Staff Spotlight

  • "Staff Spotlight" is a section dedicated to featuring the unique and talented staff of District 742. If you know of someone that would be great to highlight, please contact the communications team at

Brian Nutter

  • Brian NutterBrian Nutter, North Junior High School principal and 2023 MASP (MN Association of Secretaries to the Principals) Administrator of the Year, knew he wanted to do something exciting for a career. At 18, he narrowed his choices down to two: a United States Marshal or a kindergarten teacher. He attended the University of St. Thomas … Read more

Brent Petermeier and Nathan Schutz

  • Petermeier and SchutzMadison Elementary School has a dynamic duo, Brent Petermeier and Nathan Schutz. Both are behavioral support specialists (BSS) which means they modify teaching styles to provide intervention for students with significant social, emotional and/or behavioral needs. They work together in partnership with teachers to provide support to specialized instruction for students with individual education plans. … Read more

Eglantina Cenolli

  • Cenolli with a studentDr. Eglantina Cenolli, EL (English Language) and mathematics teacher at North Junior High School, would say teaching is in her blood. Her parents, aunts, uncles and most of her sisters are all teachers. She considered becoming a medical doctor. However, civil war in her home country of Albania prevented travel to acquire a medical education. … Read more

Erin Bloch

  • Tech High School counselor, Erin Bloch, always had psychology in mind when she attended college, working full-time as a paraprofessional during the day at an elementary school and attending classes at night. Working with students day-to-day, however, made her rethink her direction of psychology. “[I started] looking at different careers and different areas where I … Read more

Nick Wells

  • Nick WellsNick Wells, paraeducator at Lincoln Elementary School, had no thoughts of working in education. His career was retail management. However, his wife (a teacher) noticed how well he interacted with his customers – particularly kids – and suggested that he switch careers to education. It’s a decision he’s never once regretted. “I’ve always been a … Read more

Stephen Browning

  • Stephen Browning dressed as a Ghostbuster“Who you gonna call?” asks second grade teacher Stephen Browning to his class at Talahi Community School. “Ghostbusters!” they respond back to him. It’s one of Browning’s dress-up days for his class, and his call and response is themed to match it. He’s been dressing up in character and creating themed content to make learning … Read more

Sarah Motl

  • Sarah MotlSt. Cloud Area School District‘s new Supervisor of Nutritional Services Sarah Motl’s love and passion for nutrition and curiosity about its impact on the body came from a very personal place. Her brother’s severe ulcerative colitis diagnosis, while he was in high school, prompted a comprehensive change to her family’s diet to accommodate his illness. … Read more

Natalie Ratha

  • Natalie RathaSome jobs are trial by fire. Yet for St. Cloud Area School District‘s new Supervisor of Transportation Natalie Ratha, there was no hesitation to seize the opportunity and begin at full speed despite the national headlines about bus driver shortages. Ratha has been driving, operating and managing bus routes since her girls were young, and … Read more

Donna Roper

  • Donna RoperWith a work history spanning over 25 years in PK-12 public education, and the most recent of them directing assessment, research, evaluation, and continuous improvement activities at Edina Public Schools, many professionals might be looking forward to retirement and relaxation. Not the case with Donna Roper, the new executive director of research, evaluation, assessment and … Read more

Jordan McGreevy

  • Jordan McGreevyJordan McGreevy, science teacher at Tech High School, loves animals. As a young child, he wore clothes with animals on them and dug in the dirt to find obscure animals to bring home. So, as college approached, it felt natural for him to go into veterinary science. The further he pursued the career, however, the … Read more

Katy Reno

  • Katy RenoWhile eating lunch in the commons one day at Apollo High School, then student Katy Reno said to herself that she would work in the Apollo kitchen one day. A couple of decades later, her dream came true. Now, as first cook at Apollo, she looks back on a career of cooking, with the majority … Read more

Martha Christensen

  • Christensen with her granddaughterThese days when the phone rings, Martha Christensen, school nurse for Talahi Community School,  Lincoln Elementary School, and Riverwoods, never knows what will come next. Whether questions regarding COVID symptoms or news of a positive case, the phone call is guaranteed to launch her into action. In all her years as a nurse, she says … Read more

Amy Laumeyer

  • Laumeyer in 2006-'07Amy Laumeyer, language arts teacher at North Junior High School, always knew she would be a teacher. “I don’t know the why,” says Laumeyer. “I just remember whenever anyone would ask me in high school what I wanted to be I would always say, ‘A teacher.’” She went to college and entered the education program … Read more

