By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Five new staff members will begin their duties in the Elk Mound school district when school starts September 4.
The new staff members include McKayla Brunner (financial literacy, career explorations, AP principals of marketing and computer applications at Elk Mound High School); Abe Ferguson (fifth grade English and Language Arts at Elk Mound Middle School); Wendy Nelson (Elk Mound High School chemistry); Sarah Reiter (speech and language pathologist); and Nicole Rygiel (special education teacher at Elk Mound Middle School).
McKayla Brunner will be teaching financial literary, career explorations, AP principals of marketing and computer applications at Elk Mound High School.
Brunner is originally from Elmwood. She graduated from UW-Stout in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Business Education with a minor in Business Administration.
She served as a substitute teacher in the Onalaska, LaCrosse and Tomah school districts during the spring semester this year.
Brunner completed her student teaching at Onalaska High School in marketing and business education from August of 2017 to January of 2018.
She served as a summer school assistant and aide at Durand from July of 2010 until July of 2013.
Brunner was a summer Little League softball coach in Durand from May of 2015 until August of 2017 and helped coach 14U and 16U softball teams as well as gave pitching lessons to young aspiring pitchers. She also volunteered her time to help coach high school girls basketball in Onalaska and was the high school softball varsity reserve coach.
Abe Ferguson will be teaching fifth grade English Language Arts and social studies at Elk Mound Middle School.
He is originally from Arcadia and graduated from Arcadia High School in 2014.
He graduated from Winona State University this spring with a degree in elementary education and a minor in reading instruction and a minor in communications, arts and literature.
Ferguson says he chose to apply for the position at Elk Mound because he loves the area, the grade level and the subjects he will be teaching.
Ferguson also will coach football at Elk Mound and will be the varsity assistant coach.
Wendy Nelson will be teaching chemistry at Elk Mound High School.
She is originally from Bloomer and graduated from Bloomer High School in 1996.
Nelson earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from UW-River Falls.
Prior to accepting the position at Elk Mound, Nelson served as a physics and chemistry instructor at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire beginning in September of 2016.
Nelson taught physics, chemistry and physical science at Altoona High School from September of 2002 until June of 2016.
She served as a science and math teacher at Ellsworth High School from September of 2001 to September of 2002.
Nelson worked at the Corporate Analytical Technology Center, 3M Center, in St. Paul as a technical aide from May of 1998 to December of 2000.
Sarah Reiter will be the speech and language pathologist for the Elk Mound school district.
Reiter is employed part-time in the Colfax school district and will be filling a 40 percent position in the Elk Mound school district.
Nicole Rygiel will be a special education teacher at Elk Mound Middle School.
She earned a Master of Education from UW-Stout in 2017, EBD add-on certification from UW-Eau Claire in 2010 and a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education learning disabilities from UW-Eau Claire in 2005.
Rygiel graduated from Menomonie High School in 2000.
She served as the multicategorical special education teacher for the Elk Mound school district beginning in 2018 and served the Boyceville school district as the multicategorical special education teacher from 2006 to 2018.
Rygiel served as a Professional Book Club member from 2014 to 2016; as a Middle School Quiz Bowl facilitator from 2010 to 2018; began serving as a district data team member in 2010; and was Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentor in Eau Claire from 2001 to 2008.