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2015-16 District Archive



 SPPS Hall of Fame to induct five new members

Five new members will be inducted into the Saint Peter Public Schools Hall of Fame at a special induction ceremony to be held during Saint Peter High School’s Homecoming Weekend (Oct. 7-8).

Those five individuals chosen as the newest members of the Hall of Fame include alumni (year of graduation) -- Donald Olmanson (1949), John Lager (1958), Gayle (Hanson) Olson (1973), and Jennipher Wiebold (1987), and staff -- Gil Carlson, former Superintendent and High School Principal.  

“We are thrilled to honor the newest inductees into the Hall of Fame,” Saint Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson said. “The Selection Committee had a challenging job with many deserving nominees.  We are so honored to recognize the 2016 class for their achievements and for the impact they have had throughout the United States.”

The Saint Peter Public Schools Hall of Fame was established in 2008 to honor outstanding individuals who have earned significant distinction or achievement in their chosen field or volunteer endeavors. It was originally called the Saint Peter High School Hall of Fame, but the Saint Peter School board changed the name earlier this summer to allow it to become more inclusive for people to be nominated.

Alumni are no longer required to have graduated from Saint Peter High School to be eligible, and staff eligibility is now extended to those who worked at any of the schools in District 508.

Nominations for the Class of 2016 were received and reviewed by a selection committee comprising of the high school principal, high school guidance counselor, one member of the All-School Reunion Committee, one member of the Saint Peter Education Foundation, and one member of the Saint Peter School Board.

The following are brief bios on each of the Class of 2016 Hall of Fame inductees:

Donald Olmanson (Class of 1949) -- Long-time family physician at St. Peter Clinic (31 years) who also spent time in Burma assisting famed surgeon, Dr. Gordon Seagrave. Very active in the community of St. Peter as well as in Nicollet County through many civic, service, and church groups/organizations. St. Peter School Board member for 12 years, including serving as board president.

John Lager (Class of 1958) -- A long-time aerospace engineer with Martin-Marietta Aerospace as well as with Boeing Aircraft. A senior research scientist who worked on the Titan Missile, Space Shuttle, Hubble Telescope, and other top-secret projects. An avid hunter and fisherman, he changed careers in the mid 1980s and became a very successful self-taught professional taxidermist. Past President of the Colorado State Taxidermy Association.  

Gayle (Hanson) Olson (Class of 1973) -- Clinical Instructor for the Athletic Training Education Program at Florida Southern College and also serves as an athletic trainer providing care for the FSC athletes. Education Coordinator for SwimEx, traveling internationally to train people in aquatic therapy. A Titleist Performance Institute Level Three Golf Fitness Professional. Served as an Athletic Trainer for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games (Salt Lake City, Utah), 1984 Summer Olympic Games (Los Angeles) along with the U.S. Figure Skating’s national and regional events and many other international and national sporting events. 2013 National Athletic Trainers’ Association Most Distinguished Award winner.

Jennipher Wiebold (Class of 1987) -- An Associate Professor and Rehabilitation Counseling Program Coordinator at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) in a joint appointment with the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies and Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. Has received more than $3.5 million in research and training grant funding which have helped over 50 people earn Master’s degrees in rehabilitation counseling and to receive specialized training in blindness and low vision.

Gil Carlson (Staff) -- Long-time administrator with the Saint Peter Public School system. Served as Superintendent of Schools (1993-2003), High School Principal (1983-1993), and Assistant High School Principal (1978-1983). Well known for his tireless efforts to help District 508 and St. Peter community rebuild after devastating tornado on March 29, 1998. A community- minded leader who was involved with the Sertoma Club, United Fund Board, Lions Club, United Way, St. Peter Chamber of Commerce, and River’s Edge Hospital Board, to name a few.

For more information on the previous SPPS Hall of Fame inductees go to and click on the "Hall of Fame" button on the upper menu bar.


Hall of Fame changes take effect in 2016


As a way to open up the selection process to more people, the Saint Peter School Board recently approved some major changes to the former Saint Peter High School Hall of Fame’s charter.


For starters, the name of the program itself has been expanded to the Saint Peter Public Schools Hall of Fame, which will allow for a more inclusive way for people to be nominated for the Hall of Fame, according to Saint Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson.


Also, alumni are no longer required to have graduated from Saint Peter High School to be eligible, and staff eligibility is now extended to those who worked at any of the schools in District 508.