Pamela Bilyeu

  • Pam BilyeuPamela Bilyeu, custodian at McKinley-ALC, walks the halls with a smile on her face (even behind the mask). She is exactly where she wants to be. In fact, she calls McKinley her second home. Bilyeu has maintained McKinley’s building for nearly two years and feels her job is more important than ever. She takes pride … Read more

Mohamed Mohamud

  • Mohamed MohamudMohamed Mohamud, educational equity outreach coordinator for St. Cloud Area School District 742 has traveled far, both in life and his educational journey. Born in Somalia, his family fled during civil unrest to Cape Town, South Africa where he was raised. At 15, he immigrated to the United States where he attended Minneapolis South High … Read more

Ellen Stewart

  • Stewart and First Lady ObamaEllen Stewart, director of equity services for St. Cloud Area School District, has a story she likes to tell about being a child in North Minneapolis. For as far back as she can remember, she taught school in her backyard for the neighborhood kids. Every day, she’d line up lawn chairs and teach all day long … Read more

Sara Gangle

  • Officer GangleSara Gangle, St. Cloud police officer and school resource officer for North Junior High School, Madison Elementary School and Lincoln Elementary School, did not originally plan for a career in law enforcement. Instead, she earned her degree in community psychology and chemical dependency. Gangle worked in a psychiatric unit in South Dakota for a year … Read more

Summer (Chengying) Yang-Farmerie

  • Summer Yang-FarmerieBecoming a kindergarten Chinese immersion teacher at Madison Elementary School was the furthest thing from Summer Yang-Farmerie’s mind while growing up in China. Yang-Farmerie grew up in western China and began learning English in middle school, but she never dreamed she’d be teaching her native language as an adult. “When I went to college,” says … Read more

Alisha Lacina

  • Lacina and her familyAs part of its mission, St. Cloud Area School District prepares and empowers students to lead a successful life. That mission expands this year at Apollo High School with a new career and college pathways coordinator, Alisha Lacina. It’s her job to assist freshmen and sophomores to prepare for life after high school, and she’s … Read more

Aksel Krafnick

  • Krafnick performing on stageBreathe Easy* Well I’m heading back to school, cause I’m nobody’s fool, I’ve got education on my mind. One thing Mama told me, to be nice and friendly, making new friends is fine. I know it’s cheesy, but just breathe easy, don’t let the mask upon your face drive you crazy. Be kind, that’s what … Read more

Celeste Hains

  • Celeste HainsMadison Elementary School’s special education teacher Celeste Hains didn’t plan on being a teacher. In fact, she was a social worker who was working on her marriage and family therapy license. It was her son’s principal, Kate Butkowski, who approached her about substitute teaching for St. Cloud Area School District. Hains gave it a try, … Read more

Kate Flynn

  • Kate Flynn Kate Flynn, principal at Madison Elementary School, is retiring after 34 years in education, six of those with St. Cloud Area School District, but she reflects that an educational career wasn’t what she intended. She is a singer and loves music, so she always wanted to be a performer. “I thought for sure my career … Read more

Sheri Rutar

  • Sheri RutarAfter 33 years with St. Cloud Area School District, Principal Sheri Rutar from Clearview Elementary School is retiring. It isn’t the retirement she imagined. The remainder of the school year has presented its challenges with COVID-19 for Rutar and her team. It’s been quite the ride navigating distance learning while transitioning the hand-off to a … Read more

Jessica Vos

  • Jessica Vos Jessica Vos, lead school nurse for St. Cloud Area School District, is plenty busy these days. It is a new era of vigilance against illness. School nurses are some of the most essential workers for the school district and community. They handle the daily health screenings for COVID-19 of district employees called to work onsite. … Read more

Devon Bowker

  • Devon Bowker Devon Bowker, special education science teacher at Roosevelt Education Center, aka @devthenatureguy, has a passion for wildlife, the outdoors and the environmental sciences. His style of combining nature and the outdoors with indoor experiments and technology brings a whole new engaging aspect to education. His enthusiasm for the outdoors started at a young age. “When … Read more

Jack Peterson

  • Jack Peterson “Love Your Neighbor” is February’s theme for St. Cloud Area School District 742 staff, and no one represents that better than Jack Peterson, special education supervisor. Whether he is doing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) or Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) work, Peterson exudes what it means to love students just like they are family. … Read more

Brad Mohs

  • Brad Mohs

    Brad Mohs is a culinary arts teacher at St. Cloud Area School District whose love of food and cooking stems from his mother. As a child, he remembers working with his dad on cars when the weather outside was sunny and nice but cooking and baking with his mom when the weather was a little … Read more

James Van Horn

  • Self Portrait After retiring from the U.S. Air Force, Gulf War vet and current South Junior High School art teacher, James Van Horn, took a position working at a youth shelter group home. He began to teach art as a means of expression for the youth. When the home was forced to close, he knew his passion … Read more

