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Here come the new teachers


Lance Westberg

Hometown: River Falls

Teaching position: Math at RFHS

College: University of Northwestern, St. Paul and UW-River Falls

Family: I am the son of Blaine and Fay Westberg from River Falls as well as brother to Heath Westberg who currently attends UW-Stout.

Interests: Some of my hobbies include playing and coaching athletics. I love to play basketball in the winter and golf in the summer. I am an assistant men's basketball coach at UWRF and coach the women's golf team in the fall. I enjoy the outdoors and spending time with friends and family whenever I can.

Education: I graduated from River Falls High School in 2009 where I had a great experience and was active on the football, basketball, and baseball teams. I participated in the FFA and National Honor Society.

Why I teach: I chose teaching as a profession because my life was impacted in such a positive way by the teachers I had growing up. I want to pass that on to the students that I am in contact with so that they might have a positive experience as well. I love helping people grow and discover their true potential as individuals, and I hope I can prepare them for the real world! I am incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to teach in the River Falls School District!                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Amanda (Mandy) Eggert      

Hometown: Oakdale, Minn.   

Teaching position: Science at RFHS                      

College: UW-La Crosse

Family: I grew up in Oakdale, Minn., with my sister and parents. My sister is also a teacher. I recently moved from Marshfield, where I taught at Granton Area School District for three years.

Interests: I spend most of my time completing my to-do list at my new house or at my parent's house. I like to also read when I have the opportunity. I enjoy watching sports and whenever possible go to games. The last two years, I went to Spring Training for baseball. I also like to play board games and video games.

Why I teach: Teaching runs in my blood. When I was younger, I would play school with my sister with our school desk and our slate chalkboard. I was usually kicked out of the school within a few minutes. I have a passion for Biology and teaching allows me to share this passion with future generations. I am excited to be teaching at River Falls High School. I usually go by Mandy, just as an FYI.           


Nikki Feldmeier

Hometown: Eau Claire

Teaching position: Science at RFHS          

College: UW-La Crosse

Interests: In my free time I enjoy playing tennis, hiking, camping, and reading. I'm a huge animal lover, but right now I only have a bearded dragon named Norbert (like Hagrid's dragon in Harry Potter). It may be obvious that I'm a huge nerd.

Family: My mom and my grandpa were also science teachers, so I'm keeping the tradition in the family.       

Why I teach: The last two years I have taught high school Biology and Medical Terminology at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua. It's a mix of my passions for helping others, and the sciences. There's nothing I'd rather be doing.                                        

Emily Klanderman    

Hometown: River Falls          

Teaching position: Third Grade, Rocky Branch Elementary           

College: UW-River Falls

Family: I grew up in Hudson with my parents, brother, and sister. In 2010, I graduated from Hudson High School and began my college career at UWRF. I studied Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood.

Interests: In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Now living in River Falls, I feel so blessed to be able to spend a great deal of time with my parents who live in Hudson. In addition, I love running, organizing, finding new and creative ideas on Pinterest, listening to music, and baking for my friends and family. Photography is another hobby of mine as I appreciate the beauty that is constantly surrounding us; I specifically enjoy sunsets and making sure that I have the chance to capture as many sunsets and sunrises as possible.                 

Why I teach: Having an opportunity to impact and be impacted by students, families, and other staff members is priceless. This is an exciting year for me as I will begin my first teaching job at Rocky Branch, I recently moved to River Falls, and will get married next June. I grew up in a home where both my parents worked for the Hudson School District, my mom as a teacher and dad working for the district, my passion for education began at a young age. As I helped my mom in her classroom, as well as other teachers in her school, my passion was furthered and I knew that teaching was the career that I wanted to pursue. I also want to have an impact on students, similar to the impact certain teachers had on me. Teaching is not a career for me. Teaching is a lifestyle; it is something that you have to love with your heart, mind, and soul. I feel so blessed to be a part of the River Falls School District.

Nate Bingenheimer 

Hometown: Sun Prairie

Teaching position: Learning Disabilities at RFHS

College: UW-Eau Claire

Family: I recently purchased a home in Hudson where I live with my wife, Ashley. While I am originally from the Madison area, I also lived in Prairie du Chien (southwest Wis.) during my high school years.