“The Hall of Fame began in 2008 and has a membership that is highly esteemed,” Peterson said. “The Selection Committee listened to community input and felt that the selection criteria revisions were warranted at this time. The new criteria were approved by the Board in May and go into effect immediately.”


Those new criteria for selection includes:


1.   The Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding and exceptional professional and/or humanitarian achievement, such as to bring unusual honor to an individual.

2.   A Hall of Fame member must be alumni of Saint Peter Public Schools, attending twenty (20) years prior to induction, or a retired staff, having served a minimum of ten (10) years in the District. Employees will be considered as candidates five (5) years after ending service with Saint Peter Public Schools.


The SPPS Hall of Fame Selection Committee will remain the same with the committee being comprised of the following:


* - High School Principal

* - High School Guidance Counselor

* - One member of the All-School Reunion Committee

* - One member of the Saint Peter Education Foundation

* - One member of the Saint Peter Public Schools Board of Education


Nominations being sought for 2016 induction 


Anyone interested in nominating a candidate for induction into the Saint Peter Public Schools Hall of Fame can do so from now until June 30.


The nomination form can be found here →


Just a reminder, nominations will remain on file for anyone who has previously been nominated for the Hall of Fame, but has yet been chosen for induction. Those applications along with any new nominations will receive consideration for induction.



Superintendent to hold community coffee discussions 


In its ongoing efforts to keep in touch with district residents, Saint Peter Public Schools will be holding monthly community coffee discussions at various locations around St. Peter through the end of the 2015-16 school year.


Saint Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson along with representatives from the Saint Peter School Board will be on hand from 8 to 10 a.m. one Saturday a month to meet with district residents to collect input, answer questions and share information on school-related topics.   The first conversation will be held this Saturday (Feb. 6) at Family Fresh Market.  Discussions will be informal with no pre-set presentation or agenda, just an open dialogue.


“The purpose is pretty simple, and that is to make sure the school district is engaging with community members on a regular basis about the direction of our schools,” Peterson said.  “Meetings like these can be a valuable communication tool and we learned a lot by doing them last winter.  Those meetings were for a very specific topic -- the referendum, but people came out and talked with us about a lot of different topics, too.”


The following is the coffee discussions schedule for the remainder of the 2015-16 school year:


Saturday, Feb. 6 -- at Family Fresh Market

Saturday, March 5 -- at Whiskey River

Saturday, April 9 -- at River Rock

Saturday, May 7 -- at Saint Peter Food Co-op

(Note: Anytime between 8 to 10 a.m.)


SPPS launches Flexible Learning Days initiative 

Program aimed to provide students with learning opportunities during snow days


Saint Peter Public Schools is launching an initiative called Flexible Learning Days, which will allow students to participate in curriculum-aligned learning opportunities at home when school is canceled due to inclement weather.


This initiative will go into affect on days when school is closed for the entire day. It does not apply when school is let out early or starts late due to inclement weather, according to Saint Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson.


“So far we’ve been lucky and haven’t had any snow days, but our principals have indicated that we are ready to implement this program,” Peterson said. “If we go through the rest of the winter season without any snow days, we will schedule a practice day sometime in April or May to give everyone -- including students, teachers and parents -- a chance to practice and learn.


“Our school board is committed to making this a viable educational endeavor so we want to learn and plan as much as we can to make sure it goes well for our students and families.”


The plans for each level were developed by Saint Peter Public School teachers with the support of a Pre-K-12 steering committee made up of parents, teachers, students, and school administrators. This group carefully examined all aspects of the Flexible Learning Day, including the experiences of Farmington Public Schools.  Farmington was one of the first school districts in the state to implement Flexible Learning Days . For Saint Peter, each building will have a slightly different approach.  


Below is an outline of what a Flexible Learning Day will look like for each age group:



The  Flexible Learning Day for South will involve students having options for both digital and hands-on assignments. These assignments are designed to complement current classroom curriculum. Activity packets have been created by each grade level and will be sent home with students.  Teachers, students, and parents will be able  to communicate throughout the day through each classroom’s shared virtual space (SVS). Information on the SVS is included in the packet. If you need more information about Flexible Learning Days at South please contact the Principal Doreen Oelke’s office at 934-2754, ext. 222, if your child is in grades K-2 or Ytive Prafke’s office at 934-2754, ext. 230, if your child is in PreK.