Ryan Unger

  • Ryan Unger St. Cloud Area School District’s new Visual Communication Specialist Ryan Unger loves to tinker. He’s been doing it since he received his first toy erector set as a child. Unger loved to tear apart anything, rebuild it and figure out how things worked. It eventually led him to many of his current hobbies and a … Read more

Alicia Fischer

  • Alicia Fischer

    New and upcoming Instagram influencer and Apollo High School principal, Alicia Fischer, knew from an early age she wanted to be in education. “It’s a blessing for me that I’ve always known I wanted to be in education,” says Fischer. “In third grade, I developed a really strong relationship with my teacher, and in sixth … Read more

Dr. LaChanda McGuire

  • Dr. LaChanda McGuire

    Dr. LaChanda McGuire, new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) integrationist at Discovery Community School and Madison Elementary School describes herself as just a “Carolina girl” from South Carolina. It’s her roots from the South that stirred her passion for education, particularly in the sciences. “I grew up in a home where education was valued,” … Read more

Al Johnson

  • Al Johnson and his wife Carrie

    Al Johnson, the new director of equity services, is known throughout District 742. He has a way with kids. He engages them on their level, challenges them to be better and stands behind them when they need someone to lean on. “I believe … it’s really important for us to connect our passion with our … Read more

Gary Gohman

  • Gary Gohman, kindergarten teacher at Clearview Elementary School, knew he would someday be in education. His road there was just a little unconventional. Gohman attended St. Cloud State University to earn a degree in teaching secondary math; however, part way through, he changed his mind. Teaching math to high school students just didn’t feel right. … Read more

Nahida Nworen

  • Nahida Nworen, research, evaluation and assessment assistant for St. Cloud Area School District, has been paving her own path her entire life. Having recently graduated from St. Cloud State University (SCSU) and working with the Mayor’s Office, Nworen involves herself in the community. Nworen moved to the United States from Bangladesh to attend college. It was … Read more

Nantha Viswanathan

  • Viswanathan coaching Tech soccer.

    Nantha Viswanathan, volunteer and facilities specialist for St. Cloud Area School District, came to the United States 35 years ago from Malaysia. As a child, he remembers playing soccer to pass the time. Growing into adulthood, however, his journey brought him to Minnesota to attend St. Cloud State University where he earned his degree in … Read more

Grace Weitz

  • Grace Weitz

    Some things are serendipitous. The same can be said for Grace Weitz, an instructional paraprofessional at North Junior High School, when she was looking for a new job. She’d already been in several industries, but none of them really spoke to her. On a whim, she decided to attend one of St. Cloud Area School District’s … Read more

Candice Cheesman

  • Cheesman white water rafting

    There is a new face in the District who is ecstatic to greet as many families as she can. Candice Cheesman is the new face of the Welcome Center for St. Cloud Area School District and she is more than happy to enroll new families. Cheesman is not only new to District 742, but she is … Read more

Mark Weimer

  • Weimer and his father in AlaskaMark Weimer, technology education teacher at Apollo High School, comes from a family of teachers, the majority of them teaching math and English. However, growing up, becoming a high school teacher was the furthest thing from his mind. Weimer’s father, a previous industrial arts teacher, became his math teacher in seventh grade. “He [my dad] would … Read more

Bob Blommer

  • Bob Blommer If there is something that needs to be done, fixed or can be seen as a potential hazard, Bob Blommer is sure to be the one who will take care of it. After working at DeZurik’s for 31 years, Blommer retired in the summer of 2018. However, it wasn’t long before he wanted to be working at St. Cloud Area School District. He accepted a position in nutritional services and has won the hearts of his co-workers ... Read more

Susan Keranen

  • Susan Keranen It’s October and winter is on its way. Susan Keranen is excited because she loves to downhill ski with her family. She loves to cook, bake and read, too. However, what she is really passionate about is helping those with dyslexia, a reading disorder with a wide spectrum of characteristics that presents itself in difficulty … Read more

Anisa Hagi-Mohamed

  • Anisa Hagi-Mohameds Her journey home has been a long one. It began in Somalia with her parents and six siblings. She does not have many memories of that early life, but remembers life was good until civil war broke out when she was three years old. Her parents fled with their family to a refugee camp in … Read more

Stephanie Peterson

  • Stephanie Peterson What’s your superpower? In addition to her talent for teaching, Social Studies and Art Coordinator Stephanie Peterson loves to cook. If you visit her office, you may be lucky enough to taste one of her amazing snacks. Today, it was macaroons and roasted rosemary nuts. Peterson, an 11-year veteran of District 742, is known for her … Read more

