Six new teachers joined the Caledonia Area Public School District family for the 2023-2024 school year.
Daniel Winkler is Caledonia Middle/High School’s new science teacher. Winkler will work with grades 8-12. This semester Winkler finds himself educating the freshman class in both earth and environmental science, eighth grade physical science, and an elective course – science of national parks.
Winkler’s interest in science was first sparked by his own teachers as a child, particularly his fifth grade teacher who went the extra mile to take students outdoors, held classroom pets, and allowed students to pursue their own interests. Winkler attended college and earned his degree in wildlife ecology and management. Following college, Winkler tried out different positions and eventually fell in love with teaching once the opportunity rose for him to substitute teach for a period of time. Winkler went on to enroll in courses needed to become a certified teacher. This year will be Winkler’s 12th year teaching, yet his first year with Caledonia Middle/High School. Winkler previously taught at a private school in Green Bay, Wis., and a public school in Hilbert, Wis. Winkler greatly enjoys the outdoors and is glad to have the chance to share his love of wildlife with students.
Winkler was drawn to the Caledonia area for a number of reasons, one being his partner currently working for the DNR out of La Crosse, Wis., and another being the beautiful driftless area itself.
When not busy educating young minds, Winkler works with Caledonia High School’s Knowledge Bowl, stating, “I think it’s a cool opportunity!” Winkler can also be found hiking, bird watching or doing other outdoor activities in his spare time.
Winkler looks forward to being part of the Caledonia community in addition to getting to know the community itself and the students that attend Caledonia Middle/High School.
Erin Spencer is Caledonia Middle/High School’s newest social studies teacher. This semester Spencer finds herself teaching geography, world history, college psychology, and college world history to both juniors and seniors.
Spencer is a veteran teacher where the 2023-2024 school year will be her 22nd year teaching. Her first teaching job had actually been with Caledonia Area Public Schools as a long-term substitute chemistry teacher. She previously taught in Lewiston, Minn., and moved back to her hometown of La Crescent, Minn., with her family, which led her to her current role at Caledonia.
In regards to how the current school year is going for Spencer, she proudly stated, “I think it’s fantastic. The students are really enthusiastic. The staff has been really welcoming and helpful!” She loved when the school year first began as everyone showed immense excitement. Spencer’s favorite part of her job has been getting to know the students.
Spencer always held both a love of history and an interest in how/where people lived. While in college, she tutored students in history and not only enjoyed the subject matter but the age group she worked with as well.
Outside of school hours, Spencer enjoys reading and time with her family on their boat. Spencer also likes traveling and has visited a number of places such as Costa Rica, England, Spain, France, Italy, Bangladesh, Mexico, Canada and various places around the United States.
In addition to Winkler and Spencer, both Jodi Petersen and Tami Bennett joined Caledonia Middle/High School as new hires. Petersen will take part as the middle/high school’s ELL (English Language Learners) teacher while Bennett will teach high school mathematics. Caledonia Elementary School was joined by two new teachers the 2023-2024 school year with Haley Olerud teaching second grade and Jill Kleckner teaching early childhood special education.