8 years). Most importantly, I have been married since 1998 to a wonderful guy, Rick Hardy.  Together, we parent two girls, Caroline and Catherine. We also adore our golden retriever, Hazelfern. I love my Peloton bike, reading, singing, listening to live music and visiting our cabin near Tomahawk, WI. I am delighted to be learning from and with all of you in my first year with district 196!  

Early childhood parent educator and TOSA Miss Shelly

Shelly Doran
Licensed Parent Educator—Connections Preschool and ECFE; Program TOSA
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1969 | michelle.doran@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood and Family Education, Bethel University.

I have been working with children and families for 25 years. I truly believe in meeting children where they are. I enjoy getting to know each individual family and feel like I learn something new from each experience. ™I absolutely love being a part of a child's learning adventure. My husband and I live in Edina and have two adult children. In my free time, I enjoy walking my black lab, Mikey, around the lake; heading to the cabin with friends and family to fish, boat and bonfire; and our family enjoys downhill skiing together.

Early childhood parent educator Miss Susan

Susan Erstad
Licensed Parenting Educator—Connections Preschool, ECFE and Family School
Dakota Valley Learning Center and Cedar Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1971 | susan.erstad@district196.org

Education: B.S. in Family and Consumer Science, South Dakota State University; M.Ed. In Teaching and Learning, St. Mary’s University.

I am fortunate to work with parents and children of all ages, birth through third grade. Babies amaze me with their wonder for the world! I love helping parents connect with each other and find support as they navigate the journey of parenthood. I also enjoy teaching “Parenting the Love and Logic Way” and have been instrumental in growing our ECFE 2.0 classes. In my spare time, I like to garden and watch HGTV remodeling shows. Decorating is how I like to channel my creativity.

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Tess McGlinn
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool
Dakota Valley Learning Center | 952-388-1956 | tess.mcglinn@district196.org

 

Early childhood teacher Miss Tony

Toni Aalberg
Licensed Early Childhood Educator—Connections Preschool and ECFE
Highland Elementary | 952-423-7595 | toni.aalberg@district196.org

Education: B.A. in Early Childhood, University of Wisconsin – Stout.

I love teaching preschool. I learn something new from my students every day. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and traveling. I am inspired by people being kind and doing good deeds. It makes me want to do better and be better also. My mom is my hero.