Mike Bakken

  • Mike Bakken It was 26 years ago when Michael Bakken, a special education physical education teacher, began teaching in St. Cloud Area School District. He became a teacher because of his love for kids. “I was inspired by a physical education teacher many years ago and decided that’s what I wanted to do,” explains Bakken. Happenstance put him … Read more

Graham Litterst

  • Graham Litterst Graham Litterst, English language teacher at South Junior High School, wanted to stay as far away from teaching as he could. Both his parents were professors. His mother taught at St. Cloud State University and his father at the College of St. Benedict. Growing up, he saw first hand how they dedicated themselves to their students, … Read more

Kelly Frankenfield

  • Kelly Frankenfield If you’re looking for an expert in the field of EL (English Learners, students whose native language is not English), look no further than St. Cloud Area School District and Kelly Frankenfield, director of EL (English Learner) and cultural programs, who recently testified at the Minnesota State Capitol. After graduating from the College of St. … Read more

Lacey Lokken

  • Lacey Lokken Lacey Lokken is a positive force to be reckoned with in St. Cloud Area School District. “The thing about Lacey is,” says Director of Equity Services, Sebastian Witherspoon, “she has this ability to make everyone around her feel good about themselves.” Lokken is the American Indian Program Coordinator for District 742 and works with American … Read more

Mike Tollefson

  • Mike Tollefson Kids love walking the halls of Lincoln Elementary School for a chance to say “Hi” to Mr. Mike. Mike Tollefson is the head engineer at Lincoln and he loves greeting every student. Yet, if a student is not paying attention when passing by and forgets to say hello, Tollefson stops and quizzes the student with … Read more

Ayan Omar

  • Ayan Omar Ayan Omar has had quite a journey to her language arts classroom at Tech High School.  Omar, born in Somalia, came to the United States in 1993 as a refugee and started her public education in Georgia. “My life started here in public education,” she says. “One of the reasons I became a teacher was … Read more

Justin Skaalerud

  • Justin Skaalerud Apollo football coach Justin Skaalerud recently received the 2017 Community Service Award by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association for his work with athletes and community involvement. Skaalerud requires all of his football players (freshmen through seniors) to work a minimum of 25 hours in community volunteer service every year. In addition to the satisfaction of … Read more

Brian LaBuda

  • Brian LaBuda We are #742Proud of Brian LaBuda, head engineer at Discovery Community School and Waite Park assistant chief firefighter. St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis recently honored LaBuda as a first responder among other firefighters and police officers. “In 2016,” Kleis remarked at the awards ceremony, “clearly the first responders are the heroes of the year.” LaBuda … Read more

Paul Bates and Mark Heysse

  • Mark Heysse Oak Hill is home to a physical education duo that loves their job, their students and athletics.  Paul Bates and Mark Heysse are veterans in District 742. Heysse has been a physical education teacher for 29 years with the District and with Oak Hill since the school opened. Bates has taught in the District for … Read more

Kristi Scott

  • Kristi Scott Many of you may recognize Kristi Scott. She is the first cook at McKinley-ALC. She’s been in the nutritional services department since 2007, and prior to McKinley, she was at Tech. Scott loves working in the school district and loves the interaction with students. However, her first priority is food safety and preparation — and … Read more

Adrian Washington

  • Adrian Washington Adrian Washington is giving back to the District that guided him in his educational journey. An Apollo High School graduate in 1995, Washington moved to St. Cloud from Minneapolis where his family had been living in a gang neighborhood. He started at North Junior High School. “Moving to St. Cloud saved my life,” says Washington. … Read more

Jon-Scott Johnson

  • Jon-Scott Johnson If a student is having a bad day, that frown will turn upside down if he or she is riding on Jon-Scott Johnson’s bus. Between “Candy Fridays,” Bus Bucks and good conversation, there’s no room for anything but a smile. “I’m the first person they see in the morning. I make sure they see a … Read more

Kristen Bauer and Kristen Mattick

  • Kristen Bauer, music teacher at Kennedy Community School, and Kristen Mattick, choir teacher at South Junior High School, are Kristen Bauer, music teacher at Kennedy Community School, and Kristen Mattick, choir teacher at South Junior High School, are two members of the choral group 5 Good Reasons. Their passion for music extends beyond the music room. Bauer has known since she was born, that she would be a music teacher. Her sister and mother are … Read more

Matthew Stockinger

  • Matthew Stockinger Matt Stockinger is not one to shy away from showing his love and passion for math and science. He is currently teaching coding, chemistry and ninth-grade science. Some might wonder why coding is associated with a math and science teacher. Stockinger got hooked on computational chemistry while attending St. John’s University. Computational chemistry is a … Read more