Lanesboro school welcomes new special education instructor as school year begins

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/NEWS LEADER Laura Horihan is joining the staff of Lanesboro High School as a special education instructor.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

“When I was little, I wanted to be a writer or a teacher, and I’ve been lucky to do both,” said Laura Horihan, Lanesboro High School’s new special education instructor. “I’ve always been drawn to students that learn differently. I chose to be a teacher because I believe that my life experience and my former job as a news reporter can offer students a broader perspective. Some of the most influential people in my life have been teachers. I’d be proud to have a similar impact.”

She highlighted her own school career, explaining that she graduated from Mabel-Canton in 2002, and earned her bachelor of arts in mass communications-journalism in 2007 from Winona State University. She completed the master of arts in teaching program at Saint Mary’s University in 2019.

“This will be my first year teaching. Last year, I did my student teaching in Lanesboro’s English classrooms. I’m really impressed with the school’s vision for implementing 21st century skills so that students are prepared for the future,” she said. “I like their focus on collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. I love Lanesboro’s small-town atmosphere and how committed the entire community is to student success. I also feel a sense of belonging here because my dad graduated from Lanesboro. Plus, my husband’s family has been attending this school for generations. My own kids are Burros!”  

 Horihan acknowledged that there will be challenges to being a new teacher, but she’s certain they’ll be conquerable.

“This is my first year teaching, so I anticipate that there will be a lot of challenges,” she reiterated. “I’m confident that I’m working with a great team of educators who have students’ best interests in mind.”

The teacher elaborated on her perspective of being an educator working with students. “I think socio-emotional skills are critical for students to learn, and we can encourage those in all subject areas. I also feel it’s important that students develop the ability to think critically.”

She said she is most excited to build relationships with students. “I want them to know that they’ve got me in their corner,” Horihan continued. “I hope I can help students set goals, be a supporter and cheer them when they succeed, even if it’s as simple as helping students stay organized or something more complicated like understanding a key concept in geometry. I anticipate smiles, laughter and ‘ah-ha’ moments. I hope I can be a kind smile and a reassuring voice. I remember that was what I needed most as a high school student. I hope I can give them confidence to tackle the tough stuff, whether it’s schoolwork, sports or their futures after high school.” 

 Horihan lives in Lanesboro with her husband, Kevin, and their three children, Liam, 8, Fiona, 7 and Rafe, 5.

“I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family. I also enjoy reading, running and photography,” she concluded.