All students at North Intermediate have access to a Shared Virtual Space called Seesaw. Students have been using Seesaw to document their learning through the guidance of their teachers at school. By using  their Google login information, students can access the Seesaw app through mobile devices or the webpage on a computer. If a Flexible Learning Day occurs, students will login to their Seesaw account and complete the learning tasks assigned by their teachers. North Intermediate teachers will have the day's tasks posted on the Seesaw site by 10:00 am on the Flexible Learning Day.  For students who don't have internet access on inclement weather days, their teacher will provide time and resources for them to complete the Flexible Learning Day tasks on the next day that school is in session. If you need more information about Flexible Learning Days at North please contact the Principal Darin Doherty’s office at 934-3260, ext. 602.



Students at the middle/high school level are using a variety of Shared Virtual Spaces (SVS) in their classes, including Google Classroom, Moodle, and Edmodo.  Teachers have been given the option of choosing the SVS for their classes. Students know how to access their teacher’s shared virtual space and will be expected to check in for Flexible Learning Day assignments. Teachers will have assignments posted to their SVS by 10 a.m. and will be available for questions and discussion via that space or email throughout the day. For those students without internet access who live close to the high school, the media center will be open for computer use. We also have several internet “hotspots” for students to check out from the media center. Flexibility on assignment deadlines will be granted for students with limited or no access. If you need more information about Flexible Learning Days at Saint Peter Middle/High School please contact Principal Annette Engeldinger’s office at 934-4210, ext. 415.


Three incumbents, one newcomer elected to Saint Peter School Board

Four seats on the Saint Peter School Board were up for grabs at Tuesday’s (Nov. 3) general election and the three incumbents who filed for reelection were voted back in for another term and a newcomer will also join the board on January 1, 2016.
There were four seats up for election on Tuesday and there were seven candidates in the running. Incumbents Ben Leonard and Robert “Bob” Meeks were the top two vote-getters followed by newcomer Tim Lokensgard and incumbent Mark Karlsrud. The following is the tally from Tuesday night’s school board voting:
Ben Leonard 939
Bob Meeks 844
Tim Lokensgard 789
Mark Karlsrud 747
John Sylvester 723
Christopher Harmes 473
Marty Duncan 417
These results will not become official until they are canvassed by the Saint Peter School Board, which will take place within three to 10 days of Tuesday’s election. The other incumbent, Sharon Fitch, who was up for reelection opted not to run.
For more detailed information on this year’s Saint Peter School Board election check out the St. Peter Herald’s story here →


SPHS to host Veterans Day program on Nov. 11

St. Peter High School and Middle School will host its annual Veterans Day program on Wednesday, Nov. 11, starting at 9:35 a.m. in the school gym. The public is invited to attend.
The school is hosting a special veterans recognition reception, which is open to all area veterans, starting at 9:15 a.m. Those wishing to attend should meet in the gym lobby area at that time. St. Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson and SPHS/MS Principal Annette Engeldinger will be on hand to greet the veterans at the reception. Coffee and donuts will served to those veterans in attendance.
This year’s Veterans Day program will feature Tim Adams as the guest speaker. Adams is a Mankato native and currently the Space Operations officer with the Minnesota Army National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division in Rosemount.
Adams began his military career in the United States Navy after receiving his commission through NROTC (Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps) at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.  He holds a Master's degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University.  and served as a Naval Aviator for 21 years, retiring in 2008.  Mr. Adams deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm/Shield and Enduring Freedom.  In 2010, he joined the Minnesota Army National Guard as a Military Intelligence Officer.
The Veterans Day program is put on each year by the St. Peter High School/Middle School Social Studies Department.
This year’s Veterans Day program order of events includes:
  * Presentation of Colors - William R. Witty American Legion Post 37
  * National Anthem - SPHS Music Department
  * Welcome & Introduction of Speaker - Annette Engeldinger, St. Peter High School/Middle School Principal
  * Guest Speaker - Mr. Tim Adams
  * Musical selection - SPHS Music Department
  * Veteran Recognition - Annette Engeldinger, SPHS/MS Principal
  * Retiring of Colors - William R. Witty American Legion Post 37

CSAH 5 to be closed Nov. 2 to Nov. 13 for utility work near new SPHS site

In coordination with Nicollet County, the City of Saint Peter and Saint Peter Public Schools will be closing down a portion of CSAH 5 (Broadway Avenue/Fort Road) from 7 am on Monday, Nov. 2, to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, to allow utility crossing work to be completed for the new Saint Peter High School and City Park project.

