Cannon Falls Schools welcomes its new teachers this year.
Ryan Donnelly will be teaching seventh grade math and intermediate algebra (to mostly ninth graders) this year.
Recently married to wife Katie, he grew up on his family's dairy, beef and crop farm in Farmington with his four brothers and a sister. "My family has been very involved in 4-H and FFA, particularly showing livestock and youth livestock judging teams," explained Ryan.
He graduated from Farmington High School in 2000, and earned a degree in Economics and a minor in Animal Science from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and a secondary math education degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Growing up, Ryan always enjoyed math and had numerous teachers and coaches who were role models to him prompting him into the field of education. He hopes to be that "role model" to his students.
Ryan's previous teaching assignments include Eagle Ridge Junior High in Savage, teaching ninth grade algebra and honors geometry; and student teaching at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights where he taught 11th grade integrated math.
Hoping to help coach baseball at CFHS next spring, Ryan has coached hockey at the varsity and JV levels in Farmington.
He likes to play golf and softball in his free time.
Commenting on his new job, Ryan said, "All of the other teachers have been very helpful and Cannon Falls seems like a great place to work."
Originally from Mankato, Sarah Menne has been married two years and currently lives with husband Nate and one-year-old daughter Aubrey in Lakeville.
Sarah attended high school at Mankato West High, and graduated from Minnesota State University-Mankato in 2011, with her degree in Early Childhood Education along with her teaching license in birth through third grade.
She will be teaching full-day four-year-old preschool in the Elementary School.
Her interest in teaching came early as she coached her younger sister's volleyball teams, worked in her church nursery, gave swimming lessons and taught Sunday School. "I knew that I wanted to be a part of children's lives and give them the spark to love learning!" she exclaimed.
Sarah's teaching experience includes student teaching in Mankato at both Jefferson Elementary and Monroe Elementary in third grade classrooms, and preschool in Lakeville for the last two years.
Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and going on walks or hanging out by the lake. "Cannon Falls is such a beautiful community and I'm so excited to be a part of the school district here. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming," she commented.
Amanda Hestekin claims Eau Claire, WI as her hometown, though she grew up in Mankato. She now lives in St. Paul with husband Chad.
A University of Wisconsin-Stout graduate in May, 2013, she earned her degree in Early Childhood Education and an Early Childhood Special Education Certification. Amanda will teach full-day preschool for three-year-olds.
"I have always had an interest in teaching every since I would watch my dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and older sister teach with such passion," explained Amanda. She further states, "I enjoy teaching this age group because I want to help them realize their own strengths and independence through the routines and social skills I help them build."
This is her first out-of-college job but she student taught in Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, and Cadott, all in Wisconsin.
She enjoys exercising, cooking, reading, and playing with her yellow lab, Leo, and her cat, Karma.
Impressed with the new teacher orientation she stated, "Beth Giese (school superintendent) told us that Cannon Falls Schools are like a family... Every person I have encountered has welcomed me and made me feel supported."
With her husband Ken, and their cat Tiger, Alaine Nelson is moving from Burnsville to Farmington. Having grown up in Savage, attended Burnsville Senior High School and Saint Catherine University-St. Paul, Alaine will be teaching half-day preschool classes for four-year-olds. She is currently attending Saint Mary's University for her reading teacher license.
Prior to coming to Cannon Falls, Alaine taught pre-kindergarten at KinderCare and was an elementary substitute teacher in the south metro, as well as in Athens, GA.
Her interest in teaching began when she was in kindergarten because her mom is a teacher. "I have always looked up to her!" she said. "Through my teaching experiences I have come to love educating young children even more, and setting a good educational foundation for them."
She loves to scrapbook, sew and camp in her off-hours, and looks forward to teaching in a small town, enjoying outdoor recreation in the community.
Heather Rosemann grew up in Woodbury and recently moved to Cannon Falls.
She will be teaching Language Arts 10 and other English electives at the school, having graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a degree in English Education.
She attended Jefferson High School in Bloomington, and the Math and Science Academy in Woodbury.
Heather's experience includes teaching as a middle school special education para, along with middle school and high school English, creative writing and literature.
"I enjoy working with students and helping them succeed. I also love reading and writing!" she exclaimed.
She hopes to learn the ropes of speech and debate this spring in order to help coach those teams at CFHS.
Her interests include astronomy, music and travel. "I like to go to concerts, scrapbook and read of course. I'm looking forward to learning more about the Cannon Falls community, and I can't wait for a great school year!" she concluded.
Having lived the past four years in Eagan, Jenny Johnson who will be joining the fifth grade team at the Elementary School, was born and raised in Farmington.
Her parents, Sue and Bruce live in Prior Lake, and her brother Jeff lives in Des Moines, IA.
Jenny attended college at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where she earned her bachelor of applied science. From there she continued on to St. Mary's University where she earned her K-8 teaching license with an endorsement in science.
Coming from a family of educators, Jenny has known from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. "Of course, the students are what drive and motivate me to teach," she said. "Seeing them learn and grow makes this profession so incredibly rewarding."
Jenny had her student-teaching experience teaching fifth grade at Southview Elementary School in Apple Valley. She was also a first grade long-term substitute teacher at North Trail Elementary in Farmington.
In addition to a love of the outdoors and spending time with family, friends and her dog Kosmo, Jenny hopes to coach volleyball at some point in her career.
"I'm so excited to be a part of the Cannon Falls School District and community. It is going to be a great year," she said.
Student teacher Shane Rasmussen will be working with fifth grade teacher Sarah Woodcock for the next nine weeks.
Rick Lee is the new technology director joining the staff and is already busy.
Responses from Melissa Kappes, Julie Roundtree, and Laura Shae, also new Elementary teachers, did not arrive in time for publication.