Interests: I am a music lover, wanna-be runner, trivia-enthusiast, and aspiring chef. I'm a dedicated fan of the Packers, Bucks, Brewers, US Soccer, and UW football and basketball. I love to play basketball, tennis, and volleyball in my free time. I also ski, travel, and play golf less often than I'd like.            

Why I teach: I'm a second generation teacher and I've always loved working closely with others and learning new things. Teaching in the field of special education, I am able to work with students over several years, build rapport with them, get to know their families, and help guide them into positive outcomes. I want students to build the confidence they are going to need to overcome their challenges during high school and beyond.  

Ashley Branigan       

Hometown: River Falls

Teaching position: 3rd Grade at Greenwood Elementary School

College: UW-La Crosse

Family: I enjoy spending a lot of time with my family. I am the middle child and have two brothers. As a family, we spend a lot of time up north in the summer.

Interests: In my spare time, I enjoy playing basketball, golf and tennis. I also love traveling and exploring new places and different cultures.       

Why I teach: Growing up, I adored playing the role of a teacher and dreamt of one day becoming one. With my mom as a role model, it was easy for that dream to come true by visiting her classroom. By the age of ten, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher and make a difference in children’s lives. I have had many opportunities related to teaching, which has strengthened my desire to pursue this career.

Fabreann Buffington            

Hometown: Chetek

Teaching position: Project Search, River Falls Area Hospital                     

College: UW-Stout and UW-River Falls

Family: I have been married for 18 years. We have two children. Our son is going to be a freshman in the high school and our daughter is going into sixth grade.

Interests: I love to paint and make jewelry. I enjoy camping, biking and hanging out with my family.             

Why I teach: I have been teaching for over 17 years in the area of special education and alternative education. I love working with kids and love the processes of learning. I am very excited to be a part of the River Falls School District and collaborating with the River Falls Hospital to make Project Search a success.

Jared Groth Olson    

Hometown: Rice Lake

Teaching position: Physics and Broadfield Science at RFHS

College: Azusa Pacific University      

Family: My wife, Corrine, and I met in high school. My older son, Caleb is 2 1/2 years old. My second son, Luke, is 3 weeks old. Though my wife and I were both raised in Wisconsin, we have also enjoyed living in western Washington (very wet) and Southern California (very warm) before coming back to Wisconsin.

Interests: I was a nuclear mechanic on a ballistic missile submarine in the Navy and enjoyed playing rugby in college. I now enjoy spending time with my wife and two kids, family and friends.           

Why I teach: I love helping others see, experience, and question the world around them. "Through space the universe grasps me and swallows me up like a speck; through thought I grasp it." - Blaise Pascal 

Amy Kraemer

Hometown: Mauston, I currently live in Roberts

Teaching position: School Counselor at Westside Elementary       

College: Loras College, DuBuque Iowa, and UW-Stout

Interests: I love living in this area, which offers many of the things I enjoy such as hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. I also enjoy yoga, running, and traveling in the summer. Much of my time is spent with my sister and her family, friends, and other family.

Why I teach: After nine years of experience as school counselor in Osceola, I am excited to start this year in River Falls. I chose to be a school counselor because I had a positive experience with my high school counselor and was inspired to make a difference, too. I started my working career as a college admissions counselor and was able to see first-hand the positive impact school counselors have on their students.                                                                       

Amy Anderson

Hometown: Mankato, Minn.  

Teaching position: Part time speech clinician at Rocky Branch      

College: College of St Benedicts and MNSU-Mankato

Family: I am married with two daughters and a newly adopted puppy. We moved to Wisconsin about five years ago and I love the area.

Interests: I love the summers at the lake swimming, floating, and boating. I also love to garden, and have started to advance my knowledge of essential oils in my everyday living. My family and I are avid outdoors people.

Why I teach: I have been a practicing speech therapist for 22 years in a variety of settings within the educational and medical settings. I love to collaborate with teachers and specialists in the challenges we are faced with varying learning styles. I really enjoy teaching others how to communicate effectively whatever the challenges they are faced with in the classroom and in the community.                                                                                             

Emily Rose    

Hometown: Hudson

Teaching position: School Counselor at Greenwood Elementary               

College: U of M- Twin Cities (Undergrad- Psychology), UWRF (graduate- school counseling)      I am 25 years old and I am from Hudson.