CSAH 5 will be closed to all traffic from the intersection of CSAH 20 (Nicollet Avenue) to intersection of 357th Avenue.  No thru traffic will be allowed on CSAH 5 from the intersection of 357th Avenue to the intersection of CSAH 40 (371st Avenue).

Anyone planning on driving on CSAH 5 in this area at this time should plan to use alternate routes or the detour route that will be posted.


SPHS groundbreaking and District 508 150th Anniversary reception set for Oct. 19


Monday, Oct. 19, will be a momentous day for Saint Peter Public Schools as District 508 will be honoring the past and committing to the future with two special events scheduled that day.


The festivities will begin at 3:15 p.m. with a special groundbreaking ceremony at the new Saint Peter High School location (near Fort Road/Broadway Avenue and Gardner Road intersection, just west of Catholic Church of St. Peter). The brief ceremony will be open to the public with limited parking available at the site.


After the groundbreaking is completed, activity will move to the St. Peter Community Center’s Senior Center starting at 3:45 p.m. for an open house and reception commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Saint Peter School District.


“The school board is excited to honor the first 150 years of Saint Peter Public Schools and break ground on the newest chapter of our history all on the same day,” Saint Peter Superintendent Paul Peterson said. “This will be a great opportunity for our community to reflect on our past and look ahead to the district’s bright future.”


A special program will also take place in the Senior Center during that time with guest speakers on hand to talk about the past, present, and future of District 508. The special 150th anniversary exhibit will be on display in the Saint Peter Room for attendees to view and refreshments will also be served.

For more information please call the District 508 office at 507-934-5703.


All SPPS students to receive free activity pass for 2015-16 school year


During the 2015-16 school year, Saint Peter Public Schools will be offering all students in grades K-12 free admission to home activities (athletics & the arts).


This is a change from previous years when only students who participated in an activity received an activity pass and that was only good for the season in which they participated. This new policy includes all K-12 students and goes through the full school year.


“This is an opportunity to get St. Peter students of all ages out to support our co-curricular programs,” Steve Alger, St. Peter High School Activities Director and Dean of Students, said. “The cost is negligble and the payoff comes in numerous ways. First and foremost, family finances will no longer dictate who shows up to cheer on the Saints.  Also, by including every student in our school district we hope that they see what we have to offer and they will want to be a part of the programs themselves.”


Homeroom teachers will be given the student IDs to be handed out to grade 7-12 students during Monday's (Aug. 31) homeroom.  The district is aware that there are new students that will not have an ID at this time. Those students can have one made by going to see Mrs. Clementson in the High School/Middle School Principal's office.


Students at South Elementary and North Intermediate will eventually be given photo ID cards from LifeTouch, but until that time they are encouraged to wear Saints gear to events to let the ticket takers know they are from St. Peter. A reminder that students in grades K-6 must be accompanied by an adult when attending home activities.


The guidelines for this new policy are as follows:


* - If lost, a replacement ID card can be purchased through the student's respective school office for a fee of $10.


* - All students must stand in line like everyone else and present their student ID to the ticket taker at home events for admission.  If they do not have their student ID they will be asked to pay the regular admission price.  Even if the ticket taker knows who the student is the student ID card is their ticket into the event - period


* - Passes are good for home events only.


* - Passes are good for regular season events only.  They are not valid for post-season tournaments.



