Meet Our Staff
Cheryl Wendt (Executive Director & Special Education Director) I grew up in Orono, Minnesota and have lived in various suburbs of the Twin Cities all of my life. I started my career as a school social worker in the Prior Lake-Savage school district, and joined the fabulous staff at CRSS in August of 2014. I have worked in the field of special education for 20 years, and enjoy helping students reach their full potential. I live in the Faribault community with my husband and 2 children.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I love to build a strong home-school connection. E-mail Cheryl
Cora Packard (Assistant Director) E-mail Cora
Kathryn Bakke (Kindergarten Teacher) E-mail Kathryn
Taylor Hines (Kindergarten Teacher) E-mail Taylor
Terra Haugen (1st Grade Teacher) I have been teaching at Cannon River STEM School since 2014. I taught Pre-school for many years, as well. I graduated from Winona State University with a degree in Elementary Education as well as Early Childhood Education. I believe parents and caregivers are a child’s number one teacher and I am here to help support. My dream as a teacher is for every student to become the best reader they can be.
I live in Kenyon with my husband Aaron, our three daughters (Audrey, Stella and Gretta) and our black lab, Diesel. I enjoy hiking at different nature centers and gardening. E-mail Terra
Alyssa Tschida (1st Grade Teacher) Hello! I am very excited to join CRSS this year as a first-grade teacher! Last year I worked at CRSS as a substitute teacher where I learned a lot about the school and built relationships with students and staff. I am so impressed with the positive connection the parents, children, teachers and staff have with each other at CRSS! I am lucky to join such an amazing community.
I received my bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Mankato State University of Minnesota. I student taught 6th grade math and science at Waseca Intermediate School and have field experience in 1st, 3rd and 4th grade classrooms. Last year, I gained many new experiences as a full-time substitute teacher in grades K-8.
I am an outdoor enthusiast. Some of my favorite things to do include kayaking, camping, biking, hiking, swimming, gardening and spending time with my family. I also love to play volleyball and am a part of a summer sand volleyball team. I like to read and play video games when I have the time. I am also a big Vikings fan, GO SKOL!
I grew up in Faribault and have lived in Warsaw for the last 6 years with my fiancé and fur-babies. I will be getting married next fall to my best friend. Together we have three cats, two sugar gliders, and one painted turtle!
I am looking forward to creating a positive learning environment and building classroom community with my students! E-mail Alyssa
Devon Wolters (2nd Grade Teacher) Hello! I have been teaching at CRSS since 2015. Teaching at CRSS has been a dream come true! I graduated from Minnesota State University Mankato in the Winter of 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I student taught in 3rd grade here in Faribault at Roosevelt Elementary. I currently live in Owatonna, which is where I grew up. My son Miles was born in 2017 and keeps me on my toes. I enjoy going on walks, crocheting, camping, and spending time with my family in my free time. I am very excited to start a new year and see what adventures it has to bring! E-mail Devon
Brianna Bauernfeind (2nd Grade Teacher) E-mail Brianna
Tess VanZuilen (3rd Grade Teacher) Hello! I have been teaching at CRSS since 2016. Teaching at CRSS has been a dream come true! I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in the spring of 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, along with certifications in Middle Childhood Education and Special Education. I student taught in preschool, kindergarten, 2nd grade and 4th grade classrooms before becoming a 3rd grade teacher. I currently live in the small town of Medford, which is where I grew up. I enjoy going on walks, photography, camping and reading in my free time. E-mail Tess
Stacey Sandler (3rd Grade Teacher) Hello! I have been teaching third grade at Cannon River STEM School since 2012. Teaching at CRSS is a dream come true! I graduated cum laude from St. Catherine University in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education K-6, along with a preprimary endorsement and STEM certificate. Before going back to college to get my teaching degree, I had an 18-year career as a legal assistant.
