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USC district opens doors to 10 new teachers

USC?Elementary School also welcomes Jennifer Taylor as principal

By Fiona Edberg - Staff Writer | Sep 5, 2021

United South Central’s new teachers and staff are pictured above. New elementary principal Jennifer Taylor stands on the far left in the back row. The rest of the back row, from left to right, includes new teachers Nathan Scruggs, Paul Meyer, and Tyler Hintz, new food services director Jamie Gordon-Kamm, and new teacher Ryan McCue. In the front row, pictured left to right, are new teachers Brett Neel, Dennea Marks, Karissa Jewison, Mikayla Wegner, Erin Hansen, and Adam Rajtar.

As United South Central (USC) School District welcomes the 2021-22 school year, they are also welcoming 10 new teachers to the district. All teachers, both old and new, will start classes on Sept. 7 at USC High School and on Sept. 8 at USC Elementary School.

USC’s newest teachers include Erin Hansen, Tyler Hintz, Karissa Jewison, Dennea Marks, Ryan McCue, Paul Meyer, Brett Neel, Adam Rajtar, Nathan Scruggs, and Mikayla Wegner.

Erin Hansen

Hansen will serve as USC’s K-12 English Language Learner (ELL) teacher.

She received her Master of Arts in teaching from MSU, Mankato in 2021. She studied teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Previously, Hansen served as an ELL teacher in Japan from 2015-2017.

She and her husband, Josh, have five children: Collin, Maya, Lauren, Tommy, and Molly.

Tyler Hintz

Hintz will serve as USC’s technology integration and support specialist.

He received his B.S. in elementary education at MSU, Mankato, and received his Master’s degree in library and information studies from the same university.

Hintz taught third through fifth grade for eight years in North Mankato, and then spent five years as the media specialist at the same school.

He and his wife, Gretchen, have two daughters named Eleanor and Hazel.

Karissa Jewison

Jewison will teach sixth grade math and science at USC Elementary School.

She received her degree from Bemidji State University.

Jewison worked as a paraprofessional for three years while earning her teaching degree. This will be her first year as a classroom teacher.

Her mom, stepdad, and two sisters live in Janesville, while her dad and three other siblings live in St. Peter.

Dennea Marks

Marks will serve as a K-6 Level Three special education teacher at USC.

She received her B.S. in mass communications and public relations, with a minor in communication studies, from Saint Cloud State University. She is currently obtaining a B.S. in K-6 education from Bemidji State University.

Marks taught English as a foreign language remotely to students in China for three years. She also spent three years substitute teaching, and one year long-term subbing at USC.

She has a daughter, Reagan, as well as a dog and a cat.

Ryan McCue

McCue will teach fifth grade math and science at USC Elementary School.

He has received his Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a 5-8 mathematics endorsement.

He student taught sixth grade at Waterville-Elysian-Morristown School District, and seventh grade math at Dakota Meadows Middle School.

McCue’s family includes his dad, Michael, his mom, Leslie, and two sisters: Joyce and Megan.

Paul Meyer

Meyer will serve as a credit recovery specialist for USC School District.

Meyer received his education at Waldorf College, Mankato State University, and Saint Mary’s University.

He has taught in Luverne, New Ulm, and Sauk Rapids. He also served as a head volleyball coach and an assistant professor at Waldorf University.

Brett Neel

Neel will teach 11th and 12th grade social studies at USC high school.

He received degrees in social studies education and history at MSU, Mankato. He is currently working towards his Master’s degree in history at the same university.

He has taught in Tri-City United School District, at Mankato Public Schools, and at Albert Lea Area Schools.

His family is from the Alden area, where they operate a beef and crop farm.

Adam Rajtar

Rajtar will serve as an elementary special education teacher for second through fifth grade students with specific learning disabilities.

He received his B.A. in exercise science from Concordia University in St. Paul, and his Master’s degree in special education from Bemidji State University.

He has served as a paraprofessional at USC since 2016, and has also substitute taught at USC since 2018.

He and his wife, Emily, have two children: Holden and Hayden.

Nathan Scruggs

Scruggs will teach seventh and eighth grade social studies at USC.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in 5-12 social studies teaching from Gustavus Adolphus College.

He student taught at Mankato West and at Belle Plaine.

He is not the only teacher in his family; his mother and aunt are also teachers.

Mikayla Wegner

Wegner will teach third grade at USC Elementary School.

She graduated from MSU, Mankato with a degree in elementary education.

She has previously taught third grade at Blue Earth Area Elementary School for three years.

She and her husband, Colin, live together in Wells.

Additional New Staff

Also joining USC’s staff this year is Jennifer Taylor, who will serve as USC Elementary School’s new principal.

Taylor received her Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Minnesota State University, her Master’s of Science from MSU, Mankato, and her K-12 administration license, director of special education license, and education specialist degree from Southwest Minnesota State University.

She has had many roles in the field of education over the past 20 years, including facilitating the Center for Creative Leadership for Women’s Leadership program, the Leading Creatively program, and the Leadership Development program.

Taylor served as academic services manager at Lindenwood University, and also taught English and math at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She has worked with Albert Lea Area Schools administration for the past two years.

She and her husband, Craig, have three children: Emily, William, and Jacob.