A Team Staff News

December 22, 2021

Message from the Superintendent

Dear A-Team Staff,

I want to thank each of you for your efforts in supporting students and each other over the first half of the school year. It’s been fun to visit schools over the past couple of days and feel the excitement, and see the creative learning and fun celebrations taking place as we approach the holiday break. You all are doing a wonderful job with making school a fun and engaging place to be and building relationships with students.

I am also very proud of the caring hearts that our schools demonstrate at a time of year when not all student and family experiences are the same. Whether it be food baskets, toys, or winter gear donations, I am grateful to each of you.

You likely will hear of some undesired adult behaviors at the school board meetings. Don’t internalize this and don’t let it distract you. I encourage you to stay focused on delivering on our mission and vision. Below is my list:

  • Stay focused on doing your best work from the position you hold.

  • Stay focused on working together and supporting one another.

  • Stay focused on a growth mindset.

  • Stay focused on your mental and physical health.

  • Continue your support of our students and families!

I look forward to our continued work together in 2022. Wishing you each a relaxing and enjoyable winter break!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!


Department Updates

Business Services

by Trevor Petersen, Director of Business Services

After holding a public hearing as part of the December 20 regular board meeting , the School Board approved the final levy for 2022. The final levy amount of $16,235,555.98 is a decrease from last year's final levy by $52,620.01, or 0.32%. The taxes paid in 2022 provides revenue for the district's 2022-23 fiscal year. The final levy reflects no change from the preliminary levy approved in September. The full press release is linked below.

Human Resources Update

by Jessie Hjelle, Director of Human Resources

Weather Related Guidance for Staff

With the winter season and accompanying MN weather upon us, I thought it would be timely to share again the Emergency Closing Guidelines for staff (linked below).

These guidelines are extracted from Policy 315 - Emergency Closing. The guidance is broken out for each workgroup for the following scenarios:

  • Emergency Closing (non e-learning day)
  • Emergency Closing (student e-learning day)
  • Late Start
  • Early Dismissal

Please review the guidelines for your workgroup so you understand how each scenario will impact your work day/schedule. I encourage you to reference the contract specific to your work group and/or speak to your supervisor if you have additional questions.

Alexandria School Board approves contract with teachers

At the regular board meeting December 20, the Alexandria School Board approved a two-year agreement with members of Education Minnesota-Alexandria (EMA). The approved teachers contract is retroactive is retroactive to July 1, 2021 and runs through June 30, 2023.

School Board Briefs - December 20, 2021 regular meeting

New A-Team Members

We welcome the following individuals to our A-Team staff:

  • Gordon Anderson: Paraprofessional, effective 1/3/2022
  • Ellie Betterman: Compass Group Leader, effective 11/23/2021
  • Tyler Bright: Compass Assistant, effective 12/14/2021
  • Rebecca Cox: Paraprofessional, effective 1/3/2022
  • Zach DeMarce: Compass Assistant, effective 11/19/2021
  • Kayla Feldhake: GMC Floater Substitute Teacher, effective 12/1/2021
  • Elena Fuglestad: Compass Assistant, effective 11/15/2021
  • Hattie Galloway: Compass Assistant, effective 12/01/2021
  • Alexander Heidenreich: Compass Group Leader, effective 11/23/2021
  • Micah Helie: CE Lifeguard, effective 11/18/2021
  • Kimberly Jern: Cook, effective 11/22/2021
  • BreAnna Johnson: Compass Assistant, effective 11/19/2021
  • Jason Karels: Bus Driver, effective 10/29/2021
  • Sean Kenny: Compass Assistant, effective 11/19/2021
  • Abigail Klitzkel: Compass Assistant effective 11/23/2021
  • Kristin Kovalsky: Language Arts/Floater Sub Teacher, effective 1/3/2022
  • Noah Larson: Compass Assistant, effective 11/23/2021
  • Shari McClure-Klang: Compass Group Leader, effective 11/29/2021
  • David Paulson: Bus Driver, effective date 12/1/2021
  • Brenda Pepple: DCD Teacher @ Voyager, effective date 1/3/2022
  • Erick Sanborn: Compass Group Leader, effective 11/23/2021
  • Matthew Scriber: Compass Assistant, effective 11/19/2021
  • Alexander Strickler: Paraprofessional, effective 11/15/2021
  • Rebecca Struck: Paraprofessional, effective 11/18/2021
  • Benjamin Tschida: Compass Group Leader, effective 11/15/2021
  • Ahjanae Twyman: Compass Assistant, effective 12/14/2021
  • Erika Zick: Compass Assistant, effective 12/13/2021


The following staff member has submitted a letter of retirement. Thank you for your service and dedication to the students and families of Alexandria Public Schools.