I live in Northfield with my two children, Wyatt and Willow. We also have a four-legged friend named Stella and six chickens. Our favorite place to be is outdoors biking, camping, canoeing, hiking, and snowboarding. I look forward to sharing my love and respect for the outdoors with the kids at Cannon River STEM School! E-mail Stacey
Sheila Sawyer (4th Grade Teacher) Hello to you, my friends of CRSS, as I am embarking on the 9th year of teaching. I am thrilled to be teaching fourth grade at this amazing school! Mankato State University is where I earned my Elementary Education teaching degree. Previously, I taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grade in a small school in Owatonna for four years. I love teaching and experiencing the world with my students. My favorite time of the day is when all of us join together and dive into a book to embark on a new adventure. Or when we are out in the ravine discovering nature.
I live in Owatonna with my husband Dan, my son Devin (25), my daughter Abby (23), who is attending University of MN Pharmacy School at UMD, and my younger daughter Jessica (21), who is a senior at St. Benedicts College. We love to go camping, especially in the state parks of Minnesota. I also enjoy reading, going to movies, and hanging out with my family. E-mail Sheila
I grew up in the communities neighboring Faribault, Kenyon and Northfield. I went to school at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities where I received my undergrad degree and Masters in Education. I lived in Minneapolis for 6 years while attending school and working but am happy to be back to a smaller town and smaller community. In the winter, I enjoy reading and writing. In the summer I love to be outside as much as possible, enjoying Minnesota weather and Minnesota lakes. I love anything on the water!
I’m happy to be a part of the CRSS family and look forward to getting to know all the people and places that make up our great community. E-mail Madi
I strongly believe in the Responsive Classroom approach that we use here at CRSS and encourage my students to help create a caring community of learners and friends. We also work hard at leading by example and one way we do that is to not only notice acts of kindness, but to participate in spreading peace to those in our school as well as our communities!
Academically, we have fun focusing on erosion, engineering and new geometry concepts! We learn using many resources including manipulatives, computers, and of course, the outdoors. I hope to instill a love of learning and curiosity in my students that will elicit critical and creative thinking.
I graduated from St. Catherine University with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a concentration in pre-primary. Prior to finishing my degree, I was a special education paraprofessional for 10 years. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, riding my bike, playing volleyball and spending time with my four nieces who are 7, 9, 13, and 15 years old. Peace! Email Angela
I grew up in the small town of Lake City, MN. I graduated from Winona State University-Rochester with a degree in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Middle School Social Studies. I spent two years teaching fifth grade language arts and social studies at Twin Bluff Middle School in Red Wing, MN. I have spent two years teaching fifth grade here at CRSS. I taught all of the subjects to my class of fifth graders during my first year here. Last year, I taught all of the subjects except science to my class of fifth graders and just social studies to the other class of fifth graders. The other fifth grade teacher, Ms. Rosendahl, taught my class science last year. We are going to continue switching teachers for science and socials studies this year. I am looking forward to getting to know your child and helping them achieve their dreams for this school year! E-mail Stephanie
I firmly believe in the Responsive Classroom approach that we use here at CRSS – it really creates a sense of community in my classroom and the school as a whole. Recognizing acts of kindness and care are important things we will exercise in the classroom, and the greater communities around us!
What I am most looking forward to this year is all the time we will get to spend outdoors! I hope to instill all five of the CRSS Values into my students: Curiosity, Perseverance, Acceptance, Responsibility, and Respect.
I graduated from the University of Minnesota – Duluth with a B.A.Sc. in Elementary/Middle School Education and a specialization in Teaching Social Studies. Before coming to CRSS, I taught for two years in Albert Lea and one year in Willmar. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, playing golf, and spending time with my family and friends. E-mail Kari
Casandra Neymeyer (6th Grade Teacher) Hello! I have been here at Cannon River STEM School since 2016 and teaching sixth grade since 2017. It has been a wonderful opportunity and journey getting to teach 6th grade. My first year at Cannon River STEM School, I was a Paraprofessional working with students one-on-one in math. I graduated from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics Education in December of 2015. I am thrilled to utilize this education to bring STEM into every content area at CRSS. My passions for mathematics have strengthened my ability to learn other core content areas and has challenged me to persevere through everything I do. I am currently pursuing my Masters of Arts in Teaching at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.
