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Five new staff members at Lake Preston School

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Lake Preston School welcomes five new staff members this year, and Journal staff asked them a few questions to get acquainted.

ANNA KOISTI

• Goals for this year:

My goals for this year are to be able to connect with my students, engage my students in the curriculum and to push past the limits, helping my students absorb and learn as much as they can.

• What grade/class will you be teaching?

I will be teaching 2nd grade.

• Where are you from?

I am from Lake Norden, S.D., having graduated from Hamlin High School.

• Have you taught before?

This will be my first year teaching, but I student taught second grade in Lake Preston. I feel as though I had a wonderful mentor who helped me tremendously, and so I feel very prepared to teach, even though it is my first year. I graduated from Dakota State University in May with an elementary and special education degree.

• Family/Spouse/Children:

I am not married, and I have three siblings.

• Additional comments:

I am very thankful and excited to start my teaching career in Lake Preston. I love the Lake Preston community, and throughout my student teaching, I was able to connect with the students and the teachers; I am excited to start the school year. Thank you!

APRIL RUSCHE

• Goals for this year:

I have big plans for strengthening the art program in Lake Preston and increasing the students' love of art.

• What class will you be teaching?

I will be teaching art classes.

• Where are you from?

I live near Bancroft, S.D., and graduated high school from Milbank.

• Have you taught before?

I have been teaching art for 24 years. I spent 22 years teaching the wonderful children of De Smet. I took a year off from teaching and worked as the Assistant Director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, which was a lot of fun, but I missed the students and being in a school environment.

• Family/Spouse/Children:

Dr. Warren Rusche is my husband of nearly 26 years, and he is the Beef Feedlot Specialist at SDSU. We have two children: Jordan is a senior Journalism-English double major at SDSU, and Matthew is a senior at De Smet High School.

• Additional Comments:

I have met a few of my new students out and about, and I am really looking forward to meeting the rest of them soon, as well as making new friends among the staff.

DUSTIN REIDEL

• Goals for this year:

My goal for this year is mastering the new content; this will be my first time teaching business and computers. I want to prepare students for their careers, even if they do not want to go into business or computers.

• What grade/class will you be teaching?

I will be teaching elementary computers, junior high life skills, high school business and high school technology.

• Where are you from?

I grew up in Ramona, and I am moving back there.

• Have you taught before?

This will be my fourth year teaching; I was a math teacher for Doland the last three years.

EMMA PAUL

• Goals for this year:

To meet every child where they are in their learning, and help them continue to grow in their education.

• What grade/class will you be teaching?

1st grade

• Where are you from?

Dell Rapids, S.D. I graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University.

• Have you taught before?

This will be my first year.

• Family/Spouse/Children:

I have a fiancé, Nate Mckee, and we have two dogs named Bella and Charlotte.

• Additional Comments:

We are very excited to call Lake Preston home!

TRACI GRAHAM

• Goals for this year:

My goal for this year is to keep the vision of Lake Preston at heart and to seek feedback from those I work with when making decisions regarding current practice, policies and procedures. I aspire to maintain a safe learning environment for all students. I hope to apply my expertise in mental health, learning and behavior to foster success in the classroom. Last, I wish to identify our staff’s current strengths and needs regarding an understanding of special education laws, regulations and policies through various trainings.

• What grade/class will you be teaching?

This is my first year as the Director of Special Education, and I will be assisting all students as a Behavior Specialist.

• Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona.

• Have you taught before?

Overall, I have 24 years of experience in education. I previously taught second and third grade students for five years before becoming a special education teacher. After spending several years working with students of all ages, I developed a passion for advocating for students with disabilities. I returned to graduate school and pursued a degree in school psychology. For the past eight years, I have enjoyed my role as a school psychologist as I worked with students, families, teachers and administrators. I feel this next step as a director will provide a broader scope to help children and youth succeed not only academically, but socially, behaviorally and emotionally as well.

• Family/Spouse/Children:

I met my husband Larry while attending Northern Arizona University. We have three children: Ashley (22), Hailey (19) and Steven (14). In the summer of 2018, my family and I decided to leave the heat of the desert and move to Brookings, S.D. We are so happy that we did, as we absolutely love life here.

• Additional Comments:

I am happy to be a part of the Lake Preston team! I look forward to the opportunity to form personal connections with students as well as form partnerships with families and staff this school year.

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