New teachers ready for new year at SGPS

By: 
Jordan Gerard

Spring Grove Public Schools already boasts a repertoire of wonderful teachers and this year, the school adds three teachers and one color guard instructor.

Teala Heddlesten, special
education

Hailing from Stewartville, Teala Heddlesten has taught in special education for the past four years, working with all disability areas in elementary schools. 

This year, she’s working with middle school and high school kids in special education. Her goal is to help students find their confidence and get them involved in the community.

“I love the involvement of the community in school,” she told the Herald. “I want to focus my teaching on service learning and community-based projects.”

It’s important for kids to understand they can be and already are a positive part of Spring Grove, and through that, Heddlesten hopes to have her students volunteer in the community.

Her goal as a teacher is to help students find a successful skill to build their confidence.

“Just because someone has a different ability than you doesn’t mean they’re different,” she said. “I don’t want to let a disability define them.”

If any community members or organizations would like her students to get involved, they can email Heddlesten at teala.heddlesten@springgrove.k12.mn.us.

She currently lives in rural Black Hammer with her boyfriend and dog. 

Stacey Schultz, kindergarten

Coming back to her small town roots, Stacey Schultz is excited to be a part of the vision at Spring Grove Public Schools.

“I like the vision that Spring Grove has in keeping things small, but adapting to modern education,” she said. 

Growing up in a small town in rural North Dakota, Schultz understands the importance of family connections and community.

For Schultz, it’s seeing the eagerness of kindergartners wanting to learn every day. 

She also embraces the importance of different learning styles and finds a way to challenge them. 

Since it’s the kids’ first foray in the classroom, Schultz likes to teach community building and social and emotional learning. She also wants to help them find their voice as a reader and learner.

“Kids are hungry to learn,” she said. “They’re fascinated by letters and numbers and how they work.”

Schultz has been teaching elementary grades since 1999 for District 196, which includes Rosemount, Apple Valley and Eagan. In addition to teaching mostly first through third grades, she was also a reading interventionist.

In 2016, she and her family (husband Matt, sons Stephan and Jarek and daughter Lauren) moved to Lanesboro where she is active on the library board and in the community.

Abigail Toussaint, color guard

Although she is not part of the full-time teaching staff at Spring Grove, Abigail Toussaint has spent many hours with the nine-member color guard, teaching them a new routine for parade season.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time diligently learning and cleaning the routine for the fall,” she said in an email to the Herald.

Along with the marching band’s song and choreography to “Aztec Fire,” Toussaint said audiences can expect an equally excellent performance by the color guard.

“Audiences should expect to see a high-energy group of really lovely individuals that are sure to get better each time you see them perform this year,” she added.

Toussaint is currently a sophomore at Luther College studying instrumental music education, and the color guard instructor position has given her a “wonderful opportunity to try new things, be exposed to new ideas and keep growing as a future teacher.”

Her color guard experience comes from four years in high school, where she was a captain during her junior and senior years. During her senior year, she also started a winter color guard program and choreographed the full routine at her high school.

She led rehearsals and sectionals, assisted peers on the field and wrote a portion of the routine.

Additionally, she attended camps at University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University and with the Dubuque Colts, a drum and bugle corps with color guard. 

“I’ve dedicated a lot of time and energy to color guard over the years, and I’ve loved every minute of it,” she said. 

She expects the color guard will compliment the band nicely this year, allowing the music to come to life.

“As I’ve tossed on the sidelines and as I watch these girls twirl to the beat, it’s truly a beautiful thing to watch as we’re all drawn in a little bit closer to the music through the captivating, colorful interpretation right in front of them,” Toussaint said. 

Heather Strand, sixth grade

The Herald was unsuccessful at reaching Heather Strand for an interview last week, but she will be teaching a second section of sixth grade this year.