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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax school district has seven new teachers this year.
The new teachers were introduced to the Colfax Board of Education at the September 18 meeting.
Here are the profiles of the new teachers.
Renda Armstrong is teaching Comprehensive Special Education K-12 at Colfax.
Prior to accepting the position at Colfax, Armstrong taught for several years in Boyceville, said Trevor Hovde, principal at Colfax Elementary.
Armstrong is married and has eight children and five grandchildren. She provided daycare and foster care services for 10 years and worked in a factory for 19 years, according to her profile posted on the Colfax school district’s Facebook page.
She is a graduate of UW-Eau Claire and has eight years of teaching experience.
Armstrong told the Colfax school board she had taken a couple of classes in intervention while she was a student at UW-Eau Claire.
“That was put on hold when I took in a couple of boys that we ended up adopting … We moved here (to Colfax) a few years ago. My short-term goal this year is to get to know staff, students and families for the best student outcome,” she said.
“My hobbies are seasonal like ATV riding and hiking in the warmer months and puzzles and reading books in the colder months,” she said in her profile on the school district’s Facebook page.
“I am very excited and appreciative to work in the district where we reside,” Armstrong said.
Natalie Hanson is a long-term substitute teacher for the school district, said John Dachel, principal at Colfax High School.
“She will be with us all year,” he said.
Hanson is originally from Montello, Wisconsin, “which is another cute small town like this. We had all three schools connected together as well, so it’s familiar and cozy for me,” she said.
Hanson graduated from UW-Eau Claire in May with a major in elementary education and a minor in social studies.
Hanson will be long-term subbing for Megan Cormican in seventh and eighth grade English and then Adeline Amble in the sixth grade and Nicole Shane in fourth grade until end the year.
Hanson was in the school district last year as a student teacher, Dachel said.
Victorya Luebstorf is a Colfax High School special education teacher.
She is originally from Cadott and graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a degree in secondary and special education.
“When I saw the job-opening here, I got super-excited because I wanted to be in a small school district so that I knew everyone I was working with,” she said.
“In high school, I was also in special education, and without my special education teacher I don’t know where I’d be. She pushed me more than anyone did, and I want to do the same for my students,” she said.
Payton Schneider is the new art teacher at Colfax Elementary.
Schneider is originally from Durand and graduated from Durand High School in 2019.
She graduated from UW-Stout this past May with a degree in art education and a minor in studio art.
Schneider was on the UW-Stout track and field team for all of the four years she was in college.
“My specialities in art include printmaking and painting, but I enjoy all forms of art and can’t wait to work in the art room with the elementary students this year!” she said in a profile on the Colfax school district’s Facebook page.
“My goal for this year is to evaluate my students’ artistic abilities and where they are in art and expand on their art knowledge this year,” she told the Colfax school board, noting that she also is working on her master’s degree.
Molly Sorensen is a special education teacher at Colfax Middle School.
Sorensen graduated from UW-Stout in May with a bachelor of human science in special education. She has sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.
“My goal is to show them that even when they don’t believe in themselves, they can do it and grow their attitude to make them feel like they are capable to do the things that we all know that they can do,” Sorensen said.
Sorensen is from Chippewa Falls.
Chippewa Falls “is a little bit bigger school district, which is why I am really enjoying this because it’s nice to be a new teacher coming to a small district and (working with) such a supportive staff,” she said.
Sorensen’s long-term goal is to earn a master’s degree in special education, according to her profile on the Colfax school district’s Facebook page.
“One day, I would like to travel outside of the country. Some things that I love to do are spending time with my family and friends. I also love to enjoy the outdoors with my dog. My dog’s name is Oakley, and he is most definitely a very kind, caring, and free-spirited yellow lab. I am sure you will hear some stories throughout the year about him,” Sorensen said.
“I am very excited to welcome you and your child into my classroom. It will be a very enlightening experience to get to know each and every one of you,” she said.
Kailey Strunk is teaching middle school and high school science.
“I am from Stevens Point, and it was really, really large high school I graduated from, very different from Colfax,” Strunk said.
“My goal for this year is to have students get a better understanding of science … and have an appreciation and maybe hopefully want to do something with science when it’s time (to choose an occupation),” she said.
Strunk graduated from the Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) in 2019 and graduated from UW-Eau Claire in May of this year, according to her profile on the Colfax school district’s Facebook page.
“I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher; in kindergarten I wanted to teach kindergarten, in first grade I wanted to teach first grade, and so on. It wasn’t until I got to junior high when I had my science class and knew science was what I wanted to teach. Then once I got to high school, I took chemistry and biology my first year there and knew that chemistry was the subject I wanted to teach,” she said.
“Throughout my K-12 educational experience through the Stevens Point Area Public School District (SPAPSD), I had countless teachers who inspired me to become an educator and made a difference in my life. I hope to have that same effect on my own students. While SPAPSD is very large, my siblings went/go to the Tomorrow River School District in Amherst, Wisconsin,” Sorensen said.
“My brother is 2 years older than me and was always very involved in sports; nine times out of 10 you could find me at an Amherst game versus a SPASH game. With my brother being so involved in Amherst athletics, the whole family got involved with the Amherst community,” she said.
“I always loved how everyone would know my family and me — even though I didn’t go to that school district. From what I have learned so far about Colfax, the community and school district are very comparable to that of Amherst,” she said.
Elizabeth Tice previously taught in the Altoona school district and is the reading specialist and Title I coordinator.
“She has done a fantastic job of getting us started with our RTI (Response to Intervention) process this year. She has a wealth of knowledge, and we are really lucky to have her,” Hovde said.
This is Tice’s 15th year of teaching.
“I am married to Brent Tice. He came through Colfax and graduated from here, and my in-laws still live in town. We have four littles at home,” she said.
“I came to Colfax because I really enjoy seeing children grow,” she said.
Altoona went through the process of adopting some new reading curriculum, following the science of reading. “We have been through that process in Altoona, and I thought, what better way to grow myself by coming here and helping Colfax grow in that area as well,” Tice said.
“And I used to babysit your husband,” commented Jaclyn Ackerlund, school board member.
Tice and her husband “live in Chippewa Falls with our four children. We love playing games and being outside as a family,” she said in her profile on the Colfax school district’s Facebook page.
“I earned my undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin — Stevens Point. I was a classroom teacher for over 10 years, and for the past 4 years I have been a reading and math interventionist,” she said.