I have lived in Faribault most of my life and I am excited to be back to learn more about this amazing town. It has been a blessing living and working in a town that I am familiar with. Some of my favorite things are running, hiking, kayaking, dancing, and drinking coffee. I try to be as active as I can, in all that I do. E-mail Casandra
Kristin Guin-Grosse (7th Grade Teacher) I am overjoyed to return to Cannon River STEM School for my second year! When planning the transition from Colorado to Minnesota in 2016, I found the Cannon River STEM School website and knew this was the place for me. I am still amazed and grateful that I landed in the perfect school for creating fantastic learning opportunities for students. I have long held a special place in my heart for working with the students in the wonderful, wacky world of adolescence. Here at Cannon River STEM School I work with 7th grade students in the Humanities.
Many moons ago, I graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in secondary social studies from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. I have taught a broad spectrum of children and adults in a wide range of subject matter – from aquatics to mathematics to English and history. I love to learn and work outdoors with students. Along with teaching, I have competed in triathlons, traveled and lived in Japan, raised three children (they’re still growing!) and run a few small businesses.
Currently, I live in Northfield, MN where you can often find me biking with my husband or kids. I also volunteer at the Northfield Historical Society as a tour guide in the museum – stop down for a tour next summer! One of my favorite ways to relax is throwing the ball for our lovable yellow lab, Clay. E-mail Kristin
Wendy DeGroot (7th Grade Teacher) E-mail Wendy
Lynn Hirschey (8th Grade Teacher) Hello, I am so happy to be at the CRSS Middle School. I teach 8th grade Math and Earth Science. It is a wonderful experience to teach within the environment. Here, I can share my love of the Sciences through real-world activities to our ever transitioning 7th and 8th graders. Math is also a love of mine and I teach it here as well.
I taught Special Education at Kenyon Middle School/High School for 10 years but with Degrees in Animal Science-Research, Elementary Ed., and Middle School Science and Math, as well as Special Ed., the Cannon River STEM School was so appealing, I gladly joined the staff in 2013.
I live on a hobby farm close to Nerstrand and the Big Woods State Park. My many pets, including 3 dogs as constant companions, keep me busy. I enjoy gardening and canning, helping my farming neighbors, and volunteering. I also enjoy an occasional video game with my two grown sons. E-mail Lynn
Chloe Moriarty (8th Grade Teacher) This is my sixth year of teaching at Cannon River STEM School, where I am truly blessed to be able to work with such dedicated staff and amazing families! Middle school grades are full of growth and challenges and I love helping my students find confidence and pride in their ever expanding abilities.
I attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities between 2008 and 2013 where I earned an undergraduate degree in Gender Studies and a Masters of Education in 5-12 Social Studies, both with honors. I have a dual licensure in English Language Arts. I love sharing my passion for history and world geography with students and enjoy the harmony of our interdisciplinary approach to English and Social Studies. I am also dedicated to supporting more culturally responsive practices at CRSS to make our schools a welcoming environment for everyone!
I live with my partner and two Ragdoll cats. In my free time I love to camp and canoe, antique, and read. I also devote a portion of my time to teaching both kids and adults to play violin and viola. E-mail Chloe
Michael Berger (Music Teacher) I grew up in southeastern Wisconsin. I have played the trumpet for more than twenty years. I came to Minnesota in 2000 to study psychology at Carleton College. Since I graduated in 2004, I have worked as an educational assistant and in school-aged care. I finished a Master of Arts in Teaching degree at the University of Saint Thomas with a license in instrumental music in 2012. I have taught music here since 2013. I am very fortunate to be starting my teaching career somewhere I can count on my colleagues for collaboration and support. In my spare time, I rehearse and perform with the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra (cvrorchestra.org) and I play strategic board and card games. I live in Northfield with my wife, daughter, and cat. E-mail Michael
Heather Teigen (Physical Education – Health) Hello! I am excited to have the opportunity to teach Health and Physical Education to the students at Cannon River STEM School! I have my master’s degree in Kinesiology from UNLV, and I earned my K-12 Physical Education Teaching Degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. I have taught Physical Education in Tucson, AZ for 3 years and have been a certified personal trainer here in Faribault, MN for 9 years. I am a co-author of a book, “Simple Strategies Nutrition Journal.”
I really enjoy teaching students a variety of skills and activities. My hope is that they gain a love of being active, and realize the importance of healthy choices. In Physical Education we celebrate our different strengths and encourage everyone to success.