Family: My father is a plant manager for Andersen Windows and my mom is a retired kindergarten teacher, she taught 24 years for the School District of Hudson. I have one older sister, Katie; and one older brother, Corey. Katie is married with three girls and works for Andersen Windows, Corey owns his own lawn maintenance company, CR Land Maintenance, in Hudson.

Education: I graduated from UWRF with a master’s in school counseling in 2014 (I actually completed my elementary internship at Greenwood Elementary) and spent last year as a middle school counselor in Rhinelander.

Interests: I enjoy spending time with my family, especially playing with my three nieces. Photography is a hobby of mine, I enjoy outdoor photography and taking pictures of my travel adventures. In my spare time I like to read, watch movies and spend time with friends. Travel is always a passion of mine and I hope to add to the list of nine countries I have visited in Europe.

Why I teach: Education is part of my family history. My great-grandma, great-grandfather, grandpa, mom and I all worked in the education field. I grew up in my mother's classroom helping her in the summers and during the school year. As I grew older I worked at the local YMCA teaching sporting camps and also at YMCA Camp St. Croix as a camp counselor, at both of these jobs is where I started to see and develop my passion for helping kids. My cousin is a school counselor and after talking with her and other friends that were in the field, I started to do more research and realized that it was a profession that I would enjoy working in and that is needed to help students succeed.  

Natasha Trebus

Hometown: River Falls

Teaching position: Intellectual Disabilities at Meyer Middle School

College: UW-Eau Claire

Family: I am 24 years old and this will be my second year of teaching. I was born and raised in River Falls by my parents, Mary and Steve Trebus. I have one older brother, Sean, who is currently living in Los Angeles. I have a wonderful support system consisting of my boyfriend, family, and friends.

Interests: I enjoy shopping, baking, reading, walking, and going out to eat. When I'm not teaching, you might find me working at a local group home or serving at Juniors. I also love relaxing at night by watching a little TV.         

Why I teach: While I had a great first year teaching at Prescott High School, I am really looking forward working at Meyer Middle School. I have wanted to be a teacher since elementary school, but it was participating in the CATS program at RFHS that really inspired me to work with individuals with special needs. Seeing the impact you could make on the lives of this particular group of people encouraged me to get a degree in special education. Working with individuals who have disabilities has already changed my life for better, and I can't wait to continue this journey at Meyer Middle School. 

Sally Martin   

Hometown: Waseca, Minn.               

Teaching position: Geometry, Algebra II at RFHS              

College: Minnesota State University, Mankato

Family: Married with one daughter and a newly acquired son-in-law! My daughter teaches special education in Minnesota. Three bonus daughters; oldest just graduated from college and will attend medical school, youngest are twins who begin their sophomore year in college this fall. Two dogs and two cats.

Interests: I play the piano, organ, flute. I sew, knit and crochet, and when I have time I tend my flower and perennial gardens. I also do public address announcing at sports events in Red Wing.

Why I teach: I love helping students understand my favorite subject, math. I taught for 33 years in Minnesota and retired from there, but found I still have a passion to teach. I'm grateful that River Falls hired me! I taught in Red Wing for the last 31 years of my Minnesota teaching career. 

Carrie Brittain

Hometown: St. Paul, Minn.

Teaching position: 4th Grade at Greenwood          

College: UW-River Falls and Walden University

Family: I spent the past 15 years living in Japan, South Carolina, and San Diego, Calif. My family and I just moved back to the area this summer. I have a wonderful husband who just retired from the Marine Corps, three energetic children , ages 6, 3, and 1, and an Old English Sheepdog named Bob.

Interests: I love reading, photography, and learning to play the piano. I enjoy playing volleyball and golf. I absolutely love to travel, especially to foreign countries!

Why I teach: I taught for eight years (kindergarten, 2nd grade, 2/3 multi-age, and K/1 multi-age). The past seven years I have been a stay-at-home-mom and subbed a little. I am very excited to be back in the classroom and thrilled to be working in the River Falls School District. I have always wanted to be a teacher. I love working with children and finding meaningful and creative ways for them to learn. I can't imagine doing anything else! 

Amanda Whipkey     

Hometown: Red Wing, Minn.            

Teaching position: English teacher at RFHS          

College: Winona State, Minn.            

