By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY — The Glenwood City School District has hired six new teachers as well as one familiar face with two in the high school/middle school and four in the Elementary.
Being welcomed into the high school/middle school are Randy Ketola and David Popko and new to the Elementary end are Paige Borgerson, Stephanie Briggs, Sara L’Allier and Laura Sperl.
High School Science
New to the science department is Randy Ketola who comes to Glenwood City from Tallahassee, Florida where he was the Program Director and Professor of Education at the Florida State University.
Ketola received his teaching degree in Wisconsin after earning a Bachelor’s in Broadfield Science from UW-Superior and his Master’s in Physics Education from UW-River Falls. He then went out of state to continue his education and earned himself a Doctorate in Science Curriculum from the Montana State University.
Randy began his teaching career as a volunteer in the Peace Corps where he taught a higher level of chemistry and other lower levels in the Middle East and South Pacific.
He brought his teaching back to Wisconsin where he taught a wide range of science, including chemistry and physics at several schools in the state. However, the majority of his career was spent in the town of Richland Center in the southwest part of the state.
Circumstances uprooted Randy and his family from Wisconsin so he briefly took a position in the Middle East in 2011, but safety issues and other complications made it impossible for them to stay.
It was after that that he took the job in Florida. He had just completed his PhD and thought it he would see what life at a University was like.
“It was okay, but after a little over a year, I realized that I really missed teaching and my family really missed the midwest,” said Randy.
So when the job became available in Glenwood City, Randy jumped on the chance to move back to the midwest with his wife and raise his two daughters in a small town. He is originally from Duluth as well so a job opportunity closer to home was hard to pass up.
Besides teaching, Randy is quite the active person as he is involved in martial arts with a gold degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a blue belt in Kenpo and a green belt in Jujitsu. He is also a pilot so in his free time he loves to fly.
High School English
David Popko is the newest addition to the English department as he will be teaching ninth, eleventh and some twelfth grade English language classes.
Popko comes to the Glenwood City from the Loyal, WI School District where he spent four years teaching high school history and junior high English courses.
His passion for teaching derived from his home life as both of his parents are teachers. After graduating high school from Rice Lake, David went on earn a Bachelor’s Degree from UW-Eau Claire.
His educational path was slightly different at this time as he was studying European History and Journalism, in which he earned a Master’s Degree in while in Kentucky.
It was in 2008 that he decided on a teaching career so he earned his teaching certificate through Concordia University.
Outside of school, Popko is always interested in learning new things and staying active so he plays soccer, basketball and golf when he can.
Stephanie Briggs was welcomed into the school district earlier this year as she took on the role as head volleyball coach. Now with school having started, she begins her journey as a fifth grade teacher.
Briggs comes to Glenwood City from the Somerset School District where she worked with students who had learning disabilities. She also spent time student teaching second grade as well as substituting in the middle school.
Briggs earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Childhood Early Adolescence Education from UW-Eau Claire after graduating in December of last year. She completed two comprehensive majors in special education and learning/cognitive disabilities.
This means all together she is certified to teach grades 1-8 and grades 1-12 for learning/cognitive disabilities.
Briggs grew up around the Somerset area and graduated high school from Osceola.
Sara L’Allier is a recent graduate of UW-River Falls as she just earned her Master’s Degree in Education this June. She first earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry from UWRF in 2000.
Sara spent two years student teaching before completing her Masters. She most recently spent time helping teach first grade at the Westside Elementary in River Falls.
She is now switching gears and is now a third grade teacher at Glenwood City with an emphasis on Math. She is hoping with her science background that she can incorporate that into her math lessons as well as hands on teaching lessons.
Sara shared that Glenwood City is the only school district she applied to after receiving her degree because she really enjoys the small town community and she knows several people in the area.
Aside from teaching, Sara is busy being a full-time mom to her three children, Arlo, Aesa and Tirfe.
Laura Sperl comes to the school district after spending seven years at the Menomonie Middle School as a special education para-educator. She started her working career after receiving a degree in Art Education and Studio Art from UW-Stout as well as an Alternative Education certification from UW-Milwaukee.
Laura knows several people from Glenwood City through her church in Menomonie and that is partially why she chose to apply for the job at the school district after hearing such good things.
It is through her church that she has expanded her teaching abilities by taking volunteer trips to international schools in India, Central America and the Philippines. She has spent a few months at a time over the past years teaching Bible studies at churches and working inside school buildings and orphanages.
Laura is looking forward to incorporating things she learned and saw in the different cultures from her volunteering experience into her art lessons.
Laura is taking on quite the big role in her new job as she will be teaching elementary, sixth grade and high school art classes as well as social studies and language arts in the Transitional Skills room. She will be taking over as the TSC Coordinator in place of Betsy Haltinner and she will also be the ELL Coordinator.
New to Pre-K
Paige Borgerson comes to the school district fresh out of college after recently earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from UW-Stout. She will be using her college education in the classroom as the newly hired 4-K and Title I Teacher.
She is currently certified to teach 4-K through second grade and she has plans to take classes in the fall to earn her licensure in reading for the Title I portion of her job.
Paige previously student taught in the Menomonie and Chippewa Falls area and prior to that she was employed at a child care center where she really discovered her love for working with children.
She is a 2008 high school graduate from Baldwin and that is still where she currently resides. Being from a smaller town herself is a big reason as to why she chose to find a career in a similar place such as Glenwood City.
Paige is most excited about being able to be the one who teaches and influences each child’s life at the very beginning of their educational journey.