I live in Warsaw with my husband, Jeff, my son Gavin (8), my daughter Emily (6), and our black lab named Blue. We enjoy camping, biking, gardening, downhill skiing, and snowmobiling. E-mail Heather
Jason Soltis (Coding Teacher) Hello, I am thrilled to be teaching here at Cannon River STEM School. Prior to becoming a teacher I was a computer programmer for nine years. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University and recently moved to Northfield to be closer to my wife’s family. The coding program is going really well and I’m excited to see what students will come up with this year! I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to work with the students here at CRSS.
When I’m not teaching I spend my time camping, going to car shows and spending time with my four young children. E-mail Jason
Tiffany Wells (Art Teacher) Hello, I am very excited to be teaching art at CRSS! I currently live in Northfield, which is where I grew up. I attended Greenvale Park Elementary School, Northfield Middle School, and Northfield High School in which I graduated from in 2009. I share my home with my mother and my two cats. I adopted my cats from a humane society about four years ago. Their names are Izzy and Otto and they are siblings. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and painting.
I attended college at St. Cloud State University and completed my Bachelors of Science in Art Education K-12 in 2013. When I was at St. Cloud State University I was fortunate to also obtain a minor in special education. I am currently attending St. Catherine University to gain my Masters in Technology Integration.
After my college graduation, I taught math for one year in Northfield and then taught K-5 art in Eagan for two years. I am overjoyed to be joining the CRSS family! E-mail Tiffany
Stephanie Rathsack (Naturalist) E-mail Stephanie
Susan Williams (Special Education Teacher) I moved to Faribault in the spring of 2018 after living in rural Kenyon. I grew up on a small farm in Michigan spending most of my summers in the Traverse City area of Michigan picking cherries, swimming in Lake Michigan, canoeing, and exploring part of the state forest where we had a cabin. I also spent a couple of years living in Rhode Island during my high school years. I attended college at Michigan State University and completed my Elementary Education Degree at Crown College here in Minnesota. I completed my Special Education Licensure(s) at Mankato State University. I have enjoyed spending many years working in public, private, and charter schools in Minnesota. I like to help students grow as a whole person which includes helping them understand how they learn best and to be an advocate for themselves.
I share my home with an adult foster person, a dog, and two cats. I have three grown children who live in the Twin Cities area. I enjoy spending time with family and friends talking, laughing, and enjoying “coffee” and treats. I also enjoy gardening, reading, playing with my dog and cats as well as relaxing on the deck. E-mail Susan
Larry Hoffer (Special Education Teacher) I grew up on a farm in northern Illinois to parents who were both educators. I moved to Texas in the early 1980’s and attended Southwest Texas State University earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. After a short time as a police officer, I changed careers to education. I later attended Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas and earned a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in special education. After teaching special education in Dallas, Texas for four years I moved to Minnesota to begin teaching. I also attended Hamline University for more educational studies. I come to Cannon River Stem School after 25 years of teaching special education in Burnsville and Lakeville. E-mail Larry
Aurora Kubach (Special Education Teacher) I was born in northern Wisconsin, but I moved to California in elementary school. After graduating from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where I majored in history and anthropology, I worked in the public library system for several years. Later my husband’s job took us to the Twin Cities area, where I attended the University of St. Thomas, receiving a master’s degree in special education. My first teaching experience was at a high school in Virginia, where I taught reading classes and co-taught English. Next we moved to Rochester, MN, where I taught in a K-8 school. Now I live in Faribault with my husband, our two sons, and a dog and cat. I am delighted to have joined the Cannon River STEM School, a supportive community situated on a beautiful campus! E-mail Aurora
Amanda Reed (Special Education Teacher/Behavior Specialist) This is my first year at CRSS, and I am excited to create and implement a Multi-Tiered System of Supports, which includes a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support program. I look forward to working with staff and students to provide social, emotional and behavioral learning tools to help students excel in and out of the classroom.
