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This year Meade School District is welcoming 26 new certificated staff, which includes 21 teachers, one school psychologist, one school nurse, two counselors and a principal.

Topping the list with six new employees is the Special Services Department.

Jennifer Fried, who is originally from Kodiak, Alaska, will be in charge of the self-contained classroom at Piedmont Valley Elementary. The first year teacher is a December graduate of Black Hills State University and has worked as a substitute teacher with the Rapid City Area School District.

Amanda Hoffman, a Las Vegas native, will also be teaching at Piedmont Valley. She is a December graduate of Black Hills State University and has been working as a substitute teacher at both Sturgis Elementary and Sturgis Brown High School where she also did her student teaching and internship.

Ashley Johnson, an alumna of Sturgis Brown High School, is a 2014 graduate of Black Hills State University. She was hired in January as an early intervention teacher at Sturgis Elementary and is continuing in that same position this year. She is also a nine-year member of the South Dakota National Guard.

Loreena Larson, a May graduate of Black Hills State University, will be working with seventh and eighth grade students at Sturgis Williams Middle School. While attending college, she worked as site coordinator at the Kids Club Kids in Spearfish. Loreena is from Martin, S.D.

Anne Miller, who is originally from New Jersey, holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre and history from Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and a master’s degree in special education from Walden University in Minneapolis. She has taught for six years, the last two at Douglas School District. She will be teaching seventh-graders at Sturgis Williams Middle School.

Ellen Voegeli, a graduate of Northern State University, was hired last January to teach eighth-graders at Sturgis Williams Middle School. She will continue in that position this year. She is a volunteer with Special Olympics and has served as a tutor in an after-school program.

Sturgis Elementary School has five new teachers.

Joe Hammer, the new fourth grade teacher, is a 25-year veteran of the teaching profession. For the past several years he has taught and lived in Germany. Prior to that, he taught for 15 years for Rapid City School District. He is a graduate of Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, N.D., with a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies and elementary education.

Nicole Lawrence is also a fourth grade teacher at Sturgis Elementary. The St. Thomas More graduate holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Metropolitan State University in Denver and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Black Hills State University.

Jennifer Mayer will be teaching fifth grade. She has taught for 11 years, the last nine in Mitchell, her home. While at Mitchell, she taught fifth grade for four years and was a reading recovery Title teacher for five years. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota and a master’s degree from Southwest Minnesota State University.

Taylor Pickett is the new kindergarten teacher. The first year teacher, who is from Buffalo, Wyo., is a recent graduate of Black Hills State University. She was a substitute teacher for the Belle Fourche School District for whom she also worked as a paraprofessional.

Amara Stanley, also a first year teacher, will be teaching first grade. She graduated from Black Hills State University in December and then worked as a long-term substitute at Sturgis Elementary. She is a graduate of Rapid City Central.

Four new employees – 3 teachers and 1 principal - are joining the staff at Sturgis Brown High School.

The new instrumental music teacher is Rebecca Fahey, who is a graduate of Northern State University. Her first year of teaching was last year at Belle Fourche High School, where she was band instructor. She is a graduate of T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre.

Michael Hagen will be teaching English at the high school. He has five years of teaching experience at Rapid City Central High School, his alma mater. He has coached track and field and football, also at Central High School. He has a bachelor’s degree in composite speech communications from Black Hills State University and a master’s degree in education from Southwest Minnesota State.

Cyle Miller will be teaching welding and machining as the new career and technical education instructor. From St. Onge, he has more than 30 years experience in the field which includes being the owner and current president of Emerging Design Group, former vice president of Dakota Arms, Inc., and former owner and president of Miller Arms.

Taking over as the new principal is Pete Wilson. He comes to Sturgis Brown High School from Upton, Wyo., where he served as high school principal for the past five years and head boys basketball coach. While in Wyoming, he was also a member of the Wyoming High School Activities Association Board of Directors. Prior to becoming an administrator, Pete was a classroom teacher for 15 years, primarily teaching algebra, calculus and geometry at high schools in Sioux Falls, Spearfish and Salem, S.D., and in Luverne, Minn. The Canistota, S.D., native has also coached football, golf and baseball. He has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of South Dakota, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn., and a master’s degree in secondary administration from the University of Sioux Falls.

Piedmont Valley Elementary School has four new teachers.

Melissa Grimm has been hired as a second grade teacher. The Rapid City Central High School graduate holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in reading, both from Black Hills State University. Melissa has been teaching for the Lead Deadwood School District for the past five years.

Paige Guy, a graduate of Sturgis Brown High School, will be teaching fifth grade at Piedmont. She has been a teacher for four years - the first year was at Whitewood Elementary and the last three were in North Dakota. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in curriculum instruction with technology integration, both from Black Hills State University.

Michelle Ludens is the new kindergarten teacher. The Rapid City Stevens graduate has been a teacher for three years, most recently with Spearfish School District. She has a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of South Dakota and an elementary education certificate from Black Hills State University.

Molly Reimer will also be teaching kindergarten at Piedmont. The second year teacher, who is a Huron High School alumna, graduated from South Dakota State University. She taught second grade and coached seventh grade volleyball for the Mitchell School District.

Sturgis Williams Middle School is welcoming two new teachers.

Darla Aspen, a recent graduate of Black Hills State University, is the new sixth grade math teacher. The Lead High School graduate served as a substitute teacher for the Spearfish School District for whom she was the seventh grade volleyball coach for the past two years.

The new seventh grade geography teacher is Ian Walton, a December graduate of Black Hills State University and alum of Belle Fourche High School. Following graduation he worked as a fulltime substitute teacher at Belle Fourche Middle School.

One new teacher is joining the Rural Staff.

Don Paulson will be teaching at the Elm Springs School. He previously was a fifth grade teacher for 15 years for the Redfield Public School System and two years as a fifth grade teacher in Guam. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Other new certificated staff include two counselors, one nurse and one psychologist.

Natalie Serbousek is the new counselor at Sturgis Williams Middle School and Whitewood Elementary School. She has one year experience as an elementary school counselor in Gardner, Kansas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Oklahoma, and a master’s degree in educational and counseling psychology from the University of Missouri.

Shawn Koontz, the other new counselor, will be working at Sturgis Brown High School. For the past five years she has been employed by Action for the Betterment of the Community – four years as coordinator of the after school program and one year as coordinator of the Scooper Success program. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminology and a master’s degree in school counseling, both from South Dakota State University.

Jennifer Oedekoven will join the district’s other two nurses as school nurse at Sturgis Elementary and Sturgis Williams Middle School. She holds a degree in veterinary technology from National American University and a degree in nursing from the University of South Dakota. She has worked for three years as a registered nurse at Rapid City Regional Hospital and Spearfish Surgery Center and six years as a vet tech at Northern Hills Veterinary Clinic in Sturgis.

Cora Lee Alley, our new school psychologist whose services are contracted through Black Hills Special Services, has been in education for 31 years. She started her career as a special education teacher in Deadwood before moving to the Bison School District and then the Rapid City Area Schools where she has been working for the past 18 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Berea College in Kentucky, a bachelor’s degree in special education from Black Hills State University, a master’s degree in special education from the University of South Dakota, a master’s degree in school psychology from Capella University and an educational specialist degree in school psychology, also from Capella University.

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