Starting the year with some new faces

More than 14 new teachers, as well as some new administrators, are starting the new school year in Marshall

Photo by Deb Gau Eric Hjelden is West Side Elementary’s new principal. He was a teacher in Long Prairie and Willmar.

MARSHALL — The start of a new school year is always a time for introductions, and that’s not just for students. Local schools welcomed new staff members, including more than 14 teachers, in Marshall this fall. In the case of Marshall Public Schools, the new faces included new administrators as well, at West Side Elementary and at Marshall Area Technical Education Center (MATEC).

New faculty and administrators at MPS were welcomed during a school board meeting on Tuesday. Among the people who introduced themselves to Marshall School Board members were West Side’s new principal, Eric Hjelden.

Hjelden said he grew up in Grand Forks, and attended university in Duluth. For the past 13 years, he’s been a teacher in Long Prairie and in Willmar. Hjelden said his family includes his wife and three daughters.

“This is my first administrative job, so we’re excited about that,” Hjelden said at Tuesday’s board meeting. “The West Side staff have been great to work with so far, and the district’s been great to work with so far, so we’ll try and continue that success.”

The new assistant principal at MATEC isn’t necessarily a new face in Marshall, but she will be stepping into a new role. Assistant Principal Amanda Pederson said she was a teacher at MPS for eight years. For the past two years, she served as the principal of Redwood Valley Middle School in Redwood Falls.

“I’m looking forward to being back,” Pederson said of returning to MPS. “I’m really excited to be here and to work with (MATEC) staff.” Pederson said she hoped to keep things moving forward and progressing.

Hjelden and Pederson are far from the only new faces at Marshall schools this year. At MPS, there are nearly 30 new staff members, including 14 teachers, said Marshall Superintendent Scott Monson. The new educators include Alyssa Coudron, a parent educator for the early childhood program, and Traci Janssen, who will be a new district-wide speech teacher for MPS.

At Park Side Elementary, new faculty members include English Learner teachers Andrea Brown, Paula Carrasco and Jessica Novosad, and special education teacher Shelby Corbin.

At West Side Elementary, new faculty members include third-grade teacher Caroline Grube. New staff members also include paraprofessionals Kiana Anderson and Jessica Reinhart.

At Marshall Middle School, new faculty members include language arts teacher Kelsea Anderson, language arts teacher Emily Dorschner, health and physical education teacher Leah Fadness, English Learner teacher Char Gregoire and special education teacher Lydia Schelhaas. Other new staff members at the middle school this year include paraprofessionals Samantha Geurts, Morgan Hoffmann, Joseph Schmitt and Melissa St. Aubin.

At Marshall High School, Stephanie Bot is a new health and physical education teacher.

Parochial schools in Marshall are also welcoming new teachers this year, school staff said.

At True Light Christian School, middle school math, science and physical education teacher Eric Keizer is new this year. And at Holy Redeemer Catholic School, there are several new teachers and paraprofessionals.

New faculty and staff members at Holy Redeemer include preschool teachers Heidi Aufenthie and Tanya Polfliet, kindergarten teacher Allison Peterson, fifth- and sixth-grade math teacher Rebecca Panka, and preschool aides Lori Duscher, Alyssa Strand, Leanna Olsem and Megan Hacker.

At Samuel Lutheran School, Tabitha Mays will teach kindergarten and then also first- and second-grade science, physical education, music and art, said Ryan Obry, Samuel Lutheran principal. Renee Manian is teaching first- and second-grade and also sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade reading, English/language arts, and art.