Family: My husband and I have three children -- ages 9, 4, and 2. We recently moved to River Falls from the Madison area (Stoughton) when my husband became Textbook Services Manager at UWRF. As an added perk, we are now closer to my parents in Red Wing.       

Interests: When I am not teaching, grading papers, or taking care of my kids, I enjoy keeping in touch with friends, running, watching comedies (TV and movies), and reading about film and television. Someday, when life gets less hectic, I hope to get back into art and playing guitar.             

Why I teach: I always knew I wanted to help people in a future career, but I did not think about teaching until I was in college. As I thought about service careers, I realized that teachers have one of the greatest points of impact in people's lives. As a teacher, I think back to what I needed when I was a student and I try to be there for my students in any way that I can. Teaching is both a great reward and a great responsibility.  

Brad Kelly     

Hometown: Tomah

Teaching position: 8 Gold Social Studies at Meyer Middle School             

College: UW - La Crosse

Family: I am originally from the Tomah area where all of my immediate and extended family currently reside.

Interests: I enjoy spending time staying physically active at the local gym and outdoors. Outdoor activities I enjoy include hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, etc. I also enjoy spending my time giving back to the local community through coaching a variety of sports, primarily basketball, and as a member of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.  

Why I teach: I chose to be a teacher to make a positive impact and difference in children's lives. I thoroughly enjoy watching students go from the beginning of the school year, having many "light-bulb moments" along the way, and grow into the culmination of a better overall student and teenager at the years end.  

Kari McMahon

Hometown: Hudson  

Teaching position: Kindergarten at Greenwood

College: University of Minnesota       

Family: I grew up in the Hudson area. I went to school at the University of Minnesota and quickly moved back to work in schools in western Wisconsin. I enjoy spending time with both my immediate and extended family in the area.        

Interests: I enjoy playing sports such as volleyball and basketball. I also enjoy spending time outdoors hiking and camping with my family.

Why I teach: After spending countless hours volunteering at a children's hospital, I realized that choosing a career where I was able to work with young children on a daily basis was very important to me. I quickly began volunteering in elementary schools and switched my educational focus to Early Childhood Education. I love the joy and enthusiasm young students bring to the classroom. I love teaching kindergarten because we can dance, tell jokes, and learn all at the same time.      

Patti Kemper

Hometown: Woodbury, Minn.

Teaching position: Special Education at Rocky Branch

Family: I live in Woodbury with my husband, daughter and three wiener dogs. My two sons are attending college so my house is quieter. I have been a teacher for the past 15 years in multi-categorical settings.

Interests: I enjoy running and training for a marathon in the fall. I like traveling and bicycling.

Why I teach: I was influenced in a positive way by many aunts, uncles and teacher. I am excited to be a part of a wonderful close knit community like River Falls!

Jeremy Carlson

Hometown: Red Wing, Minn.            

Teaching position: 6th grade Social Studies at Meyer Middle School

College: Winona State, Minn.

Family: I grew up in Hastings, Minn.

Interests: I enjoy the outdoors and spending time with my family. I coach 7th grade football, track and strength and conditioning. I also play weddings and bars as a one-man band.

Katie Austin

Hometown: Anoka, Minn.

Teaching position: Upper elementary at the Montessori School

Family: I recently moved to Hammond with my two daughters. I previously taught in Forest Lake, Minn., and in Indiana.

Interests: I travel around the country storm-chasing. I love camping and fishing. I enjoy concerts and music as well as being with family and friends.            

Why I teach: I believe the educational years are so important in child development. I want to be a part of this growth process and journey.

Timothy Cunningham

Hometown: Bloomington, Minn.

Teaching position: Special education at RFHS

College: St. Cloud State, Minn., Hamline University, California State University, Bakersfield. I played rugby and football in college. I travelled to Europe after I graduated from college.

Family: I am the youngest of five sisters and one brother. I am married with five children -- I always wanted five kids. I taught in California.

Interests: Working out, family time, reading, family vacations, kayaking, hiking, camping and hiking.

Why I teach: I have wanted to teach since I was a senior in high school. I want to help students who struggle like I did in school. I believe in the old adage that teaching is a calling, not a job. I firmly believe that there is literally no other job on the face of the earth that has more of a positive impact on kids than teaching.