Saint Peter Public Schools to have 21 staff members for 2015-­16
Saint Peter Public Schools will have several new faces on staff for the 2015­16 school year as District #508 will welcome 21 new members when classes begin. Classes start on August 31 and September 2.
Those new staff members along with new teaching staff at Gustavus Adolphus College were recognized at the St. Peter Chamber of Commerce’s annual New Faculty Breakfast, held on Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Minnesota School Board Association’s conference room.
Scholarship America sponsored the food for the annual breakfast while Thrivent Financial, Wells Federal Bank, Nicollet County Bank, and First National Bank of St. Peter provided door prizes for the event.
The following are the new staff members at each of the three main buildings for Saint Peter Public Schools:
New staff at St. Peter Middle/High School:
Elise Hagemann -- University of MN, Duluth; Social Studies; first year teacher; hometown: Mankato.
Johanna Schmitz ­ -- Minnesota State University­Mankato; Science; first year teacher. hometown: Canby.
Elizabeth Burnett -- Minnesota State University­Mankato; Visual Arts; first year teacher; hometown: Albert Lea.
Sarah Roiger ­-- Minnesota State University­Mankato; English/Language Arts; first year teacher; Hometown: Lakeville.
Ericka Gustafson -- Minnesota State University­Mankato; English/Language Arts; first year teacher.
Aaron Dimock, Ph.D. -- Black Hills State University (undergraduate); University of Colorado, Boulder (doctorate); previous experience: Minnesota State University­Mankato and University of Nebraska-Kearney.
Justine Schrader -- The College of Saint Catherine; Technology Integration; previous experience: Mankato Loyola and LeSueur­Henderson.
Tim Campbell ­ Minnesota State University­-Moorhead; Spanish; previous experience: 8 years in Arizona; hometown: Faribault.
Jon Graff ­ Minnesota State University­-Mankato; Assistant Principal at St. Peter Middle/High School; previous experience: Dakota Meadows Middle School, Assistant Principal and Dakota Meadows Middle School, Science teacher.
New staff at North Intermediate:
Eva Hendrickson -- grade 3­-6 art teacher, BA from GAC in art history/studio art, MA in teaching from Minnesota State University-Mankato, most recently taught art at Dakota Meadows in North Mankato, and originally is from Stillwater.
Kirsten Guentzel -- grade 3­-6 physical education and D/APE teacher, BA from GAC, MS from Minnesota State University-Mankato in Educational Leadership, most recently taught physical education in Glencoe-Silver Lake, and originally from Wells.
Betsy Anderson -- Reading/Math Intervention teacher, BA in Elem Ed. from University of Wisconsin-River Falls, most recently taught 5th grade in Houston, MN, and is originally from Rhinelander, Wis.
Bre Steele -- third grade teacher, BA in Elem Ed. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, most recently student taught in third grade at North Intermediate, and is originally from Eagan.
Stephanie Bjorklund -- fifth grade teacher, BA in Communications from University of Minnesota, BS in elementary education from Minnesota State University-Mankato, most recently student taught 5th grade at North Intermediate, and is originally from Prior Lake.
New staff at South Elementary Early Learning Center:
Kelly Nyhammer ­­-- Kelly will be teaching art at South. She is native of Elk River, she currently resides in St. Peter with her husband. She graduated from Minnesota State University-Mankato with a BS in Art Education. She is has previous experience teaching art in Sebeka and most recently in the Tri-City United district.
Marin Beck --­­ Marin will be teaching 1st grade at South while serving as our Minnesota State University-Mankato ellow. She is originally from Chaska. She graduated in May from Minnesota State University-Mankato with a degree in elementary education and a certification in STEM education. She will also be pursuing a master's degree in Educational Technology from MSU-­Mankato. She student taught in first grade with Ms. Bly last school year.
Stacy Abel ­-- Stacy will serve as a .5 learning disabilities teacher and a .5 case facilitator this year. Originally from New Ulm, Stacy and her husband live outside of St. Peter with their three young sons. She holds a BS & MS in special education from Minnesota State University-Mankato. She comes to us with previous experience teaching in New Ulm and for the past several years in the Tri-City United district.
Shelly Torbenson ­­-- Shelly will serve as an learning disabilities teacher at South. Shelly and her husband have two children and live in North Mankato. She holds both a BS & Masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in special education and elementary curriculum. She has taught in various districts throughout Wisconsin and comes to us from the Spooner district.
Dave Ribar ­-- Dave will serve in as a social worker in a shared position between North Intermediate and South Elementary. He and his wife live in St. Peter and have two sons. He holds a BS in social work from St. Thomas University and completed his masters degree in social work at Minnesota State University-Mankato this summer. Prior to returning to grad school, Dave had worked as a para at South Elementary.
Alysha Coffman -- Alysha will be the .5 English Language Learner teacher at South. She is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and has served as a kindergarten and Title 1 teacher in Park River, N.D. She and her husband along with their two young daughters have recently moved back to her home area of  Nicollet. She will be pursuing a master's degree in ESL at St. Mary’s University this school year.
Liz Welter ­-- Liz will be a second grade teacher at South. Originally from Chaska, Liz holds a BS in elementary education from Minnesota State University-Mankato and had student taught with Ms. Borchert at South in 2013. She worked within the South Washington School district last year as a student support teacher.