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A new school year for all, including new faculty members

By Staff | Sep 3, 2017

In front of the Blue Earth Area Schools central office are BEA’s newest teachers including Morgan Mortenson, Janelle Jacobsen and Holly Christian.

With a new year just around the corner, United South Central is preparing in every way for the 2017-18 school year, and that includes adding nine new teachers to the faculty roster.

Here’s a peek at the nine new USC teachers.

Evan Bierer

Evan Bierer is the new band director for fifth through 12th grade, and he will also be teaching kindergarten music classes.

Bierer began his educational path at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul to obtain his Bachelor of Music degree. Following that, he went to Minnesota State University in Mankato to obtain his general teaching license, and his Master of Fine Arts in teaching.

He spent one year at St. Joseph School in West St. Paul and has 10 years of private studio lesson teaching under his belt.

At home, Bierer spends time with his wife of seven years, Heather, and their two sons Francis (6) and Ellis (5 months).

Luz E. Galindo de


Luz Galindo de Rodriguez will be USC’s new high school Spanish teacher. She will be assisting ninth through 12th graders on learning Spanish.

Rodriguez obtained her legal administrative assistant AAS degree from Riverland Community College and has previously worked at Covenant Life School as a Spanish teacher, as well.

Her family is composed of her husband?Javier Rodriguez who is a pastor and a nurse, five children including Luz M. Davies, Ethel Aranda, Javier Rodriguez, Denis Rodriguez, Ruth Rodriguez, as well as seven grandchildren and one on the way.

Melissa Haugh

Melissa Haugh will be USC’s new social worker for grades K-12.

Haugh obtained her BA in human services at St. Mary’s University in Winona and then went to Minnesota State University, Mankato, for her Master’s Degree in social work.

She has worked for the past five years at Glenville-Emmons School District as their K-12 social worker.

Melissa lives in Easton with her husband, Jeremy, and their three boys, Mason (7), Carter (5), and Rylan (1 1/2).

JoAnna Helgeson

JoAnna Helgeson joins the USC faculty as a new fifth grade teacher.

Helgeson is actually a graduate of USC High School and went to Minnesota State University, Mankato, to study Elementary Education.

Her experience includes substitute teaching at Mankato Public Schools, Blue Earth Area, and USC which shows she knows her districts.

Helgeson is married to her husband, Dana. They have dogs and cats and live on a farm by Buffalo Center, Iowa. Helgeson grew up in Bricelyn and says she is excited to be at USC as a teacher.

Jesse Morgan

Jesse Morgan will be in charge of elementary physical education and health.

Morgan obtained his bachelor’s degree in physical education and health with a minor in developmental adaptive physical education.

His teaching experience is quite expansive. He was an elementary Phy Ed and DARE?teacher in Hutchinson for two years. Prior to that he was a long-term high school substitute Phy Ed teacher and a special education paraprofessional for Le Sueur and St. Peter schools.

Morgan has a dog named Bo.

Rob Routh

Rob Routh is a familiar name, especially to USC wrestlers. He’s been the head wrestling coach at USC since 2015. However now, Routh will also be teaching English for 11th and 12th grade as well as teaching college writing and literature.

Routh was a New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva High School graduate in 1996 and in 2000 went to Minnesota State, Mankato, to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in English degree. in 2004, Routh went to the University of Northern Colorado to obtain a Master’s Degree in Educational media, then stayed at the University of Northern Colorado to become an education specialist in leadership.

Routh has 16 years of experience under his belt, 13 of which were in the state of Colorado as a teacher, media specialist, and administrator.

His family is composed of his wife Sara and their two dogs Bear and Anax, who all live in Waterville.

Misty Simon

Misty Simon will be teaching third grade for USC this year.

Simon obtained her Associate of Arts degree from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, then transfered to Minnesota State University, Mankato to obtain her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. She also holds a pre-primary and kindergarten license.

She has substituted in grades pre-K-12 for over 15 years, and taught special education for a period of time in St. James.