I have taught Special Education for 11 years, and have taught in various settings. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the College of Saint Benedict and a Master’s in Science degree from Minnesota State University-Mankato in Special Education. Starting Spring semester, I plan to begin coursework toward a Certification in Behavioral Analysis. I grew up in New Ulm, MN and currently live in Owatonna, MN. When I am not teaching, I can usually be spotted spending time with family and friends; coaching, playing or watching a hockey game; or just relaxing at home with a good book, TV show or movie. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. E-mail Amanda
Ben Rydberg (ELL Teacher) I grew up in Lakeville, MN and was very active in endurance activities and MN History day while in school. This lead to being a volunteer coach for Cross Country, Nordic Skiing, and MN History Day in the Winona area while finishing up my undergraduate degree in Social Studies Secondary Education from Winona State. Before coming to CRSS I had the opportunity to teach in Social Studies classrooms throughout the Twin Citites and Rochester before earning my second teaching license to work with English Language Learners and Masters in Education with an emphasis in Education Leadership at Augsburg University. Since starting at CRSS in 2017, I have enjoyed working with students throughout the school on helping to develop their proficiency in academic English, furthering their understanding of their home languages, and being an advocate for them.
I currently live in Lakeville with my fiancé Katie, although you will often find us enjoying camping or exploring state/national parks, running, traveling in country and abroad, or attending Vikings (SKOL Vikes!) or Wild games instead of being at home. E-mail Ben
Melissa Dobbs (School Social Worker) I have been at STEM since 2016 and am overjoyed to bring the social work program with me. Before coming to CRSS as the School Social Worker, I have worked with adults with disabilities, adult and children’s mental health, and child protection. I am a strong advocate for children and encourage them in finding their truth. I have an undergraduate degree in Social Work and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology. I am licensed by the Board of Social Work as well as the Board of Education.
I currently live in Kenyon with my husband and two children. I have a son in high school and daughter in middle school. In my spare time I enjoy antiquing, gardening, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. E-mail Melissa
Nancy Bauer (Math Teacher) Hi! My name is Nancy Bauer and I am currently working as a Math Tutor/Intervention Teacher at CRSS! This is my fourth year at CRSS and I have loved getting my feet wet back into teaching. The years before CRSS I worked at Aldi Incorporated in Business Operations. When my children came along, Wyatt and Levi, I decided to hang up my Corporate Hat and return to a more family friendly career that didn’t include travel! Now that both children are in school, I longed to teach again. While here at CRSS, I reinstated my teaching license and enrolled in Graduate School, and I am working on getting my Mathematics License. I have appreciated all the support that I have received from Admin and fellow teachers here encouraging me to teach again. I began my teaching career 20 years ago at Roosevelt Elementary here in Faribault. I have lived in Faribault, MN for 43 years. I live on a farm with my husband, Patrick, and our two boys – and can’t forget the many animals! E-mail Nancy
Delica Caldwell (Middle School Reading Specialist) Coming from eight years of teaching older students who maybe did not want to be at school, to teaching here at CRSS, has rejuvenated me as a learner and as an educator. Let’s utilize our creativity to read lots of different genres and work on perseverance to prepare well for tests!
My husband, Scott, my daughter, Katja, my son, Bartholomew, and myself all have shining examples of how much we value education proudly displayed on the “college diploma wall” at our home. I hope to inspire my students here at CRSS to set a goal of college too. I get students to read, “What’s Your Super Power?” E-mail Delica
Marcy Goss (Title I Teacher) As the Title 1 Teacher at CRSS I get to spend time reading great books with students who are eager to read. Watching them develop their reading skills, and build confidence as readers, is both exciting and rewarding.
I received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a specialty in Communication Arts and Literature from Bemidji State University. Before joining the CRSS team I was a substitute teacher while raising 4 children.
I currently live in Northfield. My free time is spent reading good books, playing with my grandchildren, walking, biking, and getting together with friends. E-mail Marcy
Damian Baum (Information Technology Coordinator) E-mail Damian
Karen Savig (Health Aide) E-mail Karen
Jennifer Clark (Administrative Coordinator) E-mail Jennifer
Margie Wesling (Administrative Coordinator) E-mail Margie
Bethany Schweisthal (Administrative and Technology Assistant) E-mail Bethany
Kasey David (Meal Programs Coordinator) E-mail Kasey