Joan Freeman, Concordia College, Madison
Joan is currently an Adjunct Faculty instructor for Concordia University-Madison in their Graduate Teacher Certification program. She also is a Supervisor of student teachers for CUW-Madison . She is a retired Madison Metropolitan special and general education teacher, having served MMSD for 21 years. After retirement, Joan also served MMSD as a mentor to New Educators for 4 years. Her own professional growth has increased by supporting new educators with Educator Effectiveness and Culturally Responsive Teaching. She finds the practice of supporting new educators from their pre-service learning through Concordia through their first few years as new teachers to be exciting, honorable and rewarding.
Steve Hernandez, Concordia College, Madison
Steve is the Site Director of the Graduate Teacher Certificate Program at Concordia University. Prior to that, he worked as a New Teacher Mentor for the Sun Prairie School District, and also taught High School Science for seven years at Sun Prairie High School. He did not come into teaching immediately after college. Instead, he earned a degree in Conservation Biology at UW Madison and worked in a microbiology lab (among other jobs) for several years before he took a substitute teaching position. It was then that he felt he found his true calling. He truly enjoys his current role collaborating with his new colleagues and supporting them in their professional growth. He finds this position to be (much like teaching) both challenging and rewarding. He has recently moved to Fitchburg and in his spare time enjoys mountain biking, running, cross-country skiing, and cooking.
Vicki Kieler, Monona Grove School District
Vicki currently works as a district-wide New Teacher Mentor for the Monona Grove School District. She is in her fourth year of mentoring and truly appreciates the opportunity to learn and grow professionally with teachers beginning their careers in education. During her teaching career, she taught English, math, and sixth grade, in an integrated classroom, at both Winnequah Middle School and Glacial Drumlin Middle School. She also wrote curriculum for Expeditionary Learning collaborating with a team of teachers from across the United States. Building relationships with students and teachers has fostered her passion in education. During her free time she loves traveling, biking, reading, being a football and basketball fan, and spending time with her family.
Jennifer Murphy, Verona Area School District
Jennifer is a 15-year veteran of the Verona Area School District and alumni of the UW-Madison School of Education. She spent 12 years teaching math at Verona Area High School, and 2 years as the District Mentor Coordinator. She is thrilled to join the Savanna Oaks Team this year.
Shawdi Nesbit, Sun Prairie Area School District
Shawdi is in her 4th year as a New Teacher Mentor for the Sun Prairie School District. Prior to this position, she taught science and reading at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie for 12 years. She earned her teaching degree from UW-LaCrosse and a Master’s Degree in Professional Development from Cardinal Stritch University. Recently, she returned to school to work on a Master’s Degree in Administration and Curriculum and Instruction. She enjoys working with new teachers because of the energy, enthusiasm and insight they bring to the profession. She looks forward to meeting new teachers from all over Dane County through the Beginning Teacher Seminars.
Sarah Stangland, Monona Grove School District
After teaching mathematics for 16 of her 17 year career at Monona Grove High School, Sarah is now a district-wide New Teacher Mentor. She thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to support and learn with K-12 teachers. Sarah received her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from Edgewood College and her Master’s Degree in Education from Cardinal Stritch University. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, running, cooking, and refinishing antique furniture.
Nicole Toepfer, Sun Prairie Area School District
Nicole is a full release mentor in the Sun Prairie Area School District, serving secondary level beginning teachers. She provides professional development and PDP support to teachers in their first three years in education. Before that, she taught high school biology, integrated and environmental sciences and credits her interest in mentoring to the wonderful one-to-one and full release mentors she had to start her career. She has her Bachelors of Science in Secondary Education and Masters of Science for Professional Educators, both from UW-Madison. Nicole and her husband recently welcomed her second child, Connor, making their daughter Aspen a big sister. Outside of school, Nicole enjoys doing most anything outdoors and getting lost in a book.