Simon and her husband, Ted, have four boys, Wyatt (15), Boden (13), Braxton (11) and Waylon (9) and live outside of Mapleton and farm outside of Winnebago.

Carol Supalla

The new kindergarten teacher at USC is Carol Supalla.

She comes to USC with a BA in elementary education from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, and has her kindergarten and pre-kindergarten certification from Mankato State University, Mankato.

Supalla lives in Minnesota Lake and has three adult sons. She has 30 years of teaching under her belt, most of which have been at the pre-K level.

Abby Trio

Abby Trio is another third grade teacher beginning at USC. She, too, was a graduate from USC when she went to high school and comes back to the area after obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Trio has taught one year at Maple River Schools as a third grade teacher and is now at USC doing the same.

She grew up on a farm outside of Easton and attended USC. She has one older and one younger brother.

After a few years of having quite a few new teachers in the fall, the Blue Earth Area School District has just three new teachers this year.

Here is a look at all three.

Morgan Mortenson

Morgan Mortenson is the new high school math teacher at Blue Earth Area.

Mortenson is a 2013 graduate of Southland High School and received her B.A. degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, earlier this year.

She spent seven weeks student teaching at Carine Senior High School in Carine, Western Australia. She also spent another seven weeks student teaching at Byron High School.

Back home her family is composed of her dad, Kevin, mom, Paula, younger brother, Boyd and her cat, Shadow and chickens, Jimmy, Polly and Rita.

“I am really excited to start my first year of teaching here at Blue Earth Area,” she says.

Holly Christian

The new business education teacher at the high school is Holly Christian.

Christian comes to BEA from Fairmont Area Schools where she taught for nine years (2008-2017). Before that she spent one year at Shakopee Junior High (2007-2008), five years (2002-2007) at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton and one year at Eden Prairie High School (2001-2002).

She received her B.S. degree in vocational business education at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. She received her M.A. degree in teaching and learning at Saint Mary’s in Winona.

Her family is composed of three grown adult children Brent, Shelby and Jordan and two grandchildren, Matthew, 6, and Reagan Claire, 11 months.

Janelle Jacobsen

Jacobsen is the new high school English teacher at BEA.

She and her husband, Russ Jacobsen, who is the pastor at Hope United Methodist Church in Blue Earth, have lived in Blue Earth for three years.

Jacobsen taught for 12 years at Mounds View High School, in St. Paul, as well as teaching college composition for University of Northwestern, Minnesota West and Presentation College.

She received her B.A. in English education from the University of Northwestern and her M.A. in English from Fort Hays State University in Kansas.


Classical Academy

Three new teachers will be joining Genesis Classical Academy (GCA) this fall as the school enters its third year of operation. Parent/Teacher conferences will be held on Sept. 5. Classes begin on Sept. 6.

Sixth grade is being added to the existing pre-school through fifth grade. Merilyn Yates will be the new sixth grade teacher. She is an experienced sixth grade teacher with a BS in Secondary Education with concentrations in Music and Home Economics.

Cheryl Torkkola will be teaching the 3, 4 and 5 year-old preschool class. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education and a B.A. in Music. She has previous preschool teaching experience.

Also joining the staff is Bart Whitman, who will be teaching Physical Education for all grades this year. He has a B.A. in Youth Ministry and an M.A. in Theology.

Returning teachers and board members have also been preparing for the new year, most traveled to the 25th annual Association of Classical Christian Schools conference earlier this summer. ACCS is a nationwide organization that seeks to equip its member schools in using the classical approach to instruct the next generation in the light of a Christian worldview. Teachers attended the workshop series on the Essential Training for Classical Christian Teachers to build on the Christ, character and classical distinctives of GCA.

Genesis Classical Academy is a non-denominational Christian school located on the Parker Oaks campus in Winnebago. They are currently enrolling students in PreK through sixth grade for the fall of 2017. Their web address is genesisclassical.com.