  • Mary Ekola, Paraprofessional, effective 12/31/2021 [date of hire: 10/1/2003]
  • Rochelle Telander, Cook, effective 12/31/2021 [date of hire: 2/23/2005]

First Reading of District Policy Revisions

The Board approved the first reading of policy updates for:

  • Policy 534 - Unpaid Meal Charges
  • Policy 605 - Alternative Programs
  • Policy 608 - Instructional Services - Special Education
  • Policy 616 - School District System Accountability
  • Policy 701 - Establishment and Adoption of School District Budget
  • Policy 701.1 - Modification of School District Budget
  • Policy 702 - Accounting
  • Policy 703 - Annual Audit
  • Policy 710 - Expense Reimbursement
  • Policy 715 - Managing Fund Balance Reserves

Adopt School Board Policies

The Board adopted the revisions to the policies and procedures listed below that received a first reading at the November 2021 school board meeting:

  • Policy 522 - Title IX Nondiscrimination Policy, Grievance Procedure and Process
  • Policy 707 - Fundraising to Support School-Sponsored or School-Related Activities
  • Policy 731 - Transportation of Nonpublic School Students
  • Policy 732 - Extracurricular, Co-Curricular and School Activities Transportation
  • Policy 735 - Digital Recording on School Buses

Other Items from the December 20, 2021 Regular Board Meeting

  • Jennifer Engle, Mechatronics Head Coach, and members of Team 3313 shared highlights from the Robotics program.
  • Matt Aker, Principal and Aldon Struchen, Activities Director, shared highlights from Discovery Middle School.
  • Darcy Josephson, Asst. Superintendent - Teaching & Learning, provided an overview of the curriculum and program modifications being proposed at Discovery Middle School for the 2022-2023 school year. The Board approved the first reading, with a second reading anticipated at the January board meeting.
  • Approval of the termination of the Shared Services Agreement between Minnewaska Area Schools and Alexandria Public Schools effective January 14, 2022.
  • Approval of the purchase agreement between the State of Minnesota on behalf of Alexandria Technical & Community College for the 18th Ave property.
  • The Board adopted the curriculum and program modifications at Alexandria Area High School for the 2022-2023 school year. The Board received a first reading at the November board meeting.
  • The Board approved the Resolution in Support of the Congressional IDEA Full Funding Act as presented by Michelle Bethke-Kaliher, Director of Student Support Services.

December Points of Pride

Lukas Gotto has been chosen as one of the 2021 Top 5 Under 40 in our community. Lukas will be recognized at the Alexandria Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Celebration in January.

Volleyball player Tessa McGrane has been honored as an All State Athlete.

Two of our girls’ swimming and diving coaches received top honors this year. Aaron Rooney was named Section 6A Diving Coach of the Year, while Chrysta Krause was named Section 6A Head Coach of the Year.

In the pool, Jisella Haskamp, Brooklyn Millward, Grace Urke and Hattie Galloway broke the school record set in 1995 in the 200 Free Relay. Jisella Haskamp also broke the record for the 100 Breaststroke.

Kristen Hoskins has been named a finalist for Mr. Football, making the top 10 in that competition.

Senior Teagan Pfeffer was selected to play in the All-Star Football game.

Multiple members of the Esports team competed at the National Competition, including Carssen Cabinaw, Foxx Johnson, Kayden Savig, Gavin Carter, Luke Taylor, Cole Ehlert, Daniel Garcia and Dylan Howard.

Juniors Brynn Kosters and Tyler Kludt have been selected to represent Alexandria Area High School for the MSHSL ExCEL (Excellece in Community, Education and Leadership) Award nomination.

Upcoming Events

  • Dec 23-January 2: Winter Break, No School PreK-12; Compass Closed.
  • January 3: School Resumes PreK-12
  • January 3: School Board Organizational Meeting, DO Oak Conference Room, 7:00 p.m.

Alexandria Public Schools

Our Mission is to achieve educational excellence and to inspire a life-long passion for learning.

Our Vision is to be an extraordinary school district that tailors learning for each child, by working together!